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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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-- 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Now some people have made said some surprisingly strange things about the book. Things like she's out of touch with reality and everything is too expensive. But I was a young single mom at the time, and bold, in my 20's when I read it but I managed to find ways to adjust my lifestyle for me and my children so that we could have a truly beautiful life. No we couldn't have a single hyacinth flower delivered when one of us was sick, so I made sure to find a flower that was free. You don't have to have a private delivery service, but if you do even better! Her books taught me to strive for those things in life, and I have had times prior to the recession where things like that were common place after awhile because I believed in having a quality life by bringing beauty into it. I believed that the beauty in life was in the details sometimes and could sustain us when we were feeling down. it saved me money many times because I was happy with the little things, instead of stuffing myself full of costly junk food and creating addictions, I took a bath and made sure to light a candle and place a flower nearby. Sure the bath salts were $11 for a pound, but think about it, that's not a lot if you use two scoops add your free flower and decide to sit home with your kids and make a salad. Sometimes I would splurge and buy flowers for our salads.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This item was not as described. Paid more for a LIKE NEW copy. What I got had a damaged cover and was a very dated copy, not the one pictured at all. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Love Aledandra Stoddard. Lovely book. Received very quickly as well. Thank you.Published 3 months ago by JennyB
I actually read this book when it was first published in 1986. Before I ever heard of Martha Stewart or Simple Abundance it was a breath of fresh air in an era before "shabby... Read morePublished 5 months ago by RC
Wonderful book; Stoddard delivers again. Chapters divided geographically by rooms. Lots of inspiration.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is twice the size it should be. The authors name takes up a 1" vertical margin on the left page and the name of the book takes a 1" margin on the right page. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Travis
I love the grace and elegance that Ms. Stoddard recommends. An easy and peaceful read. Grab a cup of tea in a china cup and go into the living room. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kristin S.