Archive for the ‘ Celebrity Books ’ Category

Love: Gabrielle Bernstein’s ‘May Cause Miracles’

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

It’s still January, so I’m going to squeeze in these last few resolution-related posts. This week, I’m intrigued by Gabrielle Bernstein’s new book May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness. I just saw it pop up on the bestseller list. I checked it out, and she’s written a strong follow-up to her previous popular books ~ing: A Hip Guide to Happiness and Spirit Junkie.

Want to jumpstart 2013 with positive thoughts, new goals and increased happiness? May Cause Miracles may do the trick for moms who enjoy self help books and can devote 5 to 10 minutes a day to this project. (That’s really all it takes–I’ve been reading right before bed, and I get all calm and relaxed.) I’ve completed Gabrielle’s Days 1 and 2, and she’s inspired me to face my biggest fears–and not be so scared of them. I can’t tell you if it’s going to work until I do 38 more days, but I’m digging it. Who doesn’t want to kick anxiety to the curb? Or add a little happiness to life? Count me in! I’ll totally drink that water.

My husband loves when I get on these kicks. He abides by the most basic rule in the universe: When Momma is happy, everyone is happy–and vice versa.

What’s so successful about May Cause Miracles is its accessibility. Gabrielle takes complicated, multi-layered philosophical ideas and breaks them down so they make perfect sense. Her easy, friendly style makes her relatable and irresistible. She’s grounding her advice on old but sound psychological and metaphysical ideas, especially a program called The CourseShe writes that our fears are just limiting beliefs. “They’re just smoke and mirrors, a bit of mental sleight of hand that leads us in the wrong direction in life.” In order to create everyday miracles (meaning positive thoughts, a can-do attitude and happiness), we need to label what scares us, be willing to change our beliefs, to surrender to to a higher power (God or your inner self or whatever inspires you), to practice and to forgive. “Finally, there is love,” Gabrielle writes. “Where there is fear, there is no love…living with an open heart and embracing love as our true purpose is essential to living a miraculous life.”

Gabrielle just started a live class in NYC last night, but it’s also available online, and you can download yesterday’s lesson. She’s personally presenting and teaching from her new book in this May Cause Miracles Live Course ($178). But the book is only $12.99 (see the May Cause Miracle trailer below), and there are also affordable meditations on the website. I love her fun and reassuring Spirit Junkie app, especially because it’s $1.99.

How I adore you, self help. This is a hot category right now (definitely check out Help, Thanks, Wow), so at least I know I’m not alone in my devotion. Are there any books that got you jazzed up recently?

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Dr. Ian Smith, author of ‘Shred,’ Shares His Top 5 Weight Loss Tips

Friday, January 25th, 2013

When Dr. Ian Smith offered to write a guest post for me, I wisely let him go right ahead. I blogged about his popular book SHRED recently. His no-fuss, fool-proof, get-healthy, diet-and-exercise plan is sitting pretty in its third week as a New York Times #1 Best Seller.

So here you go. Dr. Ian Smith shares his Top 5 Weight Loss Tips (check out #5, it’s my favorite):

 1. Hydration
Keeping hydrated can help you consume less calories – simple as that. Just keep reminding yourself that drinking a glass of water will make your stomach feel fuller which will help suppress hunger and appetite. Make sure you drink one full glass of water before drinking your meal. Try squeezing a lemon in there and that can help suppress the appetite.

2. Strategic Snacking
Remember that snacks are bridges between meals, they are not full meals. It is best to try to keep your snacks to 150 calories or less and this will help you from consuming too many calories when you sit down for your regular meal. You can find a list of more than 200 snacks in the back of the SHRED diet book.

3. Fiber
This is a secret weapon in weight loss, and Americans don’t eat anywhere near enough, approximately 30% less than what’s recommended. Most people should be consuming between 25-30 grams per day. The best sources are beans, whole grains, brown rice, crunchy vegetables, berries, and bran cereal.

4. Detox
We have all been hearing a lot lately about detox. I do believe that cleansing can be an important part of losing weight. SHRED has a week of detox but it is a healthy detox, done by eating the right foods. Detoxing your body means activating enzymes in your liver that helps purify your blood. Increasing your fiber can also help with a physical cleanse. A 7-day cleanse just twice a year can make a world of difference. Remember, a cleanse and a fast are different. A fast eliminates entire nutritional categories whereas a healthy detox means eating natural foods that do the work.

5. Calorie Ups and Downs – Roller Coaster
If you mix up your calories, your body responds better in its weight loss efforts. Eating the same level of calories all the time leads to weight loss plateaus that can become frustrating and can discourage a dieter. On the SHRED Diet, I purposely moved the amounts of calories up and down all the time. And, the best part is, you don’t even know it.

For more free tips, follow me on Twitter: @doctoriansmith.

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Fun Facts in ‘Because I Said So!’ by Ken Jennings

Friday, December 7th, 2012

The beloved, brilliant Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings (who also wrote Maphead, Brainiac and Ken Jenning’s Trivia Almanac) tackles the not-so-trivial matters of parenting advice in his latest eye-opening book Because I Said So! The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids. With his trademark wit and genius, he dissects common phrases most adults say to their children at one time or another. Using solid research, he judges whether long-held beliefs are true or false. For example, are poinsettias really poisonous? Definitely not, he writes, citing a hilarious study to prove his point. (The plants aren’t toxic unless you eat a three-story house full.) Part entertainment and part informative, in a style that’s reminiscent of a quiz show, he assures parents that most of the things we worry about won’t hurt us at all. Talking to strangers isn’t so dangerous and those silica gel packets in pill bottles won’t kill anyone. This relieves me greatly, I don’t need to scream in terror when my kids play with them. Some of the topics—don’t sneeze or your eyeballs will fall out—are obviously false, but he skillfully generates interest by telling the reader how these myths originated. And, of course, a few bits like don’t stare at the sun are true. Jennings imparts his usual wisdom and good sense in this highly entertaining and oddly educational book. I’ll keep this one on my favorites shelf—mostly so I can use to it impress my mom friends with funky facts.

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I’m Totally Watching The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part Two Today

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Where will you be at 5 p.m. today? I’ll be at the Clearview Cinema on Bellevue Ave. devouring The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.

The tickets are bought. And I’ve been pumped for days, make that months, make that years.

I tore through the books as they came out, but that’s not a surprise considering how much I love young adult fiction and especially teen angst. I have always been lukewarm on vampires, but this book sunk its teeth into me. Who wouldn’t want to be Bella? Two hot, powerful guys are willing to die for her. Bella is no kick-ass superhero like Buffy (well, she might be, *spoiler*), but she represents the ultimate teenage girl fantasy. She is respected, worshipped and loved by two boys, and then she gets to choose between them. Anyway, the Twilight series led me to more critically aclaimed fare like Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. Goodness. You need to read that–and skip the boring Tom Cruise/Brad Pitt movie version.

But you don’t need to read the Twilight series. As much as I liked the books, I adore the movies much, much more. Collectively, I’ve seen Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn Part 1 at least 30 times. Should I be admitting that on the Internet? I’m going to go one step further on over-sharing: I’m spilling the beans that my dear, patient husband digs Twilight, too.

Check out the trailer at the jump. Will you be getting in on the action? Or are you–sniff, sniff–totally glad that it’s over?


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Friendkeeping: A Book That Gets Women’s Complicated Relationships

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Today seems like the perfect day to write about friends. I wasn’t able to post much last week because of Hurricane Sandy. I live in New Jersey, and I’m very lucky that my house in Montclair was spared. So many people I love lost their homes and their electricity. Many are still without power. School hasn’t started up again yet. We’ve all been doing what we can for each other. We’re happy that routines (if not gas) are getting back to normal. What would this disaster have looked like without the kindness of others and the selflessness of friends?

Author Julie Klam is a New Yorker, and she has emerged from the storm intact according to her tweets, which I love to read. I want to be friends with her. Klam is the author of the new book Friendkeeping. (Check out my review in the November issue of Parents magazine.) First of all, she made me laugh out loud. Second, she just gets it. Friendships are complicated, and each one seems to have its own life cycle. For example, my BFFs and I bonded much differently before I had my babies. Not only did I have to stop raging until 2 a.m., I wasn’t even available for dinner unless we could meet at 5 p.m. Then there’s the whole motherhood issue. Some friends wanted kids desperately but remained single; some had fertility issues, and then some–the ones I was able to stay closest to–had children around the same time I did. Awkward. But this situation happens to many of us, and it also happened to Klam. She lays out her relationships in detail with insight and humor.

Have a friend who married someone you just can’t stand? What about a friend you loved but lost and then finally reconnected? What about the friend who always seemed to suck your emotions dry? Klam can tell you all about it.

My favorite part of the book is when Klam’s pals come through during her health crisis. When she is diagnosed with preeclampsia toward the end of her pregnancy, her friends help her manage bed rest, meals, a messy apartment and the overwhelming wall of gifts she receives even though she is too sick to attend her own shower. Unlike her worried mother, her girlfriends know not to talk about the baby and to bring her gossip mags and chicken dinners. Her close pal Jancee straightens Klam’s apartment proclaiming, “I love cleaning!,” words that ease Klam’s feelings of guilt and vulnerability. Klam and her baby turn out just fine (not really a spoiler). But her potentially fatal pregnancy makes the author more empathetic when pals go through tough times.

And that’s what it’s all about. Friendships go up, down and sideways in a constant motion. We may argue, disagree, envy, support, hug and love each other. It’s all good–as long as we’re friends.

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