“Big Magic,” A Book Review (Sort Of)

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book about creative living called “Big Magic.”  I don’t want to spoil what “Big Magic” is, so I’m leaving it to you to find out. I recommend it to everyone–because we’re all creative people, in our own way. What this book will teach you is how to become brave with your creativity, not care too much about it, learn to trust it, and then enjoy it.

I loved how she explained throughout the book that we shouldn’t choose the way of the creative martyr or tortured artist, but to consider a new way of taking on creativity: through the eyes and energy of a trickster: playful, fun, light.

Here are a few quotes from the book I wrote down to keep as a reminder to be unafraid of creative living and learn to work with trickster energy and not the martyr:

On fear:

” We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun. This is common knowledge, sometimes we just don’t know what do to about it.”

(Isn’t that the best explanation of fear ever?! I thought so.)

On hiding behind your weakness or fears:

“Fear is boring because it is the same everytime: leads to nothingness. Because it’s the same thing everyday.”

She admits that sometimes we need fear (the kind that, keeps us from danger), and that it is inevitable–fear will always be there. Instead, she suggests allowing it to come with you and creativity, but that it has no power. You’re the one in charge. It just gets to sit there and watch. There’s a wonderful speech she writes to fear and it’s too long to type again here.Go get the book. Look for it. Copy it down and pin it up on your wall.

On trusting your creativity:

“Why wouldn’t your creativity love you? It came to you, didn’t it? …Creativity drew itself near, it wanted a relationship with you.”

“I don’t with for passion to strike. I keep working because I trust that creativity is always trying to find me, even when I have lost sight of it. ”

On the sacredness of your work, or not caring too much:

“What you produce is not necessarily always sacred, I realized, just because you think it’s sacred.”

“It was just a thing–a thing that I had made and loved, and then changed, and then remade, and still loved, and then published, and then put aside so I could go on to make other things.”

On being brave enough to be OK with interesting:

“Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding…That’s the moment when interesting begins.

Every part of this book was insightful. I learned so much and now that I’ve returned it to the library, it’s going to go to the next person. I hope they are as touched by it as I was. I hope they decide to be brave and embrace their creativity.

And just a thought of mine: YOUR CREATIVITY IS NOT USELESS. It’s something you’ve been curious about, created, and have either kept it for yourself or have shared it with the world (which I hope you do!) But it’s something you made. Creativity came to you specifically to start and finish that project. It is never useless.

Tara Stiles’ “Make Your Own Rules Diet” is a Journey You’ll Want to Take

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First, I just want to say how honored and excited I am to be able to share the following book review for Tara Stiles’ “Make Your Own Rules Diet.” I was shocked and surprised when I got chosen to write a review on my blog. I hope you all enjoy, and a huge thank-you to Tara!

When I first saw a shirt with “Make Your Own Rules” on it, it changed the way I looked at myself. It was when I first discovered Tara through the television show with Tia Mowry, where Tia decides she wants to make a yoga video with Tara. I bought both DVDs. Then I found Tara’s YouTube channel, and instantly connected with the way she taught yoga. She made it accessible. She encouraged me to “make my own rules.” No one is the same–and we shouldn’t be forced to comply with rules that just aren’t fit for us. The way Tara guides you through yoga–encouraging you to do what feels good, to connect with your breath, and to forget forcing yourself into poses– made me change the way I looked at yoga, fitness, and even cooking. It didn’t surprise me when she announced that she was releasing a book about food– her “Tara Eats” videos and Tumblr blog recipes were just as easy and accessible as the yoga she’d guide me through on Youtube.

If you haven’t heard of Tara Stiles, the one thing you’ll immediately notice is that she’s all about ease, and it’s no surprise that this is the theme for “Make Your Own Rules Diet.” Tara’s not going to force you into anything. As she says in the book, her mission is for her and us to “go on a space-making journey together. We’ll cast aside the rules that other people have laid out; you’ll learn how to tap into your intuition to create rules that work for you. And because this is all about you, you’re in charge. I’ll simply be your guide.”

I love the way the book is laid out, with Tara separating “Make Your Own Rules Diet” into three parts that begins, not surprisingly, on the yoga mat, winds its way through meditation, and finally, makes its way into the kitchen.

From downward dogs and easy breathing to your cupboards and kitchen counter, you certainly don’t want to miss this journey that Tara has mapped out. Throughout “Make Your Own Rules Diet,” Tara proves over and over again how simple yoga, meditation, and cooking healthily can be.

Simple cooking is already great cooking to me, and Tara’s recipes are so delicious and vibrant in color that you’ll want to make them again and again. One example is “The Swamp,” a brilliantly green smoothie that is sure to leave you glowing, full of energy, and ready to take on the morning. If you find yourself often reaching for a not-so-great afternoon snack, then whip up a batch of her Granola, with an added twist that I adore: sour cherries. They add a perfect sour punch that’s sure to get you out of any 3 p.m. slumps or hangry (hungry+angry) attacks.

And perfect for the upcoming fall season in which “Make Your Own Rules Diet” is being released, the Roasted Acorn Squash Soup is sure to warm you up during the colder evenings and shorter days. I’ve fallen in love with soup over the years, so I cannot wait to make this one.

The “Make Your Own Rules Diet” journey will be worth it. I encourage you to pre-order “Make Your Own Rules Diet” before it hits bookstores in November, because you’ll want your hands on it as soon as possible. As a thank-you from Tara for pre-ordering the book, you’ll get the fantastic “Wake Up” yoga download and other cool gifts. You can pre-order the book and get your free gifts by going here.

You can follow Tara’s inspirational updates about yoga, travel, food, life, and more on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Make sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel for great yoga videos, and head over to her website for her weekly updates, recipes, and other happenings.

What I’m Reading: Winter Edition

Good morning and happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a relaxing and smile-worthy weekend.

To kick off the week, I thought I’d share a few books (and other things) I’ve been reading to keep the chill off.

(Yes, I’m still reading The Night Circus. I’ll finish it, I know I will.)

Books

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Mini-Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella
Safe Haven, Nicholas Sparks
Operation Beautiful, Caitlin Boyle

Blogs

Reading My Tea Leaves
Dashing Dish

Magazines

Life-Beautiful

Poetry

A Night Without Armor, Jewel

And here a few books I’m looking forward to reading:

The Pug’s Guide to Etiquette, Gemma Correll
Stern Men, Elizabeth Gilbert
The Art of Dancing in the Rain, Garth Stein
The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult
The Last Camellia , Sarah Jio
Love in the Time of Global Warming, Francesca Lia Block

What books have you been reading lately?

Stay warm and have a great start to the week:)

~Ashley

Beautiful You: Underreacting to Problems (Stress Tip)

Hi everyone! Tonight I wanted to share a stress tip I read last week over at Vitamin G, Glamour magazine’s health and fitness blog.

In the post, happiness expert Gretchen Rubin shares this tip (you can read the entire post here):

“I adopted one of my favorite happiness boosters from a resolution suggested by a reader who wrote from a research ship in Antarctica,” Rubin writes. “Her team leader, she reported, had urged them to ‘Underreact to problems’: not to ignore or minimize problems, but just to underreact to them. By underreacting to problems, and acting in a serene and unflappable way, I’d help myself cultivate a calm attitude. I also found that underreacting to little household incidents made them less irritating, because after all, they were only as annoying as I allowed them to be.”

I love this idea. When you underreact, you give yourself the freedom to relax and see the problem with clarity. I have tried this since I read it, and it has helped. Do you think you’d benefit from trying to underreact to problems?

Have a great evening! I hope you’ve had a wonderful start to the fall season. 🙂

Ashley

Daily Discovery: The Mindy Kaling Project

Last night while I was scrolling through HelloGiggles.com I found an article which linked to the pilot episode of “The Mindy Kaling Project.”

I adore Mindy Kaling. If you haven’t read her book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” you need too. It’s hilarious and I kept finding myself nodding in agreement with her humorous tales.

So, the twenty minutes to sit down and watch the pilot episode. I loved it and cannot wait to watch the season. Go Mindy!

Here’s the link: http://hellogiggles.com/excited-for-the-mindy-project-watch-the-series-premiere-now.

1 year ago on August 5…

One year ago today, I began Writing.Love.Magic. It’s amazing to celebrate one year! Thank you to all who have stopped by, read my posts, commented, and followed. I look forward to continue sharing with you.

When I began Writing.Love.Magic., I wanted to focus on creating a positive space for others and myself. I wanted to share my interests in food, books, poetry, and inspirational writing with others.

I was stumped on a name.

Eventually, I landed on Writing.Love.Magic. Why?

When you mix all the ingredients from a recipe, something magical happens.

That’s what I wanted with my blog. All the things I loved, each a different ingredient in the recipe. Combined, they make something magical.

I want to share the magic with you. I want you to create it yourself.

Thank you again for everything!

~Ashley