SPRING BOOK CLUB: THE BEST NEW BOOKS TO READ THIS SPRING

The sun is coming out, the weather is warming up…what better way to celebrate the start of spring than with a new book?

Maybe you’ve been wanting to start reading something new for a while, but just don’t know where to start. After all, it feels like the lists of new releases are nearly endless! Or maybe you just finished something fabulous and you’re looking for something just as amazing! No need to stress about it — we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of new releases by female authors for you and your vinas to devour.

DAISY JONES & THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Image via Goodreads.

Released on March 5th, Daisy Jones & The Six is the fascinating story of a fictional seventies rock band and their rise to fame…and their downfall. If you love Fleetwood Mac and the wild stories that came out about the recording of their 1977 album Rumours, this one is for you. It’s also told in the format an oral history, which makes it a fast read — but one that will still break your heart.

SING TO IT: NEW STORIES by Amy Hempel

Image via Goodreads.

Amy Hempel, a renowned short story author, is back with a new collection for the first time in a decade. Sing To It (published March 26th) features fifteen short stories about loneliness and the search for connection, and it’s perfect for those of us feeling lost and in need of some dazzling prose.

YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian 

Image via Goodreads.

If you missed out on reading “Cat Person,” the short story published in The New Yorker that took the Internet by storm in December of 2017, never fear: it’s included in author Kristen Roupenian’s short story collection. Featuring stories about sex, guilt, anger, and pain, this is one you won’t want to miss (out January 15th).

THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory

Image via Goodreads.

This fun romance novel was Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick for the month of February, and it’s perfect for the start of spring. Pick it up and follow the excitement of a failed Dodger’s stadium scoreboard marriage proposal and a rebound relationship with all its twists and turns!

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston

Image via Goodreads.

Is there anything better than an enemies-to-lovers trope in a story? Nope, unless it includes a fake relationship that turns into something more…which this one totally does. McQuiston’s debut novel, out on May 14th, tells the story of what happens when the son of the American President falls in love with the Prince of Wales. Big-hearted and a lot of fun, be sure to check this one out when it’s released!

Want to talk about all these amazing new releases with someone? Start swiping on Hey! VINA and find someone to start a book club with!

HOW BLOGGING CHANGED MY LIFE: ONE VINA’S PERSONAL ESSAY ON THE POWER OF WRITING

Let me set the scene:

I’m in an aesthetic coffee shop as I type out my last passion-filled sentence and close my laptop. The first draft of an article I’m writing is complete, and I’m basking in the glow of the cleansing feeling I now have. My skin is clear, my crops are growing, the sun is shining, and it’s all thanks to blogging.  

Of course, this is the ideal scenario. Usually it’s more like I start with a half baked idea, play with it in my mind for a week or two until I finally put pen to paper (or, more likely, fingers to keyboard) a couple days before my deadline and crank something out. This process isn’t one I’ve always had, but I am thankful I get to experience now.   

I started writing as soon as I could hold a pencil (I’m not exaggerating). I was inspired by Lemony Snicket and Barbara Park’s stories that were gripping, sassy, and self-aware. I would spend recess on a bench writing pages and pages of stories in an attempt to replicate good dialogue and spunky characters. Any “quiet time” was used to ask my teachers how to spell big words like “unfortunate.”

As I grew older, I started struggling with mental health, and, before a therapist could tell me that writing was a good coping mechanism, I was pouring myself into stories. My darkest times spurred my interest in sharing my experiences. I was admittedly shy about my writing, mostly keeping it to myself, but what I did put out into the world made me feel good and in control of my life.

In college, I went through a phase where I wanted to do anything except what was expected of me, which meant that being known as “the writer” inspired me to enter college as a Business major, change to a Nursing major, and then finally coming back around to Communication when I realized I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by not following my heart (as cheesy as that sounds). Letting myself really write led to me starting an online magazine where I got to interview amazing women and work with international companies and organizations. It didn’t last, however — I was only a Business major for a hot second — but I did use my final year of college to be the Editor-in-Chief of my school’s newspaper.

My goal in all of this? Making hard conversations possible and accessible. Conversations about Black Lives Matter or the systematic influences on mental health or ways that all genders can have good sex weren’t being had, but my staff and I made it happen.

For me, blogging and writing in general has always been cathartic. I can process and come to terms with my emotions, making me a better communicator and friend. I can talk about serious matters in a way that’s palatable to the everyday person and even, at times, fun! I can express myself in my most authentic voice and have my experiences be relatable to readers. I know I’m not alone, and someone else gets to know they aren’t alone either. Where’s the downside in that? That feeling you get when you read an article and wonder if the author spied on you to be able to write such similar experiences? It’s a two-way street. Though sometimes it feels like I’m shouting into the void, I often feel like I’m talking to a bunch of my favorite vinas.

Whether it’s been for needing to cope with the stresses of life, having the opportunity to meet amazingly inspiring people, or engaging with my vina community of the internet, writing has always been there for me. As I finish this blog post not in a coffee shop with a great aesthetic, I know that blogging really has changed my life and made me a better person.

Want to start blogging or writing for an online publication? VINAZINE is the place for you! Check out Hey! VINA to swipe and find your writing soulmates.

BRAZEN BOOKS FOR EMPOWERED VINAS

One of my favorite books when I was growing up was “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume. I remember reading it and feeling like I wasn’t alone. Someone else somewhere felt the same way I did about the awkwardness of getting older. As an adult, my reading material has of course changed, but not my search for great books that teach me something, take me on a journey and make me see something in a different light. There are so many great books that do all of these things, but here are some of my favorites:

UNF*CK YOURSELF: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO YOUR LIFE

Courtesy of delia_timis_ Instagram.

by Gary John Bishop

Besides loving the title, “Unf*k Yourselfreminds you of how awesome you are. It’s a straight-forward, brutally honest approach about why you continue to hit roadblocks in your life. What do you need to thrive? What do you need to get out of your head? Gary John Bishop isn’t shy with his answer.

THE WAIT: A POWERFUL PRACTICE FOR FINDING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE AND THE LIFE YOU LOVE

The Wait book cover
Courtesy of etnahsa Instagram.

by DeVon Franklin, Meagan Good & Tim Vandehey

Ok, so maybe not for everyone, but “The Wait” was an awesome read for me. We’ve all made mistakes in past relationships that we wish we’d stop repeating. Devon and Meagan are super candid about why they chose this path and how it made a difference in their courtship. If what you’ve done in the past hasn’t worked, maybe it’s time to try something new.

BECOMING

Courtesy of kinokuniya_singapore Instagram.

by Michelle Obama

Do I even need to explain this one?! Hello! It’s basically been sold out since it went to the printers and is so the book every woman needs in her life. Just stop everything right now and go get it! You’ll thank me later.

CAN WE ALL BE FEMINISTS?

"Can We All be Feminists" book cover
Courtesy of booksandpolkadots Instagram.

Edited by June Eric-Udorie

A great question with insightful essays hoping to answer it. This anthology featuring voices of women from varying backgrounds and points of view is a must-read. It questions feminism from the standpoint of race, religion, gender identity and more. I originally thought this book may have been too political for me, but I was pleasantly surprised and came away with my own answer to the question.

WELL-READ BLACK GIRL: FINDING OUR STORIES, DISCOVERING OURSELVES

"Well-Read Black Girl" cover
Courtesy of tbretc Instagram.

Edited by Glory Edim

If you’re reading this post, this book is right up your alley. What made you fall in love with writing, books, discovering new voices? “Well Read” asked the same question. Was it a character in a book you still remember? Was it a gift from a loved-one you cherish? Glory Edim curated this collection of females voices sharing their moments of literary love and appreciation.

Start your own girl-power book club with Hey! VINA today! 

17 FREE WAYS TO LIFT YOUR MOOD

I know how to cheer myself up  — and, if I can pat myself on the back, I’m very good to myself, especially if I’ve had a bad day. I’ve spontaneously booked a $150 massage, clicked “purchase” on buttery-soft leather boots, and splurged on (multiple!) technicolor $15 cocktails to shake off everything from a curt comment from a boss to a bad breakup.

Even when I try to cut back, I find that “self-care” can cost major bucks. Books, bubble baths, and cold brews aren’t exactly free! At the same time, when you’re feeling ugh, you’re not exactly super motivated to round up some baking soda, cornstarch, citric acid, and essential oils to build your own bath bombs. So how can you be good to yourself, your bank account, and your well-being? Try one of these strategies:

1) MAKE — AND SERVE — YOURSELF DINNER

No need to run out to the grocery store for ingredients. Even putting a Pop-Tart on a plate and sitting down at a table can make you feel more pampered than if you had scarfed it down standing up. For extra points, dim the lights and cue up a Spotify playlist of your favorite jams.

2) PUT FRESH SHEETS ON YOUR BED

Fluff the pillows and fold down the comforter in the way you like best for that “hotel” feel at a $0 price tag.

3) DRINK A GLASS OF WATER

Or two. Sometimes when you’re feeling a little foggy, you don’t even realize it’s because you’re dehydrated. Have a glass — toss in some cut-up fruit to make it extra fancy — and you’ll be re-energized in no time.

4) MAKE A CUP OF TEA

Rolling your eyes? Me too! Or I was until I actually made myself a cup of tea. I’m a coffee drinker to the core, but finding an herbal blend, boiling water, and sitting down and enjoying a hot beverage after a cold, damp day is much more decadent than it might sound. In other words, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

5) CLEAN OUT YOUR INBOX

A mindless, mess-free chore can stop you from ruminating on whatever’s bothering you, and getting to inbox zero can feel so (so, so, so!) satisfying.

6) LIE IN SAVASANA

Any yoga flow will help you feel good, but if you want to skip straight to savasana, we won’t judge. It’s the best pose — and if it turns into a nap, even better.

7) MAKE A MUG COOKIE

Decadent, delicious, ooey-gooey comfort in a mug, coming right up. There are plenty of recipes online, but here’s a simple and foolproof one: Add one egg, two tablespoons cocoa powder, and ¼ cup powdered sugar to a mug; mix it all up, and nuke in the microwave for a minute. Done and yum.

8) DO A LANGUAGE LESSON ON DUOLINGO

Learning a new skill is fun and free, and the game-like interface of this language-learning app can remind you just how smart, talented, and full of possibility you are.

9) ESCAPE INTO A GOOD BOOK

Kindle offers free reads on the regular, ranging from classics to contemporary fiction. Feeling old school? Hit up the library — or swap bestsellers with a friend. Find the equivalent of literary junk food, if that’s what will make you feel good, or dive into fantasy or science fiction to help you forget the real world.

10) PLAY!

You know how recess made everything better as a kid? The same is accurate for adults. Download a workout app like Zombies, Run (where you run away from zombies while following a workout routine) which can help you get your sweat on (holla, endorphins!).

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11) SAY HI TO SOMEONE

It sounds cheesy, but when you’re super caught up in your own stuff, the best way to break the cycle is to just get out of your head. Say hi to a grocery clerk, a barista, your coworker. It’s great if the “hi” then sparks a conversation, but a simple exchange of hellos and smiles can also cheer you up. Don’t have anyone around you? Surround yourself with people, stat.

12) WATCH SOME DOGS PLAY AT THE DOG PARK

Dare you not to smile.

13) LET YOUR FRIENDS REMIND YOURSELF JUST HOW AWESOME YOU ARE

Run a search in your email for the phrase “you’re awesome.” You’ll turn up all the emails from friends and family who have shared that phrase with you over the years.

14) CUE UP SOME BABY GOAT YOGA

Ideally, you would do baby goat yoga. But since most of us don’t live near the farms offering this one-of-a-kind class, you can also get happy by watching goat yoga. So get on YouTube, stat.

15) TWO WORDS: SAND CUTTING

Again, this is a “even more soothing if it’s watched” type of thing. The official term for videos of people doing mundane things that somehow make you feel chilled out, calm, or even tingly (but in a good way!) is ASMR — autonomous sensory meridian response. Research is mixed about whether ASMR is a scientific phenomenon, but the Internet — and plenty of Reddit threads — confirm it’s a thing. Even if you don’t get any physical sensations, you’ve gotta admit watching videos of sand carving can make your brain turn off in the best way.  Check out @sand.tagious on IG and see for yourself. It’s cool, weird, hypnotizing, and happiness-inducing.

16) CROSS SOMETHING OFF YOUR TO-DO LIST

Even if that “something” is “write your to-do list.” An app will work, but there’s something extra satisfying about doing it with pen and paper.

17) QUIT A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE

You know how there’s always that one thing you don’t mean to be paying for — but somehow still are? Take ten minutes and unsubscribe. Doing so will feel so good — and your bank account will thank you, too.

— Originally published on November 1, 2018 on FindJoy.com

5 NEW HOBBIES TO START OUT YOUR YEAR

Well vinas, it’s 2019! A new year to learn new things about yourself. This year, challenge yourself to take on a new hobby. Learning a brand new thing will not only keep your brain healthy and strong, but it will also add to your tool belt. Here are five ideas to try, as well as some inspiring success story to help you get started:

KNITTING

My sister went off to college and very quickly realized that studying all day and all night was getting tiring. She was introduced to knitting by another friend and it was love from the on. Vinas, knitting is no longer your grandma’s pastime. My sister got so good at knitting, that she quickly learned to knit hats, headbands and scarves! She was offered an opportunity to make her own brand and even sell her items in a store.

LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT

For the more patient vinas. I recently watched a video of a girl who taught herself how to play the violin in two years. I know, I know, it’s not one year….but still. If you really dedicate your time and you see progress, I say keep at it!

PHOTOGRAPHY

This goes beyond the “selfie”. Give your dad’s old camera a try. Choose a subject and play with lighting. Research the types of photography out there, and find out which ones attract you. Don’t be scared to get creative. If you really want a challenge, look up photos and try to recreate them with your own style. A good starting-off point? Henry Carroll’s Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs, an easy-to-read and understandable guide on the basics of seeing and photographic techniques. 

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READING

Remember in middle school, how you could read 3-5 books in a month? Start a book club with your bookworm vinas and converse every week about what you’ve read—wine glass in hand if that’s your preferred method. Dive into a different period in time, a romantic novel, or a good informative read. Watch your grammar improve and your knowledge expand! Win-win. 

BAKING / COOKING

This hobby for me is actually very relaxing. Before I got married, the kitchen was not my friend. I would look up videos of how to cook rice, or bake cookies—you know, the simple things. I found out I was actually pretty good at it; The more I would cook or bake, the more creative I would get. I realized that cutting up veggies or mixing up ingredients relaxed me and made me feel confident that my end result was going to be delicious. Trust me, your spouse will have no problem being the judge of your baking/cooking! Grab your bestie and create something together, all while helping each other improve.

Whatever you decide to do this year, give it your best shot and enjoy it. Remember that a hobby is not a chore, or that you are on a time limit to improve. It is your creative space, your “me” time. Don’t get frustrated if your first choice of hobby doesn’t work out or interests you. Find another hobby that makes you happy and motivated! Cheers to new skills!

In need of a vina to help you navigate your new hobbies? Head over to the Hey! VINA app and meet vinas in the different communities that share your new-found interests! 

VINA BOOK CLUB: YOUR HOLIDAY BOOK READING LIST

The thought of sitting next to the fireplace with a cup of some decadent hot chocolate and a good book is pretty cliche – but there’s no denying it’s a good feeling this time of the year. The holiday season calls for relaxation and indulgence. So here’s a list of novels that are on-theme and will induce that warm, cozy feeling this season! 📚 ☕🎄

One Day in December by Josie Silver

For all those hopeless romantics, this is a powerful tale of love, friendship, and loss. Laurie is mesmerized by a man she sees on the bus during a cold, snowy evening. Locking eyes for a moment, her mystery crush is gone forever. Laurie spends a year looking for him. One day, she attends a Christmas party with her best friend Sarah, who can’t stop talking about her new boyfriend. Lo and behold – Sarah’s new boyfriend Jack is the one Laurie has been searching for. This book isn’t your typical love triangle! Beautifully written and cinematic, you’ll gobble up this read as fast as your holiday dinner.

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology by Christopher Golden

Halloween came and went, but that doesn’t mean you have to give it all up now that the holidays rolled along. This one is a collection of 18 Christmas horror stories. There’s a spectrum of eerie and creepy styles, so you’ll definitely find a story you’ll love. From cult holiday parties to a haunted Christmas hotel, this is a light read that will surely transition you from autumn to winter!

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Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrimur Helgason

This one isn’t holiday themed but it sure is cozy. Herra, an 80-something-year-old Icelandic woman waiting for death in a garage recounts her entire existence. She has lived a full yet tragic life during World War II and through the struggles of immigration. Part comedy and part drama, this novel is a truly poetic piece. Helgason can perfectly paint a vivid scene in his style of writing. You’ll feel as if you’re right there with Herra as she tells you the stories of her life.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

A warm tale of growing up and rolling with what life gives you, this novel will keep you feeling cozy this winter. This classic is a story of young Taylor Greer and her mission to leave her hometown. Along the way she encounters a parent-less child named Turtle and makes a new friend on her journey. While trying to find Turtle’s home, Taylor seeks a stable and happy life in this heartwarming tale. If you’re looking for a book with strong character development and female relationships, this is the one.

A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan

William Heming will be the most interesting and creepy character you read about this season – no, EVER! A successful realtor who is good at his job, he has the biggest secret in his town: he keeps the key to every house he has ever sold. When a dead body is discovered in one of the properties, things escalate at a rapid pace. This shocking mystery will be hard to put down.

Ready for some warm and cozy hibernation with these books? Everything’s better with some good vinas. Go over to the Hey! VINA app now and start swiping in the Lit Lovers community. We see a stellar book club in your future!📚👍

JOANNA COLES Q&A: THE #1 DATING MISTAKE THAT PEOPLE NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR, DEALING WITH TOXIC FRIENDSHIPS AND MORE

As the former Chief Content Officer at Hearst Magazines and editor-in-chief of both Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan, Joanna Coles spent years hearing from 20-something single women on the ups and downs of dating in the digital world. After being inspired by Food Rules (a straight-forward guide to eating wisely), Joanna set out to write the rule book for relationships, titled Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World.

Joanna, now a creative adviser at CBS This Morning and executive producer of Freeform’s The Bold Type, sat down with VINAZINE to talk about her book, the importance of forging IRL connections, why people are feeling more lonely, toxic friendships and more. Read some highlights and check out the full video from our exclusive interview below.

How junk food can be compared to “junk love”: “I think junk food is very seductive, right? So actually when you’re hungry, there’s nothing more delicious than the smell of McDonalds or the tantalizing prospect of a little cone of nuggets, but in the end, it’s not a very healthy diet. And it’s OK to do every now and then, but if you try to sustain yourself on a permanent diet of that, you’ll actually make yourself very ill. And it just struck me that there were a lot of similarities between food and love because we can’t live without them, we need good quality of food and love to really have a good life. And it’s really important to your health—not only your mental health, but your physical health as well. Eating well and finding someone to love you well and love them back well can be challenging.’

On the #1 dating mistake people make: “There’s not a #1 mistake that people make, but I do think that people often fall back on exes as a sort of comfort, thinking that it will get them through a moment of loneliness or solitude, and I think that, like the donut at 4 o’clock, that you have an energy crash. You need a quick fixer-upper and you reach for something and a half an hour later, you’re like, ‘Ugh why did I do that?’ You feel awful, you’re still hungry, and now you’re full of remorse.”

On overcoming these mistakes: “One of the things I really urge people to do is to keep a diary, so that you can monitor your own behavior and understand when you have your own weak moments. If you know 4:00 is your energy low, then at the beginning of the day, you want to eat with that in mind … Understanding your behavior and then setting up a system so that you’re not left on a Saturday night, lonely and drunk, and reaching to make the text.”

On loneliness: “I think that people are feeling more lonely for a variety of reasons. One is that our devices was supposed to connect us…and often they do, there are apps that are brilliant and we’re never going to live without them, but it’s not a zero-sum game because it’s so much easier now to hedge your bets and delay making commitments to what you’re going to do that evening, so you can often be left high and dry. It’s often easier to plan in advance, so that you know you got something set up, and I think it’s very easy when you’re facing a moment of solitude or an evening in that was unplanned, to go down the rabbit hole of social media and see that everybody else is apparently having a much better time than you are, and it’s really important not to do that, to just be disciplined, put it down, and say, ‘Actually this is not going to make me feel better to follow everybody else on Saturday night. I may not have anything to do with other people, but I’m going to read a book, I’m going to cook a meal, I’m going to start tapestry-ing, whatever you want to do, I’m going to go to the gym, I’m going to sign up for a choir, I’m going to write an old-fashioned letter to somebody.’ It’s important to spend time off your device.”

On having toxic friendships and what to do about it: “Just as it’s possible to have junk love, it’s also possible to have junk friendships, or friends that bring you down that you’re not quite able to cut the chord on. I think keeping a journal is really good. Track your energy, be your own data analytics expert. Figure out who are the people who give me great energy, who are the people that I feel down about or conflicted after I’ve seen them. And once you see that pattern, start reducing the amount of time that you spend with the people who are toxic and actually bringing you down.”

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On what defines a good friendship and virtual friends vs. IRL friends:We are at the beginning of understanding our behavior with these devices. It’s not zero sum, we’re never going to put them down, they’re amazing devices and all the things that they can do for us, but they often come at the expense of participating in real life. And I do think there’s a difference between virtual life and real life. I think there’s a difference between a friend who sits with you when you’re feeling sick or listens to you droning on about your boyfriend problems, and a friend who you’ve never actually met in real life, and simply likes your tweets. Nothing can be more important than sharing experiences with friends, new friends, old friends, because that’s actually what builds friendship. It’s funny experiences, it’s spending the night, like I did one weekend with a group of friends on Governors Island glamping—it was hilarious … you want connective tissue that happens in real life. It’s the funny things that actually builds friendship over the years, and that’s the stuff of value. You know that’s when you can call someone and say, ‘Listen, I’m gonna have chemo, do you mind coming with me?’ Friendship should be built over the years with an amount of trust. People knowing that they can trust you to show up when you don’t feel like it, and you can trust them to show up when they have more important things to do. That’s what friendship is—it’s not liking someone’s tweets or following them. Friendship is about being able to trust someone, being able to rely on someone and about knowing that you will step up for them when they’ll step up for you, and who you want to hang out with when you have milestones … Who are the first five people you call when you get a new job, lost a job, lost a parent, when you’re super excited about something, who are the people in that world that you can rely on.”

How to expand your social networks via dating apps: ‘Dating apps are incredibly useful for expanding not only your love life, but your entire social network. Think about how people react after college…they stay with the people they went to college with, they’re all in the same town together, but it can be very lonely moving to a new town when you’re working at a company and you don’t see that many opportunities for socializing at work, and it’s much better to have a life outside of work anyway, and I think dating apps, they can all have this extra circle of connection, which can become really exciting. You might not like the person on the date, but you might have someone you want to introduce them to, they might have someone they want to introduce you to, so it’s really just a small pebble passed into the pond that can have great ripple effect.”

How to maximize your profile: “So many people are really general—I have a great sense of humor, I love to hike, I love music. That’s not enough. You want to be really precise and do a deep dive. I love Coldplay…I love hiking in the Adrinocks… show your personality. Be really detailed so that you are getting a sense of who are you and your real authentic passion. Don’t say you like sailing if you’ve never been in a boat .. you want to be authentic, because that way you’ll tap into people who share your interests, which means you’ll immediately have something to talk about. It’s more fun being honest—otherwise, you have to try to remember the nonsense you claimed.”

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On plans for her next book: “I’ve been asked repeatedly about office relationships and how people should behave in offices now, and I think post-MeToo and post TimesUp, there’s a lot of anxiety about office behavior. Clearly, not just in terms of how people relate on a relationship basis, and whether or not they can start dating, but just in terms of office manners and how people should behave towards each other. So I’m pretty sure I’m going to be tackling office behaviors next.”

Thanks, Joanna for talking to VINAZINE!

Vinas, make sure to pick up your copy of Love Rules. Trust us—it’d make the perfect book for your next book club wine night📚🍷! And want to start making memories with amazing friends like the ones Joanna is talking about? They’re all waiting for you on Hey! VINA today! Start swiping today.👉

30 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU TURN 30

While many people claim to not be into reading, we like to think that those people just haven’t found the right book to curl up with. While we agree that nothing is better than Netflix, a great read can reduce stress and help you learn something new. So before you’re truly adulting (30 is the new 20, right?), check out these classic books!

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR TALES OF TRIUMPH, READ…

1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

While it was published in 1969, Maya Angelou’s personal coming-of-age story still stands as one of the best autobiographies you could read.

2. I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

After surviving her attack, this young activist started an international movement and won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Walls’ memoir depicts her childhood raised by dysfunctional and neglecting parents, and her eventual decision to leave.

4.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Before it was a movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Wild was the true story of a young woman tackling loss and the PCT trail.

5.  Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxanne Gay

Confronting society’s issues with her plus-size body, Gay isn’t looking for pity, just understanding.

6. Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World by Ann Shen

You’ll buy it for its illustrations, you’ll keep it for the amazing inspiration it gives you.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO IMPROVE YOURSELF, READ…

7. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

This self-help book is sarcastic, funny, and just what you might need to hear.

8. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book may be old but its lessons still stand, even more so today.

9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Manson focuses less on being positive and more on embracing the scary and uncomfortable parts of life.

10. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Having spent years studying what makes Denmark the happiest country in the world, Wiking shares his insights in this book.

11. You Do You by Sarah Knight

Recommended for people-pleasers and perfectionists.

12.  Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

Looking to regain some control in your life? These Silicon Valley designers will teach you how to design a life you’ll love.

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IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A COFFEE TABLE BOOK, READ…

13. The Atlas of Beauty: Women of the World in 500 Portraits by Mihaela Noroc

Take a break from Instagram and lose yourself in this visual collection of beauty as seen around the world.

14. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton

Based on his popular blog, Stanton mixes his photography with the heartwarming and sometimes painful stories of New Yorkers.

15. National Geographic: The Photographs by Leah Bendavid-Val

Immerse yourself in the magazine’s most memorable photography of the past 25 years, along with anecdotes from the photographers.

16. The Polaroid Book by Barbara Hitchcock

This book showcases more than 400 amateur individual photos taken with a Polaroid.

17. Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places by National Geographic

Another National Geographic pick, this book showcases the most breathtaking vacation destinations along with information for future travelers.

18. 1000 Record Covers by Michael Ochs

Featuring album art from the ’60s to the ’90s, this book acts as a gallery for record covers and is sure to make you feel a little nostalgic.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOME CAREER INSPIRATION, READ…

19. Ask a Manager by Alison Green

From workplace gossip to holiday parties, this book is the guide to navigating the workplace.

20. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

This Facebook COO shares her insight after years in the workplace. Recommended for recently-graduated vinas.

21. Mistakes I Made at Work by Jessica Bacal

Everybody makes mistakes—and the influential women in this book share what they’ve learned from them.

22. The Kinfolk Entrepreneur by Nathan Williams

Perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs, this book showcases individuals from different industries and different countries.

23. In The Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney

Featuring over 100 women in creative fields, this book is inspiration for any vina with a passion.

24. Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women by Otegha Uwagba

This travel size handbook is perfect if you’re looking for quick, no-nonsense advice.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO REVISIT THE CLASSICS, READ…

25. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This coming-of-age story depicts serious issues like racism, yet still manages to warm your heart.

26. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

We love Leonardo DiCaprio, but this story of love and deception in 1920s America is much better read than watched.

27. 1984 by George Orwell

“Big Brother is watching” will forever be an iconic line with this dystopian novel.

28. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The love story between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy is not only iconic, it’s charming and hilarious.

29. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Get ready to cry with this beautiful story of friendship, betrayal and redemption spanning several years and set in Afghanistan.

30. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Following a young shepherd’s journey to find a treasure, this story is one that will stay with you for a long time.

How many of these books have you read and loved? If you’re looking for a friend to talk books with or to start a book club, download Hey! VINA and join the Lit Lovers community!

JULY BOOK CLUB: THE HOTTEST READS RIGHT NOW

If you haven’t found a good summer read to go with your glass of rosé, no worries—we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best books that are making waves this summer!

Days of Awe by AM Homes

Let’s not pretend that we do not have our eyes glued to the news lately. With all the news lately, Days of Awe will take you into an intellectual collection of anxieties of modern-day America. This is the author’s second collection of stories in three decades. Homes won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2013, so you know her stories are worth the read.

Florida by Lauren Groff

This reading selection will have you laughing out loud with frequent stops into the wild and mysterious landscapes of Florida. Florida is a collection of essays about the climate and history of the sunshine state. You’ll be introduced to many whimsical and intriguing characters as you learn about love, despair and pleasure mixed with pain.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

One of America’s most beloved actors, Tom Hanks brings us Uncommon Type: Some Stories. This book is fantastic if you are looking for heart-warming, kind stories that are riddled with empathy. Each story features a new typewriter woven into a beautiful tale.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Making Oprah’s book list, An American Marriage introduces us to newlyweds Celestial and Roy. On their journey of Roy’s 12-year sentence, Celestial believes he is innocent. With each day that passes, Celestial takes comfort in her childhood friend, Andre. This is a story of strength, insight and the journey of a soul.

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My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown by Meera Lee Patel

My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown enlightens us through inspirational quotes, musings and questions that evoke deep thought. This book is her newest publication on top of her Patel’s best-selling novel Start Where You Are. After opening this book, you will feel inspired to conquer the day!

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Pick up any Zadie Smith novel and you’re sure to find strength and beauty in every sentence. Her newest collection of essays, titled Feel Free, she questions the modern world. Smith dives deep into the meaning of Facebook and what we will tell the future generation about global warming. This collection of essays will be one that you won’t be able to put down.

Neon in Daylight by Hermoine Hoby

Neon in Daylight is Hoby’s first novel; dazzled with insight, intellect and intrigue. The story follows a young lady named Kate who arrived in New York from England. She finds herself with the daunting tasks of calling her pessimistic boyfriend from back home and watching over a cat named Joni Mitchell. Her days are forever changed when she is introduced to a charming man named Bill and his daughter, Inez.

Get to reading, vinas! We will be back with new selections in August.

Interested in starting your own book club? Start swiping to find some bookworm vinas!

WHY YOU SHOULD WRITE LETTERS TO YOUR FRIENDS

When was the last time you received a heartfelt letter from someone? Honestly, I never had someone write me a letter—like full on letter until I left my last job. I had made a few wonderful life-long friends there, and leaving was ruh-diculously hard. But on my last day, a close friend handed me an envelope and just told me to read it when I got home. Like I said, I’d never really gotten a full on letter before, so I just decided to read it in my car— and cue the water works. Seriously, I cried like I was moving away and would never see this person again, even though I actually hung out with her a couple days ago!54a78add788db_-_crying

It was just something else entirely to have someone write out how much you mean to them. Yes, it’s wonderful to talk on the phone and hang out and constantly remind your friends how much you love them—but there’s something special about a letter. Honestly, when I’m feeling like I’m failing at life completely, I’ll read that letter and instantly feel better knowing how much someone believes in me. After receiving that letter I decided to pay it forward and write another good friend of mine a letter because she moved to another state last year.

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I knew what I wanted to say but I didn’t know how good it would feel just letting it all flow out. Yes, I’ve always enjoyed writing, but there’s something especially liberating about telling someone you care about just how much you care about them. I was totally honest and vulnerable in explaining to my friend why she inspires me and why I’m so grateful for her friendship.

LETTERS.jpgYou know, there are plenty of reasons to write letters to people, but all I know is that it feels really good! Whether you receive a handwritten letter or give one, it just makes you feel strangely closer to the person whom you’re writing to, and it’ll make you feel closer to yourself.

My friend ended up calling me while I was at work, when she received her letter. She went into this whole thing about how she was feeling so crappy at work and my handwriting is precious and how she’s going to keep the letter forever and she misses me so so much, etc. And yes, she was crying—honestly, it may not be the letters, we may just be an emotional group! #allthefeels

Received any great love letter from your vinas? Tell us about it in the comments!