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Apartment Therapy Cure: Spring

apartment-therapy-cureA reminder to my home decor pals that the Apartment Therapy Spring Cure starts tomorrow (Monday, March 15, 2010)! It’s been about 3 years since I did the cure, so it should be fun to give it another go… although it really shouldn’t be too much work this time around, as I’ve been pretty sparing with the items that I kept/repurchased after my travels. :)

How to:
Get the book
(or check it out at the library)
Sign-up for the weekly cure emails
Start reading the book, and participate as much as you want with the discussions, flickr pool etc

The Plan: (March 15th through May 10th)
Week 1: Creating Your Vision
Week 2: Clearing a Path
Week 3: The Landing Strip
Week 4: Retail Therapy
Week 5: The Thick of It
Week 6: Light Therapy
Week 7: Sacred Space
Week 8: Throwing a Party
Week 9: Graduation

Should be fun, and I may just have an excuse to pick up some new home goods — Liberty of London for Target is calling my name at the moment. Anyone else a little obsessed with this line right now? The LoL (heh) line is like a “few of my favorite things” roundup: gardening stuff, bicycles, flipflops, piggy banks, dresses, tea pots, and all in the sweetest patterns. <3

Who else is doing the Spring Cure?

Hemingway Crazy: 4 More Classics That I Had Never Read


the-alchemist-coelhoOK, I may have gone a little overboard on the Hemingway. After I finished the first five unread classics (including A Moveable Feast, that got me on the Hemingway bandwagon in the first place), I checked out three more! So yes, to recap… 4 of the 10 were Hemingway, and after For Whom The Bell Tolls, I was thoroughly depressed with war stories.

I really liked The Alchemist. I wouldn’t call it a life changer, but I very much enjoyed the “create your own destiny”, “follow your dreams”, and “live in the present” fable. It’s also full of good quotes! :)

The 2nd five classics:

  1. The Old Man and The Sea (Hemingway)
  2. A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway)
  3. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Hemingway)
  4. The Alchemist (Paul Coelho)
  5. The Invisible Man by (HG Wells)

The 1st five: Animal Farm (George Orwell), 100 Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), A Moveable Feast (Ernest Hemingway), Slapstick or Lonesome No More (Kurt Vonnegut)

What have you been reading lately?

#58: Read 10 Classics That I’ve Never Read


a-moveable-feast-hemingwayI am now half done with #58!  I just finished Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast this weekend, and absolutely loved it. For being such a bookworm, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’d previously only ever read portions of Hemingway. So after finishing A Movable Feast I put holds on 5 more of his books at the library!

  1. Animal Farm by George Orwell – I checked this one off the list in 2007
  2. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – this was a slow read for me. It was good, not the greatest book ever, but I enjoyed it.
  3. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – loved it — one of my new favorite books! Yes, it could be condensed (1200 pages!), but it’s a still an excellent read. After several recommendations, I finally checked it out at the library.
  4. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  5. Slapstick or Lonesome No More by Kurt Vonnegut – I typically enjoy Vonnegut, but this book just didn’t click with me. For whatever reason, it took me ages to finish as I kept reading other books in between!

OK, five classics down, and five to go. What should I read next?

Books That Make You Want to Travel: France


I love finding a book that is so descriptive and powerful that it makes you want to see things first-hand. In honor of Bastille Day (on Tuesday, July 14) here is a list of books that inspire the French arm-chair traveler in me. Like the movie Amelie — that made me really want to see Paris — these books take me to France.


  1. The Count of Monte Cristo Location: Marseilles. My first foray into French novels was Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. This books stands out in my memory as the ultimate epic tale – adventure, betrayal, romance, revenge… (if you’re not into 1,300 page books the movie is pretty good as well).  Visiting the Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseilles & Chateau d’If — you almost forget that Edmond Dantes was a fictional character!
  2. A Year in Provence Location: Provence. Peter Mayle’s book, A Year in Provence, was recommended to me while I was studying in Marseilles. Of course the recommendation came from a professor who ironically had also relocated from England.  Mayle has a great writing style that makes you think “that’s exactly how it is!” if you’ve spent any time in the south of France, which is probably why his books are so popular among the Brits. Encore Provence is a fun book too.
  3. Tender Is The Night Location: Cote de Azur. Like many teens, I went through an F. Scott Fitzgerald kick in high-school. Tender Is the Night was probably the first book that made me think about France as a vacation destination and not just a backdrop for old historical novels. After reading Gatsby or This Side of Paradise, you can appreciate how personal this book is.
  4. Words In A French Life Location: Aix en Provence. I spent an afternoon at a winery near Aix en Provence in 2006 and my wine tasting (& lunch) guide, Jean-Marc Espinasse, told me about a book his wife, Kristin Espinasse (an American) had written called Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France. They met while she was an exchange student in college and they now have a family and live in Provence. When I returned to the States I read the book and have been reading her blog French Word-A-Day ever since. It’s a quick and charming read.
  5. French Women Don’t Get Fat Location: Paris. I may have been a little obsessed with the French way of life after coming back from my three weeks of summer school in Marseille, as evident of picking up French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. This book is part narrative of her life growing up in France and part learning to eat for pleasure with recipes and tips thrown in. Even if you’re not looking for a lifestyle change or diet tips I would recommend this book.
  6. The Dirt On Clean Location: Versailles. Ever wonder why the French have a reputation for being dirty? The Dirt On Clean explains it all. While it’s not just about France (it profiles our collective unsanitized history), it has some fun facts about the state of cleanliness in Europe.

I spent three weeks in Marseilles on my first-ever adventure abroad, so these books my be skewed slightly to the Provencal… :) What books have inspired you to travel?

Reminder: I mentioned last week that I’d be doing a giveaway on my new deal site — the Frugal Bon Vivant. So go leave a comment and you might just win the MP3 player!

#57: Read Seth Godin Books That I Haven’t Read


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#57 on my 101 Things in 1,001 Days List was to read all of Seth Godin’s books. I was already about halfway done, when I added this to my list, but then he just kept on writing books! Give a girl a break, and let me catch up! ;) If you’re unfamiliar with Godin, he’s a best-selling marketing and business author who writes “bite size” marketing books and a blog.

My favorite book of the 12 is Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas. I like how this book is divided into alphabetized one page blurbs. While not all 183 are “remarkable” ideas, it’s a great way to bring you out of the details of getting things done on a day-to-day basis. It adds a little caffeine to your marketing day. This book is better listened to than read. I really enjoy listening to an audio book that’s narrated by the author, because it’s much more personal and you feel like you’re getting the right tone/inflections.

I just finished his last book, Tribes — We Need You to Lead Us.  As usual, it was a quick read and resonated with me in a Gandhi sort of way, “be the change you want to see in the world”.  This book isn’t on how to be a better leader, just about deciding to lead. I think my favorite thing was going to read the review on Amazon and finding this in the Editorial Review section:

“The advice found in this book should be used with caution. Change isn’t made by asking permission, Godin says. Change is made by asking forgiveness, later. That may be true, but in this economy and in certain corporations, it may also be a good way to lose a job.” –Publishers Weekly

Hilarious! Seth Godin, are you laughing?

My only critique with Godin’s writing is that he’s often too quick to dismiss stable and “boring” businesses. There’s a time and place for unconventional (that’s why it’s not called “conventional”). For example, I don’t want my toilet paper to be hip and clever– it’s just toilet paper. And it doesn’t matter how “outside the box” your company is if you’re still unprofitable. I am a huge fan of his books though, I just like to take everything with a grain of salt.  :)

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Olivia Raymer
Things I ♥: travel, food (I'm a pescatarian), the Pacific Northwest, bikes (I ride an orange mixte), beer (IPAs), summer, coffee, lists, and kitties. Travel enthusiast, former product manager, dabbler, and currently helping small businesses with digital strategy at Early Bird Strategy.

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