woensdag 27 november 2013

Savvy Chic: The Art of More for Less - Anna Johnson (Boek)

Everything you love for less!

Anna Johnson is not a tea-bag squeezer, a penny-pincher, or inherently thrifty in any way—but she knows how to enjoy the finer things in life . . . for much, much less! In Savvy Chic, she shares her secrets on how to dress, decorate, entertain, and travel in high style without breaking the piggy bank.

Style: Get "rich girl" chic for dimes and master the fine art of thrift-shop vintage.

Decorating: Create exquisite curtains with Chinese lace tablecloths and shop the flea market like a stylist.

Entertaining: Feast on abundant rather than expensive food—from the ten-dollar dinner to the shoestring wedding reception.

Travel: Fake snobby style in Capri or make a one-star hotel feel like home.

Leisure: Take the town with nothing but a ball gown and twenty dollars or enjoy the most original dates in the history of love, for less of course.

All it takes to live well is taste, style, imagination, and rebellious flair—and Savvy Chic will show you how. Fun, fulfilling, and frugally fabulous, here's your indispensable guide to five-star elegance on a one-star budget.

About the Author
Anna Johnson is a freelance writer and the author of the top-selling Three Black Skirts, Handbags, and The Yummy Mummy Manifesto. She has written for publications including InStyle, CondÉ Nast Traveler, Vogue, Elle, and The Guardian. She lives with her son in Sydney and New York.

I purchased this book from Amazon a couple of weeks ago, picking up a chapter here and there, each one being like its own complete little book-within-a-book. I've read a lot on similar topics over many years but this is hands-down my favorite book. It makes me feel good. Anna Johnson is an author I'd simply enjoy knowing, like any terrific friend. She has learned to live so wisely and well on a shoestring, without sacrificing great style and sumptuous experience. She writes with deep heart on what would seem sometimes to be lighthearted topics, but which aren't at all lighthearted when it's stuff directly affecting you, in your own life...which, for many of us in The Great Recession, has left us with a sense of literal and/or emotional deprivation of no longer enjoying things you formerly could do or afford and being completely rattled by making the month's rent or mortgage.

She says in the preface, "Money is the heartbeat of life but hardly the soul. And yet it underscores every moment. For everyone, except perhaps the very rich, money is a grind." To me, she's got a finger on the pulse; her words hit home with me. She talks of, "Restraint. Proportion. Invention. All form a holy trinity to living better, and deeper, without so many of the props." She describes her book as "a cobbled collection of my secrets for survivalist glamour." And I definitely feel that women of all ages and generations can benefit from the book's contents...maybe in the way they're choosing to edit or fill their closets, get a sort of balance to their days on what they need or don't need for comfort and function, to feed themselves and family/friends simply and healthfully and to not stop "living" just because circumstances change and budgets are tight. The author has found ways around the concept of "no wiggle room." She refuses to live a colorless life.

I'm not saying I embrace every single idea of hers but that's something, too, that she recognizes early on about us all having different limits. For example, when it comes to second-hand buys, I personally grew up with too many hand-me-downs, few new things and no extras so, today, I cannot tolerate going into a thrift shop. Anna Johnson gets this. But she has given me lots of other ideas...and hope. I've actually earmarked pages and made written notes about "penniless pleasures" of hers. I like what she has to say about how to create your own comfortable cocoon when at home or traveling. And she's reminded me of simple, fun things I've forgotten or haven't thought to do...for instance, I'm West Coast and know nothing about the Northeast USA, but I love the chapter about taking an $8 train and being a (fashionable)"tourist" for the day in The Hamptons to get out of a New York City summer. In other words, don't sit around and moan; do something about it, and make it fabulous.

The illustrations (the author's own) and collages in the book are delightful; whimsical; eye-popping tints (note the teal/dark turquoise book cover). There are gems in mere sentences: "Often if I am poor in dollars, I try to make myself rich in time, keeping the creeping apathy of empty pockets at bay by doing something swift and cheap that makes my home and spirits feel enriched. If I can't alter the big things, I like to generate change on a small scale." I feel SAVVY CHIC is a handbook...I mean, just look at the Table of Contents: Clothes, Shelter, Income, Food, Travel, Entertainment. This author has become a kind of life coach now for me, yet she's very honest about her flaws, "I cannot use a credit card. I wish this limitation was based on principle alone but the fact is that I'm reckless. Utterly so. Compared to many, I have a somewhat archaic understanding of money. I spend exactly what I have in my pocket, often not wisely." This is one of the reasons why I love this book: Anna Johnson is real and she's honest. It's so refreshing, and I'm so glad she is sharing her lessons learned, with tools for living abundantly, with flourish! Her "Notes to One's Broke Self" is something I've re-read again and again: "I am not what I earn...I have a better idea...I can hang tough...I have dignity...plan, don't panic...(and) I am replete." (Pages 105-107; uplifting, empowering.) I'm hooked; I'll read anything Anna Johnson has to say, and I'm waiting in anticipation for her next book. She's a wonderful author.


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