Monday, July 29, 2013

Book giveaway: Jojo Moyes "The Girl You Left Behind"

Okay, I loved Jojo Moyes book, Me Before You

Me Before You is about a former financial master of the universe (finance guy) who becomes a paraplegic after a motorcycle accident and the caretaker who befriends him.  Anyone who knows me will understand that this book is exactly the type that makes me roll my eyes.  Please.  But I'm trying to expand what I read this year and it got a very good review in the NYT - so I read it.  Moyes pulled the book off.  Easy to fall into cliche given the topic but Moyes didn't.  Instead, she wrote a very amazing book that really expressed the feelings and emotions of those involved in a difficult situation.

So I was thrilled to get a copy of Moyes new book...which I've only started to read.  And I have one to give away!

This book is more my speed - description wise.  It's about a young woman in a village under Nazi occupation during World War II (very much like my maternal grandmother).  Her husband painted a lovely picture of her before he left and a local Nazi commander becomes obsessed with her and the portrait.  Years later the portrait ends up in a young couple's hands.  How did it end up there?

To win, comment on this post or on my Facebook book page:  .  Like the Captive page on Facebook or follow me on twitter (@meganlisajones) for an extra entry.  I will draw randomly on August 15.

All books were/are supplied by the publisher.  Giveaway only within the United States...sorry...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The world is as you see it...

So said Steve Ross (Maha Yoga) during our teacher training class today and after he destroyed us with almost 2 hours of Yin Yoga.  In Yin you hold the poses for about 3 to 5 minutes, though advanced practitioners can hold them much longer.  It hurts but your body opens up (the what?  I can't remember...meridians....?) and stress is dissolved.  With a little passive pain comes a lot of good.

But back to the message.

The world is as you see it.  So you might as well see it as a happy and positive place and radiate that energy outward (we get what we give).  One day Steve bought a pair of rose colored glasses to class and they brought smiles to the faces of those who tried them on.

Why not?

I've been dealing with anger lately...but as I do so I'm finding that I am letting it go.  And, fyi, some believe that anger is stored in the hips.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Urban Decay Rush lipstick: favorite thing of the day

Busy day; yoga and then yoga teacher training.  Working through some conceptual work stuff (super hard).  Homework and a good friend's party.  Oh my.

But my lips looked amazing and, as I've learned, the colors of makeup make me happy and spur creativity.  So....with a photo from the MusingofaMuse blog...what I like about this lipstick....

Rush is a pink-mauve that on me looks like my lips but better.  It almost has a shimmer to it - which is so subtle it looks perfect.  The formula is rich and creamy.

And, going back to weekend theme this summer...this shade is like your breathe.  It signifies health and something we can rely on.  I'm so busy I need to stay healthy and breathing.  And I need products that are easy and perfect for any and all situations.

Urban Decay's revolution lipsticks are amazing.  Rush is absolutely reliable. favorite spiritual book ever.  Secret until then!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Are we our own story?

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this but so be it...I'll dive right in.

Today was confusing...all inner.  I wanted to write about the Wiener story specifically about Huma and their (seemingly long forgotten) child.  But that raised issues of my own family and the fights I'd have if I wrote about it (and still might, now).  My family likes privacy; we're also discussing my life.

Then I went to chanting with Steve Ross at Maha.  And, of course, me, I got more out of it than the chant.  Because my mind was already swirling with past conflicts unresolved.  It all sounds more complicated than it is.  I was still able to get into the chant.  During the chant.  But then...

And I'm not going to go out of my way to share, tweet, etc this post...because sometimes we just don't have to.  And that's actually where I'm headed.  I was reading today in Steve's book about letting go and not just always driving and striving and wanting.  The teacher training is making me question a lot I've been taught (succeed, stay quiet, etc) and I'm not yet at the point of full answers.  But I am getting there.

Steve is very talented.  In many ways - but tonight it was his performance.  Singing, guitar and leading a group into connection.  For him, what he does is natural.  When you are where I am today, well, I'm less natural than I was a few months ago because I'm questioning a lot.

And that's okay because it's where I want to be at this moment.  At some point more answers will come and I'll move on.  We grow by pushing our boundaries.  We improve by pushing our boundaries.  And we find out who we really are by pushing our boundaries.

And I don't need to tweet or share that.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kevyn favorite thing (person) of the day

Great video:

Kevyn Orr is just plain tough and smart.  He's willing to slog out a problem most cities won't face...bankruptcy...over $19 billion in debts...almost $10 billion due to city workers/retirees.  This problem will be hitting many cities going forward...Detroit was just a little weaker and further along the curve.  What happens in Detroit...and it's being already fought out in court to set precedent when dealing with promised pensions and union contracts (which are every year less affordable) ...will impact numerous cities in the years to come.

We over-promised and didn't build the revenue base to support the promised spending.

As per Mr. Orr:  "Delay doesn't produce positive outcomes"

Despite the pressure and the difficulty of his job, Kevyn Orr is toughing it out and trying to save Detroit.  I so admire him!  So he's my favorite person/thing of the day.  And, Mr. Orr, if you're ever in Los Angeles, dinner is on me.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

You are not your body...

My quote from Happy Yoga, by Steve Ross, from my morning reading.  We are our body only to a limited degree but tend to get so caught up in that perception that we forget the parts of us we don't see...our thoughts, feelings, essence, spirit and soul.

Pran is the subtle life force that connects the body to the mind.  Pranayama is the extension of breathe or of our life force.  For breathe defines life (dead..we stop long as we're alive we breathe).  This subject gets complex but for now let's just say that yoga helps us align our body and mind.  So I read some, went to yoga and re-balanced if only a little bit.

The question I keep getting asked is "who are you?"  And it's a complex question if you think it through.  Am I just what I do?  Just my body?  Or am I more?  And of course I'm more!  But how to I define that?

And why is all this important?  We all need to see past the obvious or we do exactly as those around us do.  Thus getting in touch with what sets us apart is the only way to differentiate ourselves, competitively or just through basic sanity.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Favorite thing of the day...MAC nudes and metallics

Back on my makeup kick!  I've been under a lot of work stress lately so I'm into yoga, spiritual books and makeup (also obsessed by Detroit's bankruptcy filing).

When life pushes us we need our escapes....

I love this collection and bought most of it.  Exclusive to MAC's site...most of the eye shadows are sold out but the rest of the collection is amazing and still available!  I love the Pre-Rafaelite lipstick, the nude shadows, Barefaced blush and vivid red Love's Lure shadow.  I like the mix of nudes with stronger colors....makes for a wearable collection....

My box from MAC just arrived mid-last week so I'm still only playing around with the collection.  Buy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Marc Jacobs eyeshadow The Starlett 204: my other favorite thing of the day

Just on Sephora today and through tomorrow...preview items of Marc Jacobs' new makeup line for VIBs.  The whole collection will be online and in Sephora stores August 9.  The advance selection includes eye shadow, lip gloss, eye liner and a balm.

I love the Starlett palette!  Bronzes, greys and see the above picture.  The selection in this palette looks so flattering and wearable I ordered it!  However, at $59 I do think the pricing is high.  I'll see if the makeup lives up to it's price point.

Steve Ross' Happy Yoga: my favorite thing of the day

To accomplish anything we need to control ourselves and stay sane.

I do that, in part, through yoga.  Steve Ross is one of my teachers and he focuses on having a healthy mind as much as a healthy body.  Happy Yoga sums up a lot of his teaching in a workable and fun book.

Happy?  Yes.  But Steve was also a monk for a while, spent countless time with gurus in India and knows his stuff.  He also performed on last year's Grammys.

The book ranges across topics like love (including self love), those thoughts in our head that drive us nuts, food, stress and the choices we make in life.  On Maya Yoga's (his studio) website is the motto:  You cannot always control what goes on ouside.  But you can always control what goes on inside.

Read the book.  I started my day with it (okay, and some coffee).  I started my day right.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The ego needs drama to survive....

Seems like a fitting post after my Henry James What Maisie Knew of last time...

But this comment my yoga teacher (Steve Ross) said.  The ego needs drama to survive...

And I've lived too many people's drama this year.  How to break free...when they keep working so hard to keep you engaged.  And know the buttons to push.

I'm working on it.

One thing I not to engage.  Step back and don't join in.  Rising above...and being the oak of stability (thanks Gigi for that) is the best place to start.  Then, stay focused on your own stuff...we all have it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

What Maisie Knew by Henry James

What a great book!  And now it's a per the above trailer.

First, I'm a huge Henry James fan.  Yes, his prose requires more work than does that of some local modern top sellers.  But he's worth it!  The way he writes packs so much cutting commentary on characters, society and life.  We watch the world unfold in a way that helps us see past pretense and masks into the heart of the matter.

Poor Maisie.  When the book starts she's about 6 and her parents have just undergone a horrific and bitter divorce.  Maisie is to be split between the two households, six months at a time so she can fully get acclimated to each horror.  A kind woman tries to intercede and remove her from this reality but loses.  I kept thinking - as I read - how Maisie's life would have been different had the woman succeeded and she'd been able to grow up in a sane and stable home.

I'm a child of divorce myself so could feel for Maisie.  Her parent's main use for her is to hurt or harm the other.  They aren't above sending nasty messages using her as the messenger.  And of course they say toxic things about each other to her poor innocent self.

And both parents each enter into new unbalanced relationships - full of infidelity and nasty games.  Her father marries the nanny that worked for her mother.  For people don't change because they've moved on to a new person.  Maisie learns to cope, both in healthy and unhealthy ways.  I won't spoil the ending but she does rise to the environment.

The book is a great read; not light but worth the effort.  I learn so much about people and their games from books like this one.  A +!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Essential Wall St Summer Reading list from Andrew Ross Sorkin: my other favorite thing for the day

My other favorite thing for today.

Here is a link to Andrew Ross Sorkin's essential Wall Street Reading list and it's fabulous.  He, of course, wrote the amazing "Too Big To Fail".


And, on social media he asked readers to contribute to the list!  Love that spirit.  The books recommended are all great, in my opinion.

Today's favorite: MAC mineralized skinfinish in Adored and Lust

My favorite things for today: MAC Cosmetics Mineralized Skinfinishes in Adored and Lust from the Tropical Taboo collection.  In the top photo Adored is the peach-biege at left but then is swatched on the right below.  Lust takes the other slots.

They glisten, Lust more so by far.  And, they can be used as a highlighter or even as a blush for those with light skin.  I think they're gorgeous and get lots of compliments when I use these sorts of products ("you glow"  "you look so young"...the usual female stuff).

Why makeup again?  Because it's a quick and easy way to feel better and perk up my mood.  Read Estee Lauder's biography.  And because a lot of the work I'm doing now is pushing my boundaries and deeply creative...which gets exhausting and I need light diversions.  Glistening powders are a relatively harmless distraction.

These two are beyond gorgeous and limited edition.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Signature Of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert; to come October 1, 2013

I'm an Elizabeth Gilbert fan...and am excited that she's releasing a novel very soon (October 1 as below).  I've copied the publisher release and provided a link to her book trailer.  Who will be reading this book?

By Elizabeth Gilbert
Viking; On-sale October 1, 2013; $28.95; 9780670024858

“There is much pleasure in this unhurried, sympathetic, intelligent novel by an author confident in her material and her form.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Gilbert's sweeping saga of Henry Whittaker and his daughter Alma offers an allegory for the great, rampant heart of the 19th century…The dense, descriptive writing seems lifted from pages written two centuries past, yet it's laced with spare ironical touches and elegant phrasing…Characters leap into life, visible and vibrant… Multiple narrative threads weave seamlessly into a saga reminiscent of T. C. Boyle's Water Music…A brilliant exercise of intellect and imagination.” Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Gilbert triumphantly returns to fiction with a big novel, about a big century, written in the bold, questing spirit of that singular time.  Alma Whittaker is born into perfect Philadelphia privilege; an independent girl with a thirst for knowledge, Alma quickly comes into her own within the world of plants and science.  Her father, Henry Whittaker, is a willful and charismatic botanical importer and pharmaceutical magnate whose vast fortune belies his lowly beginnings as a vagrant in Kew Gardens.  Her mother, Beatrix, a strict woman from an esteemed Dutch family, has a grasp of botany that is equal to any man's.  Her saintly stepsister, Prudence, is one of unparalleled beauty and decorum. 

As Alma's careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love, a mysterious painter of orchids named Ambrose Pike, draws her into the opposite direction – into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical.  Alma is a clear-minded scientist of dogged perseverance, Ambrose a utopian artist who longs for purity and communion.  But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing – a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all of life.  She is a witness to history, as well as a maker of history herself.  She stands on the cusp of the modern, with one foot still in the Enlightenment Age.

Brilliantly researched and lovingly crafted, THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS carries the reader breathlessly across the globe. It is a work of extraordinary faith and of deep scientific reflection. Perhaps above all, it is the story of an irrepressible woman, determined to satisfy her most powerful urges toward both love and knowledge. A novel immersed in all the great questions of the nineteenth century, THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS is also very much a novel for our times.
Please visit and follow her on Twitter @GilbertLiz, for more information. 

About the Author
Elizabeth Gilbert is the acclaimed author of five books of fiction and nonfiction.  Her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, was a #1 New York Times bestseller; it has been published in more than thirty languages and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, and in 2010 was made into a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts.  Gilbert䃅s novelStern Men was a New York Times Notable Book, and her most recent work, Committed – a memoir of marriage – was a # 1 New York Times bestseller.  In 2008, Time magazine named Gilbert one of the most influential people in the world.