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Sept. 29/On my nightstand

September 29th, 2009

On my nightstand

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Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin — I’m rereading this as part of The Money Diet and inspiration for how I want to life my life. It is actually a library book I own, bought at a library sale.

Accidentally on Purpose by Mary Pols — My friend Mary wrote this. I loaned out my copy and haven’t got it back, so I have this one from the library to re-read for my bookclub this month. We chose her book this month because it is the basis for a new series (Accidentally on Purpose) starring Jenna Elfman. It is on Monday nights after How I Met Your Mother. Mary was by far the best writer at the newspaper where I used to work. I still think she is an awesome writer and inspiration. (Hers is the blurry light blue book)

The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir — I have renewed this to the limit. I’m not sure why it is taking me so long to read. I love it. I keep thinking, how the heck did I go 41 years without reading this woman? (It is the blurry red book!)

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson and the chess books — no movement here yet!

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  1. September 30th, 2009 at 06:44 | #1

    Your Money or Your Life is an interesting read. I kept my copy after reading it. Normally I donate books but this one was a keeper.

    • September 30th, 2009 at 07:34 | #2

      Stephanie,
      I’m the same way. I only keep books I love. I rarely buy books and will often check something nonfiction out from the library several times before deciding to purchase it for my library. I have two bookshelves that take center stage in my living room and they hold all the books I can’t part with. I think I’ll post a photo of them today actually.

  2. Marsi
    September 30th, 2009 at 08:27 | #3

    It seems like you finally gave the black ballet flats that your husband hates the ol’ heave-ho. I haven’t seen you wear them in a while.

    If the Beauvoir book fiction? I’ve never heard of this one.

    • September 30th, 2009 at 08:44 | #4

      Marsi,
      yes it is fiction.
      I did give those shoes the boot, so to speak.
      My husband’s opinion matters enough for me to ditch them.

  3. Marsi
    September 30th, 2009 at 09:19 | #5

    Kristi, a wise move, I think. When I’ve gone shopping with my husband and relied on his advice, the wardrobe pieces I’ve bought with him have often turned out to be my favorite things to wear. Husbands know what makes their wives look good.

  4. September 30th, 2009 at 18:55 | #6

    I miss reading 🙁 I have banned myself from reading any books or magazines while I am trying to study for my professional exam. Too bad my BF bought me the new Dan Brown book for my birthday and it is just crying out “Read me! Read me!” and I just cant right now.

    • October 1st, 2009 at 07:08 | #7

      I remember waiting for summers in college where I could read ANYTHING I wanted without any guilt!

  5. October 1st, 2009 at 07:49 | #8

    My past two summers have been spent at Graduate school, and if I don’t pass my professional exam by April then I am looking to take sabbatical this coming summer to finish it. Summer as I knew it is out of sight!

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What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.