A Few Of Our Favorite Things: Our Self-Care Picks from Shine HQ
At Shine HQ, we have a lot of favorite things (cue Julie Andrews).
That's why we share what we're listening/reading/watching/using—plus our community's picks—in Shine Weekly, our Sunday newsletter to help you ease into the week.
Here you can find all the things we love in one place. And if you haven't yet: Sign up to get Shine Weekly here!
"Honestly: I'm sad that I read this book so fast because it was such a treat. It's about a therapist's journey navigating a bad breakup, her relationship with her therapist, and a look into her relationship with her clients. It made me laugh, cry, and remember that everyone has a lot that they're struggling with." — __Colleen, Shine HQ
"Now that we're a few months into the pandemic, I felt like it was time to do something about that 'time doesn't exist' feeling I had. Solution: This planner notepad. I use it to keep track of the date plus all the weekly to-dos I have outside of work, like catching up with people, running errands, exercising, and planning my grocery list. It's a gamechanger—and so satisfying to cross off completed tasks." — Haley, Shine HQ
"This book is the lightly thrilling read I needed right now. It's about a group of friends who work for a New York women's co-working space—and what happens when the main founder goes missing. There are so many twists and turns that will keep you interested, and it's a perfect read to mentally escape for a little bit." — Haley G., Shine HQ
"I'm late to reading Isabel Allende, but I think I found her at just the right time. A Long Petal of the Sea—her latest book—is a transportive, moving read about love and connection that follows two people fleeing the Spanish Civil War. It's a story of resilience across generations and continents, which is just what I needed during these uncertain times." — Haley G., Shine HQ
"As soon as I finished How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, I flipped to the beginning and started reading it again. While the title sounds self help-ish, it’s actually a beautifully crafted dissection of our current attention economy and how we live our lives in a world that requires us to Always Be On. It’s not an exaggeration to say it changed how I think about and view the world, and left me feeling more optimistic about the future than I have in quite some time.” —Alicia A., Brooklyn, NY
"Representation in literature is so important to me as a reader, so when I discovered Well Read Black Girl and this beautiful collection of essays, I was moved beyond belief. It's a beautiful time capsule that showcases the power of seeing yourself in the media you consume—especially in books." —Martha T., Shine HQ
"This beautiful book is a beautiful examination of a family, the power of community, and more. It tackles the pillars of what makes up a human experience—life, death, and love—in an authentic and profound way through a series of characters based in Brooklyn's Park Slope. Read it if you're in the mood for a profound family story." — Martha T., Shine HQ
"Feminist and academic bell hooks has been sharing her wisdom for decades, and if you're unfamiliar with her work, then her book All About Love is a great place to get familiar. It's a timeless look at all different kinds of love we can find in life—from romantic to familial to self-love. She shares so much insightful information on how to navigate your search for love, uncover your values, and more. This book will definitely leave you with plenty to reflect on." — Martha T., Shine HQ
"I loved this book! It made me feel so much nostalgia for old-time New York. I could vividly imagine each character, and it touched on so many experiences and emotions: friendship, family, tragedy, glamour, resilience, growth. 100% would recommend." — Kara C., New York, NY
"It’s like a mild, more contemplative 'Zombieland-meets-Jia-Tolentino' take on the monotony of millennial life, and I loved every second of it. It follows Candace, a millenial moving on after the passing of her parents who were Chinese immigrants. It touches on family, current society, and the end-of-the-world—all with satire throughout. Definitely a must-read!" — Mia L., Brooklyn, NY
"It’s an interactive “dating” book that ultimately helps you better understand yourself so that dating becomes less stressful because you know who you are, what you want, and how to get it. It’s more of a self improvement book rather than a dating book and I really appreciated that. It’s usually always in my purse because it’s just super insightful and also a great conversation starter." — Sierra M., Shine HQ
"A colleague told me about this book after I told her I was looking to read more from LGBTQIA+ people. I’d never heard of the late activist and Chicana journalist Jeanne prior to the recommendation—which is shocking now that I know how much she contributed to the movements for Lesbian Rights and Women’s Liberation. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good memoir and/or is looking to expand their knowledge of LGBTQIA+ history!" — Cai T., Chicago, Il.
A huge pet peeve about journaling the old fashioned way: smudged ink. These pens are so good for jotting down your thoughts and getting everything out there without worrying about the ink smearing as you write. Plus, they feel so smooth on most kinds of paper—and make you feel fancy just using 'em.
"This was the last book I read in 2019 and the perfect read before I jumped into my 2020 goals. It helps you understand how your habits direct your day, and it gives you the tools to change the ones that don't serve you and build new habits that do. My focus for 2020 is to take control of my worry habit, and this book gave me strategies that I know will help." — Haley G., Shine HQ
"This book is based on the true story of author Bryan Stevenson, a young lawyer who defended Walter McMillian—a man sentenced to die for a crime he insisted he did not commit. This winter, the incredible story of their case will come to life on the big screen thanks to the work of Michael B. Jordan (who plays Bryan) and Jamie Foxx (who plays Walter). It’s a stirring book that will move you to stand up for justice whenever it may be under threat.” — Martha T., Shine HQ
"I can’t remember the last time I blew through a book so quickly. Bassey Ikpi reaches into some of her most painful and blurry but critical memories to illustrate her reckoning with Bipolar II and the small and big ways it presented itself throughout her childhood and adulthood. It’s honest, poetic, gut-wrenching, and one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read." — Samra S., Brooklyn, NY
This pleated midi skirt "I can't wait to wear this beautiful pleated midi skirt! I love that it can be easily dressed up or down. Plus: The elastic waist band helps me stay comfy during all these holiday meals!" — Angela H., New York, NY
"I was drawn to the alluring cover and the intriguing title, but I stayed for the thought-provoking and heart-wrenching story. This book is written in the form of a letter from a young Vietnamese immigrant to his mother. He shares and grapples with his race, socioeconomic status, and sexuality and the impact these things had on him as a child and teenager. This book left me wanting to continue to share my thoughts and feelings with the people I care about most and reminded me that putting pen to paper can be so healing and empowering." — Caroline W., Seattle, WA
This book is the newly-minted winner of the 2019 National Book Award for fiction—which means it's most definitely worth picking up yourself. It's set in the 1980s and follows students at a competitive performing arts high school, chronicling the ups and downs of their relationships. As the judges of the National Book Awards noted, this read is "timely, mesmerizing, and, in the end, unsettling." Brace yourself for an unexpected ending.
Jasmine Guillory is a master at contemporary romance—and she doesn't fall short with Royal Holiday. The book follows Vivian Forest, who travels to England for the first time only to get swept up in an international love with the Queen's secretary. Oh, did we mention this book was inspired by a tweet about Meghan Markle's mother? Yup—it's a must-read.
It's officially burrito blanket season—and what better way to curl up than in a blanket that actually looks like a tortilla? Yes, it's pretty ridiculous, but it's also a great way to stay comfy and laughing as the days get shorter and colder.
If you're like any of us at Shine HQ, you understand the struggle of keeping house plants alive (send good vibes to our office fiddle leaf, please!). This small book is a visual guide to taking care of the plants in your life—plus, it looks great on a coffee table or bookshelf.
"This neck pillow is a great height, so when you're falling asleep your head doesn't bobble around. It's a perfect travel companion for us middle seat warriors. It also packs really small, which is perfect for traveling for the holidays." — Mia L., Shine HQ
"I’m so excited to read this book because I loved Shrill, the show based on Lindy’s first book. The book offers cultural critiques on life in the midst of the #MeToo movement. Lindy’s known for being empowering and outspoken on topics like misogyny, and I’m here for that!" — Mia L., Shine HQ
This year, I decided to write a personal ‘thank you’ note to people who are important to me. It’s mainly a reflective activity for my own joy. A couple of writing points that I plan to use:
-What I admire about this person -Why is this person important to me -A tender/favorite moment shared with this person -What I hope to be able to do more with this person next year.
— Sandy M.
"There’s a special place in my heart for historical fiction, and especially Maaza Mengiste’s work. Her latest, The Shadow King, shines a light on the untold stories of Ethiopian women in the midst of war in 1935 invasion. As a first generation Ethiopian-American, I had heard stories about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia for years, but Maaza does an incredible job of crafting the specific of a young woman named Hirut during a politically fraught time. It’s beautiful, heart wrenching, and really hard to put down." — Martha T., Shine HQ
If you’re looking for a toolkit to help you handle the stress in your life, this book is it. A lot of self-care books tend to be too repetitive, but Own It manages to be actionable without being dense. It's packed with so many tricks—it covers everything from embracing vulnerability to how to manage random "mind traps" with breathing and thought exercises.
"This nonfiction book is written by the two New York Times reporters who exposed producer Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual harassment and abuse—a story that helped kickstart today's #MeToo movement. I'm left in awe of the tenacity of the reporters and the strong, compassionate network they created (which included some of Hollywood's top actresses) to get the interviews they needed to publish the story and hold Weinstein accountable." — Haley G., Shine HQ
"Sometimes good ol' pen & paper is just what the doctor ordered. I’ve been struggling to stay positive lately, so the other day I bought a small notebook and these pens to keep by my bed for some nighttime journaling. It’s become a nice, super simple practice that’s made even more fun by the cute colors & ability to doodle whatever I want in the margins." — Mia L., Shine HQ
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, Ph.D. "I love non-fiction, and this book is one of a few I would consider both eye-opening and life-changing—and it's in a statistical, data-backed way, not a woo woo way (which I have nothing against either!). The sooner you read this book, the better your life will be." — Erin T., Champaign, IL
These sleep masks "I thought I was getting quality rest—but then I tried a sleep mask and my Zzzs dramatically changed for the better. I didn’t realize how much light from clocks/street lamps/cars distracted me at night. The mask also serves as a signal to my brain that it's officially bedtime—sleep mask on means time to get off Instagram. All in all: It's a simple and effective solution to improve my sleep hygiene!" — Martha T., Shine HQ
"I absolutely loved this book. It's an amazing glimpse into the stories we can create within our own heads and how these can differ from the truth & people's real intentions. It helps me remember that I don't know the whole story when interacting with others & inspires me to share more openly and authentically about how I'm feeling." — Alison C.
This dog hiking backpack "My rescue pup Lucy (the unofficial Shine HQ dog) got a chance to go on her first-ever hike this weekend thanks to this handy dog backpack. It's a comfy pack for both human and pup, and it let her enjoy the fall foliage without getting too tired. Enjoy her cuteness below." — Haley G., Shine HQ
"I loved this book because it had a great balance of how female friendships have evolved over time, both from a sociological perspective as well as in pop culture (think: Leslie Knope & Ann Perkins). I learned a lot, laughed a lot, and was reminded a lot of my best friends (shout-out to Emily, Kathleen, and Tiina!)." — Colleen W., Shine HQ
These nifty bag hooks "I absolutely love these bag hooks. I am a self-proclaimed 'bag lady' who lugs her entire home around everywhere. These hooks are my secret weapon to keeping my bags in one place at work or in crowded restaurants." — Sandy M., Shine HQ
"This book is all about finding the strength and courage to go for what you want. The main character is a senior in high school who dreams of pursuing a career in culinary arts, but she's a young mom taking care of her grandma and trying to hold down a job and school—she feels torn between all her responsibilities. It's very well written, and even though it's a Young Adult book, anyone can relate to the message." — Virginia I., Los Angeles, CA
"I got this reusable Baggu tote at a food co-op in Albany this summer, and I’m so glad I did. I love how it reminds me of my childhood (my parents used to use a bag similar to this for everything back in the day), holds all my goodies, and is super trendy." — Sierra M., Shine HQ
My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams "This book was so captivating that I finished reading it in a day! Before the book was released, I read about the fake heiress in the news. I was intrigued because she lived in New York, and it made me wonder how she got away with such crazy schemes." — Stephanie W., NYC
P.S. This author is part of the Shine community!
This Automatic Card Shuffler "We got tired of shuffling our cards during a recent family weekend game night (SKIPBO, FTW), so I bought this automatic card shuffler so we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. It's a literal game-changer." — Mia L., Shine HQ
Normal People by Sally Rooney "I just finished Sally Rooney’s book Normal People. It follows Marianne and Connell, two Irish high school students over the years. I think it does a great job of showing the pushes and pulls of a relationship—sometimes it can be devastating, but overall I found it utterly stunning." — Devin P., Los Angeles, CA
This Stovetop Splatter Guard "These splatter guards keep oil from splashing all over your stove. It saves me a ton of time cleaning after cooking, and it’s dishwasher safe! It's great for bacon, burgers, or adding a large amount of veggies without them spilling out of the pan." — Angela H., Shine HQ
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo "This book was recommended to me by a dear woman friend as a searing look at female desire—and it lived up to that description. The prose is vivid and poetic, the stories painful and resonant. It's a powerful reminder of what it means and how it feels to want." — Teresa M., Brooklyn, NY
This Breezy Polka Dot Dress “As a busy co-founder and mom to a 9-month-old, I'm all about comfort when it comes to what I wear to work every day. A loose dress that makes you feel put together and like you're wearing pajamas is where it's at. My amazing neighbor & friend, Sasha, tipped me off to this $16 dress on Amazon that checks all those boxes." — Naomi Hirabayashi, Shine Co-Founder & Co-CEO
My Friend Fear by Meera Lee Patel "I just read My Friend Fear by Meera Lee Patel, and it’s pure gold. I stumbled across it at the library and read it in about 2 hours. It’s short and incredibly sweet and insightful." — Ashley C., Boulder, Colorado
This Cactus Wall Hook "As a 3x failed plant mom, I wanted to add some nature decor to my apartment that wouldn't die within 3-5 days. Enter: This $15 cactus coat rack. It's super easy to hang up, sturdy for coats and purses, and it kinda makes me light up every time I see it." — Haley G., Shine HQ
Keah Brown, a writer and disability rights advocate (she created the Twitter trend #DisabledAndCute), is making waves with her debut book of essays. In it, she explores the intersection of blackness, womanhood, disability, self-love, and more. "I will be a reminder that people like me exist and thrive and we aren't going anywhere," Brown writes. "Long gone are the days of silence and complacency."
More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth In the thought leader's own words: This memoir is for "anyone who's felt othered, overlooked, overwhelmed, underestimated, undervalued, and still chooses to overcome."
These amazing packing cubes Feel like the Marie Kondo of travel with these travel organizers—and avoid the whole sit-on-your-suitcase-to-close-it moment.
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