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this is where you’ll find my favorite recipes, what we’re up to behind the scenes, and adventures in starting a new business. click on “mdj marketing” for more info on the latter.


TGIF! I'm looking forward to a weekend without any formal plans. For me, this means a lot of experimenting in the kitchen and reading a few books. I've been going a little nuts on Amazon trying to "take advantage" of my free month of Prime (I'm a "prime" candidate for these deals where you get FOMO if you don't buy everything in sight...). The result? A million inspirational books about the creative process, happiness, and assorted other good reads. This is my first August not spent preparing to head back to school, so I'm finding other ways to get inspired and feel really jazzed about upcoming projects and life in general!

end-of-summer creative inspiration books

Radical Self Love // Gala Darling
Sales of Radical Self Love are on hold right now, as Gala is in the process of having more printed or something. But seriously, once it's back on shelves, you and every woman in your life needs a copy. I just finished it and I'm feeling reenergized and really just positive. It's not a gimmicky self-help book—it's just good stuff that you need to understand about yourself and about life.

Live More, Want Less // Carlomagno 
Live More, Want Less is a week-by-week book providing readers with a user-friendly non-judgmental approach to simplifying their lives. I've heard great things about this, and it's next on my list. It covers themes like shopping addictions, procrastination, prioritizing, "busyness", weight loss, and more. 

Creative Confidence // Tom Kelley & David Kelley
In Creative Confidence, brothers Tom and David Kelley identify the principles and strategies that allow anyone—even the "non-creative"—to tap into creative potential at work and home, and allow the reader to innovate in terms of approaching and solving problems. 

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are // Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, and Sophie Mas
Now, I've heard that what's on these pages should be taken with a grain of salt. Written by four French women, this frisky book covers their opinions on style, beauty, culture, attitude and men.

Bad Feminist // Roxane Gay
Cultural observer and reigning awesome woman Roxane Gay brings us this collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism. She's witty, intelligent, and brutally honest, and has the background and experiences to back up her theories. All women should read this.

The Happiness Project // Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin spent an entire year on her happiness project after realizing that "the days are long, but the years are short". She chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up // Marie Kondo
People are going nuts over this book. Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo promises that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me! Tidying up overflows into other aspects of your life, meaning you'll simplify and purify every part of your day-to-day.

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be // Paul Arden
Former executive creative director of Saatchi + Saatchi Paul Arden offers up his wisdom on issues as diverse as problem solving, responding to a brief, communicating, playing your cards right, making mistakes and creativity, all notions that can be applied to aspects of modern life.

Steal Like an Artist // Austin Kleon
Steal Like an Artist is a manifesto for the digital age, brought to you by young artist and writer Austin Kleon. His original, practical, and entertaining book is filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path.


What's on your reading list? And how else do you get excited about August once you're not in school anymore?