Barefoot in High Heels

Archive for August 2008

 

Click on over to Five Minutes for Books for their Tuesday carnival, “What’s On Your Nightstand.”

So here I am participating in my very first bloggy carnival!  (Does anyone really like the word “bloggy” and the strange images it conjures??  Not me.)

On my nightstand?  Besides the ubiquitous Chapstick, I once again have some books on my reading list!  My baby was not a good sleeper (and still isn’t on some nights), so my reading went by the wayside for quite some time.  Too long of a time.  Now that Little Miss is sleeping through the night when she feels like it, I don’t feel the need to immediately rush to bed as soon as she does.  And once I started reading again, I realized I missed it.  A lot.

I’ve started reading Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I know it’s a bit cliche — when a book is so popular and the author is featured on Oprah, everyone and her brother pick up the latest tome and proclaim their love for reading.  And yes, I jumped on the bandwagon too.   So let’s get over that, shall we? 

Anyway, I’ve read the Eat and the Pray part, and will start the Love section tonight.  I’m getting quite a kick out of Liz Gilbert’s writing!  She writes like she speaks, which makes for an entertaining read.   And I have to admit, I actually laughed out loud a few times at the beginning as she sets up her story.  Oh, and I SO wanted to travel to Italy (or at the very least have a great Italian meal) when reading about her time in that beautiful country! 

I like the author’s idea of “finding herself” and the spirituality of the book.   It’s not religious in an organized-religion sort of way by any means, but she is on a spiritual and self-discovery journey, and picks and chooses from various world religions what works best for her.  I’m secretly jealous of her get-up-and-go, her sense of wanderlust, and her ability to pack up and live somewhere else for four months (and do it three times in one year!).  I don’t think it would work so well in my life.  So instead I’ll use the book as my little escape from reality and just pretend that I’m the one travelling the world!

Once I’m finished with Eat, Pray, Love, I have a few others I need to delve into:

  • For some good chick-lit reading, I won a Book of the Week giveaway from Domestic Spaz and received a copy of Jemima J by Jane Green.  Fun!
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, the follow-up novel by Khaled Hosseini, who had such success with the very poignant, haunting The Kite Runner that I read last summer
  • Little Leap Forward, the debut young-adult fiction title from Barefoot Books, about a young boy growing up in China during the cultural revolution in the sixties. 

Maybe I’ll have some more high-brow titles to cover in future “What’s On Your Nightstand” topics, but for now I’m just happy to be reading anything other than Curious George and the Dump Truck!

So leave a comment and let me know . . . what’s on your nightstand? 

That’s right.  I went Barefoot.   Barefoot Books, that is. 

Last fall, in my 3rd trimester insomnia, I could often be found at 3 a.m. online.  Wide awake, knowing I had to be up in a few hours to work/take care of toddler/surf the net(!), I would spend that time not relaxing in a calm state, hoping sleep would overtake my weary, very-pregnant body.  Oh no.  That would be asking too much of myself.  Instead, what better way to lull yourself back to slumber than by staring at a high-energy laptop screen, blinding white in the early morning darkness.  Needless to say, I very rarely fell back to sleep.

So in those wide-eyed internet hours, my VISA got a good workout (I was Christmas shopping early — who wants to plan to do holiday shopping at crowded malls with an infant and 2-year-old?), my friends received a multitude of e-mails from me, and *BONUS* — it looked like I was really burning the midnight oil when I would do some work and send e-mails late at night.   “Wow — she sure is dedicated!  Eight months pregnant and analyzing sales data at 4 in the morning!”

But I digress.  I was also nesting at the time, and in the myriad of other things I had to do before Baby arrived, I thought it would be fun to host a home party.  Now, I’m not usually a “home party” hoster.  I attend them and buy the requisite jewelry/candle/kitchen utensil/purse/other item I don’t need.  But I’d rather have my friends over for no other reason than to hang out, instead of spending money so I get free loot.   Because there was nothing I really wanted or needed from these home-based businesses.  But for some reason, I was determined to host a party and find something that I would actually like to purchase.  Something for kids.  And NOT toys.  

Enter Barefoot Books.  (*cue the “Halleluia Chorus”).  Wow.  Now THESE were some products I could get behind!  I had a small home party with kids’ storytime, and I was hooked.  Sign me up!  I joined as a Barefoot Books stallholder in February and have been going strong ever since.

Barefoot is an independent children’s book publisher.  Just check out their core values — inspiring creativity, celebrating diversity, giving back, building a community, creating better products, and protecting the planet.     And from the CEOs’ story and vision, the mission statement really spoke to me: 

Our Mission
At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, inspiring them to read deeper, search further, and explore their own creative gifts. Taking our inspiration from many different cultures, we focus on themes that encourage independence of spirit, enthusiasm for learning, and sharing of the world’s diversity. Interactive, playful and beautiful, our products combine the best of the present with the best of the past to educate our children as the caretakers of tomorrow.
 
Yes, folks.  We’re talking about all of this and more in children’s books.  And wait till you see them.  So richly illustrated, such gorgeous colors, such touchingly beautiful stories, and all high quality, too.  I fell in love with them.  (So did my older daughter). 
 
So that’s my Barefoot beginning.   This blog will serve as a way to provide great recommendations for children’s books, puzzles, CDs, puppets.  But I first had to introduce you to the company itself.  (And no, don’t worry.  My blog isn’t ALL about Barefoot Books!  It’s only HALF the title!).  I’ll feature books for different age ranges and give you some great gift-giving ideas, too.   But I encourage you to check out my website to see all the products, find out what Barefoot opportunities there are for you (sign up for a home party, just purchase directly through me, host a fundraiser for a charity, a book fair for your preschool, and if you love it like I do, sign up to sell!), and discover what Living Barefoot is all about!
 
Now . . . it’s 6 a.m. on a Saturday, and THIS time, my insomnia over the last two hours was due to a 30-second check on my daughter who was crying for her pacifier.  You’d think I could do it in a dream-like state for less than a minute, right?  Oh no.  Wide awake again, I head down to the computer.  Some things never change . . .

This one might get me into some trouble.  I know it’s not necessarily the most popular opinion.  And I play along nicely (usually) when the topic comes up with people who are big fans of the “happily-ever-after.”

I’m not a big fan of Disney.  Especially the whole Disney princess thing and the huge marketing machine that it has become.   Now wait — don’t get too upset with me.  I can hear it already . . . “Oh, but the creativity!  Oh, but the childlike wonder that Disney represents!.  Oh, it’s the Happiest Place on Earth!  Oh, who DOESn’t want to live a fairy tale life?”     Well, me.  And hopefully, my daughters, too.

Let’s deconstruct some of these “fairy tales,” shall we??  “The Little Mermaid,” for one.  Sure, Ariel is spunky and tenacious and optimistic and a wide-eyed dreamer.  Good for her.  But doesn’t it bother you that she gives up her voice in order to get close to the prince, who she supposedly LOVES (but only because she spied him from afar)?   And then the prince falls in love with her even though they can’t really communicate?!  She acts like an idiot and combs her hair with her fork and can’t SPEAK, but of course it’s all charming and cute. 

Cinderella, of course, has a similar story.  How is it that the prince falls in love with her but again, without speaking?  He doesn’t even know her name, he’s just astounded by her beauty and grace (and perhaps she can waltz with the best of ’em).    And don’t even get me STARTED on Snow White.  I have to admit, that I didn’t really recall the story from my youth.  But when we received a gift of Disney Princess stories for my daughter, I was quite shocked to read that the dwarves let her stay at their home because she says she will cook and clean for them!  Then, after she eats the poison apple, she “dies” and the dwarves keep her sort of enshrined because she’s too beautiful, even in death.  Quite disturbing, no?   And of course, the kiss of the prince miraculously wakes her up and they live happily ever after.   *sigh*  how sickening sweet.

But of course, there’s my “other side”  — this “duality” about me.  Don’t get me wrong — I am a sucker for a good love story.  I am a girly girl.  I really like Disney music.  I actually enjoyed The Little Mermaid when I saw it at the theater back in early high school when it debuted.  I LOVE Beauty and the Beast (but of course, Belle is a different type of princess — she READS, she’s intelligent, she doesn’t fall for the big muscular guy, and I also like the fact that she’s a brunette! hee hee).   And since I have two little girls, I might be eating all these words someday.  I might be the mom hosting a big princess birthday party, and my girls might really want the Disney Princess dress-up clothes.  In fact, I can see it happening someday.  But when they’re a bit older and it’s something they start asking for, I will begrudgingly read these princess stories and play along.  Now, though, they’re so young, and I for one will certainly NOT be pushing these princess “ideals” to them. 

So there.  I’ve said it.  I feel much better now that I’ve put it out there.  I feel so good I might even start singing a little tune with the birds and mice and woodland creatures.  I’m sure that my “Prince Charming” would REALLY appreciate it!

Watch out blogosphere, here I come! 

I’ve finally entered into 2008 and have created my own blog.  What took me so long, you ask?  Finding a name, for one.   Not to mention the fact that I read enough blogs that I was afraid having one of my own would waste take more of my precious time!

So here we are . . . Barefoot in High Heels.  What’s that all about?  Well, I have so many different interests and activities that sometimes vary widely from each other.  I considered calling my blog “MBA to ABCs”, but I didn’t want to sound high-falutin’ (Look at me!  I have my MBA!).  Another option was “Powersuits and Playdates” (but I didn’t want to niche myself into a working mom/SAHM type of blog) or even “Stilettos and Sippy Cups.” (But then I realized that my days of stilettos are in the distant past, as they’re not so practical when carrying a diaper bag, a Medela pump, my laptop, and my baby, all while holding my preschooler’s hand!)  And while I assume that the majority of my posts will be about my kids and motherhood and juggling it all, I didn’t necessarily want the title to focus solely on my family.

Barefoot in High Heels, however, worked best for me.  It was a way to shamelessly self-promote write about and share Barefoot Books (believe me, WAY more about the topic in later posts), one of my newest passions.  The title is also a fun way to demonstrate my life in contradictions!  (And come on, what self-respecting gal doesn’t love a good pair of shoes???) 

So I wanted to start the blog because “I’d love to explore this . . . duality” (anyone know what movie that quote is from??  hint – one of my very favorites!).  Hang out with me and come back for a peek — we’ll talk about motherhood, raising daughters, quality children’s literature, and finding/retaining your own sense of self throughout this wonderfully chaotic and rewarding role of “Mom.”  I hope some of it will resonate with you — triumphs, trials, helpful tips we can all share, moments both poignant and proud, all with a healthy dose of sarcasm and self-deprecating humor (what fun would it be otherwise?).  I hope you’ll join me for the journey!