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Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy Hardcover – October 11, 2016
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About the Author
Emily Ley is Founder and Creative Director of Emily Ley Paper & Gifts. She is also the creator of the bestselling Simplified Planner—a daily agenda for what matters most. Raised in Pensacola, Florida (home of the most beautiful beaches you ever did see), Emily graduated from the University of West Florida with degrees in English, creative writing, and public administration and then went on to become the executive director of the city ballet. From there, she worked in nonprofit management and public relations before launching her brand in 2008. Following the success found at its online home, EmilyLey.com, the Emily Ley brand quickly grew to be carried in over 500 retail outlets across the United States and around the world. Emily has been recognized with numerous awards, including Best New Product—Desktop (for the 2015 Simplified Planner®) at the National Stationery Show as well as Top 10 Designers to Watch in 2015 by Stationery Trends Magazine. Now as a businesswoman, wife, and mama to three, Emily enjoys Friday pizza parties on the living room floor, strong cappuccinos with her college-crush-turned-husband, and making memories to savor for a lifetime with her twins and preschooler.
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Top Customer Reviews
And the not-so-good. I love the idea of this book. But as some other reviewers have mentioned, it's not always easy for many of us to achieve--especially without ample income. As much as I'd love to buy the Simplified Planner, for example, (which is routinely referenced in the book--no surprise, so I'm not sure why people are upset by this), I simply can't afford $58 for a planner when I can buy one that does much the same thing--albeit not nearly as pretty--for a fraction of the price. And I know the point of including such picture-perfect images throughout the book is to sell the book and to sell what she's talking about. But if she's trying to convince me that I should be happy with my house and life as it is, I wasn't entirely convinced. Professional photography equipment and lighting and staging don't seem "simplified" to me. And it's not necessarily Emily's fault that I feel this way, but if I'm not supposed to chase perfection, why do I feel like after reading this (and following her blog) that I need to have clean white walls and carefully articulated displays of my life in an almost art form with perfectly photographed children (in my case, pets) and a tailored wardrobe and perfect handwriting and be full of abundant creativity (etc. etc. etc.)? Looking at her photos, I got the opposite impression that she was trying to make. But then again, messy carpets and dirty dishes probably wouldn't sell many books. So I understand the point.
All of this is to say that if you're looking for a magic book that will transform your life in a matter of seconds, this isn't that book. There is no such book. But if you truly take Emily's beautifully crafted words to heart and realize that the advice is difficult and--for some of us impractical--it's definitely worth a read. Her book isn't perfect, but neither is she, neither am I, and neither are you. And that's the point. Live. Love. and strive for grace.
As some other reviewers have mentioned, Emily now has a successful business and writes about things like hiring landscapers and housekeepers. Don't get caught up in the financial choices she and her husband have made-- focus on the fact that there CAN BE choices. They happen to choose outsourcing some chores in order to spend that time with their children. Emily mentions other ways to achieve the same result (taking turns with family members or other parents to watch kids for date night, etc.). The book didn't read as a sales plug to me. It wouldn't be possible to write about her journey without mentioning the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. There are clever "write in" sections of the book where Emily asks the reader to jot down topical thoughts and lists while reading.
I do not have children and I keep my religious beliefs/ relationship with God very personal. Emily focuses a lot on her kids and her interpretation of God and what He wants for each of us. If you can wade through this book and find segments that ring true to your personal journey, I consider it a win!