From time to time I post a favorite things list (you can find two of my previous lists here and here), and this time, it's my biggest list ever: favorite books, a few woowoo items, my favorite power lipstick, my favorite retro-chic (and ultra-comforting) scarf, and . . . my favorite reflective-incognito sunglasses (for those times when you never know when you might burst into tears about your ex, your life, your kids . . .), two of my favorite teas, and more.
Linked text will take you to a place or two where you can buy my faves for yourself. Let's go!
The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism.
Why I love it: I'm always looking for new brilliance to share with women in my 2-hour Invisible to Irresistible coaching, and I wasn't disappointed with this book.
The author pulls together lots of charisma and how-to-influence-people tips you've seen elsewhere, but ties them together in ways you can easily use.
You'll learn about four major styles of charisma and which to use when. Plus, lots of easy suggestions you can try immediately.
Why you might love it: You've always felt that you fade into the walls and never really make an impression on anyone. You feel you have no leverage when it comes to negotiating, whether it's in your job, in your romantic life, or just in deciding where to go out to dinner with friends. You admire those women whom everyone wants to be with, and always thought they were just born with charisma. The author has proven that charisma can be learned, and she tells you how, step by step.
The Mind-Body Code: How to Change the Beliefts That Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success.
Why I Love It: This book talks about the outcomes of our lives as stemming from various forms of cultural conditioning throughout the world. Family members and other authority figures cause wounds of shame, abandonment, and betrayal that shape adult lives marred by feelings of worthlessness and judging our own lives by the judgments of our culture.
Seen through this lens, the author offers various reframing techniques to let go of damaging messages from our culture and loved ones, and provides the opportunity to believe in ourselves and live lives of honor and dignity and be loyal to ourselves.
There's also a chapter on what the author calls "horizontal versus vertical love" and explains the qualities that allow to have long and happy relationships together, always finding something new and interesting in one's partner.
I feel these concepts have enriched and added depth to my own method of emotional healing after divorce, and the idea of cultural conditioning can be a great help in forgiving those who have harmed us. Letting go is such an important part of divorce recovery.
Why You Might Love It: Outside of just one heavy-going chapter on the science behind Martinez' concepts, the book is an easy and joyous read. If you're looking for permission to buck our society's concepts about the place of women over 40, aging in general, what's too late and what's not, I believe you'll find this book such a good friend and companion.
Jo Malone: My Story. The epic story of how a lower-class English girl with less than a high-school education virtually raises herself, picks herself up every time she is knocked down, and somehow builds two amazing companies.
Why I Love It: Before reading this book, I had never heard of Jo Malone or her fragrances. I was tipped off to Malone's story by an English entrepreneur acquaintance who was gushing over the new Jo Loves shop in London and this autobiography.
What a story. Malone went from a childhood in poverty with two irresponsible parents (having to leave school at 15 to go to work) to creating a multi-million pound business which she sold to cosmetic giant Estee Lauder while she was still in her early 30s. And that's just one part of her story. There's a horrible bout with cancer, how she engineered act two of her career, and much more.
Why You Might Love It: When I was in the midst of divorce and after, I was reading any encouraging stories I could possibly get my hands on. I was big into stories that were even worse than mine, thinking, "Well, if she could keep living after all this, than I can, too."
While divorce is not part of Jo Malone's story, oh my god, she does go through so many deprivations, hurdles, and setbacks. I found this book so inspiring -- and it's not about being perfect in order to succeed. It's about just being an imperfect, ordinary person with a dream plus the desire to work hard for it rather than feeling sorry for herself.
Ok, before going on to yet more books, I have to share my favorite lipstick of 2017. It's a drugstore brand, but it's not just my favorite drugstore buy of the year; it beats department store brands hands down (in my opinion). It's Milani 05 Red Label.
Why I Love It: It's semi-matte, not too shiny or glossy, but not drying, and (at least on me) it lasts a long time if you apply, blot, apply, blot, apply. Not too orangy, not too pinky, and under $6. Plus expensive-looking gold case.
Why You Might Love It: Because it's the perfect red! And because red lipstick makes you feel powerful. It's like your magic wand. Wave this lipstick in the air, proclaim what you want to have happen today, swipe this lipstick over your lips and become a honey-tongued influencer.
Ask and It is Given. This is an old book, and one I go back to almost every year -- anytime I start thinking that achieving my goals is just too hard . . . and it reminds me that mindset is everything.
Why I Love It: Easy read, lots of processes in the back that you can sift through and use immediately. ("Processes" in Esther-Hicks-speak are suggested ways to actually use the principles in the book, and make fast positive changes happen.)
Why You Might Love It: The book identifies various negative states that you may be stuck in, and suggests easy-to-understand ways to move up to a slightly better state, rather than expecting you to move from despair directly to joy. It's such a practical, useful book and a great starting point to learn about the power of mindset and the law of attraction. Another quick and life-changing read from the same author: Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness. Also highly recommended by me, and this one used to come with a CD in the back -- perhaps it still does).
Louise Hay: Self-Esteem Affirmations CD. Another oldie, but lifetime favorite. Something by Louise Hay had to make it onto my list this year because she passed away in 2017 at the age of 90, and has been such an influence in my life for the past 30 years.
Why I Love It: First of all, the soothing and loving voice of Louise Hay. And the positive affirmations in her voice truly make you believe that what she is saying is true. In a way I can't accurately describe, she gives you permission to believe in yourself, and when I believed her words I also believed in me. I'm linking to the CD because I'm amazed it's still available, and it's always nice to have a hard copy of audios that you'll turn to again and again. If you're more of a download person, I would recommend any audio by Louise. This particular CD is one that saw me through every excruciating day of my separation and divorce.
Why You Might Love It: I don't think we can ever get enough positive reinforcement and acceptance for who we are. And there's no one remotely like Louise Hay on the subject of self-love and affirmations. If you want to get a feeling for Louise's style, check out this blogpost from earlier this year that includes a video where she talks about self-love. And, another of my favorite Louise Hay audios that was a daily companion during my divorce: How to Love Yourself.
And now, on to tea, planners, calming fragrance, and going incognito when tears are likely to start streaming down your face at any moment.
First, a couple of luxury teas that make me feel all better (and maybe you, too).
Both of these are made by historic Russian/French tea company Kusmi, and both of my picks are Earl Grey-based, because I just can't help myself; I love Earl Grey. However, if you're a tea lover, you can definitely browse and find a Kusmi tea that will intrigue you. For example, a new favorite of mine is their Chocolate Spice, and I can't wait to try their Violet black tea blend.
But, here are my top two Kusmi loves:
Anastasia. Inspired by the story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Czar Nicholas II, this Earl Grey blend is flavored with orange blossom, bergamot, and lemon.
Why I Love It: It's my favorite tea -- yes, we have established that's Earl Grey -- with the bright and happy fragrance of orange and lemon. I am not a tea afficionado, so I can only say that when I drink this delicious tea, I just feel so cared for, indulged, and uplifted. The whole experience is so beautiful, from the gorgeous tea tin, the beautiful look and scent of the tea inside, to the scent of the tea, and then the rich, elegant taste. And, in case you think that this tea won't wake you up in the morning, the caffeine will do its magic.
Prince Vladimir. Created in 1888 in honor of Vladimir the Great, this is also an Earl Grey blend, along with citrus, vanilla and spices.
Why I Love It: All the reasons above, but in this tea, the vanilla predominates, making it more of a relaxing experience than a happy/orange experience. These are two very different teas; both magnificent.
Why You Might Love It: Kusmi Teas are such an amazing experience. In my opinion, other teas are just meh by comparison. Of course, I still do enjoy other, more affordable, brands of tea, but I feel so special when I drink one of my Kusmi Teas. If you love tea and you want to do something a little special for yourself, please search these out (links to the two varieties I love are in red in the descriptions here, but there are so many more varieties). At around $19 for a 4.4 oz can, that's equivalent to only four stops at Starbucks and you get to enjoy for many, many, many servings.
Zum Mist Frankincense & Myrrh. The fragrances of the teas above made me think about including one of my favorite day-to-day scents, which I'm as likely to spray in the air or on towels or pillowcases as on myself. In fact, this scent is also available in laundry detergent (which I have not yet tried).
Why I Love It: First of all, I love heavy, grounding scents (including patchouli, amber, sandlewood, vetiver . . .) like frankincense and myrrh, and I learned about Zum Mist from a friend, who then gave me a bottle of this stuff. It's grounding, calming, centering, and it's always on my desk for use when the day gets a little crazy.
Why You Might Love It: In one spray, your whole day gets better (if you like this particular scent). It's like magic. The beautiful scent allows you to slow down, take a few deep breaths, and feel completely renewed.
My Best Year Ever Happy Planner! This is an undated package deal where you customize the dates. Now that it's already 2018, it may be a little difficult to find the Happy Planner of your choice still available for this year, but follow the link above if you like the design to your left.
Why I Love It: It's so cheery and colorful and the dividers for each month give you beautifully designed words of inspiration (so pretty that they're suitable for framing). I love the ring-disc system that allows you to easily remove and replace pages, and I also have the disc-system hole punch (see next item below) that lets me insert practically anything I want into the binder. It also works with the ARC system looseleaf pages and accessories from Staples (although slightly different in size).
Why You Might Love It: It's happy. It's pretty. It's mood-elevating and makes planning fun. And, unlike other planners, it's 100% customizable. Pull pages out, reorganize pages to suit yourself -- and, the classic size (7.75” x 9.75”) feels so good in your hands. Not too big, not too small. This kit comes with some stickers, magnetic page markers and other fun stuff, but you can also buy accessories to your heart's content to make this planner feel completely your own secret guidebook to 2018.
For those who love to customize your planner, here's the most affordable disc-system punch I've found. However, if you're happy to pay $34 rather than $22, you can find punches that can handle more pages at one time like the one at this link.
If you buy the Create 365 punch (the first link above), do not punch more than 3 sheets at a time. I pushed the boundaries with my first punch, which broke. I'm now treating my new punch with care, and . . . no further problems.
For the first year or two after my divorce, I never knew when I'd burst into tears in public, so I finally decided, why not do it in style? Here are my new faves (though I'm no longer crying at the grocery: these round, mirror-lens tortoise shell frames.
So when you're uncontrollably tearing up in public, at least no one has to know but you. Plus, mysterious rather than tragic. And just $12.
My go-to scarf for this year (and goes great with the sunglasses and red lipstick above, I might add). Many animal-print scarves are available everywhere this season, but my favorite at any price came from Old Navy. Looks so expensive, and as of this moment, they're still available here. Feels retro-chic, powerful, and so soft and comforting.
That's it, Dynamic Divorcées: My favorite things for your divorce healing toolkit, 2017 edition.
If you like any of my picks, would you comment and let me know? It would be amazing to hear from you.