Reading Lately

my copy of this book was provided by booklookbloggers

Divided
by Bill Delvaux
***** 5 stars
Oh this book. I’ve dog-eared and highlighted it to near pieces. “When the Head and Heart Don’t Agree” is the subtitle, and I think one of the biggest problems facing our generation. But let me make that more personal: It is one of the biggest problems facing MY LIFE lately. Oh oh, how hard it can be to bring the head and heart into agreement sometimes, and how erosive the damage is. And sneaky. Sneaky and erosive, and darn destructive. This book unpacks the distance and WHY it is there, why our human spirits are so susceptible to this great divide, and how Jesus wants to bridge the gap. There is useful information here, life-changing information, and I HIGHLY recommend this book. I often joke with my friends that to be intellectual, creative and a Christian is an impossible trio. Pick two! Ha. This book helps me hold tighter to the God I love and know, in both my head and my heart. To bring them both into alignment with Him, and at the foot of the cross. Oh yes. More of that.

“I will teach you and tell you the way to go and how to get there; I will give you good counsel, and I will watch over you.” Psalm 32:8
AMEN. BOOM. THAT’S THE GOD I SERVE!


my copy of this book was provided by booklookbloggers


Anything 

by Jennie Allen
****4 1/2 stars

I love anything by Jennie Allen (see what I did there?). Jennie Allen is the real-deal, a sold-out-for-God girl-next-door that you want to be your best friend to do life with. In this book, she shares the prayer that she humbly (not boldly) prayed to God, and the ways it changed her life and many others. Letting God do ANYTHING in your life…wow. I mean, I know we say it all the time, right? God, YOUR will be done. But to surrender every single area of our lives to that REALITY…that gets messy right-quick. Follow along with Jennie as she walks the path, hand in hand, and gives us projects to prepare our hearts and minds for all that God has prepared for us to do. That verse above? Fits perfectly with this book, too. If God goes with us, we will get there. Wherever scary-sort-of place there is. God never says it will be easy. Quite the contrary; He tells us it will be hard. But then He goes before us and beside us. Never leaves us, never abandons. Through Anything.
xo
Natalie 

What I’m Reading

Vlog Monday 1/19: Reading from Natalie of Good Girl Style on Vimeo.

I have this bad habit of recording vlogs on Monday and not posting them until Friday, just to confuse you. I really should just wait until the next Monday, but…I’m terrible at waiting. And you need to know about these books!


Living Well, Spending Less 
(provided by BookLookBloggers)
by Ruth Soukup
4 stars
Ruth Soukup’s popular blog (I read it myself!) has been translated into a book by the same title. Blog-to-book direct translations can be hard to manage, but Soukup does a great job here of bringing more fullness and personal stories to the book, along with action steps. Best of all, Soukup doesn’t shy away from her Christian faith one iota, which is so refreshing. I also really appreciated Soukup’s honesty in sharing her own relatable life stories. This is not ground-breaking information, but if you like Living Well, Spending Less the blog, you’re sure to enjoy the book. What is at least slightly ground-breaking is her use of QR codes throughout the book to give readers direct access to extra resources on her blog. I wasn’t sure about this, because I was under the impression that QR codes never took off, but then again, I only got a smart phone a few months ago. It was a quick read that’s sure to glean one or two things that add value to your life. Then, pass it along to a friend so she can get a few tips to add value to her life. Plus, this cover is so pretty, and…well, sometimes I judge a book by its cover. I know, I know.

Make it Happen
(provided by BookLookBloggers)
by Lara Casey
5 stars
Lara Casey’s writing comes to life and stirs the soul. There’s just no other way to put it. This book is sure to inspire you to Make it Happen in your own life. And if you aren’t sure what “it” is that God has called you to? Casey has the formula and the grace to help you uncover the divine appointments God has created for YOU right where you are, with what you have. Casey teaches us to be faithful with the little, but to nurture it and grow it in accordance with God’s heart for us. Casey writes with heart, in a a vulnerable but grace-filled way that is easy to soak up into your soul and translate into action. The action-steps and thought-provoking questions along the way, along with the entire last section about HOW TO make it happen, beg for a pretty notebook and long, uninterrupted hours in the coffee shop. Or at least, an hour too late after bedtime with the nightstand lamp on. I highly recommend this one. Bonus: It also has a pretty cover!

Loved Back to Life
(provided by BookLookBloggers)
by Sheila Walsh
5 stars
Oh, this title just spoke to me so loudly. I’ve used those exact words about myself, needing to be loved back to life. Sheila Walsh had it all together before…well, it all fell apart. See it’s funny that our facade of perfection crumbles so quickly, isn’t it? The thing we most wish to protect (our image) is the first thing that goes tumbling down, bringing our worst fears to life. Depression, anxiety and recovery are very touchy subjects to write about. Sheila is able to share her story in a tone that is incredibly motherly and yet sisterly at the same time, with finesse. She is beside you, but has gone before you. Her own story gives strength and hope and a sense of God’s divine plan for every person. To live with peace and in an intensely intimate relationship with Him, deeply dependent upon Him. I had never heard of Walsh before (I don’t have a TV, ha!), but appreciate her story and her sharing it.

And a bonus not in the vlog that I just finished:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
(provided by the local library, ha!)
by Mindy Kaling
4 stars
I’ve been reading a lot of deeper, self-help and/or business books and was looking for something lighter. This definitely fit the bill. Mindy Kaling, from her start on The Office to her new Mindy Project, has always been a fun one to watch…her personality shines through and she just is. I love that she doesn’t apologize for who she is. The first half of this book is hilariously funny (I wrote a bunch of alternate titles over on Twitter of the best lines), but the book drags a bit in the middle as she gets more biographical about her start on The Office and as a writer. This book is half tell-all, half comedic romp and all Mindy. If you love her, this is a gem of a book. I highly recommend reading it on an airplane so you can snicker out loud and everyone will be annoyed and wonder what you’re up to. Or read it in bed with meatloaf for dinner on your lap because that’s what I did. I feel that both of these would be Mindy-approved reading scenarios.
*Bonus: Mindy went to Dartmouth like I did, so I’m pretty sure we’re best friends. #duh #obvs

Happy reading, my dears!

The Last of the 2014 Books

I had a couple of books from 2014 that I haven’t had a chance to post about. Here are my reviews! 

courtesy of booklookbloggers
Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary
This is one beautiful new reference book I was thrilled to add to my collection. The pages are thick, glossy, richly illustrated color pages that add depth to any Bible study time. This is a hefty tome, to be sure, both in content and size. My boyfriend was enthralled with the beauty and detail found here, and I fear the book may end up living at his house! For any scholar or serious Bible lover, this is one of the most stunning Bible Dictionaries out there. Not to be confused with a concordance, though this edition is cross-referenced, this book gives contextual info and historical background on Biblical terms, feasts, figures, and more. You can find such interesting things as a list of diseases in the Bible, photos of discovered historical ruins, and detailed definitions of all of those hard-to-pronounce Old Testament places/names/facts/figures. This is an essential for your bookshelf.

courtesy of bloggingforbooks
Make Up by Michelle Phan
Have you heard of Michelle Phan? Who am I kidding, if you’re a female with internet access, of course you have. She is one of THE biggest YouTube beauty gurus, and this hardcover shares her story along with actionable tips to be your best, beautiful self. 
Michelle runs her YouTube channel and blog, her makeup line Em, her beauty subscription service ipsey, and her television company FAWN, along with being Lancome’s beauty guru. Can we say BUSY?
While Michelle’s tone is a bit elementary, there are some interesting stories and tips to be found from poring over this book. I was pleasantly surprised. Her story is interesting (she started out as an art student) and I enjoyed seeing a behind-the-scenes peek into her life and routine. I was expecting this to be a thumb-through book but I enjoyed spending time with the book. Michelle covers a LOT of ground, from makeup and skincare to job interviews, etiquette, and finding your online persona. I think this would be a great gift for any teenager or twenty-something. A beautifully presented book, and looks pretty in any stack or bookshelf, too, which is a huge plus in these visual days! 

The Spirit-Filled Life


The Spirit-Filled Life 
Dr. Charles Stanley
***** 5 stars
(Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review by BookLookBloggers. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post this review.)

“Discover the Joy of Surrendering to the Holy Spirit” love that!

This was one of those books that fit into the category of “right book at the right time.” I have been recommending this book to everyone! Dr. Charles Stanley was new to me until a few years ago, living in Minnesota and being blizzard-ed in a few times with my grandma, we watched his In Touch Ministries streamed church services. Dr. Stanley is smart, no-nonsense, but still comes across as a Mr. Rodgers type that you want to be your mentor. His sermon on anxiety resulted in 2 pages of notes that I still keep in my Bible to read frequently.

But back to this book. There are so many misconceptions about the role of the Holy Spirit in the church today. Stanley cuts through the confusion with a Biblically-sound, simple, straightforward and yet heartfelt and personal approach that every Christian should read. This will wake you up to the loving power of the Holy Spirit in your life. It’s hard for me to tell you how much you’ll get out of this book because it’s just SO. MUCH. Total game-changer. Here are some of the things they list in the promotional materials:

  • who the Spirit is—and how to develop a relationship with Him
  • who the Spirit isn’t—and how to avoid damaging misconceptions
  • how being “filled” with the Spirit actually works
  • what the Bible really teaches about spiritual “signs” such as speaking in tongues
  • how the Spirit can increase your capacity for faith, hope, love, and personal transformation
  • what it means to “hear” the Spirit’s voice
  • how to make the most of your unique spiritual gifting to build up Christ’s body
  • what happens when the Spirit’s power is unleashed in your workplace, your family life, your friendships, and every other area of your life

Everyone I told I was reading this book (online, friends in person, and strangers who saw me reading it in public) said, “That book changed my life!” because it was originally published years ago and this is an updated re-issue. I can now add my own voice to that chorus! I’ve got a copy for my boyfriend already…grab your own for sure! I highly recommend it.

Happy weekend reading!
xo
Natalie

Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Volume 3

You all know of my affinity for HitRecord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s (JGL) online collaborative recording/creating studio. Oh, you don’t know? Check out Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Reviews Volume 2 and one collaboration I was a part of here.
I adore the concept of tiny stories. They fascinate me. They’re like little snippets, little poems, even dearer for the fact that they leave so much to your imagination and interpretation.

 Love this one!

And this one! I love that the illustrations and stories are all collaborative, so they’ve been mixed and remixed by artists to create the final product. It’s such a fun thing to do, and you can be a part of it, too, at Hit Record. I’ve got an account (goodgirlstyle)! Even better? You get a portion of the proceeds of any products that are created using your artwork or words.
Love these little books. 
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has also created the first collaborative variety show, Hit Record on TV, that just debuted. I just watched it…how fun is this, guys? It’s so quirky and has such a cool edgy vibe. Here it is:
JGL is one of the most multi-talented people I’ve ever seen, I’m pretty sure. He plays the piano, sings, acts, writes, produces, and is always doing something new and unique. In a pretty one-dimensional Hollywood, I admire that he steps out from the crowd to do his own thing. And I just LOVE being a part of cool new projects.

“Getting started, it’s always the hardest part, just walking up and saying Hello! Or sitting down in front of that blank page. Once you start writing, there’s plenty to say.” 
JGL

Let’s get started. Let’s live and write and share and record our own tiny stories. 
Who knows, to someone else, they might be the biggest stories ever told. 
xo
Natalie
PS> Thanks to it!Books by Harper Collins for the review copy of Tiny Stories, Volume 3. I loved it.

Inspire Your Week



“We were all made to live, love, and
dream courageously. He has given us
brave spirits and hearts that long to
take part in adventures with Him.”
One of my dear friends, Katie from Letter Bird Art, is such an encourager. Such a beautiful heart. She has written an ebook titled An Inspired Life, and I want to tell you just how awesome it is! 
Katie seeks to “live an inspired life full of possibility” and in the time I’ve gotten to know her, I can say that this truly sums up her life…inside and outside, she is so beautiful! Her blog, A Place to Dwell, never fails to put a smile on my face and a bit of an inspired spring in my step and living. 
I was blessed to read Katie’s new e-book, An Inspired Life, a few weeks ago. It has drifted through my mind often since then, particularly the Prayer Prompts. I used my pink Moleskine to take notes on the great questions Katie’s asks to help you see, refine, and dream with God over the current season in your life. There is a call to both embrace it wholeheartedly and yet never let go of patient and hopeful expectation on the Lord. 
Just look at these inspiring chapter titles: 
~Seeking & Becoming
~Fully & Fearlessly
~Leaning & Dreaming
~Marking & Remembering 
~Embracing & Creating
~Celebrating & Sharing 
Sounds like a pretty full, wonderfully inspired life to me! 
It’s probably a short work-week for you, meaning hopefully you’ll have lots of lounge-around-on-the-couch time. Why not download Katie’s book and use that time to be inspired to dream with God? 

Katie is offering, today only, to kick off the holiday week, a 25% discount on the book! You guys, you’ve gotta snag this NOW! For real! You won’t be sorry. 
Promise. 
Use the code: GETINSPIRED to knock the price down from $9.99 (still a total bargain) to $7.50 (a REAL bargain!) Shop Here!

Thanks so much, Katie, for writing this book, for LIVING this book, for making me smile, and for sharing all of that with us through your words! 
xo
Natalie

Friday Vlog

The vlog on books of the week! 
If I seem a bit tired, that’s because I am. I’ve been in a bit of a rut this week, terribly homesick and feeling the weight of all of the change in my life. Drawing me closer to God, no doubt. All good things, right? This song has been my heart lately. (“Nothing is Wasted” by Elevation Worship). Those lyrics, gah, my heart.
I hope you have a GREAT weekend! 
I want to go to some MUSEUMS!
Much love, 

Audrey Style


Oh this dress is just a happy cream-puff of a vintage-style shift! I ADORE it wholeheartedly.

Topped with “frosting” hair, as I call it…and big old sunglasses, of course! I just didn’t have them on for the pictures (oops). 

Oooo, so much fun. I’m also reading this book: 

Until later, my darlings! 

Tiny Stories: Volume 2

 You all know Joseph Gordon-Levitt, right? Pretty face who plays beside Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer? Played Robert Todd Lincoln in the currently-box-office-hot Lincoln? Rumored to be playing Batman in a new comic-inspired movie? Yeah that guy.
Well, turns out he’s also the pretty face behind the online collaboration production company, HitRecord, that allows artists to post, compile, collaborate, and remix to create even better art, film, writing, and other projects. They travel, they publish, they produce CDs, sharing the collaborative art (and then sharing the profits with the collaborators). Pretty cool, right? 
The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Volume 1 debuted last year, filled with small stories and art created by HitRecord collaborators. They’re quirky. They’re different. Some of them are a little bit strange, a little bit funny, a little bit sentimental. Some of them make you cringe, make you wonder, make your heart swell, or make you shake your head and giggle a little.

Volume 2 is hot off the presses from It Books, an imprint of Harper Collins. It makes a wonderful stocking stuffer for a friend. Tuck a little bookmark or Starbucks gift card inside, wrap it in craft paper, tie it up with some twine, maybe add some washi tape. They’ll think you’re super cool. (which is true)


Here are a few of my favorites:
See artists worked together on the story and illustration. They hit record, they remixed it, they turned it into something unique. I adore this one.
Truth be told: These two volumes are lovely. They are a pleasant reminder of the tactile beauty of the printed book, with their textured, imprinted book jackets and their quirky, artsy vibe. 
And I love that, being a quirky, artsy story-teller myself.
YOU can join, too! I scoped out the collaborative scene, and I think I just might jump in myself and contribute some writing to be remixed. Let’s fill some pages for Volume 3, yeah?
I have always identified with the quotation, “The universe is not made of atoms; it is made of stories.” ~Muriel Rukeyser
HitRecord adds one important word to that: tiny
“The universe is not made of atoms; it is made of tiny stories.” ~Muriel Rukeyser and wirrow 

Many thanks to it! books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. These words and opinions are my own.