On Being Human by Jennifer Pastiloff | Dutton | Book Review

Jennifer Pastiloff book review

On Being Human by Jen Pastiloff

Book Summary:

“Centered around the touchstone stories Jen tells in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning.

Jen did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Jen conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”   

Exuberant, triumphantly messy, and brave, On Being Human is a celebration of happiness and self-realization over darkness and doubt. Her complicated yet imperfectly perfect life path is an inspiration to live outside the box and to reject the all-too-common belief of “I am not enough.” Jen will help readers find, accept, and embrace their own vulnerability, bravery, and humanness.”

Publication Date:

June 4th, 2019

Genre:

Memoir

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

My Review:

On Being Human is the best title ever, and before this book, I had never heard of Jennifer Pastiloff…but the cover totally sold me. This book is primarily a memoir of Pastiloff’s life from childhood to present. She did not have an easy road and parts of this book were incredibly difficult to read but I so appreciated her honesty and her ability to share in such a raw and open way.

I always love memoirs and think sharing our stories is SO important, even when they are not totally relatable to us at first glance. I ended up connected so much with Pastiloff and found myself nodding along as I read. She has so much insight and wisdom but in a completely approachable manner.

I felt like she was talking to me, not down to me with her writing. And while she now leads retreats all over the world, it felt like I was just talking to a friend who happened to be introspective but also totally real. Pastiloff writes about how we talk down to ourselves and believe our own bullshit stories which can make us think we are not good enough.

Many people have tried to share this message before but it has never come across like this to me..maybe because they felt they have conquered it? Pastifloff it is relatable because this is something that is a lifelong struggle, no matter the hurdles you face and accomplishments you “achieve”. She has this humility about her that made this different than anything I have read before.

I especially appreciated her sections on her struggles with her mental health. While it isn’t exactly a “self-help” book I found so many thought-provoking lines that I kept underlining throughout.

“Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss.”

“ There will always be the one who doesn’t like you, the one who says, ‘No, you should not do this, Yes, you suck’. And we always always have two choices: keep going or shut down.”

Sometimes her honestly made me a bit uncomfortable, but I think that is what made this book so powerful. I can’t put my finger on it as it took me a bit to get into the book and I wasn’t sure about for it a while but now that I am finished, I can’t stop thinking about it. She has a unique ability to share in a way that made me think about my own choices and reactions in my life as well and it is one I won’t forget as a reader.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Coffee Talk | Currently… | school’s out for summer, a weekend escape, ALL the sunscreen & more

Book Blog

Checking-in:

It surprises me every year how quickly the transition from the end of the school year to summer mode happens. Last Friday was the last day of the school year and here we are just a week later and it feels like forever ago!

end of school photo

Adjustment period:

It has definitely been an adjustment week as we figure out how to juggle this short but intense season of the year. Some things didn’t go that smoothly and I also think that every year we learn from the previous ones so there have been a few wins too.

We are finding out groove and I am so thankful to have something that requires us to be somewhere every morning (swim team) that both boys participate in. Just having that sense of structure even if it is only for a couple of hours is super helpful!

kid in the pool

I have a babysitter for part of my work week and Lucas has them come to his office one afternoon a week. It isn’t perfect but it feels good to have a semi-structured plan so that work and family life don’t get too intertwined. Other than that, there is a lot of waking up early to get a few hours of work in and knowing that school will eventually start again in just a couple of months.

An escape to camp…

Last weekend was also Father’s Day and all Lucas wanted was for us to go to his family’s camp up in the North East Kingdom. He takes the boys a few times a year on my work weekends but I hadn’t been there in a while!

North East Kingdom

It is a little rustic but it sure is beautiful! The mountain off in the distance is Jay Peak. I shared a post about this on Instagram last Sunday but I thought it would be fun to share some of these photos here too…

Creemees of course!

On our way home, we obviously had to stop at a creemee stand and what better place to do it than the dairyland of Northern Vermont! We stopped at TJs Creemees in Sheldon and they were AMAZING. Buzz even had his first dog sundae ever! Vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter sauce and a dog biscuit. He was in heaven!!

Currently listening to…

During the school year, our car ride to school is short and sweet. After I drop the boys off I have a luxurious 20 minutes in the car to listen to whatever I like, which usually means I use the time to listen to a true crime podcast or my current audiobook.  This time of the year we have a 25ish minute drive to the pool each day and then back home again. This doesn’t seem that long but it is long enough for drama to ensue and noise levels to rise.

podcasts for kids

Podcasts for kids!

Last summer I realized the gift of podcasts that are geared towards kids! Every morning we start a podcast on our way into town and finish it on the way home. It is a game changer! The boys love it and I find them quite entertaining myself, especially this recent Smash Boom Best debate episode…Libraries versus Museums!

genthebookworm-1-2

Currently using…ALL the sunscreen & sun protection

I currently have no shame in my sun protection game but I wasn’t always that way…I was a teenager in the 90s so I obviously did all the things like going to a tanning bed and laying in the sun as much as possible…I was a lifeguard after all! 😉

06-totalbeauty-logo-the-90s-beauty-products-we-loved-the-most-ranked

I even tried “sun in” which if you also have dark brown hair, you know that is a BAD idea…ha!

“If you are a natural brunette, the very sight of this bottle could cause you a nervous breakdown. Reason: Our dreams of becoming California girls were quickly crushed when, after sunbathing on our terraces for 30 minutes, we discovered our heads looked like cantaloupes.”

-32 Beauty Products You Probably Used in the 90s

Those were the days though….We didn’t have millions of internet articles or youtube videos telling us what to do, so we just guessed (and read Seventeen magazine)…and we did learn from a lot of our mistakes…eventually…

Sun Protection

Skin cancer runs in my family and I am thankful I learned when I was relatively young the dangers of the sun. I think it was a little after college that I realized embracing my pale skin might not only be helpful but also much safer in the long run.

So I have embraced, UV protection shirts, hats & lots and lots of sunscreens.

I apply sunscreen every morning after I put on my lotion…I have tried other kinds but I always go back to the tried and true Elta MD face sunscreen. It is not greasy and it great for acne prone and sensitive skin.

Later in the day, I reapply sunblock by using the sun protection mineral power by Derma E. My friend Kari loves the Supergoop defense refresh setting mist and that has a similar effect.

sunblock for kids

For our family, we are big fans of a lotion sunscreen for good body coverage and a face stick for a no tears application for our 6-year-old…;) We have had great success with the Babo Botanicals sport stick.

The Supergoop pump is so convenient and lasts FOREVER and the Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen smells amazing and is so easy to rub in…

6e67f6f97d2dd3b4ace28efe24edb748.jpg

Currently loving…all the Pinterest Inspirational quotes!

Whenever I am feeling stressed, I find great comfort in self-help books and inspirational quotes.

self-help from the 90s

Do you remember Chicken Soup for the Soul books? I was way into those as a teenager and I think they are way got me into this whole self-help genre.

Sometimes all you need is a little reminder to just do the best you can and know you are not alone when you are having a harder day. I love searching for motivational quotes on Pinterest and sometimes post them on my @genthebookworm Instagram feed.  I do try to have some restraint because I would probably post them every day otherwise, ha!

Here are some of my recent favorites…

(images from Pinterest)


Alright, that is all I have for now. I  hope you have a wonderful rest of your Friday! <3

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids by Carla Naumburg PhD | Book Discussion & Review

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids

by Carla Naumburg, PhD

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids

Book Summary:

“Ever lose it with your kid? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Parenting is stressful, children are insane, and you’re only human. Carla Naumburg, PhD, a clinical social worker, was so at a loss with her daughters that she found herself Googling “how to stop yelling at my kids” during a particularly grueling evening. That moment led to this book—a short, empathic, insight-packed, and tip-filled program for how to manage your triggers, stop the meltdowns, and become a calmer, happier parent with calmer, happier kids.

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids not only explains why we explode at our children but also teaches us everything we need to know to decrease stress and increase patience, even in the most challenging family moments.

Based on recent research and evidence-based practices, and written in the warm, funny, instantly relatable tone of a parent who’s been there, the book guides even the most harried parents toward a new way of engaging with their children. Readers will come away feeling less ashamed and more empowered to get their sh*t together, instead of losing it.”

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

I remember so clearly the kind of parent I was going to be before I had kids…and then I became a parent. Our kids are kind, funny, curious, loving and they can totally make me lose my sh*t. We have two boys who are two years apart in age and parenting can feel like a total rollercoaster ride. No matter how hard you try, you are not going to be a perfect parent.

“When it comes to parenting, being awesome and screwing up are not mutually exclusive.” -Carla Naumburg

My Own Experience:

I can recall with such vivid memories how completely overwhelmed I was when our first son was a baby because the physically demanding aspects of parenting an infant who cried a lot and slept, umm, not a lot were 24/7. I was exhausted. As the years went by and we added a second child, not only did parenting feel physically hard but it became emotionally hard. This is also when we entered the stage of “losing our sh*t”.

You think it won’t happen to you, but then it does. Have you ever tried strapping a screeching toddler into a car seat while they are whacking you in the face while also making their entire body as straight and stiff as a board? Have you ever wanted to take a 3-minute shower without referring two children who are fighting over a toy neither one has previously played with in years? Have you ever been on a last minute work phone call and had to say “I am going to have to call you back” because you can’t hear anyone over the screeching of your children in the background of the car, who you previously explained to that you needed to make this important phone call? There are thousands of more examples, but this is just an example of how you may get to the “losing your sh*t” zone of parenting.

What This Book is About:

How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids is a relatable and approachable discussion and action guide relating to the stresses of modern-day parenting. Naumburg starts with defining why parents can sometimes lose it, and then goes into the different steps of how you work towards losing it less.

The Most Important Steps:

TRIGGERS: Understand your triggers…we all have them even though they may be very different.

AWARENESS. Know what pushes your buttons and own it.

REFLECT. Having some insight into the WHY can help you have a plan.

REDUCE TRIGGERS: Work on reducing triggers. This makes you feel less out of control and enables you to be more proactive when you get into moments of frustration.

COMPASSION. Have compassion both with yourself and with your children…and really, the world around you. When you can look at something from a more empathetic viewpoint, it is easier to own the situation and then move forward. You always have another chance to have a more positive interaction.

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. In a fast-paced world, parents are juggling more things than ever before. Finding ways to take care of yourself actually makes YOU a better parent. Find your village and support system and choose wisely when saying YES…the fewer overcommitments the fewer triggers you might have. Unitask when you are able…multitasking usually causes nothing to get done well and often results in massive frustration levels for all.

Approachable, Proactive & Real:

I found this book to be approachable and real, yet also great at calling out what our issues might be so we can be more proactive about them in the future. There was a great balance of reflection and action no matter what your situation or triggers. Naumburg strives for progress, not perfection which feels attainable when you are in the thick of it.

Naumburg discusses with great detail how to catch yourself when you are in or about to enter a “losing it” moment and has reachable suggestions such as “notice, pause and do literally anything else”. I loved the section on compassion, both with ourselves and with our children. When we lose it, which will still happen sometimes, no matter how many things we put in place to stop it, the most important thing we can do is own it.

Reconnecting with ourselves can help guide us to why we might have reacted that way and provide us an opportunity to think about practical things we can put in place to help it from happening again…such as scheduling self-care, reaching out to our support system, etc.

Another step in compassion is reconnecting with our children. Getting calm and apologizing is one of the most powerful parts we can do, not only to repair and respect our relationships with our kids but also to help them see how powerful talking through moments can be for both parties.

Final Thoughts:

I found so many parts of this book helpful and highly recommend it to any parent who is looking for proactive and attainable advice. Thank you to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.