un aguacate a la vez

books

Summer 2018 Reading List

Books, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment
summer 2018 reading list

Yes, it's true. I have been a little disconnected lately. The truth is I've been on a roll juggling ambinity and freelancing since the beginning of the year, and after binge watching Scandal's last season on Netflix while starting marathon training, I knew I needed a detox. A digital detox. 

But one of the things I have been spending my free time on lately (apart from tweeting) is reading. I have written about this on other posts, but I used to have horrible migraines and one of the things that really triggers them is screen time. So after realizing I was spending too much time on my computer and phone, I decided to set myself the challenge of getting back on my reading game, which I have I lost in all the craziness of my life lately. You know, surviving two hurricanes, quitting my job and training for the NYC Marathon...  #INeedToChill

So without further ado, here's a much needed breath of fresh air with some books that will light up all your energy this summer:

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

Grab Eva Luna by Isabel Ayende  here .

Grab Eva Luna by Isabel Ayende here.

Reading Status: Finished it! ✔️

As you can see from this picture, this book is practically destroyed. It took me a long time to read it, not because it was bad, but because a) I was running around with it in my purse most of the time and b) because I am a slow reader and novels take me a longer time to read, especially this type of novels that I find are a little out of my comfort zone in terms of intellect. I found myself getting distracted during some guerrilla scenes, but fun fact; I always fall asleep in violent scenes in movies. I find them so boring! 

That aside, I loved that Isabel Allende describes this book’s lead character as a strong and free woman in the most beautiful way I have ever read. I can't wait to read La Casa de los Espíritus and other novels by her, even if it takes me three months to finish them! 

Book Description (from Amazon): Eva Luna is the daughter of a professor’s assistant and a snake-bitten gardener—born poor, orphaned at an early age, and working as a servant. Eva is a naturally gifted and imaginative storyteller who meets people from all stations and walks of life. Though she has no wealth, she trades her stories like currency with people who are kind to her. In this novel, she shares the story of her own life and introduces readers to a diverse and eccentric cast of characters including the Lebanese émigré who befriends her and takes her in; her unfortunate godmother, whose brain is addled by rum and who believes in all the Catholic saints and a few of her own invention; a street urchin who grows into a petty criminal and, later, a leader in the guerrilla struggle; a celebrated transsexual entertainer who instructs her in the ways of the adult world; and a young refugee whose flight from postwar Europe will prove crucial to Eva's fate.
As Eva tells her story, Isabel Allende conjures up a whole complex South American nation—the rich, the poor, the simple, and the sophisticated—in a novel replete with character and incident, with drama and comedy and history, with battles and passions, rebellions and reunions, a novel that celebrates the power of imagination to create a better world.

Grab Eva Luna by Isabel Ayende here

El día que me venció el olvido by Edmaris Carazo

Grab  El día que me venció el olvido  by Edmaris Carazo in   Kindle Version    here  .

Grab El día que me venció el olvido by Edmaris Carazo in Kindle Version here.

Reading Status: Finished it! ✔️

This is Edmaris Carazo's debut novel and it narrates three generations of women, including a grandmother with Alzheimer desease. It is intense, raw and a book that you just can't put down because she writes in a way that just feels familiar, like she's speaking to you. If you have ever stumbled upon her blog, Siempre Jueves, you know what I'm talking about and if you haven't, hurry over there NOW! Then come back. 😊

Book Description (from Amazon): El Día que me venció el Olvido cuenta a dos voces la historia de 3 mujeres de 3 generaciones distintas. El lector se siente dentro de la cabeza, desde los ojos y entre las piernas de una narradora que vive de prisa intentando escapar de la genética y las decisiones de su familia. La novela obliga a mirarse desde los ojos del Alzheimer, del desdén, de la indiferencia y desde la erotización del dolor. Una narración concisa, íntima, cotidiana, irreverente, humana y poderosa que produce cosquillas de las buenas y de las malas en el lector que observa a una abuela que olvida, una madre que ignora y una hija que intenta recolectar y juntar los pedazos antes de que el olvido los desaparezca.

Grab El día que me venció el olvido by Edmaris Carazo in Kindle Version here

Find the print version at Librería Norberto, Librería Mágica, Libros AC and Casa Norberto. 

How to Lose a Marathon

Grab How to Lose a Marathon by Joel H. Cohen  here .

Grab How to Lose a Marathon by Joel H. Cohen here.

Reading Status: Finished it! ✔️

Ok I get it. There is a really low chance you are interested in this book, but I thought I would include it since it's part of my marathon training and this shit is hard! I need some validation and support ok? 

Now that we got that out of the way, I can say that this book was a little discouraging at first. The first few chapers were all about how the author is not qualified to write a book about running. Like I mean, really? The author is a writer at The Simpsoms so he's used to writing comedy, but sometimes I just wished he stopped joking and got to the facts. Nevertheless, after the first few chaperts were over, I found myself enjoying and even giggling over his jokes (especially the chafing section). 

Overall: It's a good marathon book for beginners or even if you're just looking for some comedy reading, but I will definetely be buying a more serius one soon, like this one

Book Description (from Amazon): A writer and producer for The Simpsons presents a humorous, illustrated guide for any and every wannabe marathoner. 

Grab How to Lose a Marathon by Joel H. Cohen here

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Grab Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari    here .

Grab Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari here.

Reading Status: Reading 📖

I saw this book randomly at Costco one day and it immedietly caught my eye, but after flipping through some pages, I knew I needed it. It describes humanity in the most provocative, thought intriguing way I have ever read and I can't put it down. I haven't finished the first chapter and he already talked about the pope's celibacy and why men are not as flamboyant as they used to be in other centuries. Right up my alley! 

Book Description (from Amazon): From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? 

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

Grab Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari here

SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler

Grab SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler    here  .

Grab SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler here.

Reading Status: In line to read 📚

Confession: I've had this book since my trip to Chicago two years ago. Yeah, I know. I have tried several times to get hooked on it, but never do. I have seen several reviews online and it has some mixed reviews, but since it already has a TV Show I figured it can't be that bad. Let's see if I finally enjoy it this summer! 

Book Description (from Amazon): Twenty-two, and knowing no one, Tess leaves home to begin her adult life in New York City. Thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing, in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in New York City.” Grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest Champagnes, the appellations of Burgundy. At the same time, she opens herself to friendships—and love—set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights.  As her appetites sharpen—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—Tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. 
Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant—conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, and suggestions below the surface. Evoking the infinite possibility of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy, Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the wisdom that comes from experience, sweet and bitter.

Grab SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler here

Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero

Grab  Las imperfectas  by Cristy Marrero    here  .

Grab Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero here.

Reading Status: In line to read 📚

I really didn't want to buy this book, mostly because all I buy is chic-lit (Emily Giffin is my favorite author) and I have been trying to get out of my literary comfort zone (hence, Isabel Allende). But while flipping through this book at the book store, one of the sales clerk told me it was a really good one and that people literaly LOL while reading it. So being the weak human being that I tend to be around shopping experiences, I purchased it. I have flipped a few pages and I am super intrigued because the author sounds just like my friends. I suspect this could be a boricua version of Sex and the City, I'll let you know once I finish! 

Book Description (from Amazon): Somos María, Linda, Martita, Astrid, Gladys, Victoria, Yamila, Zulma, Elisa y Cecilia: diez mujeres, un camino... En este honesto (#nofilter) y humorístico relato nos damos cuenta lo distintas que somos y cómo, al mismo tiempo, queremos lo mismo: simplicidad, amor, paz, balance, celebrar nuestra feminidad, y saber que todo va a estar bien. Que sólo podemos controlar nuestras intenciones, mas nunca los resultados. Aunque a veces nos cueste reconocer y escuchar por temor a ser vulnerables por temor a lo desconocido—a lo que ya está escrito, rompemos estereotipos según los vamos creando. Así, nos declaramos perfectamente imperfectas.

Grab Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero here

Grab  Las imperfectas  by Cristy Marrero    here  .

Grab Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero here.

Reading Status: In line to read 📚

Silvia, my co-host at Un aguacate a la vez, has sent me several books during our friendship and this is one of them. I haven't had the time to read it yet, but I know this could easily be a nice beach read to enjoy. 

Book Description (from Amazon): Award-winning filmmaker and performing artist Miranda July brings her extraordinary talents to the page in a startling, sexy, and tender collection. In these stories, July gives the most seemingly insignificant moments a sly potency. A benign encounter, a misunderstanding, a shy revelation can reconfigure the world. Her characters engage awkwardly—they are sometimes too remote, sometimes too intimate. With great compassion and generosity, July reveals their idiosyncrasies and the odd logic and longing that govern their lives. No One Belongs Here More Than You is a stunning debut, the work of a writer with a spectacularly original and compelling voice.

Grab Las imperfectas by Cristy Marrero here


There you go! Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next time, 

María Elena

Books That Helped Me Get Through 2016

Books, Lifestyle, wellnessMaría Elena RodríguezComment
Pic via:  Paper Chasing

Pic via: Paper Chasing

I am going to be totally honest with you guys and tell you that I am not the most disciplined reader out there. I wish I was. But the reality is that I really have to push myself to keep reading a book I started, but once I'm hooked, I won't put it down. 

As some of you know, this blog is not only my hobby, it's my passion. So I dedicate most of my free time to writing, interviewing people and taking pictures for this blog. Needless to say, I hardly have time to sit down and read. That's why I have found that my favorite kind of books (to get hooked on) are inside the business and self-help categories. I find that I grow the most as a person when I read them. 

Here's a list of the top books that have made a significant difference in my life, specially during 2016, which wasn't a great year for most. And best of all, these are all written by amazing women. 

Hope you enjoy!

And please, let me know in the comments bellow what are your book recommendations for 2017! :)

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane Von Fustenberg

If you haven't read this book yet, please take a second to go purchase it and then come right back to this post. I'll wait. :) 

People may think this book is about fashion and the luxury lifestyle, but it is so much more than that. This woman is as human as it gets. The way she writes feels so intimate and unique. The first chapter is all about her mother and how she survived the Holocaust, in which I dare you not to cry. Then she goes over her fabulous life as a designer, her days of glory, her loves and her heartbreaks.

Everything she writes feels genuine, and even though it is a rather lavish lifestyle, you can't help but feel identified with her.

How did this book helped my life? I understood that being vulnerable is part of the human nature. Once you forget about what other people think and start doing what you love while being kind to yourself and others, life is even more beautiful. I posted a beautiful blog post about this on Instagram

Grab the The Woman I Wanted to Be here.  

#Girlboss by Sophia Amouruso

Pic via  The It Girl

Pic via The It Girl

Even though I actually read this book back in 2014, I thought I would add it to this list since the lessons I learned from her were on the back of my mind the entire year for listening to her amazing Podcast. If there is any chance you haven't read this book, please go ahead and buy it. It is the first book you need to read if you are a woman (or man) who wants to have her own creative business one day. 

Needless to say, she is irreverent, hardworking, a go-getter and a badass, which is why I can't wait for her upcoming Netflix show! :D

What did I learn from #Girlboss? It doesn't matter where you come from or what you went through in your past, as long as you have the grit and attitude to accomplish your goals. The only limits are put there by yourself. 

Grab #Girlboss here

PS: I am currently reading her newest book Nasty Galaxy. I'll let you know my thoughts once I finish it! 

Pic via  NYT

Pic via NYT

I was the first person completely skeptical about that "Life Changing" title, but my goodness was it true! I have taken her techniques not only to my home, but into my office environment, agendas, purses and even my way of thinking. 

But I won't get into too many details since I already wrote a blog post about this book here. I suggest you go check it out. :)

I will tell you what I learned from the Konmari Method: The more you simplify your surroundings and the less things you have, the happier you'll be. Simple as that. Pun intended. 

Grab the book here

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Pic via  You.co

Pic via You.co

Last but certainly not least is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, the same author who wrote Eat Pray Love. But this time, the book is more of a self help guide for people who feel a little bit lost in there career and specially people who put too much pressure in themselves. 

It makes a great gift too! I bought this for my sister as a Christmas present and she's loving it. 

What did I get out of Big Magic? That creativity can come out of nowhere and you need to be ready for her. It doesn't matter where you are in life, listen to her. She will always guide you in the right direction. 

Grab the book here

Until next time, 

María Elena

*If you enjoyed this post, please don't forget to share it with your friends or comment bellow with your thoughts! You can also subscribe to my newsletter. These are the best ways to support ambinityblog.com and it helps me know you are enjoying this type of content. :)  

Grab the books mentioned here:

https://thepointmag.com/2015/examined-life/paper-chasing

15 Things I Learned Practicing the KonMari Method

Lifestyle, Books, PopularMaría ElenaComment

"Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something." - Marie Kondo

As you may have noticed by now, I love putting overly hyped products to the test. So this time I decided to give it a little twist and put a book that has been flooding my Instagram and Bloglovin feeds for a while: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

The entire book focuses on the KonMari Method (KonMari = a mix of the author's name), which is a basically a technique on how to keep your personal space in order for good by having less stuff and surrounding yourself only by the things that spark joy to your life. Beautiful, isn't it?

Until now I was what Marie describes as a "rebound" organizer. I would tidy my things up in my bedroom and two weeks later, it was all the way it was before: A huge pile of clothes, bags and shoes. So reading this book was the best way for me to actually realize what was wrong with my organizing methods and I invested a whole weekend in the biggest bedroom purge I have ever done in my life that resulted in a very happy donation store. This is why I decided I wanted to write down 15 things I learned from this book  and maybe several reasons to go ahead and try the KonMari Method: 

1. There is a sequence to tidying your home the best way possible

Clothes, Books, Papers, Miscellaneous and lastly, Mementos. You're welcome, I saved you the Google search. 

2. Tidying my space is much more spiritual than I ever thought.

I feel like I created my own little sanctuary where I can feel as relaxed as possible after a long hard day of work. 

3. When your room is free from clutter you have no other choice than to confront your feelings. 

4. Before you start storing stuff, you need to decide what you want to keep and what to discard.

Otherwise, it will destroy the KonMari Method. Discard everything you don't want all at once and then, just then, you can start organizing all the things that spark joy in your life.

5. The best way to not rebound = Tidy by category, not by place.

6. Tidying is a way of showing gratitude, so think about things as people

Yes, you read that right. Even though not everyone we meet is meant to stay in our lives, they did have a purpose to be in it. With things, it's basically the same, which is why we need to show our appreciation for everything we are discarding.

7. Don't keep old clothes as your official Netflix & Chill clothes.

Your "me time" should be your time to appreciate yourself, so show a little respect and put on some fancy clothes ok? Throw away ALL the clothes that don't spark joy. 

8. Folding clothes can actually be fun and kind of therapeutical

Just try folding everything into a rectangle, then into thirds and then trying to stand them up. It's fun!

9. There are more ways to organize your closet than just color coordinating your clothes

The KonMari method teaches that the best way to keep all the clothes that "Spark joy" in your life is to hang them rising to the right. Your eyes will be happier, try it. 

10. Keep only the books that make you happy when you see or touch them.

11. Letting go of mementos is the hardest part of the KonMari Method

I had about 5 boxes full of memories since high school, which I honestly didn't want to let go. I kept only the ones that made me smile and threw away the ones that didn't make me feel anything. Trust your intuition in this one. 

12. Storing systems are for hoarders

The only storage solution you need is to find a spot for every single category of the things you own. Your storage should always let you know how much you have of something by just a glance.

13. Clutter is the cause of laziness

Well, duh! But seriously though, this method will teach you how to make the only storage you have as effortless as possible. 

14. Empty your handbag every day

You have no idea of how skeptical I was about this. But after a week practicing this method, I can honestly say it doesn't bother me. I have a designated place for all the things that go inside my bag so every night I can put my things away and every morning I know exactly what needs to be taken for the day ahead. I'll let you know if it actually keeps working. 

15. We should treat all the material things that we use in our daily life with respectin order to get the best use out of it

Specially because these things spark joy in our lives. In Marie's own words: "Caring for your possessions is the best way to motivate them to support you, their owner". 


Please be aware that this is not a summary of the book. It is a review of all the lessons I learned while reading it and practicing the KonMari Method. I strongly encourage you to read it so you can discover what is the best way to un-clutter your life. I have a feeling you will like it just as much. :)

Let me know if you would like an update of my lifestyle after the method. 

Until next time,

María Elena