Monday, September 22, 2014

A Children's Book Review: "Beautiful Girl"- Celebrating the Wonders of Your Body

The Pre-Review Review: 
A Personal Side Note 

This review may not be written as linear and as point-blank as it should be, since reviews often read as quite emotionally disconnected. I could not. It took me a while to find a way to express how I felt about it with complete honesty and openness while still reviewing it accurately. How does one go about writing a book review which will be read by adults, about a book intended for children, yet still has so much substance and power in its message? 
As a mother to a little girl whose self-esteem is often at the forefront of my mind, aa women's empowerment advocate, and as a woman whose inner-child sometimes needs to be reminded that she is nothing less than intrinsically phenomenal, Beautiful Girl triggered that sense of reverence that at times escapes me... reverence for her, for us, for me, just as we are. 

The mere act of reading these words to my child had a ripple effect which left me with much food for thought. It provoked the question: How often do we speak to our daughters about how beautiful, gifted and wonderful we are—not ‘they’—but ‘we’…that is... as their mothers, as girls, as women, as ourselves...we?

I can’t speak for all moms, but I have had many moments where I’ve thought of the dreaded day that my daughter’s self-esteem may be tarnished by her journey. I’ve asked myself if I have been enough and done enough to solidify the self-love that is naturally born to every child. My hope is that she will know that being born a woman is a gift and never forget that she is wonderful, powerful, beautiful and deserving of everything this world has to offer her. 

This book made me take the time to re-assess the messages that I transfer to my daughter about what it means to be a woman in this world
—especially the messages that she picks up on as she watches me navigate my life as a woman. 

The Official Review:    

Christiane Northrup and Kristina Tracy’s children’s book was a must review for this Mamma. An avid fan of Dr. Northrup’s work, my copy of Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom is tabbed, dog eared, post-it-note laden and highlighted—just as all sacred and revisited books should be. Together, my daughter and I revisit Beautiful Girl just as much! Her bookshelf would be incomplete without this one as it focuses on what makes girls special—miraculous even, just as they are.

As Dr. Northrup introduced this book, she described little girls so wonderfully in the video... (Which can be found here)

                       “Little Girls are eager to engage in life
                         …and they are the life-force itself.
               They are the essence of Eros and Beauty and Joy.” 

This book was clearly written to communicate with that innate part of every little girl, including the one that still lives in us as grown woman.

Aurelie Polanz's illustrations are nothing short of fantastical—a beautiful depiction of little girl’s vivid and dreamy imagination. Every page is splashed with rich and vibrant jewel toned colors while the images and shapes take on a more simplistic nature. Each page in and of itself is a work of art. I noticed that while reading with my little girl, she would hold each page down with her small hand just so I wouldn't turn them as quickly—studying the detail of each picture, soaking them in. 

This is not another cold ‘how my body is going to change’ book. While it does address such changes, the book touches on the importance of seeking answers to their questions from women they're most comfortable with — the importance of seeking out support and community.

This book is meant to inspire a sense of awe, pride, certainty and security in who she was born as and the woman she will one day grow into—it inspires self-appreciation, self-love and self-care—a message that I believe cannot be shared with children early or often enough.

It’s a great tool that can be used to facilitate certain conversations as it gently opens up the doors for discussion on many topics that we as parents must have with our children it can be used to pave the way for a mother and daughter to begin celebrating the wonderment of a body and beauty that is uniquely theirs together. And it must be said, after having watched my husband read this to our daughter one day….what a nice way for a father to further reiterate the honor and respect that he has for his little girl. Truly, this book is the gift that will keep on giving.     

If you are looking for a book that conveys heart warming, soul-nourishing positive messages for the little girl in your life, this is definitely one to add as her bedtime story—or her life story, really.

I Give this Book Five Whole Hearts: ♥♥♥♥♥

You can find Beautiful Girl: Celebrating the Wonders of Your Body Here

Hear Ye Hear Ye, I received this book from Hay House for reviewing purposes. Please note that the opinions and views expressed in this post are based on my personal perceptions as a reader. I was not financially compensated to write this review. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

First Day of School: I'm a Pretty Big Deal (For Today...)

From the desk of Jen Taylor
September 2nd, 2014

Dear Fellow Parents,

I’d like to take a minute to address a common occurrence among many of us… the one where we all get drunk on determination and certainty at the beginning of each school year. Determined to stay organized... certain we can do it all differently this time around.

Who the hell are we kidding?  We've totally got this!

I’m writing this post because…well…not to brag, or anything, but so far this school year my track record for being on the ball and ultra-organized has been immaculate. 

Also... yesterday was the first day of school.
Let’s pretend that’s irrelevant...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The 5 a.m Club

I've become absolutely sidetracked in the past year and a half. Wanting to taste a little of all my life's possibilities has done a number on my ability to focus on any of them in a productive way. My concentration has absolutely plummeted and to be honest, I didn't have much to spare from the get go...

A while back I dropped the ball on my sacred morning routine of waking up before everyone else to get in a solid workout. Nothing wakes the body yet stills the mind quite like exercise. My mornings were a whole process really-- drink copious amounts of water, take vitamins, exercise, enjoy a hot shower without anyone banging on the door  (Side Note: it's absolutely glorious, I highly recommend it. It's almost as glorious as peeing without someone banging on the door, which I also got to do!) I'd do my hair, put on some mascara and gloss, get dressed and then have a quiet cup of coffee while I journaled...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What my Journal Sometimes Looks Like

Dear Self,

If you cannot offer another your acceptance, then offer a basic respect for another human being, or nothing at all. Do not for one second believe that your mere tolerance is of any real value to another person. It’s not some grand privileged that should be bestowed upon anyone as the least I am able to give them. 

To tolerate is to throw scraps down from the table of self-perceived hierarchy. It’s often dripping in conceit and silent hostility while monopolizing the fundamental respect. To tolerate, is to claim blindness to anything other than my own self-righteous opinions & judgement. It offers nothing other than the message that at best, all I am capable of is a second-rate effort at haphazardly containing the urge to release my agitation and disapproval in their direction. Nothing more.

To be tolerated has never been anyone’s deepest desire; no one has ever acted in any way with the intention of seeking social tolerance. What makes you think that by tolerating someone, you're doing them a favor? What a way to shortchange the person that you really are. You are not better than them, but you are better than this.
Love, Self