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Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life Paperback – May 6, 2004

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Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life + Choosing Happiness: Keys to a Joyful Life + You Are Your Choices: 50 Ways to Live the Good Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books (May 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380705117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380705115
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Alexandra Stoddard takes the dollars and cents out of the concept of luxury and instead dwells on the more personal aspects of graceful living that are far simpler and far more appealing."

-- Mark Hampton

"Living the beautiful life used to mean having money. Alexandra Stoddard shows us that it's no longer a matter of money -- it's an attitude and a skill, and one that Stoddard teaches us in her book."

-- marsha Mason

"Wonderful tips on how to make daily life more romantic and sensuous ... Alexandra Stoddard will change your lifestyle." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Offers more than 500 techniques for transforming the way we spend 95% of our lives: eating, sleeping, working, doing everyday tasks. 46 black and white photos. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Author of 27 books, Alexandra Stoddard is sought after as a speaker on the art of living the good life. She has inspired millions of listeners and readers with such books as Things I Want My Daughters to Know, Choosing Happiness, You Are Your Choices, and Time Alive. A mother and grandmother herself, she lives in Stonington Village, Connecticut, with her husband, Peter Brown.

Customer Reviews

I read this book when I was a newlywed about 10 years ago.
Having a home that is pleasing to the eye will save you so much and give you so much more than going out and wasting a bunch of money.
The book I picked up was "Living a Beautiful Life" by Alexandra Stoddard.
Kate Creasey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By F. Avery on January 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I came back to these descriptions and reviews to try and discover which of the Stoddard books to give my younger sister-in-law as she begins looking into interior design. But I was so struck by the negativity of some of these reviews given what I remember getting out of these books when I bought them. I am not a wealthy person by any means, but Alexandra Stoddard's ideas are anything BUT "out of touch with reality."

So let me write a review that'll tell other people what to expect so they don't experience what I did when I came back. In the three books that I own, including this one, Stoddard's ideas are generally pretty practical. And with a little imagination on my part, I made them work for my budget. For example, I can't afford a crystal decanter set, but I can go to Bed Bath and Beyond during an end-of-season sale and buy a plastic pitcher (in a pretty color) to use on a plastic tray in order to refresh myself as I work at night in my arm chair.

I suggest that anyone who reads Stoddard should listen to what she's saying instead of looking at the price tags on her own personal choices. Stoddard's the first person who even made me aware of "swivel rockers," and consequently, you can get an entire set very cheaply at JCPenney and in nice upholstery too.

In one of her books, she discusses using a mini-refrigerator in her bedroom so she doesn't have to go downstairs for breakfast on certain weekend mornings. At first it sounds pretty extravagant. But you can also re-interpret this on a budget by trying a miniature tea or coffee maker in your own room, the way you might have seen it in hotels. Or even ask a friend to get you such a thing as a present for Christmas or your birthday if you can't afford it.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Alexandra Stoddard's work is special in so many ways. She's the only decorator I ever saw who teaches you to be brave, authentic and cheerful. If you can't afford a bunch of new dishes, then use the beautiful ones that have a few chips in them. She does! And she even uses those same dishes when she entertains the rich and famous. If it looks good and it feels cheerful then go for it. Can't afford a new dining table for a big party? Put a plank over two barrels and top it all off with a cheerful table cloth. Can't afford a fancy centerpiece? Why not keep fruits or vegetables in a bowl like the olden days? Can't afford a rich bubblebath? Why not put a little vanilla in the tub? Or lemon slices? She has tons of ideas (more than 500 actually because she throws in extras as a treat) for every economic situation. My husband and I moved here from Texas and I turned our condo into an extremely cheerful cottage with practically no money at all and I've had a TONS of compliments!
Alexandra has you look at every aspect of your lifestyle. How do you treat yourself when you get home from work? Do you slap dinner together, or do you take time to really enjoy yourself with new recipes, a beautifully set table, and nice music? Taking time to REALLY live, gives you more time for contemplation and joy. Alexandra proves that over and over again in all her books. Just live well, and forget about the insecure jealous types who resent your efforts and joy.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful By R. Byrd on December 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Alexandra Stoddard refers to a time when she was a starving student, but from her description, she has never gone hungry due to not being able to afford food. If you don't have some spare cash left over at the end of each month, or aren't willing to stretch things a bit, this book may not be for you.
However, considering that I once *did* go hungry for a brief period of time, earned pathetic paychecks and still cared enough about my surroundings to make tough (perhaps even stupid) decisions for the sake of my sanity, I simply roll my eyes at some of her claims and read between the lines.
Suggestions in this book include considering decorative hat boxes for day-to-day storage, investing in a fountain pen rather than another few packages of disposables, treating yourself to flowers when you can, going into sumptous stores to get ideas (which I tend to use in more pedestrian stores when I actually start buying stuff :). And that's just what I can remember.
"Living a Beautiful Life" gave me the foundation to really start thinking about my environment, what I wanted and what I didn't. Organization could lead not just to efficiency, but to beauty. I have friends who are slightly more destitute than I am. I have a friend who is a millionaire. I have friends who are inbetween and they all look at my home and marvel at the fact that they couldn't imagine me living anywhere else.
And I don't think that I would have been able to do it without Stoddard's repeated encouragement, which seemed to be telling me that whatever it was I could do for myself, I was more than worth it.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By May Day on November 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Though some may off-handedly categorize this book as a Martha Stewart wannabe, it is very different. Instead of relying on perfectionism that requires a paid staff and a frantic pace to manufacture items for other people to admire, it focuses on making each day beautiful in small ways, which add up to the rituals and reality of how we live our day-to-day life. It leads the reader through deciding what is important in his/her life, where they spend their time, and what little things could be made wonderful. I had read this book and incorporated many of the ideas, when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, and was suddenly housebound. The idea of making his small world more pleasant and interesting and workable became much more important, and this book helped me examine and learn how to do that. Recommended for those people who need some ideas on reducing stress, or who want their homes to be havens of peace.
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