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Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me by Rachel Bertsche

I know, I know, I will get you a post about my fabulous vacation soon. You should just be glad I'm not telling you all about the (not actually) fabulous head cold that I now have - a little something that my sweetheart picked up in an airport or plane on the way home from Puerto Rico. I am fuzzy and muddled and sickly and whiny and snotty and gross. But I will get you that vacation post because I have these awesome photos to share with you and such. Only I need to use a different computer and actually sit up and stuff. So it'll keep.

IN THE MEANTIME, I reallyreally want to tell you about this marvelous book that I snagged while at my local library. It's entitled Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time, and it's by Rachel Bertsche, whose other book, MWF Seeking BFF is on my list because I could use more in-person friends, you know? And I'm pretty certain it's about how to find/make them. But I digress.

<>Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me has a clever premise:</b> Figure out which celebrities you admire and what you admire each of them for, and then try to incorporate whatever they do to work on that particular trait (be it physical, spiritual or otherwise) into your own life. Rachel Bertsche chose eight women to emulate, beginning with Jennifer Aniston, whose body she admires. Here are the chapter names:

Jennifer Aniston's Body
Gwyneth Paltrow's Kitchen
Sarah Jessica Parker's Wardrobe
Tina Fey's Work Ethic
Jennifer Garner's Marriage
Julia Roberts's Serenity
Jessica Alba's Pregnancy
Beyoncé: The Whole Package

Now, there are some repetitious parts within the book, mostly about how she's not a crazed celebrity stalker/wannabe, but it instead using these women as muses (if you will) to motivate her in different areas of her life. Bertsche shares what's going on in her own life, too, including her working from home as a freelancer following a layoff, feeling a bit lost and like things were out of her control (which sparked the project), and wanting a baby (with, it turns out, a fertility glitch).

I absolutely loved this book for its take-home lessons and the way Bertsche committed to figuring out what she wanted to gain from studying the various celebrities. One of the most heartening and also disheartening things in the book was her effort to achieve Aniston's body, by working out hours each day, including doing some of the same things (yoga and more) that Aniston does. She tones up and gets noticeable results, but never gets Aniston's arms and legs the way she'd hoped. Which kind of figures, right?, at the same time that it kind of sucks. It doesn't mean she was wrong to try, however, since she did achieve other results. And she figured out how to join a gym without having the money to join a gym - by working in the daycare area a few hours a week (or at the front desk), she got a free membership. That tip alone could be worth the read.

Today, I followed some of the tips from the Sarah Jessica Parker chapter. I should note that it's not like Bertsche wanted to look like or even dress just like Parker; she just wanted to look pulled-together the way Parker always seems to, even when she's just prowling the streets of NYC. One of the things she discusses in the chapter is "enclothed cognition", a field of science that suggests that "while what we wear certainly influences how others see us, our outfits have an equal effect on our own attitudes and behavior." Sometimes, dressing for work is all it takes to feel like you are going to get work done. As Bertsche says (and I agree), "I'm a big-time believer in fake it till you make it, and enclothed cognition is its wardrobe iteration. If you want to feel happy, smile. If you want to feel fabulous, dress fabulously." Bertsche found that if she actually dressed in real clothes (not pajamas or their equivalent), she was a bit more productive, and definitely less embarrassed if she ran into anyone while running to the store, etc. She made a determined effort to wear her real clothes and be pulled-together, and today, I gave that a try, head cold and all. I put on a cute top and a pair of skinny jeans, moisturized my face (I sometimes forget - duh!), and applied a bit of mascara. And while I didn't get gobs of work done, I did feel like I was pulled-together and it helped me to feel a bit more focused (until the cold or cold meds overcame me at about 11:45, and yes, I only got up at 9:30, so this is all fairly pathetic). Still, I revised three poems and sent off a submission, so I consider it a major win, since that's far more than I accomplished (altogether) in the past week or so.

At the very back of Bertsche's book is a section entitled "Living the Celebrity Life (With a Regular Person's Time and Money): A Handy Guide". She gives practical tips for each area: health and fitness, kitchen, fashion, career, marriage, serenity, and pregnancy. They are actually helpful, do-able tips, and I am making a copy of them for myself, just because.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
I hope your head cold passes quickly and you feel better soon.

Thank you for sharing about that book. I may need to see if my library has a copy I can read. It sounds interesting.

By the way, I love your icon! =)
Sep. 16th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks. It really is a fun read, though it also gives the reader plenty to think about!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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