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In Praise of Indulgence

by Katherine - 2 Comment(s)

I have a Romanian friend who explained to me recently that in Romania, sometimes mothers dress up as Santa Clause because fathers are too exhausted by their drinking and eating binges, to wriggle into a costume and assume the role of a sober gift giver.

Honestly, I want to be that Romanian father, collapsed on the couch. I want to consume way too much, groan about my distended abdomen, fall asleep early and wake up with a headache. Go big or go home? No, I want to go home and go big!

Now, I don’t operate with this mentality every day, of course, but on special occasions I like to let loose.

So with that spirit in mind, here’s a booklist for those who choose to go big!

Celebrating Chocolate: Cakes, Brownies & Bars by Avner Laskin

Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore about America’s Favourite Indulgence by Joanna Pruess

Cheese: Exploring Taste and Tradition by Patricia Michelson

The Ultimate Wine Companion: The Complete Guide to Understanding Wine by the World’s Foremost Wine Authorities by Kevin Zraly

Winter Wonderland

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

Here are a handful of great library resources to enjoy over the holiday season:

  • Christmas music. Borrow CDs and make your own holiday playlist.
  • Cookbooks. Yeah, that little bag is supposed to come out before you cook the bird. And if “bird” is certainly not the word in your house, then check out titles about vegetarian and vegan holiday foods.
  • Programs. Holiday-themed storytimes, live music and more!
  • Decorating tips. We’ve got hundreds of magazines and thousands of books, dedicated to helping your home look its very best. From DIY wreaths to knitting your own stocking.
  • Presents. No, unfortunately we’re not giving them away. But, we’re suggesting that you get a library card for a friend or loved one. Give the gift of inspiration, entertainment and education, for only $12! (You weren’t really going to give her another boring pair of slippers, were you?)

Whatever you’re into, find it here at the Calgary Public Library. Happy Holidays!

Through Thick and Thin, by Gok Wan

by Katherine - 1 Comment(s)

A number of years ago, when I lived at home and had access to television (oh, the things you take for granted!) I used to watch a British show called How to Look Good Naked. A self conscious woman (typically one who was disheveled and encased in horrendous, baggy clothing) would be put through a series of challenges, all designed to convince her that her body was beautiful, attractive and sexy – and that so was she! The show would culminate with the woman strutting down a catwalk in only her underwear – a testament to her newfound confidence and acceptance of her body. I loved it!

The host of the show was a stylist named Gok, who would help the woman select strategic wardrobe pieces – items that tucked, concealed, supported or disguised whichever body parts induced insecurity. Gok loved the clothes, but you knew that he loved the women more. In fact, he played the token “gay best friend” that every woman needs – supportive, hilarious, and committed to the idea that beauty comes in every size.

I’ve just finished reading Gok’s autobiography, Through Thick and Thin, and I really enjoyed it. Frankly, it’s a beach read. There’s nothing in here that’s profound or intellectually rigorous. Rather, it’s a nice light read for people who watched and loved the show, or for people who might be interested in how to break into the styling business.

Gok’s road to stardom wasn’t an easy one. He was obese and then anorexic; he worked several dissatisfying jobs before finding the one he loved, and he both made and lost friends along the way. Indeed, life wasn’t simple for a self-described “fat, gay Chinese kid”, yet Gok’s determination and the love of his family saw him though challenging times. This biography has an ultimately heartwarming tone.

Check it out if you need a nice, light read. Or if you’re interested in a career in fashion and styling. Or if you’re a fat, gay, Chinese kid. And especially if you’re struggling with body issues, and you just want to feel better.

Wheat Belly, by William Davis M.D.

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

While shopping on my supper break a few days ago, I proved Dr. William Davis right. Davis is the author of a contentious new book: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find your Path Back to Health and he claims that cutting wheat out of your diet might allow you to lose several pounds within the first few weeks. Does it sound too good to be true? Sure. But thus far, it’s working for me. Eleven days without wheat and already my clothes are a bit looser. I could barely contain my grin, when I heard myself asking if I could get that skirt one smaller size. YES!

I don’t know if I’m under the blissful influence of the placebo effect or not, but I really do feel lighter, energetic, and increasingly more clear-headed. I think I’ll keep it up!

Your Calgary Public Library branch contains lots of diet books; not all of them advise you to eschew wheat, but nearly every one will tell you to limit “white foods”: sugars, breads, snack foods and other miscellaneous refined and processed products. Essentially, you should give up the food that’s not really food. Give it a try and see how you feel!

Our e-library contains comprehensive and reputable health and wellness information and we’ve got a great range of exercise DVDs and diet books, too. And check out our program guide for programs on health and nutrition.

By the way, Dr. Davis was interviewed recently in McLean's magazine. If you missed it, you can find the article in our e-library database Canadian Newsstand. Not sure how to access it? Call us at (403) 260-2782, or head to our homepage and strike up a chat! We're happy to give you instructions!

The Other F Word: Frugality!

by Katherine - 3 Comment(s)

One of my goals is to manage my money more effectively. So I typically browse through basic books or blogs on budgeting (spot the alliteration, kids!). In the reams of top 20 lists and collections of tidbits and tips, one piece of advice resounds again and again: use your library. Libraries allow you to borrow books for free, but it’s much more than that. Here are some more ways that your library allows you to stay frugal:

Libraries might encourage you to cancel your magazine or newspaper subscriptions, because many of these can be read online, with your library card. You might decide to borrow a movie rather than renting one, or perhaps you’ll attend a free screening in the library’s theatre. You might learn a new skill by attending a free program – perhaps one about budgeting – or renting an instructional DVD. You could use library books or databases to learn about fixing a car, bike or appliance, and spare yourself the cost of buying a new one. Explore our collections about cooking and learn to prepare healthy, frugal meals. Home cooking is a huge opportunity to exercise frugality! Attend some of the library’s special programs and speak with a lawyer, doctor, or career coach, for free! Check out the program guide for free concerts, and free access to our Writer in Residence.

Not all of our entertainment and enjoyment need be expensive. In fact, the library is a great place in which to instill a sense of frugality in your children. And children who have a sense of how money can be saved in simple ways will be well on their way to managing money when they’re adults.

Come All Ye Foodies!

by Katherine - 0 Comment(s)

The Calgary Public Library is a great place to find inspiration for your next meal. We’ve got tons of cookbooks and we subscribe to a large range of cooking magazines, too. Check out some of my faves:

  • Everyday (Rachel Ray)
  • Donna Hay magazine
  • Clean Eating
  • Cooking Light

We have a blog dedicated to food, and we frequently host free programs about food, nutrition, etc. If you’re thinking of making changes to your diet, then browse for books on vegetarianism and veganism, weight loss (or gain), natural health and allergies. Be sure to use the e-library for information on food science and nutrition, too!

No matter what you’re into – or what you’re about to put into you! – The Calgary Public Library is sure to have something that’ll inspire you.

No BBQ sauce on the books, though, OK?

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