Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Review: How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness by Leta Greene

I don't do many book reviews lately, but a friend asked me if I wanted to review How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness--An Inside-Out Approach to a Lasting Makeover. It covered some topics we'd been chatting about, and when I heard the title, I said, "Sure." 

The word hotness is used in this book to define your appeal to others, but not in the traditional way we think of as being hot. Generally when I think of hotness I think of someone's sexual appeal, but Leta Green, a motivational speaker and beauty expert, uses the term to describe what our essence is--what draws people to us. Just like the warmth of a flame on a cold night, our inner hotness can draw people to us for the right reasons. 

I admit that I'm still not a fan of the word hotness as a general term unless it relates to my husband's view of mebut I can accept it in the fashion Leta describes and uses in this book. (Yeah, I'm a weirdo, but you already knew that.)

The book consists of three parts. The first part talks about how to give yourself an inside-out makeover, how to build your hotness from the ground up. Leta teaches with stories and examples from her childhood that I found fascinating. How can a flannel-clad, shy tomboy with scars and missing front teeth gain confidence? Yes, now you want to know, too, don't you? She also describes ways to use imagery to help get rid of the negative self-talk most (nearly all) of us face.

One of the awesome tools she teaches how to use are "Vanity Prayers." Now, in my mind vanity has always been a negative, and the only connection it had with prayer was repenting or asking for help with vanity. I kind of wish the book had a different term for this tool, because my brain balked every time I read the words. However, the actual exercise is not anything about vanity or praying to yourself, but something that I'm going to institute into my routine to help me overcome negativity about myself. I would share here, but you're going to have to get the book to find out how to do it. *insert smiley face* She also talks about how to put together your look that you're showing the world, and about developing confidence. Lots of good information in this section. She's also not afraid to talk about body waste and "pooperness" as it relates to things we don't want in our lives emotionally. That was something I hadn't come across in a self-help sort of book before, but it wasn't over the top, and it feels like Leta's talking to you while sitting on your living room couch. I'd love to hear her speak in person someday.

Part Two is about finding or rediscovering your perfect match. Even though I'm happily married, this part was an interesting read, and I consider her advice a must-read for singles. Once, when I was dating a man (a few months before I met my husband), I was asked by a sister in church, "Are you sure you're not looking too deep?" Thing was, people were waiting for our wedding announcement. We ended up being wrong for each other, and no, I wasn't looking too deep. Leta addresses figuring out how to figure out exactly what it is you're looking for in a spouse.

Part Three was my favorite, all about how happily ever after is a choice. Leta shares some of her extremely hard struggles and how she learned to have true happiness in spite of them. She is an amazing woman. I read this section practically spellbound. Don't be surprised if your eyes don't stay dry. The three lines that struck deep into my heart are where she asks herself at the end of every day: 

Have I honored myself?
Have I honored those who depend on me?
And have I honored my God? 

Those are questions I'm going to begin asking myself.

I'm really glad I read this book. The beginning was a little slow for me, but that's because I'd already implemented some of what she talked about, and I was ready to get to the next part. I think there's something for every woman in this book no matter where she is along the path of life. Leta also talks about her relationship with God being vital, which is also something I appreciate.

Purchase the book here: Finding Your Inner Hotness

Monday, May 19, 2014

How to Cook a Book

My friend Suzanne Warr tagged me in a blog hop where writers share their writing process. Well, I got to thinking about it, as I am still figuring it out, and my process has been changing. Instead of giving you a mishmash of all the different things I try, I will give you my current recipe. While it doesn't look like the picture exactly, the process should give you several layers by the time it's done.

cake eat dessert

How to Cook a Book 
(And Not Get in Trouble with the IRS)

One idea, either from a dream or grown in a shower. Can be half-baked as long as there is room for full bakeage.

About a half dozen plot points, three of which should be whole.

Huge bottle of water/flavored water (Diet Dr. Pepper for the tricky moments)

One laptop computer, fully charged

One copy of Scrivener, installed

A batch of story (see On Writing by Stephen King, K.M. Weiland's or David Farland's books for good recipes)

One copy of Word, installed (preferably fresh, but use the best out of what you can find. Sometimes the more ripened ones are better).

One Evernote app installed on a smart phone* (optional)

Directions: Take one idea (thaw if it's been in the freezer for a while as this makes it easier to work with), knead for a while, then set aside to rise. 

While the idea is rising, fill the bottle of water, or if the idea is really slow to take shape, use Diet Dr. Pepper or flavored water. I find this helps the idea to meld with the rest of the ingredients a little faster.

Set the water next to the laptop. Take the idea and put it into your installed copy of Scrivener. I've had success forming it into a first chapter.

While the idea is resting, take the half dozen plot points. Set aside the whole ones, and chop the remainder into pieces. They don't need to be uniform, but each should be large enough to give a nice bite of flavor in the finished product. Then, open Scrivener, choose "novel format," and arrange the large plot points on a nice, blank page you will call "Outline." Space these apart--one at the beginning, one at the middle, and one at the end. If you don't have one quite large enough for the end, or if you have several whole ones to choose from, you can wait to add the last one until you are nearly done with the recipe.

Next, take the smaller pieces of plot points and arrange them artfully between the whole ones. If they look a bit wonky, that's okay.

Begin pouring the batch of story onto the idea. There is no need to be careful about this. The faster you pour the story on, the better. Just make sure you do it evenly so there's enough story to cover the whole outline of plot points, and stay inside the program. Overflow is incredibly sticky and tough to clean up. 

Take a spatula and smooth out the uneven parts. Once over should be fine. 

Let sit at room temperature for at least two weeks. Four if you can. Smooth over again. Then transfer to Word for ease of carrying, and deliver to the chefs who will critique your creation.

Once you get the critique back, it's time to bake that puppy. Fire up the computer to as hot as it will go, and shove your mixture in until it's shiny, full of flavor, and rich. If it sounds hollow when tapped, it's not yet done.

While you wait for it to be finished, you might consult a master chef for pointers, and a decorator, depending on what your plans are for the end product.

Serve warm or chilled. Some like chocolate, sunflower seeds, or herbal tea on the side.

*During the process, an app like Evernote can come in handy to keep those bits of idea that might show up where you least expect them to be. Paper and pencil traps them well, too, but I never have a flashlight handy to see those puppies at night.