Category Archives: must reads

4 design books worth your dime

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I’ve been waiting for this bad boy to come out for SIX months! It’s finally here, and it totally lives up to the hype. So many design books make me crazy – they’re impossibly perfect and offer no useful advice. If you’re curious, I made a list of the only 4 I’ve read that have actually been helpful during this reno. Great aspirational photos, ideas that can actually be pared down and recreated, plus oodles of real-world advice (snaps to Remodelista & Emily Henderson in particular for making this process slightly less terrifying).

You should probably just buy them all for yourself. Right now. In fact, here are some links:

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drop the act!

One of the things I have truly loved about writing this blog is the friends I’ve made along the way. Real live, in-person friends? Absolutely. But I also have a stalwart crew of amazing women who have become dear friends and people I truly admire…whom I’ve never clapped eyes on.

Beth Thomas Cohen is one of my dearest “blog friends”. She ran a fantastic PR firm for years with her bestie, and was one of the people who believed in SMC and what I was trying to do almost from Day One. Plus, she’s hilarious, brilliant and doesn’t suffer fools. How could I not love her?

So, when Beth told me she’d written a book, I was thrilled for her (and, okay, mildly jealous. The book’s about being more honest, after all.). When she told me the title, I laughed out loud and said, “Hey, how about you write something for my readers?” She immediately agreed, and we decided the thing to talk about would be how much time we all spend pretending to be a different version of ourselves on social media…which is, as you might recall, a topic I have some feelings about.

Beth’s fantastic new book, Drop the Act, It’s Exhausting!, is out this week, and it’s jam-packed with all of the sassy, savvy, real-life advice you need to keep yourself on the track to sanity. Reading it is exactly how I imagine a dinner date with Beth would be. And by the time I’d turned the last page, I was ready to hop on a plane to do just that.

Below is the piece Beth wrote for us. Read it, love it, buy the book.


The Act: I’m Throwing a Social Masquerade Party!

Why To Drop It: Because you don’t need to be at any party where you hide your true self behind a mask

I find it fascinating that the world we live in is filled with amazingly different types of personalities and people…and we waste the diversity by not getting along. Whether it’s politics, race, religion, socio-economic differences, you name it, we keep overlooking that we all have a giant thing in common: the need to be accepted.

I see this need for acceptance play out every day on social media. I mean, can you get more literal than using “likes” and “followers” as a gauge of your value? I’m no different. I too want to be liked and “followed” on social media. I can go through my Instagram feed, find a person from Qatar and see that his group of friends are having a better time than my group of friends here in NYC, and immediately feel jealousy creep in. His picture of his friends at a bar has 837 likes? Mine only has 43. What’s wrong with me?! But something dawned on me one recent morning at the beach:

Maybe those guys in Qatar were full of shit.

A few college-age girls strutted out from their car toward the shore with their obnoxious “selfie stick” in hand, took a few shots in front of the waves and another few by the boardwalk, got back into their car and drove away. I’m presuming they posted their five-minute photo shoot as an actual experience that others, like me, will actually be jealous of.

Drop the act! How is that considered “connection”? Last month I turned 40, smack in the middle of the teeter totter of life. And suddenly, instead of throwing up pointless posts, I found myself stopping and remembering the point of social media: to mix with others, not masquerade.

We have a duty to everyone to make sure that the intention behind showing our fun, our successes and acquisitions is not to make others feel small. We need to be sharing important messages mixed in with the fun. We need to use social media as a catalyst to spark important conversations, share charitable ideas, and build self-esteem. If we used social media as a platform for more important messages, life might be a little bit sweeter. Everyone might just feel better about themselves, without needing outside approval.

In my book, I talk about the masks we wear all day, every day. And social media? It’s one hell of a convincing mask. So, what if we stopped using social media as a masquerade? Try it. Not only will you discover who your “friends” really are and what you actually “like”, you’ll learn a whole lot more about yourself in the process.

Drop the Act, It’s Exhausting: Free Yourself from Your So- Called Put-together Life, by Beth Thomas Cohen, is available this very moment on Amazon and at all kinds of awesome indy bookstores, which you should absolutely support whenever possible.

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postcard: new glasses

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Can’t decide which I love more: The Royal We (out next month, but nab the first seven chapters for free right here!) or the adorbs new glasses I had to buy to speedread it. (You guys…they’re pink!)

I have a major soft spot for Fetch Eyewear – they’re a super-sweet Portland co, and proceeds go to save homeless pets. So I get cute glasses and I save a dog. No better excuse to shop, if you ask me.

Want some? You lucky ducks can save 30% on any style you want w/code SHOPCARDIO all this month. So, what are you waiting for? Go Fetch!

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must reads: summer 2014


As a rule, I’m not much of a summer person – give me a crisp September morning over a blazing July afternoon any day. But one thing I can’t get enough of this time of year is the inevitable surge of fantastic new reads. Keep your Hollywood blockbusters (seriously, how many Transformers movies are we going to be subjected to?), and give me a cozy evening at my favorite local bookstore any day. best summer books

Just now, my bedside table runneth over, friends – especially since I’ve teamed up with my new friends at Diesel Bookstore, who are geniuses at helping me discover those lesser-known “indie flick” books that are serious gems. I can hardly wait to help you stuff your beach bag to brimming with any (or all) of my new favorites. This time, I’m breaking things up into two categories – Smart Reads and Beach Reads. Because, let’s be honest…when it’s August and you’re sitting by the pool, you don’t always want Shakespeare.

Read on

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must reads: spring 2014


We are painfully overdue for a Must Reads, aren’t we? If I’m honest, it’s because the last few books I’ve read haven’t done much for me (and in some cases have been downright infuriating. Did anyone else read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle?!). But I’m pleased to tell you that I’m back on a literary high streak – a few of my favorites this month: spring 2014 books Read on

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must reads: november

November must reads, via shopping's my cardio

I have to warn you: there’s only one fiction title on this month’s Must Reads list. Not that there isn’t wonderful fiction to be found – my shelves are groaning with books I’ve yet to read – but this time of year is when the really wonderful eye candy books start to appear. The best cookbooks, design books, cheery gift books – all things you’d want to give someone for, say, a holiday that’s coming up on you faster than a freight train. I’m holding a few back for the holidays, but some are just too good to keep from you for one more moment.

Just promise me you won’t let the shortage of traditional page-turners deter you – whatever their genre, more than a few of these books are just begging to be read cover to cover.   Read on

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must reads: august

August Must Reads, via shopping's my cardio

I’ve realized summer is for books what fall is for television. There are an impossible number of truly fantastic titles in my review pile this month. So many, in fact, that I’ve been putting off this post because I quite honestly didn’t know where to start, or how to narrow my list. I’ve managed it, but it was quite the hat trick…and it’s still long. Luckily, you still have a few weeks left of those long, sun-drenched days, and I’m determined to help you spend as many of them as possible stretched out on a chaise lounge, reading a new book you can’t put down.  Read on

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august essentials

August Essentials, via shopping's my cardio

It’s August! The official month of vacations and sunbathing…or, more realistically, grinding your teeth at work while you pretend to be productive. In celebration, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite time-wasting goodies guaranteed to get your summer mojo flowin’. Just add sunscreen! Read on

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