Happy 2018 everyone!
With the tinsel stored back in the cupboard, the stockings put away and our earnestly made New Years resolutions beginning to wane in conviction… it’s no surprise that January has started to make us all feel a little down in the dumps. The mornings are dark as we trudge off to work and begin to wonder whether the eternal Canadian winter will ever have an end in sight. Our snowboots stand diligently at the front door, and the mittens we once thought were warm in the shop don’t seem to stand up to a -30 morning as our vehicle chugs pathetically to life. If anything, the blizzard this past Saturday was just natures (not so gentle) reminder that sometimes it’s simply better to stay cozied up on your couch with a very good book and forget about outside for a little bit.
Often the frantic busyness of January can also make our immune systems weak, as I found out a couple weeks ago as I got back into the swing of things at work… tackling the long list of responsibilities piling up in sticky note form on my desktop and inevitably wearing myself out to the point where I felt that nasty sore throat start to rear its ugly head. So naturally, 24 hours later, I found myself at home coughing and sniffling on my couch, bundled up in wooly pendleton blankets (hipster even when im sick, now that’s commitment) sipping a cup of tea pathetically while being accompanied by two of my most loyal friends during the flu season;
Rocky Mountain Soap Company & and a stack of good books.
With my snotty, illness laden image fresh in your minds, I thought i’d share my Rocky Reading List with you all and a smattering of my personal favourites for the winter season. Many of you will probably end up in the same dismal position I was in last week… and there is nothing quite like a little self love and light reading to help get through those days of recovery. So feel free to thank me in the comments 😉
WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR – Paul Kalanithi
First on the list is a book that changed my life. When it first hit the shelves in 2016 I didn’t give it much notice, it was absolutely everywhere and at the time I wasn’t bothered with having another addition to the ever expanding bookshelf…but eventually I picked up a copy after reading a great review on it.
‘When Breath Becomes Air’ is an autobiographical book written by Paul Kalanithi, and is a memoir of his life and illness battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer. Being a doctor himself, a neurosurgeon who often sat in the white coat on the more favourable side of the table, Paul was familiar with telling patients about how long they had to live, and naturally knew the correct methods and procedure of breaking bad news to fragile and fearful patients standing on deaths door. It was I suppose, a tragic irony that the doctor himself be suddenly faced with such a devastating diagnosis, and his account of the events and emotions he experienced left me in tears during some portions. He writes with such a raw practicality that draws the reader into his experience, but at the same time, leaves them oddly at peace with the looming notion of death. The reader soon discovers it is a book about life, rather than death… and despite Paul not being able to complete the last portion of the book, his wife took the torch from him, finishing up the book and gifting the world with an amazing account of a truly courgeous, dying man. It’s a heavy book, but one that will push the bounds of vulnerability than Brene Brown so often encourages us to face in our daily lives.
Alongside this Rocky Read i’ve featured the 3 different face polish blends from Rocky Mountain Soap Company. They are purifiers, which I think compliments this Rocky Read perfectly. They come in 3 different intensity levels, the Aloe Vera ($17.50) being the gentlest (for sensitive skin), Vanilla coconut ($17.50) being a little rougher (for normal skin) and the Bamboo polish ($17.50- for deep exfoliation, particularly great after a work out). With the winter season in full force now, I find myself using the aloe vera one the most, and gently applying it to my skin in small circles after a hot shower. It gets very dry in Calgary, and I have found it is better to use a gentler polish to avoid damaging the skin or worsening any dryness caused by freezing conditions. It leaves me revitalized afterwards.
THE WISDOM OF SUNDAYS – Oprah Winfrey
This book may only appeal to a certain demographic, but being a huge fan of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday interviews I absolutely had to include it in my list of Rocky Reads. This is the PERFECT bath time book… and is best complimented by a Raspberry Rooiboos ($5.95) or Juicy Orange ($5.95) bath bomb as you browse though the excepts which are complimented by beautiful imagery. The reason I bought this book was actually due to a well known TED talk by BJ Miller, who endured a horrific accident in his youth where he lost multiple limbs after an electrical current surged through his body on a night out with friends. He appeared on Oprahs show, and it was incredible to hear his experiences in palliative care and how his accident inspired him to help the dying…. die better. This book contains small excerpts from these interviews with some of the most interesting and inspiring people. It’s a book for light reading, but results in a heavy impact. Soften up your heels after your bath with the classic (and personal favourite) Fir foot butter ($8)and apply the Transformative Cleansing Oil ($41.50) to wipe away any excess makeup and impurities. It’s the perfect way to pamper yourself.
LOVE & LEMONS – Jeanine Donofrio
If you are like me and you like to read cookbooks the same way you would read a good fiction novel, then this is a beautiful and simple cookbook to pick up. ‘Love and Lemons’ is a reminder that vegetables matter. In a day and age where we rely heavily on processed foods and meat products due to their affordability, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay on a healthy trajectory and not cause our bodies to suffer from an influx of preservatives and sugar. During the flu season, I often find myself realizing the importance of nutritious veg in my diet and its remarkable healing properties. I crave the antioxidants in a bowl of spinach salad or the comforting flavour of a minestrone soup. Alongside my wellness balms from Rocky Mountain Soap, it is the perfect way to recover from illness or simply unwind after a stressful week. I love the wellness balms not only because they are small enough to keep in your pocket, but also because the essential oils are potent enough to give you that relaxing release straight away. This winter I’ve been using the Headache ($18) and Breathe Easy balms ($18) religiously. With the introduction of their Wellness Bath Salts ($6), it’s also another good excuse to take a bath while clearing the sinuses and relaxing the muscles with the Sport Blend of Rosemary, Wintergreen and Epsom Salt. I suppose the importance of this Rocky Read is to remember to feed yourself well, because that’s half the battle won when it comes to our physical and mental well being.
THE HAPPINESS PROJECT – Gretchen Rubin
Many of you probably have this one sitting in your bookshelf already. Its a playful and funny book written by Gretchen Rubin about how she managed to change her level of gratitude and joy simply by making small and seemingly insignificant changes to her life. Her social experiment was comical but completely relatable in many portions. This one has been a staple on my bookshelf at work for a few years now, and when I feel overwhelmed by the stresses of adulthood and the working world, it serves me up little reminder that I don’t need to do an awful lot to feel joyful and blessed in life again.
I felt that the Blossom Berry shampoo ($15.50) and conditioner ($15.50) was a good item to feature alongside this Rocky Read. Because lets just admit it, it smells freakin fantastic and one of the small changes to bring you more joy is to sing loud and proud in the shower. Since 2016 I have become very intentional about using organic shampoos and conditioners on my hair after experiencing years of sporadic allergic reactions to the cheap store bought products. That small change has not only resulted in a new, good habit, but it also makes me feel better about what products I chose to support and use in the future. It is my firm belief that as as a part of the influencer world, I SHOULD use products I advertise, and I have a responsibility to research them thoroughly before sharing them with my audience. If anything, this Rocky Read is the perfect example of how much of an impact seemingly small changes can make in your life. Oh, and also the Tea Tree toner ($27) is a perfect refresher after the gym.
THE DEFINING DECADE – Meg Jay
Alright, so for all you thirty-somethings out there who are piecing your life together in this crazy world, don’t be turned off by the title of this book. While it is geared toward the university student and graduate, it is a lesson for all in having the courage to make changes in our lives. A few years back, Meg Jay had a powerful and popular TED talk pop up online that I believe didn’t garner as much feedback as it was worthy of. It was titled “Twenty is not the new Thirty” and during a rather rough time in my early twenties I found it enlightening and striking to listen to her experiences with young clients as they made their way through the early years of adulthood.
Meg Jay is a psychologist, but one who took a particular interest in twenty-somethings who felt a little lost, directionless, and sometimes completely oblivious to the potential they had within themselves. This book outlines her most memorable experiences with patients and how they managed to change their lives in not only relationships, finances, family and career paths… but also mental well being. With just a few simple changes and a little encouragement, she shares her admiration for the fortitude and resourcefulness of the younger generations and paints herself as the trusty cheerleader, guiding her patients to a happier and more confident pathway to their goals. As someone who is in the midst of their twenties, it was a rude awakening and a source of new inspiration about what I can do in this 10 year window. It certainly doesn’t mean we are tired and old as 29 waves goodbye to us, not at all, but its a reminder not to play into any narrative in this world that tells you to be lazy with your goals and dreams and that you can always just “get to it later”.
To compliment this final Rocky Read, I chose my favourite therapeutic items. Nail and Cuticle butter ($8.50- to heal those nervously bitten nails during exams), Seaweed & Spirulina bath bomb ($5.95) PLUS the new Cleansing Wellness Salts ($22) for when you are pondering these things in the bath (and perhaps wondering how to pay for rent), and of course some trusty Peppermint lip butter ($5.50) to keep those lips moisturized during those cold winter days to class or the office.
So what do you think of these book suggestions?
Hopefully I’ve inspired some new reads for you all, please comment below with suggestions of your own!
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