August’s Book To Live By

In our latest members-only podcast, I spoke with restauranteur Mary Kenworth about the profound challenges the industry faces today.

She noted some celebrity chefs she respects, not only for their cooking skills and magnificent restaurants, but also for their powerful voices in advocacy for this vital business.

I’d like to add to that conversation a chef I admire for her impassioned voice and daring vision as well as her innovation and creativity in the kitchen. Dominique Crenn is the first female chef in the United States to receive three Michelin stars and an inspirational leader in the restaurant community.

It is my pleasure to announce that our August Book To Live By is:

Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters by Dominique Crenn with Emma Brockes (*paid link).

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Crenn was adopted as an infant by a French politician and his wife. From their alluring life outside of Paris and summers on her grandmother’s farm in Brittany, she gained a love of food and a passion for cooking. But when she applied to French culinary schools, she was discouraged because “the role of the chef as artist was reserved for men.”

So, in 1989, with no formal training and barely speaking English, Crenn moved to San Francisco. She began a life transformation by recognizing her own lesbianism. She took jobs waitressing and introduced herself to top people in the industry, including renowned chef Jeremiah Tower, who became her first mentor.

In another step in her evolution, she became executive chef in a hotel in Jakarta that allowed her to build a staff of women. She began her activism for female entrepreneurship.

Her celebrity got a jolt when she won a competition on TV’s “Iron Chef.”

She opened the first of her celebrated restaurants when she was 45, about which she said, “Sometimes I get the sense that women over forty aren’t even supposed to be visible. Well, with respect, screw that.”

Crenn’s advocacy includes a strong connection to nature. She works with local organic farms for sourcing and, although she is “not quite a vegetarian,” she strongly restricts using meat and fish over ethical concerns and her belief in sustainability and equality for all life.

Crenn writes with candor about the obstacles and challenges along her path, including a breast cancer diagnosis. But her positivity and resilience always shine through. Her philosophy is “There is no failure in life, only opportunity.”

I know you will eat up the delicious stories in this Amazon Best Book of June 2020. I enthusiastically recommend Rebel Chef (*paid link). You will find wisdom and inspiration on every page.

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support to help you through this troublesome time. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

July’s Book To Live By

In recent weeks, as I’m settling into a new chapter of my life, I’ve had a companion.

It is a treasured book, published in the year I was born and given to me by a beloved friend and mentor from another significant time in my life.

Perhaps some elements have become outdated, but the heart and soul of it still resonate. I have found comfort and inspiration in its pages during my life-changing summer by the sea.

It is my pleasure to announce that our July Book To Live By is:

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (*paid link).

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Perhaps best known for her famous and electrifying but troubled marriage to aviator, author and inventor Charles Lindbergh, Anne Morrow Lindbergh was a luminary in her own right. She led an accomplished life of magnificent triumph and unthinkable tragedy.

Like her husband, she was a decorated aviator, but she is most remembered for her writing. She was an acclaimed author of more than a dozen books of fiction, poetry, diaries and memoir that won numerous awards.

In 1955, her fifth book, Gift from the Sea, was a bestseller, and it has become an enduring classic, inspiring women for generations. It also established her as a trailblazer in the fledgling environmental movement and helped to redeem the tainted Lindbergh reputation following their support of fascism leading up to World War II.

Anne was the mother of five and not yet 50 years old when she wrote these wise and lyrical essays during a two-week retreat on Captiva Island in Florida. She ingeniously uses the sea and seashells as metaphors for the roles of women throughout the stages of life.

The book owes its lasting appeal to the universal truths she embraces. She explores the importance of solitude and focusing on inner development to live a full and creative life. Her remedy to end the tension between society’s expectations and a woman’s own yearnings is to clear out distraction and discover who she truly is. “When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too,” she writes.

Revolutionary in its time, this small memoir remains relevant today. It brings insights that help you to go with the ebb and flow of life and find peace and joy in the moment.

Gift from the Sea (*paid link) has been an uplifting gift to me during a challenging time. Wherever you are in your life journey, it can help to brighten the path.

To your finding peace and joy,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

June’s Book To Live By

Doctors, pilots, chefs and experts of every kind depend on them to accomplish their intricate work.

What are these magic tools? Checklists!

For my June interview, I spoke with Alexandra Franzen, an entrepreneur, teacher and consultant as well as an authority on checklists. She brought us uplifting ideas to upgrade these simple to-do lists to be truly transformative in our lives.

It is my pleasure to recommend for our June Book To Live By:

The Checklist Book: Set Realistic Goals, Celebrate Tiny Wins, Reduce Stress and Overwhelm, and Feel Calmer Every Day by Alexandra Franzen (*paid link).

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Like your favorite recipe, a good checklist should include the ingredients and actions to not only complete tasks but also to create a life of meaning and value. Alexandra shows you how to capture this power.

She first takes us through the science of checklists, including how much your brain can retain at one time and the emotional and physical release you receive from gaining control of your time.

Besides the best length, format and components for a daily list, you will discover life-enhancing checklists you’ve probably never thought of. There are numerous templates and resources to ease your way.

Alexandra coaches you to be realistic yet gentle with yourself and encourages you to celebrate your progress.

Read this book if you are looking for an easy, effective and free way to organize your life, keep the promises you make, attend to your own self-care, finish projects you start, and honor your relationships.

I can’t imagine who this wouldn’t include!

The Checklist Book (*paid link) will show you how you to implement this simple, age-old tool with innovative ideas for an increasingly complex world. You will be inspired and energized.

Love,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

April’s Book To Live By

People are suffering everywhere. Maybe you are too.

During this ongoing global crisis, where can you go to find strength and relief? You may be surprised to learn that this is an inside job. It starts with you supporting you.

I have an expert to show you why and how.

For my April interview, I spoke with Suzanne Falter, an author, blogger, podcaster and leader in the self-care movement. She has written on the subject for many publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and O, the Oprah magazine.

For my self-care, I have turned to Suzanne for insight and direction, and it is my pleasure to announce that our April Book To Live By is:

The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care: Do Less, Achieve More, and Live the Life You Want by Suzanne Falter (*paid link).

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Suzanne begins with her own story. She was the ultimate busy woman, balancing a fast-moving entrepreneurial life with motherhood, plus a new relationship and home. Then in a tragic flash, it was all taken away.

It took her three years to climb back from the heartache and despair. She did it through an exhaustive search for self-worth and self-love. In The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care, she shares her hard-won wisdom and the tools that saved her.

The book provides so much more than the everyday tips and practical advice you might expect from a self-help book. It is also a workbook with exercises, quizzes, and journal prompts to help bring you self-awareness and focus. She guides you through the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the odyssey with her heartfelt coaching.

The path to wholeness and balance begins inside, right where you are now. The Extremely Busy Woman’s Guide to Self-Care (*paid link) provides the map to move you forward with simple but powerful steps. I highly recommend it.

To your peace and well-being,

Debbie Signature

P.S. Every day at Women on Fire, we offer expert advice, useful strategies and woman-to-woman support to help you through this troublesome time. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us today!

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

March’s Book To Live By

Do you have a message you feel you are meant to deliver?

Whether you want to shout it from the rooftops or your goal is simply to offer guidance to family and friends, help is on the way.

For my March membership interview, I spoke with Michelle Barry Franco, an executive coach and communications expert with a special interest in advising those who long to become compelling public speakers.

Through research and studying the best of the best in the field, Michelle has charted a path for getting your message out into the world.

It is my pleasure to announce that our March Book To Live By is:

Beyond Applause: Make a Meaningful Difference Through Transformational Speaking by Michelle Barry Franco (*paid link).

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In Beyond Applause, Michelle’s theme is “transformational thought leadership.” She reaches out to those with a desire to contribute in a meaningful way and leads them to walk into the spotlight with confidence and commitment.

Michelle had been coaching for a while when she realized that she was focusing on only half of the process. Presentation — the craft of writing a speech and ways to deliver it — gets you only so far. Equally important are becoming a credible messenger and finding appropriate opportunities to make an impact.

First and foremost, Michelle tells us, you must be clear about your message and why you are the one to deliver it. She offers practical strategies and insightful exercises to take the wisdom of your heart and express it in a direct and dynamic way.

But unlike so many other books on speaking, Beyond Applause takes the next step. Michelle guides you to find the right audience for your message. Through her own stories and those of people she has coached, she shows you how to become the “go to” speaker on stages where you will have the greatest influence.

Still, along the way, anxiety may defeat your best intentions. Michelle also offers constructive defenses for overcoming the fear keeping you from becoming the speaker you always wanted to be.

For those who feel an urgent desire to speak out on a grand scale, Beyond Applause (*paid link) empowers you to answer that call. But Michelle’s ideas are also helpful for speaking your truth during everyday encounters.

I highly recommend this book to everyone with something to say. And that includes all of us!

Here’s to speaking up and speaking out!

Love,

Debbie Signature

 

*As an Amazon Associate, Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

February’s Book To Live By

I’ve got to learn from the greats / Earn my right to be living / With every breath that I take / Every heartbeat / I want to get there / I want to be one / One who is touched by the sun

— From the song “Touched by the Sun” by Carly Simon

Carly Simon, the legendary singer-songwriter, brings beauty into the world. And nobody does it better.

I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Carly in her cozy living room on Martha’s Vineyard talking about her life and work.

She is, as always, creative and busy. In addition to an upcoming tribute concert, “The Music of Carly Simon,” at Carnegie Hall in March, she recently released a remastered single and has an acclaimed new memoir on best-seller lists.

We spoke at length about her beautiful book, and I am excited to announce that our February Book To Live By is:

Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie by Carly Simon (*paid link).

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Touched by the Sun is the sequel to her 2015 autobiography, Boys in the Trees. Carly offers more stories about her private world and the men she has shared it with, her illustrious career in music, and a social life hobnobbing in the stratosphere.

It is a New York Times best-seller and one of People magazine’s Top 10 books of 2019.

In particular, it chronicles her decade-long friendship with a woman considered to be one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The title comes from a song Carly wrote for and about Jackie, released in 1994, the year Jackie died.

Touched by the Sun is told in a conversational tone that draws you into intimate moments. The details are sometimes poignant, frequently funny, but always candid.

When speaking of herself, Carly acknowledges her own vulnerability and self-doubt. She often boldly shows herself in an unflattering light. But her stories of Jackie shine with love and pure admiration. They are respectful of Jackie’s privacy, yet illuminate her warmth, keen intelligence, and humanity.

Throughout their relationship, Jackie was more than a trusted friend. Professionally, she was Carly’s editor for her children’s books published with Doubleday in the 1980s and ’90s. Privately, she acted as Carly’s mentor, advocate, and Greek chorus all rolled into one.

In this loving tribute, Carly shares favorite moments together, cherished conversations and letters, and even a few pranks carried out by the former first lady. The reminiscences reveal in Jackie a spirit that longed to be as free as what she recognized in Carly.

Carly’s writing is open-hearted and, yes, lyrical. In Touched by the Sun *, you will discover a love song, a time capsule, and a very good story.

The book is available from Amazon and in bookstores everywhere. And if — somehow — you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to check out Carly’s nearly three dozen albums. They are sure to uplift, move and delight you. I can’t imagine my life without them!

Love,

Debbie Signature

 

*As an Amazon Associate Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

January’s Book To Live By

I can almost bet that “travel to new and exciting places” is on your 2020 list of dreams.

It is one of the top goals I hear from women year after year.

With that in mind, my January interview is with Women on Fire’s own Doni Belau, best known for her bespoke tours, Girls’ Guide to Paris. And she has an idea to get you on the road toward your travel intention starting today.

Until you are ready to hop a plane or boat or train to exotic locales, Doni encourages you to become a tourist in your own hometown. I love it! And I’ve found that nature hikes are one way to discover ever-changing, uplifting possibilities year-round.

This month’s book recommendation is in that spirit. It is one of my all-time favorites. I am pleased to announce the January Book To Live By is:

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (*paid link)

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

The Appalachian Trail, spanning Georgia into Maine, mostly through wilderness, is America’s ultimate hiking challenge. But even if you’re not in the position of — or perhaps not remotely interested in — making a five-month, 2,100-mile hike, A Walk in the Woods will delight and inform you.

Bryson set out in hopes of regaining fitness after years of “waddlesome sloth.” He also wanted to reacquaint himself with “the scale and beauty of my native land after nearly twenty years of living abroad.”

A number of unforgettable characters pop up along the trail, especially Stephen Katz, Bryson’s oddball and even more out-of-shape sidekick throughout much of the trek. The book is dedicated to Katz.

Bryson peppers his travelogue with discourse on history, culture, geology, flora and fauna, and so much more. But Bryson is a topnotch satirist and his insights and descriptions are often laugh-out-loud funny.

Above all, Bryson is a wise and dedicated conservationist celebrating the beauty and fragility of the wilderness. He sends a timeless and vital reminder.

You won’t soon forget this Walk in the Woods (*paid link).

Happy trails to you — in 2020 and beyond!

Love,
Debbie Signature

 

*As an Amazon Associate Women on Fire earns from qualifying purchases.

November’s Book To Live By

Carrie Fisher was a woman of many talents and demons.

She embodied one of the great film heroines of a generation: Princess Leia of the classic Star Wars trilogy.

She adapted her celebrated semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, into a screenplay that became a film starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. It garnered a No. 1 box-office ranking and a host of Academy Award nominations.

Fisher was admired for her candor and humor in sharing the intimate details of her struggles with bipolar disorder and drug addiction. Her outspoken advocacy on mental health issues raised her heroic persona to another level.

Her sudden death in 2016 shocked the world, even more so when it was followed the next day by the death of her beloved mother, actress Debbie Reynolds. Individually and together, the two women were cultural icons.

The astounding story of this complex, creative woman, who always wore both her courage and her vulnerability on her sleeve, is one that will move, amuse and surprise you.

It is my great pleasure to announce our November Book To Live By:

Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge by Sheila Weller (*paid link)

A Life On The Edge

Sheila Weller is a New York Times best-selling author of books on complex subjects of wide-ranging interest, including her Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and the Journey of a Generation.

In her latest book, she captures the magic and the misery of the high-wire act that was Fisher’s life. Sheila’s exhaustive research and beautiful writing skills were more than up to the task.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Sheila for our new Book To Live By Author Series. She shared her reasons for writing the book, her favorite takeaways, the question she would love to ask Carrie, and so much more.

I am so proud to call Sheila Weller a friend and a member of the Women on Fire circle. She has the credentials and awards to write about literally anyone.

She made an exciting choice with Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge (*paid link). It is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Carrie Fisher is available from Amazon and in bookstores everywhere. I highly recommend it – and all of the remarkable books by Sheila Weller.

Love,
Debbie Signature

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

October’s Book To Live By

Do you have a longing to work for the good of your community? For the nation? The world?

I recently spoke with a young woman drawn to leadership, in particular on the noble path of public service.

I’ve known Eleanor Celeste since she was an infant and have watched her grow up to be an accomplished young woman, including as the co-author of an outstanding new anthology.

I’m so pleased to announce that the October Book To Live By is:

Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House by Molly Dillon and co-authors.

Yes She Can by Molly Dillon

Yes She Can [Amazon Link] is a collection of essays by a diverse group of female staffers from the Obama administration. These women, who were mostly in their early 20s during their work at the White House, hope to encourage future generations of women to follow their lead.

Each woman describes her work at the White House and how she landed that job. Their recollections feature thrilling and impactful experiences they participated in while taking leadership roles.

From an unpaid internship, Eleanor earned a full-time position as assistant director in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. She worked hard for years to prepare for this lucky break, and she guides others to do the same.

Yes She Can will inspire women of all ages to conquer the imposter syndrome and have faith in their contributions. Yes you can!

To hear my interview with Eleanor Celeste, join our Women on Fire community at www.womenonfire.com/membership.

Enjoy!
Debbie Signature

July’s Book To Live By

Aromatherapy is about far more than aromas.

In the July membership, we looked at this age-old approach to health, healing and so much more.

I interviewed three essential oil experts from our Women on Fire community: aromatherapist Dana Frost; Jodi Graber, a certified holistic health counselor; and Stephanie Dalfonzo, an author, speaker and coach.

They inspired us with ideas on chemical-free treatments for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, insomnia and grief, as well as for everyday household needs.

To continue this exploration, I’m pleased to recommend for the July Book To Live By:

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

Worwood is one of the foremost authorities on essential oils. She runs a clinic in England, lectures around the world on her research, and has written more than a dozen books.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, published in 1991 and revised and expanded in 2016, is her most extensive effort. It is the quintessential reference for using essential oils for health and wellness, home and garden, work environments, beauty routines and more.

Worwood starts by suggesting a basic kit of 10 oils, which will take you a long way in creating your own mixtures from the 800 detailed recipes in the newer edition. They are easy to follow, even for a beginner.

The book is well organized, and Worwood keeps the flow of information simple and practical. It’s chock-full of longstanding remedies presented clearly and without hype or brand promotion.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy would make a great addition to your health-care bookshelf.

To your health and happiness,

Debbie Signature