Hello Lovelies! Please excuse our dust while we do a bit of construction on the blog. We will still be posting exciting reviews, brilliant guest posts, and exciting giveaways but we are in the process of transforming the blog and adding new content and features for you to enjoy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Review: The Barbizon

The Barbizon
Author: Paulina Bren

Publisher: 3rd March 2021 by Hachette Australia

Pages: 290 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: nonfiction, history, feminism, New York, biography

My Rating: 4 crowns


From award-winning author Paulina Bren comes the first history of New York’s most famous residential hotel—The Barbizon—and the remarkable women who lived there.

The Barbizon tells the story of New York’s most glamorous women-only hotel, and the women—both famous and ordinary—who passed through its doors. World War I had liberated women from home and hearth, setting them on the path to political enfranchisement and gainful employment. Arriving in New York to work in the dazzling new skyscrapers, they did not want to stay in uncomfortable boarding houses; they wanted what men already had—exclusive residential hotels that catered to their needs, with daily maid service, cultural programs, workout rooms, and private dining.

The Barbizon would become the most famous residential hotel of them all, welcoming everyone from aspiring actresses, dancers, and fashion models to seamstresses, secretaries, and nurses. The Barbizon’s residents read like a who’s who: Titanic survivor Molly Brown; actresses Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedron, Liza Minelli, Ali McGraw, Jaclyn Smith, and Phylicia Rashad; writers Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Diane Johnson, Gael Greene, and Meg Wolitzer; and so many more. But before they were household names, they were among the young women arriving at the Barbizon with a suitcase, and hope.

Beautifully written and impeccably researched, The Barbizon weaves together a tale that has, until now, never been told. It is an epic story of women’s ambition in the 20th century. The Barbizon Hotel offered its residents a room of their own and air to breathe, unfettered from family obligations and expectations. It gave women a chance to remake themselves however they pleased. No place had existed like it before, or has since.

My Thoughts

‘The Barbizon tells the story of New York’s most famous women’s hotel from its construction in 1927 to its eventual conversion into multimillion-dollar condominiums in 2007. It is at once a history of the singular women who passed through its doors, a history of Manhattan through the twentieth century, and a forgotten story of women’s ambition.’

The appeal of this book for anyone interested in women's history is strong - and it delivers. With the freedom women gained through WWI and then the strong movement of the 1920s, many flocked to NYC to follow their dreams - but where could they safely stay? The Barbizon Hotel was built to fill this void and over its many years, housed quite the array of in/famous women. The author does a wonderful job in researching to highlight not only the history of this legendary hotel but also important milestones that occurred in women’s history. 

‘Women did not come to the Barbizon to network, but that’s what they did anyway. They helped each other find work, they talked over problems with one another, they applauded each other’s successes and gave solace to those with disappointment and heartbreak. They felt empowered just by being at the Barbizon.’

This was, for the most part, a fascinating read into women’s history - the birth of a ‘women only’ hotel at a time when they needed support to try and reach their dreams outside of the expected marriage only life. This book truly captures the double standards for men and women and how society treated them and the expectations attached to being a woman during this period.

‘Every time a woman walked down the street dressed for work ... she was a reminder of “compromised manhood.” By 1932, twenty-six states had made it illegal for married women to hold a job, and in the states where it was not mandatory to quit work upon marriage, it was still mandatory to disclose one’s impending married status because it was considered outrageous for a woman to be taking a job away from a “real” breadwinner. The Barbizon provided shelter from such denouncements. It was not just a residential hotel anymore; it was a safe harbor.’

Chapters were sequenced chronologically and also highlighted both the monetary/society status and colour issue - you were nearly always white and rich.  Highlights were also brought to famous women who stayed such as  Joan Didion, Grace Kelly and Sylvia Plath. Such an interesting look at society and culture of the 20th century, as well as the dynamic changes for women over this period. 

‘The Barbizon dollhouse might well have been full of young, beguiling beauties, but there was much more behind their attractive facades. Even if many of these young women would indeed end up as wives and mothers back in the towns from which they had come, their goals while in New York were ... ambitious.’

The author went to great efforts through the use of interviews, letters, and books to bring to light the lifestyle of these young women - from their frustrations to achievements, from their success stories to their failures.  This book could have been boring but was deftly turned into a fascinating portrayal of the now famous building and the women who stayed there. The Barbizon provided  women with the independence they desired, a place where they could hope to discover their true selves away from societal demands. 

‘ ... a place where women went to reimagine themselves: and in the twentieth century, that was not about to go out of style.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Review: The Essential Oils Menopause Solution

The Essential Oils Menopause Solution
Author: Mariza Snyder

Publisher: 20th April 2021 by Rodale Books

Pages: 416 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: health, mind, body

My Rating: 4 crowns


What if menopause didn’t have to be a struggle?

Your body is always changing—necessarily and beautifully—throughout life. During menopause, however, declining ovarian function and fluctuating hormones often clash with environmental toxins, stress, and digestive distress, leading to the symptoms we have been told we should expect: hot flashes, weight gain, brain fog, low libido, and irritability. But as women’s hormonal health expert and bestselling author Dr. Mariza Snyder explains, you can and deserve to experience a good night’s sleep, clear thinking, stable moods, an energized metabolism, and pain-free sex. The solution is not to medicate the changes, but instead get to the root cause of what’s really going on in the body. In The Essential Oils Menopause Solution, Dr. Mariza offers a cutting-edge, comprehensive plan to do just that, including:

• a clear explanation of what’s happening in your body before, during, and after “the change,” and how certain lifestyle triggers exacerbate hormonal imbalance.

• the latest science behind the benefits of essential oils as safe, effective solutions for perimenopause and menopause symptoms.

• more than 75 recipes and protocols designed to provide solutions for deep, restful sleep, anxiousness, mood swings, fatigue, hot flashes, low libido, brain fog, vaginal dryness, digestive distress, and much more.

• a proven 21-day hormone-balancing program complete with meal plans, exercise recommendations, supplementation, and herbal therapies designed to reverse the myriad of symptoms affecting millions of women today.

• easy self-care rituals to support every system of your body—from digestion and vaginal health to mitochondrial and liver function—throughout the perimenopausal and menopausal transition.

You always deserve a body that works for you, and if you are feeling less than your best, you deserve solutions that promote actual healing. In as little as twenty-one days, The Essential Oils Menopause Solution will help you reclaim vibrant, optimal, and long-lasting health.

My Thoughts

‘This is it - the time to redefine your midlife and embrace your future with grace and joy.’

I’m not sure of other’s experiences when it comes to the latter stages of a woman’s life, however personally speaking, it is not something conversed about often or indeed, at all. Therefore I read what I can to educate myself about this new phase of life I, and indeed all women, will enter into at some stage. 

‘Those hormonal imbalances are driving the mood swings, migraines, disrupted sleep, fatigue, and other symptoms hastily misunderstood and tagged as “menopause.”

Whilst there is an assortment of books on the topic to read, I look for one’s that might provide a key factor that could go some way to making the experience more positive. The complete ‘makeover’ on offer in this book is not something I would necessarily subscribe to, however, I did find a few useful ideas to experiment with. I subscribe to the science behind essential oils and therefore found some of the blends suggested here to be valuable.

‘Essential oils aren’t the solution here - they are the support. Use them as tools to get you to the end game: healthy hormonal balance. But they won’t get you there if you neglect lifestyle choices that establish the foundation for your good health.’

You will learn what hormones are, what their roles are in your body and what may be the cause of them becoming unbalanced. There is a lot of useful information provided by the author as she covers a wide range of variables from essential oils to nutrition that might assist women to better understand and work with their bodies during this change of life. The tone of the book is friendly and compassionate, structured in such a way to make it easy to come back to if particular chapters are pertinent to the reader. 

Therefore I do recommend this book as a type of manual or reference for women wishing to learn more about the perimenopause or menopause as it provides a wealth of medical information. There are then chapters on various symptoms from sleep issues, to brain fog, to low energy. The author then provides a 21 Day Makeover plan. I did put into practice some of the suggestions for the essential oil recipes (there are over seventy five) for diffusers, rollerballs or sprays. All up, an excellent guide with a range of valuable suggestions to assist women during this challenging time of their life. 

‘The heart of this 21-Day Makeover is establishing a series of moments in your day that shift the priority back to you. It’s about integrating foods, self-care rituals, movement, essential oils, and supplement protocols that address your unique combination of symptoms to help you reclaim your energy and joy at midlife.’

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This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.