Real Posh Society Presents: Top 10 Wellness Books

Wellness-BooksJanuary is the month that calls for a fresh start and just as many of you are probably doing this month, I’m working on goals and an overall reset. I think a little inspiration always helps in those areas, so with that in mind, we thought we would share some of our favorite books on the subjects of wellness, health and joyful life. Whether you’re in need of some new-year motivation or just looking for a good read to pack on your next vacation, here are ten books to get you started.

#1. Art of Eating Well: Hemsley and Hemsleyart-of-eating-wellWritten by two food-obsessed sisters, this book is all about eating real, unprocessed and nutritious food. This is anything but a diet book. (They use lots of butter and there’s an entire section devoted to desserts.) It’s focused on eating nourishing food that’s good for your body and downright delicious, too. Every recipe I’ve ever made from them has been nothing short of fantastic. It’s the best “healthy” cookbook you’ll ever read.

#2. The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness
Striking a balance between accessible, easy-to-execute and comprehensive in nature, “The New Health Rules” by Dr. Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro maps out longterm habits worth integrating into everyday life. This is no fad diet and these aren’t temporary tricks. The real challenge happens to be continued commitment to what clearly represents a beneficial and healthy habit. Lipman practices integrated medicine and this book targets the whole self—physical, emotional and mental—for improved day-to-day wellness and increased longevity.

#3. Everyday Super FoodEveryday-Super-FoodJamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food champions a healthy, balanced diet, and is all about eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and foods from each of the food groups. The main reason for this is that each food group – fruit and vegetables; meat, fish, protein alternatives (such as milk and dairy products); bread, cereals and potatoes – contributes different good stuff to the body. The final food group includes foods that are high in fat and sugar (pastries and cakes, for example), but these shouldn’t be eaten too often.

#4. The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

This book had such a positive effect on my marriage. The bottom line: each of us has a primary love language, a particular way that we like to give and receive love. (You can find out yours by filling out this questionnaire.) Once I understood mine (quality time) and my husband’s (words of affirmation), we started communicating differently and so much better. It’s truly enlightening. It not only changed my relationship with my husband, but the relationships I have with my family and closest friends, too.

#5. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Usually when I hear people talk about Brene Brown, it’s on the subject of vulnerability. She gave a fantastic TED talk about it. And what I love about The Gifts of Imperfection is her focus on time. Are we ruled by our To Do List? Or are we guided by higher principles? That’s the essence and core of The Gifts of Imperfection. She places a high importance on becoming still; growing quiet; finding more fulfillment in being and doing less. Really, this book is a call to re-insert meaning into our lives: cultivating meaning in our personal and professional work; moving toward art or literature that inspires us; and cultivating real joy.

#6. The Last Lecture
I listened to the audiobook of this one while driving home from college. I loved it so much that I immediately bought the hardback version and reread it. It’s written by Randy Paush, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in 2008. This book is his “last lecture” and emphasizes the idea of living life to the fullest. This book will make you cry, but it will also leave you feeling totally inspired to seize every moment. It remains one of the best books I’ve ever read.

#7. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
The principles within The Miracle Morning are all things that we have heard of before. All ways that successful people have used to advance in their careers, their physical wellbeing, and their relationships. What makes The Miracle Morning so powerful is the way that Hal has put these principles together to give us the very best start to our day.

#8. Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward
This is one of the best books I’ve read for wise life guidance next to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and is a must read for those who want to be leaders in their organizations or just want to live a better life.

#9. The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
The Huffington Post chief marries the latest science with her moving personal journey to explain the transformative effect of sleep on every aspect of our lives, and how we can doze more and better.

#10. When Breath Becomes Air
36-year-old neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi wrote a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir about being faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Kalanithi died before he finished the book, leaving his wife Lucy to write a beautiful but painful epilogue. The book attempts to answer the question, “What makes a life worth living?”

If you have any recommendations, please share them in the comments. We would love to hear them!

He Named Her Malala

Not long ago the new school year started for us across the United States. For my family and I know for many, schedules were shifted meaning earlier wake up times and cranky kids. My Inara, now in second grade in Laguna Beach, California, sighed heavily and expressed her annoyance at both the early rising expected of her in the morning and the interruption to her summer social life. I brushed her hair and told her a story about a girl on the other side of the world who was forbidden to go to school, but risked her life to do it anyway. I told her the story of Malala Yousafzai.

#HeNamedMeMalala on #RealPoshMom

A week later, I was honored to learn more of the young woman’s story at an advance screening of He Named Me Malala, by documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman), opening October 9th across the country. The Fox Searchlight film is a portrait of the teenager’s life back in Pakistan and now in the UK, and it depicts not only what happened the day that a Taliban gunman shot her for speaking out and defiantly attending school, but also the evolution of her family, culture, country, and personal mission. Despite obvious opportunities to be preachy, the film stays on course about the central unifying issue: the importance of raising and educating strong girls to become powerful independent women, and the positive effects that this has and could have on the world.

There were moments, as I suspected there would be, that moved me to tears. The tears didn’t come from shock, sympathy or devastation, but rather from gratitude. Gratitude for a father who broke tradition by celebrating and sharing the birth of a daughter, gratitude for parents who instilled a passion for education in their children, and gratitude for a family that has every right to spread hatred and fear but instead spreads inspiration and strength to all who will accept it.

#HeNamedMeMalala #FoxSearchlight #RealPoshMomThere were also moments of laughter. Malala is a teenager with two little brothers to torture. To them she’s the annoying big sister getting too much attention and making them do their homework, not the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and an international hero. Still the love in the family is evident and heartwarming, especially between father and daughter. Even when you wonder why this man willingly made his daughter a target, you begin to understand the long-term goal: ensuring that in the end she would get the education she is entitled to and the platform she longed for. When she was asked during a conference call last week what it was her father did to make her this person, she explained, “It’s not what he did. It’s what he didn’t do. He didn’t clip my wings. He allowed me to move forward, even though I am a girl.”

Wanting an even deeper understanding, I have been reading the memoir I Am Malala, choosing passages to read to Inara before bed at night. She and I cuddled on the couch to watch Stephen Colbert interview (and do card tricks with) the young woman last week on The Late Show, and we were both jealous when a friend in New York watched our young heroine speak live at the Global Citizen concert in Central Park. I am proud of my daughter’s interest and have even used Malala’s story in discussions about inequality around the world, including in our own country. It has all been a learning experience for us both. I intend to take Inara to see the film when it is released on October 9th and she is looking forward to it. Because the subject matter can be disturbing the film is rated PG-13, but as we’ve discussed it at length and are reading the book together, I am confident that my 7-year old can handle it. Other parents should take appropriate precautions, but know that it is told from the perspective of a very intelligent and peaceful young woman, and it is at no point unnecessarily violent or disturbing, beyond what it should be in order to be truthful.

The evening after the screening was back-to-school night for my daughter, whose public elementary school overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by a state park in southern California. The principal boasted that all classrooms had less than 20 children, and the teacher showed off the iPads and laptops available to each student, all thanks to all of the generous support from the parents and community. While I am grateful that my daughter and her friends have the opportunities they do, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with sadness at the inequality of education. Even within our own country there are children lacking basic school supplies and quality teachers due to lack of funds and interest. As a mother with one daughter and another one on the way, my heart aches especially for the 60 million girls around the world who should be in school today but do not have access to education. It doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be.

#HeNamedMeMalala #FoxSearchlight #MalalaYousafzai

With the release of this film comes the opportunity to create and spread the #WithMalala movement in support of the Malala Fund. The goal is to enable all girls, everywhere, to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities. They work with partners all over the world helping to empower girls and amplify their voices; they invest in local education, leaders and programmes; and advocate for more resources for education and safe schools for every child.

“Do I speak for myself?” Malala asked during our call, “Am I going to use my voice?” She did. Let us join her, and start by visiting the sites, seeing the film, and spreading the word.

#HeNamedMeMalala

#HeNamedMeMalala #FoxSearchlight #MalalaYousafzai

 

Real Posh Society Presents: Our Favorite Books, Series & Movies

Coffee-BooksThe winter weather gives you the perfect opportunity to finally take some well-deserved you-time. Grab a blanket, a hot cup of coffee and discover these books, series and movies, handpicked by the REAL POSH SOCIETY. You’ll have a fabulous time inside while weather outside is less delightful. 😉

JENNIFER, OWNER OF REAL POSH MOM
Books tip
A dazzling, heartbreaking novel is what Anthony Doerr does best. All The Light We Cannot See is one that will be hard to put down! The Boston Girl is about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century. If you’re not into the tearjerkers and would rather keep your reading lighthearted, I’d highly recommend Bossypants by Tina Fey.
Get All the Light We Cannot See, The Boston Girl and Bossypants.

Movie and series
I’m currently wrapped in are the final season of Psych and afterwards will start with Royal Pains. Yes, I know, they both come from the same network, but characters are always wanted, right?! 😉 The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel and Bret Witter, tells the story of a group of museum directors, art curators and art historians who risked their lives during World War II to save pieces of art that Hitler planned to destroy. As an art lover and history buff, this movie did not disappoint. I’d highly recommend watching it and then reading the book for more details.
Watch Psych and Royal Pains on Netflix.

JAYNE, WRITER AT REAL POSH MOM
Books tip

Depending on my mood, I am rotating between Life in Motion by Misty Copeland, a biography about the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Next, Civilization by Niall Ferguson takes you on your own extraordinary journey around the world. Lastly, NW is Zadie Smith’s masterful novel about London life. I may not be able to travel the world as much this year, but I can escape into books in my home state of California. 🙂
Get Life in Motion, Civilization and NW.

Movies and Series tip
My favorite can’t-miss shows are Elementary and The Americans. I’m desperate for the return of MadMen and Homeland, and I can watch hours of Chopped on Food Network. Into the Woods is a favorite musical of mine since childhood, and Disney did a great job, with a good deal of the music and humor intact. The cast of the film, led by Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick and James Corden are uniformly excellent.
Watch The Americans and Madmen on Netflix.

JACQUELINE, CONTRIBUTOR AT REAL POSH MOM
Book tip
The Language of Flowers is written beautifully by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. The Victorian language of flowers was used to express emotions: honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it has been more useful in communicating feelings like grief, mistrust and solitude. If you like character studies, this is your next great read. You will love learning the meaning of communication through this life story of flowers.
Get the book here.

Movie and Series tip
I am totally hooked on Downton Abbey and look forward to watching every episode. With great acting, great character development, great story, beautiful scenery and the costumes, all of it is so well done…love, love, love! House of Cards proves just as bingeworthy as Downton Abbey, with more of the strong performances and writing. Because once you start, you won’t stop! Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Boyhood is an amazing storytelling project, where you connect to the characters in a whole new way.
Watch Downton Abbey and House of Cards on Netflix.

What is the best book you’ve read lately, and the most inspiring movie you have seen? Tell us!

The Fault in Our Stars #TFIOS

the-fault-in-our-stars Hazel and Gus are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional and a love that sweeps them — and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. The Fault in Our Stars, based upon the #1 bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.
#TFIOS It’s a truth we all know. We want our happily ever after endings. But we know that happiness on earth is fickle and fleeting.

In The Fault in Our Starswe find that the stars haven’t been especially kind to these two lovers. They don’t have the time we’d wish for them—time to get jobs and have kids, to grow up and grow old. They’ve been given a finite number of days together—and even those days are filled with the looming problems and anxiety that cancer inevitably brings. And whenever it seems like something wonderful might finally happen, it goes awry. Each star they cling to, including each other, has a fault inside—a scratch, a split.

But even given such faulty stars, the two find joy and fulfillment. They have each other. They’re loved. They live. Yes, maybe their days are built on borrowed time, but it’s better than no time, and Hazel confesses that she’s “grateful for our little infinity.”#TFIOSReview Sadly, one fault Hazel and Gus share is that they don’t always make the wisest of choices. But here’s the thing: Because it is quite good—a persuasive, emotional story with strong, positive messages about sacrifice, hard truths and true love. I recommend this movie for teens ages 15 and older, and if you are a parent, be prepared to have a talk about this movie. They will probably have questions or at least have some thoughts about this movie as well.

The Fault in Our Stars is a little like its title. For all its sparkly power, it has scratches and splits. Bu then again, it’s hard to see a film with crystal-clear eyes when you’re always dabbing them with a Kleenex.

Run Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Content Warning: Rated PG-13

Willy the Texas Longhorn Arrives in Time for Christmas!

Willy the Texas LonghornIn Texas, we see things a little differently. Yes, you may know the story of the “Night Before Christmas” poem, but do you know how Willy the Texas Longhorn played a part? 😉 Willy the Texas Longhorn is a clever story of a Texas Longhorn who believes that he can guide Santa’s sleigh just as well as any reindeer. If a reindeer can fly, Willy believes a longhorn can, too. Despite the doubts of the other cattle, Willy will not give up on his dream. One Christmas Eve, a thick pea-soup fog descends on Texas, and Santa is in need of a local guide. Willy paints his horns glowing blue and sets off to pull Santa’s sleigh all over the state. As Willy and Santa fly to every house in Texas delivering presents, they visit the famous cities and sights of the Lone Star State.

Every Texan, current or former, native or adopted, will love this tale of a longhorn with a dream! My kids fell in love with Willy and his determined spirit. They loved seeing familiar sites around Texas, and it became a game of “We’ve been there!” We have reading it again and again, as we get into the Christmas spirit. So, make some hot chocolate, turn off the TV and sit together on your favorite chair or sofa as your family travels with Willy the Texas Longhorn.

Our 3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

This summer, we have camped, traveled and explored Texas, but all good things must come to an end. 😉 This fall, I’m setting off to a new adventure, I will be homeschooling my 3rd grader. I’m excited and nervous about our upcoming year, and I think it’s going to be a memory maker!

I’ve been researching and attending conventions preparing for this day for 5 years. We will have “structured” class Monday through Thursday with Friday open for “Life Lessons” and exploration. When life moves in a certain direction, so Real Posh Mom seems to follow. You can expect more homeschool posts from me, as I plan to share more of our journey with you. I hope you like that idea!

Want to know what our curriculum plans are for the year? I’m sharing our 3rd grade homeschool curriculum picks!3rd Grade Curriculum Language Arts
Spell to Write and Read

Vocabulary
Latina Christiana 1

Foreign Language
Spanish

Grammar
Daily Grams
Easy Grammar

Composition
Institute of Excellence in Writing

Reading and Literature
Reading and literature is definitely an area where we have so much freedom as homeschoolers, and I plan on fully embracing it this year. We’ll be using Honey for a Child’s Heart for our literature journey, and I will be sure to keep you posted on our reading and activities!

Math
We have used MathUSee for lower grade levels. It is a great curriculum, especially for the child that is visual and loved tactile learning. But, this year we are trying Singapore Math. It’s comprehensive and gives a solid foundation in math.

Science
I cannot say enough great things about Apologia. We love their science curriculum and will be working our way through Exploring Creation with Astronomy and Exploring Creation with Botany.

Social Studies
Preparing for our overseas move, we will be studying Around the World in 180 Days.

PE, Art, Music & Other Electives
Local gym studios and private lessons will round out our electives.

What are you most excited about this school year?

Happy Birthday to Jane!

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, and in her 41-year life produced literary works that have touched many people lives, like mine. I started reading Jane Austen when I was 10 years old. Pride and Prejudice was my first. I didn’t read it for a class. In fact, I discovered it on the bookshelf of my late great-aunt. The title intrigued me. After reading the first sentence, I was hooked, and my love affair with Jane Austen began. To celebrate Jane Austen’s birthday, here are some highlights that I love from her writings:

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” – Northanger Abbey

“It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.” – Northanger Abbey

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” – Pride & Prejudice

“All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone!” – Persuasion

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.” – Persuasion

Next time you are looking for a book to put on your Kindle, download one of Jane Austen’s timeless books.

All-time Favorite Kids’ Books

All-time Favorite Kids’ Books
A Starter Library for Kids Big & Small

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst
  • Amelia Bedelia, by Peggy Parish
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Where Do you See?, by Eric Carle
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Corduroy, by Don Freeman
  • Curious George, by H.A. Rey & Margret Rey
  • Everybody Poops, by Taro Gomi
  • Fancy Nancy, by Jane O’Connor
  • Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose, by Scott Gustafson
  • The Going to Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton
  • The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
  • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney
  • The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn
  • The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper
  • On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman
  • Peekaboo Kisses, by Barney Saltzberg
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
  • Where is Baby’s Belly Button, by Karen Katz
  • Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak