1. Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life (1986)
“When you feel that the little things in your life are satisfying and speak specially to you, it’s amazing how outside pressures and disappointments loosen their hold. Intimate, necessary details add up to one’s private life. Select them with care because they are your life.”Alexandra Stoddard
I first came across this darling book as a teenager as it was in my mother’s collection – it had a huge impact on how I lived and organized my life from then on! One could say this book is a a mix of KonMari’s famous “spark joy” philosophy coupled with Madame Chic’s joie de vivre. Alexandra Stoddard is just brimming with ideas on how to enhance your everyday and not just save everything for a special occasion.
She imbues her writing with loving care, life-affirming ideas, and thoughtful quotations. Truly a must-read for this year, or re-read if you happened to have read this in the past.
2. Jane Seymour’s Guide to Romantic Living (1986)
“Women, if they wish to, should allow themselves their femininity, their sense of motherhood, and their drive to accomplish. And men should continue to enjoy the chase, the image of the knight in shining armor. We should all celebrate our differences.”Jane Seymour
I first heard of this book last year when Dixie Andelin Forsyth was discussing femininity in films for one of Fascinating Womanhood’s Youtube videos. She mentioned how Jane Seymour’s character in The Scarlet Pimpernel was truly feminine and showed grace and courage in the film. I was intrigued by this passing remark and how Jane Seymour had written a book on the subject of femininity.
After some digging, I finally got a copy of this beautiful book in my hands. It really was a pleasure to read with glossy, whimsical images and large print. Granted, I didn’t agree with all of Ms. Seymour’s advice on parenting and life but the overall effect after reading the entire book was one of inspiration. Inspiration to live each day with joy, gratitude, and a belief that anything is possible.
Ms. Seymour’s zest for life is palpable and she has many cute ideas to spark a bit of romance in your marriage. She also fights for our right to be feminine and she does not subscribe to the idea of having to act like a man in order to succeed in a “man’s world.”
3. The Private World of Tasha Tudor (1992)
“Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women? Why lose our femininity which is one of our greatest charms? . . . I’m very fond of men. I think they’re wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like one.”Tasha Tudor
Reading this book while appreciating the exquisite photography was such a treat! I was not familiar with Tasha Tudor’s books or illustrations having discovered her recently through Jennifer L. Scott (see video above). While Tasha Tudor’s appearance might not appeal to everybody there is much we can learn from her way of life.
She created an entire world for herself and her family and truly lived her dream. Tasha Tudor was very cultured and part of Boston high society but had no interest in that type of life preferring instead to live in the 1830s – quite literally. This might seem a bit extreme but it is so refreshing to read about her take on modern life and how we would all benefit from slowing down and enjoying nature, our senses, and our loved ones on a daily basis.
4. A Southern Belle Primer (1991)
“My dear, this is something you must always remember. Your bosom can be fake. Your smile can be fake and your hair color can be fake. But your pearls and your silver must always be real.”South Carolina grandmother talking to her granddaughter
A Southern Belle Primer is a tongue-in-cheek ode to the Southern belle and the Southern way of life. I was not too familiar with the entire stereotype but found this book to be charming, hilarious, and full of useful information such as “never wear velvet after February 14,” “it’s never too soon to write a thank-you note,” and what the word “nice” really means.
Also included are the twelve patterns of the Southern Silver Zodiac, the importance of joining the right sorority and junior league, creating the wedding of your dreams, recipes for the perfect chicken salad, deviled eggs and iced tea, and much, much more!
“No you cannot live on kisses,
Though the honeymoon is sweet,
Harken, brides, a true word this is–
Even lovers have to eat.
I can’t remember how I first heard of this little gem of a book – it really is adorable and so enjoyable to read. Bob and Bettina are newlyweds and this cookbook follows them during their first year of marriage. Bettina has to learn how manage the household budget, how to do the “marketing” (old word for grocery shopping), and deal with unexpected guests.
The recipes included might not appeal to modern palates but I read it for the cute vintage flavor and not with the intention of recreating meals such as boiled tongue or salmon salad with jellied vegetables. Actually, there are some good recipes in here but the menus are just not what we are used to these days. Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ll enjoy perusing this classic!
6. Tiffany Taste (1986)
Edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, this sumptuous coffee table book is absolutely enchanting. I remember flipping through the pages as a little girl and dreaming of attending the fabulous banquets pictured in them. There’s not much accompanying text but the glossy pictures speak for themselves.
This book is full of table setting inspiration and ideas on creating a dramatic or romantic mood. Since we are all spending more and more time at home these days, why not make those moments as beautiful and memorable as we can?
Do you plan on reading some of these books? Perhaps some are already in your collection. Do let me know how you liked them!
Wishing you a wonderful and healthy 2021.
P.S. Click here to find out what your feminine homemaker style is.
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