“Cult favorite” wedding blog StyleMePretty branches into book mode with Style Me Pretty Weddings by Abby Larson. This gorgeously illustrated volume is sure to have a broad appeal beyond its built-in blog readership. The allure of style choices will be irresistible to anyone planning a “bespoke wedding,” the wonderfully old-fashioned term for a marriage ceremony custom-designed for the happy couple. After a thorough introduction on “The Anatomy” of such an event—including how to select a “couple style,” a feel, a venue, a color palette and the sources of your own inspirations—Larson details various options for wedding styles, ranging from “classic” to “whimsical.” Much of her advice may seem out of range for those of us not quite so well-heeled as the brides on view here, but Style Me Pretty nicely addresses budget constraints, suggesting (for example) “incredibly inexpensive” carnations for a centerpiece that “would take your breath away” . . . but not your bank account.
“Creativity” is the buzzword of our epoch, a democratic awareness that artfulness is everyone’s birthright and not only the province of “artists.” Jill Badonsky travels around the world, speaking at conferences and giving workshops to help everyone from filmmakers to business executives unlock their inner Edison. The Muse Is In offers heaping bushels of Badonsky’s wisdom, slyly arranged as a DIY manual of instructions for opening up your own box of creative tools. The first half of the book offers strategic advice on how to do battle against the “demons” who threaten our creativity at all times, a legion that includes fear, perfectionism, procrastination and (most insidious of all) “ruthless self-talk,” the whispers in your ear that you are not good enough to do what you’ve set out to do. In the same spirit of keeping those enemies of creativity at bay, the second half of The Muse Is In provides a “Day-to-Day Maintenance Datebook,” 365 gems of advice from many angels of creativity on how to keep your muse present and accounted for. This nugget from A.A. Milne (on his birthday, January 18) is not to be pooh-poohed: “Ideas may drift into other minds, but they do not drift my way. I have to go and fetch them.”
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
Americans have been in love with the lawn for far too long. Our green dreams are fueled by a nightmare of pesticides, fertilizer, gasoline and water consumption, all to maintain a sterile monoculture of little use to human or beast. But coming up with alternatives is tricky. What we need are easy, functional, earth-friendly lawn substitutes, and here’s a book-full for the taking: Lawn Gone! Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard by Pam Penick. Whatever your experience level, climate, lifestyle or needs, landscape designer and garden writer Pam Penick has solutions. She provides a gorgeous variety of options and inspirations: native, low-mow lawns; lawn-like mixes of grasses and flowers; full-on wildlife habitats; children’s playscapes; patios and walkways for entertaining; ponds; multi-use hardscapes and more. As a bonus, she includes regional plant recommendations and tips for smoothing the way with neighbors and homeowner associations.