Book Review: Extraordinary Ordinary Moments by Jorey Hurley

Let’s talk about mindfulness, my friends, and the beauty of directing our appreciation and awareness of beauty toward the moments left unnoticed throughout our day. Extraordinary Ordinary Moments, a journal written and illustrated by Jorey Hurley, will help you do exactly that.

This little journal is a wonderful addition to the desk of anyone in need of a little help slowing down to “appreciate the beautiful, the quirky, the surprising, and the overlooked,” the author states.

eomThe first few pages of the book include a short introduction in which Hurley explains how over the years, her daily meditations in sketching culminated in the collection of short writing prompts and simple illustrations which fill the pages of this journal. In every prompt, Hurley encourages readers to look at the seemingly-mundane details of their day-to-day lives and acknowledge their beauty.

Readers don’t have to work through the journal from front to back, either. They can simply thumb through the book until an illustration or prompt catches their eye, instead. The artwork is simple yet quirky, and small enough to leave ample room for journaling.

Some of my favorite prompts include pages encouraging me to acknowledge “something unnatural,” “something kind of gross,” something that makes you believe” and “ingenuity” in my day. Without pressuring me to write a lengthy journal entry or scrawl out profound ideas each day, this journal helped me reestablish a quick, daily practice of mindfulness.

Personally, I’ve been enjoying this journal since it arrived in the mailbox. It serves as a helpful reminder to slow down and re-center myself when I’m at my busiest. It doesn’t matter if I doodle, jot down a few song lyrics or write about the small details of my day. What matters is taking the time to appreciate the hidden beauty all around me. And to that end, I highly recommend Extraordinary Ordinary Moments.

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For more information on Extraordinary Ordinary Moments, click here, or learn more about the author, Jorey  Hurley.

Just sayin’: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

Book Review: The Happiness of Pursuit

Sometimes when you pick up a book, you know you’re going to enjoy it before you even start reading. Maybe it’s something in the grit of the cover, the weight of it in your hands, or something about the title speaks to you. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but it’s there, nonetheless: compelling you to sit your butt down and turn those pages. For me, The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau is one of those books.

And as it turns out, I was drawn to the core message, which is only hinted at in the title, that many people feel a deep-rooted need to find purpose in their lives by following a quest. This book is about the psychology behind that seemingly-unexplainable desire and the meaning in life that can be found by undertaking something bigger than ourselves. Categorically, I’d say this book is a non-fiction mash up of psychology, self-help and memoir.

Continue reading

Book Review: The More of Less

The More of Less by Joshua BeckerThe More of Less, by Joshua Becker, is not at all what I expected when I first picked it up. To give you an idea of what I mean, let me start with what I thought I was getting: a simple book about how to minimize your possessions and consequently, live a clutter-free life. Here’s what I actually got: a really cool book about changing your mindset towards consumerism, identifying your priorities, and living a mindful, purposeful life. Oh yeah, and there’s some stuff about decluttering and minimizing in there, too. But the great thing about this book is that the discussion of what and how many goods we should get rid of takes a backseat to that of developing a minimalist mindset and figuring out how to “unbusy” our lives. Continue reading

Book Review: The Emotional Edge

Let me start off by saying that not all inspirational, self-help books are created equal. And more often than not, many authors spend the first two or three chapters convincing readers that she’s qualified to give you this advice, she’s struggled to overcome her past, she’s been depressed but pulled herself through and yada yada yada

But lucky for me (and you, fellow readers), The Emotional Edge is not one of those books and I didn’t have to suffer through a long, sad soliloquy right off the bat.

Instead, author Crystal Andrus Morissette cuts right to the chase by giving readers a quick and dirty self-identifying personality quiz within the first few chapters. Following the quiz are brief descriptions of the most common personality archetypes that most people fall into while communicating with others: the child, the parent, and the adult.

These archetypes are the foundation of Morissette’s belief, which is that by identifying our most prevalent archetypes and the communication issues that come with them, we can learn to overcome our issues and move towards personal growth and authentic happiness.

Now I know this all sounds kind of mushy, and maybe a little heavy on the hippie-ish self-love stuff, but I was pleasantly surprised that the majority of this book is centered on long-established, sociological and psychological principles. To name just a few, Morissette draws on Jung and Freud to drive her argument home, but does so without bogging readers down with too much detail or explanation.

But before you get too excited, I’d like to point out a few annoying aspects of the book. The last two chapters, to be more specific, are very fragmented and have conflicting messages that clash with Morissette’s overall message. In chapter seven, for example, the author tells readers that women need to empower themselves, yet a few pages later she tells readers to “buy yourself some pretty lingerie,” “wear something soft and pretty to bed” and “get your teeth whitened,” as if these things have anything to do with empowerment or self-love. In fact, there’s a whole list of strangely superficial things women should do to feel better about themselves. Chapter seven was disappointing, to say the least, and it put a big wet blanket on the credibility of the book.

Despite the strangeness of chapter seven and some oddly fragmented content of chapter eight, I still enjoyed The Emotional Edge. I’d recommend this book to someone trying to let go of their past in an effort to build a healthier lifestyle and communication strategy. And even though I didn’t read anything mind-blowing, I did walk away feeling like I’d made some progress towards a ‘healthier me.’ I also appreciated the guided meditation exercises, personality quizzes, and the author’s insistence that we can change seemingly-set behavioral patterns in our lives, so long as we put in the work.

Overall, I’d say The Emotional Edge is worth reading if you’re looking for a few low-key, do-it-yourself exercises to get to a healthier, happier place in life. My only caveat: I’d skip the last two chapters and do some meditating, instead.

Happy Reading, everyone!

(BTW: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. Just thought you should know …)