Tag Archives: summer

Getting into Better Shape with Technology

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When summer comes along, and the warm sun and blue skies banish the gloom of winter back whence it came, it’s normal for us all to want to look our best. Everyone naturally puts on a few pounds in winter, between the claustrophobic confines causing our exercise routines to suffer, and the body’s natural storing of fat when cold weather rolls around.

Not only do we feel better physically and emotionally for putting the work into a summer exercise routine – our health and longevity benefit as well. Still, as the mercury rises in those thermometers, many of us fall short of our fitness goals, owing to how back breaking and tedious exercise can often be. Continue reading

Our Favorite Smoothies on the Internet Today

Whether it’s the pressure of bathing suit season or all the beautiful tropical fruits out at the grocery store right now, we like to think of this as Smoothie Season! Strawberries, bananas and some ice cubes will get you there but why stop with the basics when the internet has so much more adventurous recipes to offer? Here are some of our favorite smoothies on the internet today! Continue reading

A Lesson in Resilience

cherry tree resilienceOne of my brothers still lives on Cape Cod, the place where my 5 siblings and I grew up. This is noteworthy for two reasons – first, he is a scenic photographer – he captures amazing shots of nature; second, Cape Cod and New England has had snowstorm after snowstorm this winter. This has created one of his latest works – the amazing flowering cherry tree in his front yard in each of the four seasons. Amazing flowers in spring, great dense green leaves in summer, amazing fiery reds and orange foliage in fall and the bare brown trunk blanketed under epic snow in winter. This bold tree is resilient; it shows up powerfully in each season. It inspires my intention to be more resilient.

The lesson from the cherry tree is that we too are capable of shining no matter what happens. We are resilient to handle the seasons – and by seasons I mean the constant changes in our lives. We meet sunny days where things are going our way – we flower, we shine. We meet stormy days that seem unfair, unrelenting and scary. When we are intentional and determined about connecting to our inner greatness and strength – to the power deep in us – we find we have access to amazing resilience. This helps us show up strong and committed to life, regardless what comes our way.

It still amazes me that this tree can survive in temperatures from minus 10 to nearly 100 degrees. It stands there and faces what comes, doing what it does best – living its truest self. It doesn’t lament the rains or wind. It doesn’t give up when it snows. It doesn’t wish that its leaves would remain all year – it allows them to change color and sends them off to make room for new ones. It partners with life; it allows life.

We however, like to plan and control everything in life. And when things don’t go according to plan, we find fault. We get angry. We blame. We quit. We feel at the affect of our world – at odds with it.

Or, we could learn from this cherry tree. We could see that we have the strength and resilience to see the blessing in every event, and not to fight with life but live it as it is delivered. “Anyone can be cooperative, patient and understanding when things are going well and life is good. But it is the noble man or woman who can behave with grace and compassion, and even kindness, when times are bad,” shares Garr Reynolds, blogger of Presentation Zen. My intention is to be noble and act with grace, compassion and kindness regardless of what happens in life.

Resilience, or grit, is what enables us to show up committed to life when life sends snowstorm after snowstorm. Resilience is what enables us to show up big to life when our idea didn’t work, the relationship failed, or the job was lost. As the great Japanese proverb says, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” We can choose to bounce back – we can choose to see what was, understand it, learn from it and get back into life’s driver’s seat. We, like the flowering cherry in my brother’s front yard, can just keep on keepin’ on. Resilient. Strong. Committed. Determined. Intentional. Living our greatness and ready for the next moment of life – whatever that might look like.

Find your resilience role model – nature, a pet or even a person. Mine is this amazing cherry tree. Let it share its wisdom with you; learn from it and let it inspire you to be intentional and purposeful about living powerfully, positively and resiliently no matter what comes your way.

From Intent.com: I intend to celebrate!

This Week: My intent is to celebrate!

Do not regret growing older.
It is a privilege denied to many.
-unknown

birthday
This summer has been a mess.

I left a new job and went back to a job with not enough hours to pay my bills. I upgraded from a studio apartment into a wonderful two bedroom apartment only to have to move a month later and found a new place with only 4 days to spare. I lost a grandfather and a grandmother. Between time, money and distance, I wasn’t at  either funeral. I cried a lot. I was very stressed. I probably made my friends wish they were deaf so they couldn’t hear my whining.

My birthday is on Friday. I turn 28. WHAT? Yes. It’s the oldest I’ve ever been.

Birthdays have always been a big deal in my family. That’s something for which I’m super grateful. After the past three months, I’m even more grateful for a time to stop and celebrate. I can start with the fact that I’m alive. Considering the number of people lost every year to disease, war, and random acts of God – making it another 365 days deserves some attention. It was 365 more days to call my mom so she could tell me what our family dogs had gotten into that day. It was 365 more days to go see comedy shows with my best friend and lay on a California beach just because. It was 365 more days to enjoy things like pumpkin pancakes and Easter candy and Thanksgiving dinner. Not everyone gets to say they’ve had 28 Christmases, 28 birthday parties, 28 anniversaries of waking up on this Earth another year.

I intend to celebrate because gratitude and happiness are good for your soul. There are legitimately terrible things that happen every day. In LA, sometimes it’s a struggle just to get groceries into your house without putting your back out. The unfortunate part is that terrible things have this way of being so loud and in your face. They seem bigger than the wonderful things, but trust me, they’re not. You can spend 24 hours focused on the dent on your bumper, the watered down coffee at work, the obnoxious person who just called to yell at you on the phone, or you can spend that same amount of time thinking about pictures of puppies on Instagram, drinking chai tea lattes with coffee ice cubes or telling someone how much you love them. You get the same amount of time everyday. Spend it thinking about things that won’t give you an ulcer or make your hair fall out.

I intend to celebrate because cake is good. And presents are good. And people you love paying for your dinner at fancy restaurants? Also good. Celebrate whether or not it’s your birthday. Because it’s good.

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This is the inaugural post in MeLissa’s weekly column where she’ll explore the power of setting intents in her own life and for those around her. She will also news from Intent.com and guest intents that have inspired her. Want to be part of it? Sign up at Intent.com and start sharing your intents! 

Your Seasonal Guide to Food as Medicine: September Produce

Apples on treeOver the past few weekends, my sister-in-law and her family have made over 20 gallons of cider from some of the pie apple trees that grow on the pasture of our family’s Iowa farmland. Nothing says autumn like apple cider! And so it is here…the end of summer. Luscious berries and delicate flowers are fading as hearty leaves and roots make their entrance into our farmers markets and recipes. Whether you are in Arizona or Maine, I’m sure you’re noticing the changes all around you.

However, because the expression of the seasons is not the same in every state, what’s “seasonal” in terms of produce can vary quite a bit. I recently came across this interactive map that allows you to choose your state and see what’s in season where you live. There are lots of tools like this out there, but this one happens to be especially easy to use.

For this month’s seasonal guide to food as medicine post, I’ve chosen to focus on some of the edible herbs that also act as common botanical medicines and then, of course, I must talk about the amazing properties of apples. If you’d like to start at the beginning of this series, you can find the first article here.

Horseradish – A hardy root that’s been cultivated for over 2000 years with long list of traditional uses for everything from acting as a blood cleanser to treating headaches. From a modern science perspective, compounds in this spicy root have shown benefit as an antibiotic. In a 2006 study, a constituent of horseradish was found to decrease symptoms from acute sinusitis, bronchitis, or urinary tract infections as effectively as standard antibiotic therapy. From my own personal experience, I also believe a nice-sized bite of this raw root does an excellent job of opening up congested sinus passages!

Lemon balm – This herb gets its common name due to its lemon scent although it’s not related to the citrus fruit itself. An edible plant, the leaves show promise as an anti-viral medicine, specifically indicated for the virus, Herpes simplex, as well as showing benefit for symptoms of anxiety. You can crush up the leaves to make a hot tea or find dried versions in capsule form at your local health food store.

Borage – This plant is native originally to Syria, although it has spread throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean and can be grown in many temperate climates. The leaves and beautiful lavender flowers may be eaten, but it’s the seeds that get the most attention in the natural medicine community. According to a retrospective review of more than 2,000 supplement and medication records for elderly Americans (60-99 years), borage oil supplements are one of the most popular herbal products among elderly women, likely due to their relatively high level of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid linked to improvements in inflammatory conditions and menopausal symptoms.

Elderberry – This plant has an incredibly long and impressive history as a medicinal plant. Native Americans used elder for infections, coughs, and skin conditions. Ancient Egyptians even used elder flowers to improve complexion and heal burns. From a modern science perspective, elderberries show promise as an anti-viral medicine, decreasing viral load in the body as well as improving flu-like symptoms.

Apples – Last but not least, apples! We all know the famous apple saying relating to health, and it’s true that this little miracle from Mother Nature is packed with goodies like fiber and vitamin C. However, what I find especially exciting about apples are some of the amazing compounds, called phenolic phytochemicals, found primarily in the skin of the fruit that are currently undergoing scientific investigation. An emerging theory is that these phenolic compounds may protect against certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by acting as an antioxidant in brain tissue.

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10 Reasons Why Summer is the Season for Eating Well

raspberriesThere are so many reasons why I love the summertime: the green grass and warm sunshine, longer days and warmer evenings, more time to savor all the beauty of the outdoors. But the best part by far is the amazing abundance of healthy, fresh, whole foods everywhere you look. In celebration of the richness of the season, I’ve put together my top 10 reasons why there’s no better time to eat well.

1. Food is Fresh, Available, and Affordable

It’s easy to eat fresh, locally grown food when fruits and vegetables are as abundant and available as they are during the summer months. And when food is more available, it’s more affordable, too, since choosing local produce cuts the cost of shipping food from some far-off place.

When food is in season, it’s better for you. Except for freezing, most food storage practices cause a loss in nutrition and quality. Think of all the preservatives and toxic chemicals used to keep packaged foods from going rancid on grocery store shelves. Beware these processed and preserved foods that can’t die. Fresh food is alive, filled with all the nourishment and nutrients needed to keep you alive and thriving!

Eating locally is not only healthy for you, it’s great for your community, too. Participate in the grow-your-own movement by shopping at your local farmers’ market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture). See www.localharvest.org to find a CSA or farmers’ market near you. For more adventurous ways to go local, try that interesting little farm stand you drive by during your daily commute (they usually offer great value for seasonal fruit and veggies) or try a pick-your-own farm.

2. You Can Get Back To Basics

Summer is all about unwinding, relaxing, and enjoying the simple pleasures of good food and good company. Always keep basic staples in the pantry, so you’ll be ready for an easy, impromptu meal. They don’t need to cost much. To eat well, you don’t have to indulge in expensive specialty foods or the new, trendy exotic fruit du jour. Keep it simple.

Tip: Get back to basics by creating delectable meals out of everyday foods, such as beans and greens. Beans cost only 50 cents per serving, yet give you 7 grams of blood sugar-friendly fiber. Try the Black Bean Salad recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

3. You Can Savor the Flavor

Summer offers so many ways for you to add flavor to your food without resorting to salt and fat. Herbs, spices, and berries are all plentiful during the warmer months. Get creative, and experiment using herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or fresh dill. In the summertime, these are so easy to grow right in your own window!

4. You Can Lighten Your Load

Produce is available in huge quantities and varieties during the summer months. This wide array of options makes it easy to enjoy a light, plant-based diet, which can keep your heart healthy, your waistline slender, and your blood sugar levels optimized.

Try incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly meal plan or try eating at least one meal a day without animal protein. This can help you lighten the load on your digestive system, as well as on the Earth, since raising animals for food has a greater impact on the environment than growing fruits and vegetables.

Tip: Choose non-GMO tempeh to replace ground beef in your next recipe. This one change will drastically trim your shopping bill, because tempeh costs about a third of what you’d pay for the amount of meat needed to feed a family of four!

5. There Are So Many Ways To Enjoy Your Leftovers

Remember all those leftover berries from the pick-your-own farm or all the fresh zucchini you found from the farmers’ market? Don’t waste them—re-use them! Here’s one great way to use Monday night’s chicken dinner in Tuesday morning’s breakfast: the Roasted Chicken and Egg White Cup recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

6. Dine Under the Stars

Add flare to your normal weeknight routine by creating your own summery dinner table outside. No need to go to fancy restaurants to make your meal feel special; decorate your outdoor table with some candles, stones, or fresh flowers to enhance your dining experience! Invite friends over. Make it a potluck! Relaxing under the stars, enjoying a fine meal with friends, will soothe your nerves and help you digest your food, while truly appreciating the magic of summertime.

Click to read the rest on DrHyman.com >>

Fun in the Sun: 4 Natural Oils to Add to Your Skin Care Regimen

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Summer just wouldn’t be summer without plenty of fun in the sun. This is the season of picnics, parades, barbeques, and beach days, when most people are wearing the least amount of clothing they’ve been in all year. Everyone knows that too much sun exposure can lead to not only sun burns, but skin damage, wrinkles, sun spots, and even cancer – but does that stop us?

There is only one way you’re going to make it through this sunny season – as well as the many summers to come – and that’s by adequately protecting and caring for your fragile skin. The most exposed areas of your body (the face, ear, neck, lips, etc) are also at the highest risk of developing skin cancer from over-exposure to ultraviolet rays. So it is particularly important to take precautionary measures to protect these areas.

These 4 naturally occurring oils, though not enough sun protection on their own, provide amazing skin benefits to bolster your skin care regimen this summer season:

1. Dilo oil: The nut of the Dilo tree, native to the island of Fiji, produces an oil known for its healing properties. Dilo oil contains calophyllic acid, which is scientifically proven to stimulate healing, reduce inflammation and promote the growth of healthy new skin cells. Wakaya Perfection (the same people who produce that amazing, natural ginger powder we’re always raving about) sell a Dilo Cream that restores and regenerates skin, contains antioxidant vitamins and is a natural sun protector.

2. Argan oil: Naturally harvested in Morocco since ancient times, Argan oil contains high levels of fatty acids, anti-oxidants, and vitamin E, all known to help protect and repair skin cells. Nowadays the oil is harvested largely by all-female collectives, providing a major source of income to many Moroccan women. Healthy and socially responsible!

3. Coconut oil: Similar to Argan oil, coconut oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E. And even better, you can put it on your skin and eat it! Just be sure to get virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, as opposed to the hydrogenated variety, which is much higher in saturated oil.

4. Acai oil: You’ve probably seen this berry all over the place recently – it’s the health fad of the last few years. What you might not know is that the oil extracted from these super-berries provides for a natural, nutrient-rich skin care product high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and essential fatty acids.

What sunshine activities are you enjoying most this summer? Are you making sure to protect your skin against sun damage?

 

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mailing_diloWakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and many more!

Summer is finally here, and now is the perfect time to stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic dilo cream to use in your skin care regime! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to find more healthy recipes (like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops) and stock up on Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger to use in your kitchen. 

Use the promo code THRIVE and receive 15% off your next purchase!

Sparks Will Fly With This 4th of July Homemade Ice Cream!

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By the time 4th of July rolls around, we’re in the thick of summer. It’s hot; our kids are getting restless; and it’s been a few weeks since the last good summer party. Lucky for us, the joyous, rowdy national holiday arrives just in time, complete with parades and fireworks to set the festive mood. Like many celebrants, you may be hitting the beach or the park this year for a picnic, then catching fireworks once the sun sets. It’s a common and beloved routine, so perfectly simple you might find yourself searching for a way to spice things up…

Ever made ice cream from scratch? That’s right, no more excuses. Let this summer be an opportunity to undertake some new projects you’ve had your eye on but haven’t had the time/patience to try out. Case in point: homemade ice cream!

Ginger and peaches come together in this refreshing recipe to create the perfect summer dessert. Your kids will love it; your friends will beg you for the recipe; and Independence Day will go off will all the spice and spark it deserves.

Ginger Peach Ice Cream – Two ways

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh ripe peaches diced
  • 1 Pint Heavy Cream or whipping cream
  • 1-2 Cups Half and Half or Whole Milk
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup sugar depending on preference
  • 1/2 to 1 1/2 tsp. Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger Powder (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Lightly whip heavy cream to aerate for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add sugar to blend
  3. Pour into a large bowl and add additional milk
  4. Puree half of the diced peaches and add ginger powder to taste
  5. Stir in diced peaches and puree until well blended
  6. Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions

Or have some fun and make Ice Cream in a Can!! Here’s how:

In a 1 lb. coffee can mix all ingredients. Seal can lid well with duct tape. Put small, sealed can inside larger 3 lb. can. Pack ice and 1 cup salt around small can. Put lid on large can and duct tape closed. Roll back & forth on a large towel (optional) for 15 minutes. Open large can and dump ice and water. Wipe small can dry and open. Stir mix, scraping sides of can. Additional ingredients, eg. cookie crumbs, chopped nuts, can be added now. Reseal small can and place back in larger can. Repack with salt and ice. Continue rolling for 10 minutes more. Open large can and dump ice and water. Wipe small can dry and open. Enjoy!

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308415_642560165773441_1538239119_nWakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and many more!

July 4th is right around the corner, and now is the perfect time to stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic ginger powder to use in your favorite recipes! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to find more healthy recipes (like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops) and stock up on Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger to use in your kitchen. 

Use the promo code THRIVE and receive 15% off your next purchase!

Hot Summer Rituals to Celebrate the Solstice

242/365  SummerCan you feel the excitement in the air? The days are hot and sunny, and summer officially begins this week on June 21st. It’s the longest day and the shortest night in the Northern hemisphere. I love this day. In the South of France it’s celebrated by jumping over bonfires as a way to gain courage and embrace the power of light and fire. That tradition dates back to pagan times, long before the Catholic church arrived to taint it with negative views about the appreciation of nature and the power of the five elements.

There’s a whole history of rituals related to this day and ways to honor and capture some of the magic of this mystical portal into summer. For centuries people have gathered at Stonehenge to welcome the season. Author Deborah Blake who writes on magic and rituals says, “The earth is at its most fertile and life is bursting out all over.” She advises that this is the best time for magical work “for abundance, fertility, and any kind of growth.”

I love it both as a time that presents an opportunity to burn away the old habits and baggage that no longer serve. And at the same time it’s a moment where the whole world feels alive with the vibrant, radiant energy of sunlight. It feels like a time of great possibility and a moment to enjoy life to its fullest. In France the day often coincides with the “Fete de la Musique”, a country-wide music day where  you’ll find people playing harps on street corners, rock bands pound out a rhythm from pubs, and orchestras spontaneously set up in open squares to play under the rising moon.

How will you spend the solstice? Make a plan to turn it into a special day. Go to the beach for a picnic with your beau. Maybe create your own mini-bonfire in a jar and burn away obstacles or jump over it. Dance with girlfriends under the moon in a grove of trees. Paint or write on a project that your heart yearns for you to create. Kiss a loved one. Plant a tree. Join me at Esalen Institute June 21st-23rd for a magical writing retreat. Play! Happy summer.

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Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, May 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

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photo by: martinak15

11 Books to Read This Summer (Plus The World’s Longest Book Domino Chain)

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 4.31.05 PMIn addition to barbeques, travel, and outdoor excursions, one of the activities on your summer to-do list is probably reading – at least we know it’s on ours! Summer is a particularly pleasant time of year for reading, what with the nice weather, bright natural light, and long lazy days. Bring a novel along to the beach or on a picnic; pack that lengthy biography for an international flight; recite poems to your love in between baseball innings. Whatever the time, place, or your genre of choice, now is the time to read something you’ve had your eye on since Christmas but got too distracted to begin.

We aren’t the only ones who think summer is a great time for reading. Many public libraries around the country launch summer reading programs to inspire kids who might otherwise get caught up in television reruns and video games. To support this cause, two Seattle college students decided to build the world’s longest book domino chain and make a video demonstrating their project. They teamed up with the Seattle Public Library to construct a 2,131-book domino chain, whimsically filmed with frozen vignettes of people reading in various “settings” next to the chain. Check it out!

Giddy joy is palpable in the crowd when the domino chain comes to an end – and the sweetness of that, alone, might make you want to visit the library! There are so many reasons to read (improve your mind, expand your vocabulary, enhance your imaginative skills) and so many books out there waiting to be explored.

To kick off our new book series, here are 11 of our favorite books to recommend for your summer reading:

  1. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: A quintessential summer book about a boy growing up in a small Midwestern town. Not as dull as it sounds, we promise! This is a magical and lovely book about youth, curiosity, and the quotidian beauty of life.
  2. Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse: A young man leaves his monastery in search of adventure and the meaning of life. He delves into the world of the senses, experiencing all the pain and pleasure that comes with sexual experience, artistic endeavors, and exploration.
  3. Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac: Buddhism, beat poetry, and booze. If you’ve read On the Road then you’ll have an idea of what you’re getting into. This book is considerably slower-paced and more contemplative, but we think overall more enjoyable.
  4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez: A magical realist tour de force, this is an absolute must-read. Put aside any expectations of order and tidiness, and let yourself be swept away by this epic tale.
  5. Buddha by Deepak Chopra: This is a lush re-telling of the story of Gautama Buddha. From growing up a blessed child of privilege to forsaking all luxuries and comforts, Buddha will capture your heart as the book captured ours.
  6. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy: A classic and deeply satisfying story of love and redemption. Hardy really isn’t given the credit he deserves as a great author, and even when he is, this particular book is often overlooked. Don’t make the same mistake!
  7. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: Definitely the strangest of the bunch, this book takes place in prehistoric times and tells the story of a young Cro-Magnon girl rescued by Neanderthals. Historical placement aside, this is a powerful coming-of-age story with particular relevance to girls and women.
  8. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: There couldn’t possibly be anything romantic about the suicides of five sisters – except the exquisite book in which they take place. This novel is not for the feint of heart, but its beauty will echo around in your soul for years to come.
  9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: If you’ve ever wondered what it might have been like to grow up in an Irish-American home in 1940s Brooklyn, then look no further! The sister-brother relationship is what particularly moves us in this honest and patient coming-of-age story.
  10. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: Woman power, as told by Dinah, the only female descendent of the Biblical Jacob. This is a harrowing but inspiring tale of love, tragedy, identity, and women’s empowerment. And a highly interesting take on the Biblical narrative.
  11. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: To be honest, the entire LOTR series is what we really love. But this light and engaging prequel is perfect for your lazy summer afternoons. And with the new preview out for part two of Peter Jackson’s cinematic re-telling…

Keep track of the books you’re reading and share your progress with your friends by creating a #books intent on Intent.com! Click here to see Mallika’s example.

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