Neil Gaiman once said, “A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
In this hyper digital age, books have really begun to gain notoriety as the present-of-choice. They have the power to transform us, to teach us new skills or to help us with our finances. They have the magical ability to cure us of illness or they can take us back to a different time and place. Books can – without a doubt – utterly change your life.
That’s why I’ve rounded up some life-changing books to gift someone you love this year. Each one of these texts is helpful, powerful and eye-opening. I know you’ll love them!
THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by JOAN DIDION – a wonderful piece of the kind of personal work we rarely see from Joan Didion. A reflection on her relationships, true love and huge loss. Very moving. A serious tear jerker. I got this book for my bestie one year when she was having a hard breakup and she absolutely loved it. Great gift for moms, too.
JOURNEY TO SELF-REALIZATION by PARAMAHANSA YOGANANDA – this amazing body of work is the trilogy of an all-encompassing introduction to The Self-Realization Fellowship, as it presents in-depth discussions of the sweeping range of inspiring and universal truths that have captivated millions in Yogananda’s original Autobiography of a Yogi.I definitely recommend this book for … well, anyone! It’s the kind of prolific book where you just want to highlight the entire thing. So much raw truth, power and life-lessons for all. If you can’t think of a gift for someone, you can’t go wrong with this option!
PROFIT FROM HAPPINESS by JAKE DUCEY – Jake Ducey’s an amazing speaker, successful author and dear local comrade. His latest book, Profit From Happiness, highlights some alarming stats: 70%-80% of Americans hate their jobs or are disengaged, leading to mass depression and anxiety. He’s written this book to be your compact guide to getting over hating your job and starting to live your best life! I love how simple Jake makes complex concepts to understand and how relatable he is as a super woke millennial. Your boyfriend will thank you for this short afternoon read!
RISE SISTER RISE by REBECCA CAMPBELL – Rebecca’s latest work is prophetic. Rise Sister Rise is for the women who agreed at soul level to be here at this stage in history to lead this global shift that the mystics of all of the ages have predicted: the return of the mother and the rise of the feminine. This book is for the women in your life who live and die by their feminine reclamation. Who care about and fight for their personal freedoms and who inspires you and those around you to be their best selves. It’s also powerful pick me up for the lost, confused and depressed. A truly great gift for the fierce female in your life.
THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK by GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN – I’m sure you can imagine this book resonated with me, as our motto for four years on this blog has been “The Organic Life is a space where the universe always has your back.” So I totally connected with this book minute one! NYT Bestselling Author Gabby Bernstein takes you on a transformation from fear to faith in this insightful work. Part personal stories, part metaphysical text, The Universe Has Your Back is, according to Gabby herself, “…about helping people find safety in the midst of uncertainty, power when they feel powerless, and love in a fearful world.” Check and check – totally accomplished. This book is a great reminder of how trust, belief and faith play very important roles in our day to day lives. Great for someone in your life who needs a small spiritual reminder.
WEAR NO EVIL by GRETA EAGAN – I met Greta Eagan at the Love Organic Beauty Festival in LA, and I have been so impressed with her since! Wear No Evil is a great book for the fashionista in your life. It gives a thorough glimpse into what REALLY goes on in the industry behind fashion (Eagan’s background), and what we can do to create a more sustainable fashion footprint. This book is an incredible roadmap to style without sacrifice. I also recently did an interview with Greta on her blog, Fashion Me Green. Check it out!
CURED BY NATURE by TARA MACKEY – It may seem silly to recommend my own book, but if you think you’re getting anything else on the Christmas of the YEAR MY BOOK CAME OUT, you are dead wrong, friend. 😉 I won’t wax poetic about my own work, but I will let a review on Amazon do it for me. This book is the gift for ANYONE in your circle of friends or family if this resonates with you in ANY way:
“Cured by Nature is a fabulous book for those in any stage of of their wellness journey. Since reading this book, I have really found myself approaching life with a more positive outlook. Cured by Nature gives practical advice on how to utilize natural alternatives for a variety of issues from depression, anxiety, skin issues and pain among some others. The suggestions are easily accessible and won’t break the bank. Tara’s science background allows her to explain how and why things work in our bodies but at a level that everyone can understand.
I would suggest this book to anyone who’s looking to improve their lives. Absolutely what I needed to read right now. I will never give this book up. It is such a powerful, eye-opening book!”
Books. I’m really not sure where – or who – I’d be without them.
I remember devouring books from as young as 3 and 4. Memorizing them. Caring for them like little baby dolls. Realizing, all at once, like a big bang burst of lightning straight to my heart, that people wrote them. People. Ordinary, every day people. Wow. What an great thing to be able to do!
Now, as a bestselling author myself, I have a brand new appreciation for where books have allowed me to get in my life and how they’ve formed me.
(This is me crying when Cured by Nature came in the mail for the first time!)
Recently I’ve been getting questions about what some of my favorite books are, so I want to share with you 5 books that have truly shaped my life.
I am not exaggerating when I say that Autobiography of a Yogi is the BEST book I have ever read.
You know that one book that you have copies of just laying around to give to your friends? This is that book for me.
When Autobiography came into my life in 2011, the timing could NOT have been better. I was lost, confused, and about to embark on one of the most arduous, heart breaking, life-affirming, crazy journeys I’d ever been on! Autobiography was handed to me and it truly, truly changed the course of my life. There is something in here for everyone. My one critique is that the beginning is a bit slow, and I’ve seen people put it down because of that. Don’t! You owe it to yourself to experience the magic in this amazing book.
There is roughly 1 miracle per page, all told from the perspective of Yogananda, who is now regarded as one of the great spiritual figures of our time. Born in northern India, he came to the United States in 1920, where for more than 30 years he taught the ancient science of meditation and the art of balanced spiritual living. Yogananda writes with humility, love and eloquence about his entire life – from his early memories in the womb until his death (one that he predicted to his students.) To paraphrase one of the best reviews on Amazon, in all my reading in spirituality, yoga, and comparative religion, I have discovered no other body of work that so completely embraces the concept that yoga science (the whole science, not just the athletic postures) will offer you ”undreamed-of possibilities” as Yogananda’s autobiography. This book brought it home for me.
A bonus? Any time someone sees that you are reading this book, you’ll make an instant new friend. Today, I live just blocks away from The Self Realization Temple and Self Realization Fellowships, which Yogananda founded. Talk about a life changer!
I had the privilege of meeting Richard Branson this year at a Grammy After-Party at the Playboy Mansion (not to bragalicious, but I also met Buzz Aldrin that night and YES – it was the BEST.NIGHT.EVER) and the first thing I said to him was, “Man I LOVE your books!”
I’m not sure he gets that a lot.
Of all the things Richard has done with his life, his concise but action-packed, wisdom filled books are probably not up there with the things people clammer to verbally assault him about. But truthfully, they’re great.
Screw It – Let’s Do It is my favorite so far. It’s the closest to an autobiography I’ve ever read from Branson, with witty, laugh-out-loud parts and a lot of insight to boot. He gives you a look into his start in business and even delves into many hurdles he’s faced (and overcome) as a businessman. Plus – it’s a light read. Finished it in a day.
I’ve read this book no less than 20 times, and every single time I learn something brand new and amazing about myself.
Written by one of the world’s most highly respected leadership experts, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is the fictional story of Julian Mantle, a successful businessman whose spiritual crisis sent him on an extraordinary odyssey to find his true purpose in life. This book is beyond delightful, beautifully written and completely uplifting. Julian finds himself at the kitchen table of an old business associate, waxing poetic about his spiritual journey, and I truly believe that every single page has some beautiful guidance for anyone who is just beginning or far into their own spiritual path. Written with beautiful anecdotes about what’s truly important at the end of the day.
I picked this book up the DAY after my Dad passed away, and the first chapter is all about how Deepak dealt with his Dad’s death. I was… astounded. Could not have come into my life at a better time and really, truly set a beautiful stage for my own healing process.
Chopra writes of death, “Imagine yourself into a new form with a new location in space and time.”
This book explains healing on a level only Deepak can: eloquently, scientifically and poetically. You’ll take a personal excursion into healing, life, death and afterlife with scientific facts, studies and personal experiences. This incredible work reveals truths about ourselves, the universe, and this longitudinal mystery that we know as our daily life. Chopra’s book not only lifts the spirit, but opens up doors that many authors won’t even touch. Deepak gives us the tools, insights, and knowledge that can truly change and alter our world if we are open to letting them. If you’re seeking answers, I can guarantee you that you’ll find at least some of them in this book.
I am truly a musical theater girl at heart, and this book appealed to the performer in me a lot!
Todd bought this for me awhile ago (he knows I love her!) and it was a beautiful surprise. Lucille writes so candidly and honestly about her life, from working her way up the long showbiz ladder up to running her own Hollywood empire, it’s not surprising she kept her autobiography shelved for decades. She makes you feel like you’re in it with her, which is my favorite part!
On top of that, it’s a must have for any busy business-woman for one reason alone: to bring yourself back to a time where women got the short end of everything, and a 40 year old actress has still somehow successfully made a name for herself. Seriously entertaining, insightful and inspiring. A wealth of detail and information about her life, the entertainment industry, and how she completely (and almost single-handedly!) revolutionized television and the role women play in it. Written with wisdom in Lucy’s authentic voice, which I just adore.
Today, 70 percent of all Americans are on some kind of prescription drug for anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders. Most modern medical professionals will tell you these synthetic pills – with their often debilitating side-effects – are the only option…
Healing is a holistic process between the mind and body that can be attained through returning to ingredients provided by the earth. Scientist turned blogger Tara Mackey shares her own experiences with stress, depression, and anxiety and teaches you how to break free from these crippling cycles.
Growing up, Tara suffered from dependency on various prescription drugs for depression, anxiety, and ADHD. At age twenty-four, she decided that enough was enough and quit her prescription meds cold-turkey in search for happiness. Today, she is drug-free, stress-free, and happy.
Cured by Nature is Tara’s personal story combined with her knowledge and advice to battling personal demons and coming out victorious. Follow Tara as she shows you how to adapt and grow, using various herbal remedies, breathing exercises, and mind-strengthening techniques that will help you be a happier and better you.
Step out of the pharmacy and into your own backyard to be Cured by Nature!
Time to pinch myself! My new book, Cured by Nature, is available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble and Amazon! (cue happy dance!)
It will be published in February 2016. Yes, you will be able to buy it in bookstores (ahhhhh!) and there will be digital versions available as well!
Get it today and receive a mega discount. February is right around the corner and this book is a true gift to yourself for the new year! I just went to New York City to do some press for Cured by Nature… It was a dream come true! I met with the amazing folks at Good Housekeeping, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar to discuss the book! You can check it out on instagram here, here and here.
Also, I hope you’ll join me December 12th in Portland for Green Festival! I will be giving the keynote speech at 2 pm and I could not be more happy or excited to share this message with you!❤Green Festival is the largest and longest-running sustainability event in the United States, now in their 14th year. Join the Green Festival Marketplace by exploring over 250 exhibitors, learning from over 50 inspirational speakers, and enjoying Portland’s incredible scenery and atmosphere!
The Detox Market was kind enough to send this over during some dry winter months here in So Cal, but the scent, the feel, the ultimate shine you get from this product is perfect for spring. To say I am obsessed with this dreamy, creamy body butter would be an understatement. There’s not a single night I didn’t use this since the day I opened it! It smells like you’ve waltzed through a lavender field and feels like you’ve dipped yourself in melted, whipped butter. So, so divine! This is great on my legs and feet during spring when I can finally get out those shorter dresses and show off some sexy sheen!
Yeah, yeah. We all love our paisley pinks and flower crowns, but what about your spring date nights and gallery openings and dinners with friends on the town, enjoying the warm, crisp air? Spring is my favorite time to bust out a good red lip, and it doesn’t get sexier (or more perfectly red) than Nudus Australia’s Revenge. Definitely a night time, driving down the highway with the wind in your hair on the way to the beach feel, and I love it that way! Totally natural, organic, super pigmented and long lasting, this color has the added benefit of looking amazing on every skintone and healing your lips as you wear it.
Spring is my time to indulge. I always tend to get super busy around this time, as my East Coast friends emerge from hibernation and projects kick into high gear with new energy. That said, I’m always looking for a great way to wind down, and this girlie, natural Epsom salt soak is where it’s at! I adore the packaging as well as the high quality ingredients. Some nights I will bring a chair into the bathroom and fill the tub up over my feet with warm water, then relax and read a book, using this to scrub and then soak my feet and legs. On nights where I have a little more time, I throw a handful into my bath water and take a long, luxurious bath. It smells incredible and has awesome anti inflammatory and anti septic benefits! I really like this foot soak product, but I’m aware that other people may not. And that’s fine, it’s all about finding the right product for you so you can feel the full benefits. Some people I know have tried this ion cleanse detox foot bath and have said that it works wonders for helping them to relax after a hard day at work. I may decide to try this when I want to try something else, as they have said that they prefer this product over many others. But for now, I’m going to stick to the Dream Nuage Vanilla Bean Foot Soak.
I’ve mentioned the Oculus eye serum here, here and here because well… I am obsessed with it (no shame!) Not only do I happily call Josh Rosebrook a friend, he’s a genius when it comes to formulating his products. You won’t find willy nilly or fly by popular ingredients in Josh Rosebrook’s creations. Instead, each ingredient is hand selected by Josh to benefit a wide variety of skin and hair problems using phytochemicals, plant extracts and an organic powerhouse of Ayurvedic naturals. Oculus is no exception. Oculus brightens, tones, and regenerates. When we spoke about it in person, Josh said that Oculus had been a dream of his to create for a long time, because our eye area is so sensitive, as it’s thinner than the rest of the face. That means it needs to be treated differently than the rest of the face! He chose anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing, high end and potent ingredients that truly do the trick; Camelina, Hempseed, Sunflower, Almond oils and awesome herbs like skullcap, echinacia, and the amazing eyebright (a plant that has awesome anti-inflammatory benefits – it literally treats pink eye!)
These go to work overnight on tired, dry or puffy eyes. I recently used Oculus while I was doing my book edits and not sleeping quite as well (YOU try waking up to inspiring thoughts every 30 minutes and we’ll see what your eyes look like in a week! 😛 ) I saw results immediately. The very next morning I woke up with less bags under my eyes, reduced darkness and no puffiness at all! It was magic. I’ve continued to use it every night since to better and better results. I am even using less concealer under my eyes every day, it works so well!
Laurel Whole Plant Organics was one of the first brands I ever blogged about. For good reason. They keep getting better and better. I mean, Wow. I was lucky enough to meet Laurel a few months ago on my trip to San Francisco (and I’ll be hugging her again and her studio opening this week!) Talk about an eye serum that will stay at the top of my beauty cabinet – within arms reach – forever. NEVER stop making this, Laurel! Never!
Laurel’s Eye Serum is a one drop wonder! One drop is enough to cover under both eyes (with a little left over). I absolutely adore the scent, the amazing, pure and organic ingredients, Laurel’s awesome philosophy and of course, how great it works! Do you suffer from dark circles, puffiness, or are you overtired and stressed? This takes care of them all! I saw results overnight! It was great – I had honestly never experienced anything like it!
I am privileged to call Dana, founder of Gem+Remedy, a dear friend. She’s awesome, thoughtful, kind, creative and extremely giving. This collaboration between Gem+Remedy and BeauTeaBar is inspired to help you get good skin! It’s made with Moss Agate (for healing infections and inflammation) Peridot (to naturally heal the skin), Azurite (for healthy skin and teeth) and Aventurine to renew the skin and bring forth your inner glowing radiance. I adore this brand collab, this message and have been wearing this bracelet non stop. I’ll admit – I’ve truly experienced better skin, and can’t wait to continue to see the affects from this addition to my skincare ritual. Gem+Remedy is really magical.
Satori made it’s debut a few weeks ago, and Lina was kind enough to gift me a full and sample size, which I’ve really, truly been loving! Lina is truly an inspiration. Watch this video when you get a chance for a serious creativity injection. Everything Lina makes is totally amazing, organic and beautiful. Satori was inspired by Lina’s travels to the far East, with warm vanilla, sexy sandalwood and crisp yuzu and ginger, this perfume oil is a must have. I rub it on my wrists for a quick bout of aromatherapy. It’s inviting and refreshing while also being completely delightful. Perfect for every day wear as it’s not overpowering, and also great on the neck during date nights and encased in sustainable marula oil, I can’t get enough of this. A perfect scent for spring!
The Detox Market gifted me this as well and I couldn’t have been more excited to try it! This gorgeous brightening stick from W3ll People makes for the perfect subtle highlight along cheekbones, eyelids, and my nose! I adore this for completing a fresh spring look. It looks great with or without a little powder over it and wears well all day. Looks great on the outside of lids for a beautiful, sun kissed effect to brighten and sculpt the entire face.
Argan Oil, Sea Buckthorn, Camellia Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Rosehip Oil. This cell serum powerhouse by Biodara has it all, and the Founder Mimi, has my heart. She recently stopped by the Waxelene booth at Expo West, where I was happily working away, and we got to chat for a few minutes. Her story and her commitment to healthy living is a dream. I long to find Founders with ethics like Mimi’s, and I’m privileged to have met someone with a passion like hers as well. I adore this Cell Refresh Serum for my oil cleansing as well as using it as a daily moisturizer for my whole face. I will take a warm, wet towel, apply a few drops the Biodara Cell Refresh Face Serum to my face by patting it gently into my skin, let it sit for a minute and then wash my face with the warm towel for a rejuvenating mini facial. Then, I apply 3 drops of the oil for full coverage. It looks beautiful under makeup and is beyond incredible for creating plump, refreshed looking skin.
Speaking of Waxlene, it’s no secret that I absolutely love them to pieces. True story: I was in line at Whole Foods the other week, and a young woman two people in front of me asked the cashier if they had any Waxelene. The cashier thought for a moment, and then replied, “ Oh! You mean the best lip balm ever?”
Waxelene debuted their lip balm in June to rave reviews, and I am obsessed. I have a tube in every bag I own, in my backpack, in my car, with my camping gear, in my bathroom, next to my bed. I just don’t go anywhere without it. Anything you would use Vaseline for… just use this, instead! Totally natural, organic, no petroleum or the nasty stuff you find in Vaseline and Carmex. Just good for you ingredients! Waxelene is also great to put on the base of your plants during spring time to prevent bugs from climbing them and munching. Try it and see! For only $3.99 you really can’t go wrong!
When I met Katie a few months ago at The Detox Market, she admitted that out of her whole line, that Infinite Love was (at the time) her favorite. I can totally see why! They gave these out on the set of Ted 2, a movie I acted in over the summer. This mist is perfect for Spring, for attracting love and light and good energy into your life. I firmly believe in this mist and all it’s incredible properties. It promotes love for yourself as well as for others, and smells like exquisite rose, mandarin and Lotus Wei’s signature honey scent. I’ve been using this for over 5 months now, spraying some onto my pillow at night and misting myself throughout the day. I love it!
Local, organic, caffeine free and totally amazing. Buddha Teas are just right down the street from me. They sell them at my local market and I am so proud of what these guys have accomplished in such a short amount of time! I ADORE their line of Chakra Teas. Each tea is designed around a different chakra and infused with specific, natural and ayurvedic herbs designed to increase your connection to that chakra. Root Chakra tea has been my jam lately. With super food dandelion and calming clove, I sip this all day long and also right before bed at night for an a sense of well being, mental clarity and stability. It is the spine chakra, which promotes your connection to the earth. For my readers: Get 10% off your order with coupon code ORGANICLIFE at checkout.
What a beauty! This is flower power in a nutshell. A gorgeous elixir of super powerful healing oils, CoQ10 complex and vitamin C, my skin can’t get enough of this amazing oil from Kypris. The packaging and the galant glass bottle are to-die-for, and the kosher, highly potent ingredients make this a must have for sensitive skin, acne prone like mine. It smells like a rose garden and feels like you’ve treated yourself to an expensive facial and can finally turn off and relax. Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet also contains stearyl glycyrrhetinate, which is an isolate from licorice that helps reduce flakiness and restore skin’s natural balance. Super moisturizing and it makes an incredible before bedtime ritual. A great scent for spring, too. It reminds me of decadent flowers in bloom!
Not only is Adina one of my favorite brand owners, mastering the most simple ingredients and packaging them into pretty powerhouse’s in her line SW Basics of BK, she’s a great, witty writer. I’ve been loving her first book, Skin Cleanse – a great how-to that gives you a deeper insight into your skin. Perfect for a spring or summer read, or just a perky pick up for anyone looking to delve deeper into their own skin issues, I adore this book! With cute but insightful chapters like You Are What Your Great-Grandmother Ate, to adorable illustrations that go along with her narrative, to what nasties to spot in your cosmetic ingredients, I’d say Adina’s made a large charge into the literary world of green beauty, and she’s done it with much grace and humor.
Spot any green beauty favorites for spring? What have you been rocking out with since the flower’s bloomed?
Where do I even begin? As many of you know, lately I’ve been a lot busier than usual. It’s been taking me a little while to get back to e-mails and phone calls and I’m a little scatterbrained. That’s because… I got a book deal with Skyhorse, one of my absolute favorite publishers in NYC! It’s real! I am writing my first book!Cue shouts and handstands! I couldn’t be happier. This has been an absolute dream come true for me! I’ve gotten through a good chunk of my memoir/guide to healthy living, Cured By Nature (yes! That’s the title! Squee!) in a really short amount of time. The words have been pouring out of me! It’s due out in 2016! My editors and I are working very hard to bring you the best, most beautiful, comprehensive, up to date, fun, funky, inspiring, incredible gem of a book that you will be proud to hold in your hand and take on your journey. Just to show how synchronized the world is, I am writing it on the very gardens and the very beach that Yogananda wrote about in Autobiography of a Yogi (mentioned in this post back last September), the book that got me to quit all my prescribed drugs, start meditating daily and move to California. It couldn’t be any more perfect! The book is glorious and I am so, so proud of it! The amount of radical, incredible things that brought this together can barely be named. The amazing people who reached out to me, the crazy journey that this blog and even just this year have taken me on, I cannot feel any more love in my heart. It’s a true testament to hard work and wellness. I did an interview over on M.Parke Studio with more information on how you can get involved and more about what Cured By Nature is all about! For this book, I am accepting personal stories about health, diet, fitness, mental health, happiness, wellness and testimonials from you about your journey, because it’s important for me to include as many stories as I can in this book, get as many perspectives as possible, and create an empowering network with all of you. I am also writing about green beauty and greening up your life, so if you think there are any brands that MUST be included in this book, don’t hesitate to send them my way! Because I am distributing through a major publisher, you’ll be able to find it on Amazon, Kindle and your local B&N, but if you think there is another bookstore that Cured By Nature needs to grace the shelves of, let me know! I also need some of you amazing bloggers, magazines and journalists to read it pre-sale so we can get some awesome, educated reviews! Feel free to reach out to me right here if you’re interested in any of that loveliness! If you want to participate or if you want to be the first to know when the book is released, just type your name right here: [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"] I am so excited for this next step in my journey, and so pumped to share this very special project with you!