Bougie Contributors’ Summer Must Reads

Summer is almost here! That means lazy Saturdays by the pool with a cold glass-a-somethin’ and a great book. Here’s our summer must reads. What are you planning to read this summer?



Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Since reading Tina Fey’s Bossypants, I’ve become a freak for celebrity memoirs. From theatre kid in Dayton Ohio to mega heartthrob of the eighties, Rob’s done it all and tells his story with humor and sincerity. Plus, he’s adorable and this book has pictures. You’re welcome.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

I first heard of David Sedaris when listening to the podcast This American Life. Sedaris is an incredibly skilled storyteller who weaves together wit, humor and heartfelt images into a truly unique literary experience. I recommend all of his books but am looking forward to jumping into this one soon!



And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

You know how there are some books and authors you get so excited about that you tell people about them because they’re just that good?  Hosseini is one of those authors and his works are those books.

And The Mountains Echoed comes out Tuesday!  I will be MIA next weekend.



My summer must read is a book I haven’t read yet, but I really, really want to. It’s Debbie Reynolds’ memoir Unsinkable. She’s one of my favorite actresses (and one of the few still living from my favorite era of film). I saw her in concert once, and she was hilarious, even when she was talking about some of the most heartbreaking moments of her life.



Einstein’s Dreams

Under the Tuscan Sun

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

The Alchemist



Manners by Kate Spade

I’ve had Manners in my bookcase for a few months now and I’m eager to sit back and spend an afternoon reading it! Kate Spade fills the pages of her book with great etiquette advice. Manners tackles important formalities that are essential to know when developing into a chic young woman. From table manners to dressing disasters, Kate Spade covers it all. I’m looking forward to reading this book and learning the in’s and out’s of being a true lady.

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd


The Law of Love by Laura EsquivelMargaret Sayers Peden (Translator)

When French Women Cook: A Gastronomic Memoir by Madeleine Kamman

Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass by Karen BlixenIsak Dinesen

5 Must Reads For Budding Entrepreneurs

I took a look at my circle of friends recently and realized something: they are all in varying stages of entrepreneurship, myself included. All of us have something else in common: we love to read. So this got me to thinking, starting your own business is an exciting yet stressful adventure. Entrepreneurship is both left and right brained, engaging you creatively but also challenging your organizational and financial skills. Perhaps you’ve always dreamt of owning your own company, or a great idea has recently possessed you but you don’t know where to start. First off, reach out through your sphere and contact those individuals who have successfully started a business. This could be a professor, aunt, past employer, friend, you name it. Secondly, get to reading! There are some fantastic books on entrepreneurship that help you put a game plan together and stay the course. After reaching out to that same circle of friends, I’ve put together a list of five great reads to get you started!

1. Start Something that Matters by TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie. Mycoskie’s book is an ideal read for the social entrepreneur. As you may know, for every shoe purchased by a customer of TOMS, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to someone in need. And that’s what social entrepreneurship is all about: creating a business that goes beyond profit and creates positive social change.

2. Drive by Daniel H. Pink. Generation X and Y have pretty bad reputations in regards to work ethic if you didn’t know. I could get on my soapbox about this, but I’ll save that for another time! Pink’s book focuses on what motivates us and gives us satisfaction in our life, whether it is career satisfaction or personal satisfaction. Find out how to utilize the ideas of autonomy, mastery and purpose to create your business.

3. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This is a godsend for anyone in the arts. Whether you are a blogger, choreographer, actor, novelist, dancer – okay you get the picture – this book is for you. Set up as a 12 week program, her system is quite powerful and through some kind of magic manages to hold you accountable. Through “morning pages” and weekly tasks, the artistic entrepreneur learns dedication and self-nurturing.

4. Just Start was created by several masterminds: Leonard Schlesinger, Charles Kiefer, and Paul B. Brown. These three gentlemen bring both research and personal experience to help others create success for themselves “in a world where you can no longer plan or predict your way to success.” Just Start works as a guide for a wide variety of projects whether they be professional or personal.

5. Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne is a great fit for the uber-business minded entrepreneur or anyone looking to create an “uncontested market space” rather than battling their competition to the death! Whether you love systems or need help implementing systems to create your business, check it out.

National Poetry Month

“Let me not the marriage of true minds admit impediments… “ –William Shakespeare

“Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me…” – Emily Dickinson

“Two roads diverged in the yellow woods…” – Robert Frost

“i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)…” – e.e. cummings

Truth: March is NOT National Poetry month.  (It’s April.)
Truth: I am not sorry for catching your attention, so listen up…POETRY can save your life! Your aesthetic life, that is.

If you are not already a self-defined poet or poetry lover, allow me a few moments to persuade you to feel otherwise. Poetry is an incomparable expression of the heart through words. Whether you are a seasoned poetry aficionado or a closet wanna-be, here a few tips for claiming one of history’s favorite pastimes for your own story.

  • Start reading. Go to the library stacks or Friends of Library book sale, discover a local used bookstore, commandeer the aisle in Barnes and Noble, go online in the comfort of a coffee shop or your own room and just READ different poems. Immerse yourself in the great tradition.


  • Once you’ve become familiar with different styles, you can decide if you prefer free-verse, rhyme, sonnets, long, short, wordy, simple, etc. Go with a gut feeling, initial reaction, and ease of deciphering the meaning. Before you try to expand your repertoire, decide on something that speaks to your heart and don’t be afraid to get intimate with it. Read your poem(s) in the morning, on your lunch break, in the car before you make the evening commute. Sit with it, live it, breathe it.


  • Once you find a few poems that you like, notice any similarities. Are they from the same time period, written by mostly men or women, from a certain cultural background? Do they follow a rigid pattern or recipe (i.e. Sonnets have 14 lines, the last two being a rhyming couplet, no exceptions…)? Do they focus on nature, relationships, history, a lover, a lost pet?


  • Get a journal and copy down your favorites. Depending on the style of journal, you may be able to “categorize” new discoveries for easier finding.


  • As you read through your poems, new and old, notice punctuation and allow it to interpret your pace. Look for words to color your meaning: quickly (say quickly), smoothly (take your time, rolling the word in your mouth before releasing), etc.


  • If you want to be SUPER classy and cultured, try committing poems to memory to pull out for parties, romantic afternoons, or your babysitting charges before they head to sleep. Practice alone in your car, sing the lines slowly to get an emotional range. Recite them in the shower through the steam as if you were on a hill surrounded by the mist of an early morning and Mr. Darcy himself were walking towards you. If you think it’s silly, imagine the man of your dreams quoting a romantic poem to you before a sweet kiss…then try and tell me it’s silly!

May your life be filled with romantic aestheticism this March!