Have you ever started reading a book and within the first 10 pages, realized it was speaking directly to your soul? With these types of books, it can feel like the words are meant specifically for you, and like the green light in The Great Gatsby, are there to guide you through your general life confusion.
I’ve been lucky enough to have two book-crossed lovers in my time. Once with Oprah’s “What I Know Now,” otherwise known as the only text that will keep you sane you make a giant life change and move across the country. And most recently with “Hey Natalie Jean” by Natalie Holbrook.
Natalie has long been a part of my daily reading routine after I stumbled upon her blog two years ago. She’s everything I love about the blogging community: Hilarious, empowering, a simultaneous romantic and tomboy-style devotee, and a person who showed me that it’s not only possible to live in New York City, but to thrive here.
From her adventures in the park with her son to her series on tattooed ladies, Natalie’s writing has a way of jumping off the screen. But what makes Natalie truly stand out from other writers is her openness surrounding her struggles with infertility. Her blog is a reminder that the best kinds of girls are the ones who aren’t afraid to start their day with a bagel and cream cheese, a pair of bad ass motorcycle boots, and some serious zoo visits.
This year, Natalie published her first book of “advice, musings, and inspiration on marriage, motherhood, and style,” and can I just say, it made me love her even more. Here are the main life revelations this book provided me:
1. The Importance of Making NYC My City.
Since moving here, I’ve been a bit slow to nest. Hanging things on the wall, buying a plant, decorating my living room; these have all become things I’ve brushed off with the thought, “Well, how long will I really be staying in this apartment?” But it’s something I want to change because I want to start making this city my own. My favorite ice tea joint, my yoga studio, my bakery. I need to remember to follow my new year’s resolution and really live in New York. It only takes one day of laundry, a surprise snow storms, and having to lug groceries a mile home to quickly forget this city has any kind of magic. But then again, it only takes one walk through Prospect Park to understand how this place has stolen so many people’s hearts. So here’s to doing, doing, doing instead of simply dreaming.
2. My style is whimsical tomboy, and I like it that way.
In Natalie’s book, she spends an entire chapter explaining how she came to embrace her tomboy uniform. Great ankle boots, white v-neck tshirts, and skinny jeans. The girl has it down pat. Which got me thinking, what is my personal style and how can I really embrace it this year? For me, everything is about quality rather than quantity, a pair of Madewell boots instead of an entire shopping spree at Forever 21. So after a few subway rides contemplating the subject, I decided my style was whimsical tomboy with an affinity for Navajo prints, skinny jeans, and animal graphics. By defining this, I felt more excited than ever to depict my personality in my style and began to really relish the fact that it’s completely different from anyone else I know.
3. Enjoy the tiny moments of joy.
There are so many tiny moments of happiness that often go overlooked throughout my day. Waking up early, eating handmade sushi for lunch, nailing a work assignment, rocking a great hair day, freshly painted nails, homemade cookies, walks on the Highline, a fresh ice tea after a long meeting, making a friend belly laugh, getting an extra 11 minutes to read on the subway, having a dance party just because, ending the day with a yoga class, waking up in the middle of the night surrounded by two snoring kittens, the smell of a new book, trying a new bakery in the neighborhood, calls from home. The list is endless, and serves as a personal reminder to not let stress or the idea of what my perfect day should be detract from all the great, tiny victories that are happening all the time.
4. You make your own happiness.
How many times have I heard this and how many times do I overlook it the minute things start to get hard? As Natalie beautifully shares in her book, happiness is a choice and sometimes, you have to work to make it happen. Sometimes everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. You’re late for work, under-caffeinated, sneezed on by a stranger, snowed on by nature, and as the final straw, arrive home to find your house filled with gas because you cat accidentally turned on the stove top burner. It is in these moments, when I’m stressed the most or feel like I’m not doing enough compared to my friends, that I’m most thankful for reminders, like “Hey Natalie Jean,” to step back, regroup, and leap forward towards the things that make me the most happy.
Like all these comic book recommendations from Ron Lit.