Special Feature and Giveaway: Jessica Alba

*This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Heather on winning. Thanks to all who entered!

I must admit that I am generally a bit leery when it comes to reading books written by celebrities, especially books that have anything to do with “real life”. I imagine their every need is taken care of, from a nanny for the kids to live-in house cleaners and cooks. When I was contacted to review Jessica Alba’s new book, The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You, the skepticism about a celebrity actually writing a book that would relate to my humble reality kicked in, but I was surprised to find that the book is filled with tips, tricks, recipes and advice for a normal person like me. I was most excited about the topic of the pizza oven in her backyard (with recipes) because building my very own backyard pizza oven is on my summer bucket list. Jessica also likes to dress her kids in hand-me-downs instead of buying new– one obvious benefit being that it saves money, but it also means that by the time the clothes land on your kid’s back, the nasty chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process are all washed out. I can get behind that.

It’s chock full of useful information that you’ve always wanted to know but have never really had the time to sit down to research. For example, do you know how safe your mattress is? What is really in that makeup that you are wearing day in and day out? The Honest Life is an indispensable handbook for healthy, sustainable, stylish and affordable living.

Alba breaks down the bad and gives you the good options. If you can’t afford the best alternative, she also gives options that are a bit easier on the budget. What inspired her to write this book? Read on for a Q&A as well as a chance to win a copy of her book!

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For Jessica Alba, becoming a mom was the most profound, life-changing and eye-opening experience of her life. Upon becoming pregnant with her daughter Honor (now four), Alba set out to create a healthy environment for her family and herself. However, what she found was a marketplace filled with products that worked well but were filled with toxic chemicals OR a not-so-cute, pricier eco-alternative that didn’t actually get the job done. Convinced that we could “have it all,” Jessica created The Honest Company—a nontoxic, eco-friendly, beautifully stylish family products brand that offers effective essentials for every member of the household.  Now with her first book, THE HONEST LIFE: Living Naturally and True to You (Rodale Books; March 12, 2013) Alba takes you through her own personal journey of discovery, and shares the insights and strategies she’s gathered along the way.

Through the process of launching The Honest Company, exhaustive research, and true trial-and-error with her own family, Alba has distilled everything she’s learned into THE HONEST LIFE. Complete with beautiful photography, her personal stories, and easy-to-navigate categories she covers:

*Honest Food – How to eat seasonally, healthfully, and deliciously with practical tips like easy snacks-to-go and DIY baby food, plus Alba’s go-to recipes for home entertaining.
*Cleaning – How to clean and decorate your home with healthy, nontoxic materials and how to identify “greenwashing” while shopping.
*Style – Learn the timeless basics that are the lasting foundation for any wardrobe, how to shop for vintage, and the secrets to being a stylish pregnant mama.
*Planning for baby – How to put together a safe, fun and functional nursery (and narrowing down what baby gear you actually need).
*Beauty – Learn what is in Alba’s Honest makeup bag (how to execute the perfect red lip, her 10-minute face, DIY tinted moisturizer and must-have beauty tools), plus how to find products that are eco-friendly, effective and let your true beauty shine through.
*Honest Home – How to create a hip and healthy home full of eclectic, sustainable, unique décor, and most importantly your own personal style.

And much more…

THE HONEST LIFE is a fun and practical handbook for busy women (especially moms!) who are looking to make smart choices about living a healthy, natural lifestyle—without being “boring,” “beige,” or “blah.” The book is designed so you can read from cover to cover or jump around to the topics that interest you most.

Q. What inspired you to write The Honest Life?

Honestly, it all started with a load of laundry. While I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was feeling the new mama jitters about giving her the best start in life and bringing her into a safe and nurturing environment. I began washing her clothes with the detergent that my mom had always used on me — one that is a well-known “baby-safe” brand — and I had an immediate allergic reaction. Uncontrollable sneezing, itchy red welts all over my hands, the works. I started to ask questions: Why would this “safe” product cause this kind of reaction? Why couldn’t I find a company that I could trust, whose products really work, are safe and stylish, and don’t break the bank? Long story short, a few years later I launched The Honest Company, a nontoxic, eco-friendly stylish family products brand. I wanted to write The Honest Life to bring what I’ve learned through launching the company and true trial-and-error to all busy women and moms looking for information on how to live naturally. 

Q. You’re a business owner, an actress, married with two little girls and now an author – how do you juggle it all? What tips can you offer other busy moms?Advertisement
For me it’s all about organization. If I can stay organized, then I have more time to spend with my family and friends. I share all my tips and tricks throughout the book. For example, I make Haven’s meals on the weekend so that she has something homemade to eat all week long. Grains are especially easy to make on a Sunday and use in various creative ways throughout the week. Getting ready in the morning has become a cinch now that I’ve identified my favorite makeup products (most of which I list in the book), and I’ve found a way to label and organize them. Now that I’ve made an “honest living” routine, I have so much more peace of mind because I’m no longer worrying about the health and safety ramifications of the lipstick I use or the meal I give my kids. It frees up a lot of time. And, at the end of the day, as long as my girls are happy and healthy I don’t mind if something doesn’t get checked off my to-do list. 

Q. What do you mean by “honest” as it relates to style?

Honest Style has a few meanings for me. It’s about loving your body. It’s about being thoughtful about how you shop and consume. I love seeing all the new ways the eco-fashion industry is growing. Shopping vintage is also a key ingredient for me. Honest Style also is having great basics—the perfect jeans, a fitted blazer (ties together any look!), the go-to little black dress, etc. And most importantly, it’s about staying true to your own personal style. I know that can be a hard thing to define, but I offer a shortcut workshop in the book on how to find what really inspires you and works for your lifestyle—all while having fun.

Q. What’s one of your favorite projects you’ve done in your home? 

Refurnishing our home almost entirely with vintage furniture—I’m a huge fan of Craigslist, eBay, thisisnotikea.com and my local thrift stores. Antique and vintage pieces not only lower your home’s carbon footprint, but it also ensures that each piece is unique and comes with a story. I also love making statement pieces from unexpected sources. During a trip to France a few years ago, I found these incredible vintage sheets with really happy patterns and had no idea what to do with them until we started putting together Haven’s nursery and I realized it’s wall art! 

Q. There are so many great tips and “short-cuts” in The Honest Life – What’s the best parenting advice you’ve received? What advice would you give to future parents? 

We all want to do the best we can for our families but we can’t be superheroes all the time while balancing everything. Pay attention to the “dishonest ingredients” I list throughout the book, but don’t get too toxin obsessed. Natural living isn’t about a huge lifestyle overhaul. It’s about doing what you can and focusing on small attainable steps that make the most sense for you and your family. 

Q. How do you hope people will read your book?

I wanted to create a colorful how-to for people who want to make a healthy and non-toxic home without giving up the fun, fashionable things. I really hope my book offers moms and women little tips that will add up and make a big difference—that they’ll be inspired to make the ideas their own and find what works for them. The book is written so that even if you have only 10 minutes to scan one chapter you will still walk away with something valuable. 

Jessica will be in Austin at our very own BookPeople on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 7:00pm to speak about her new book and sign copies. You can find more details about the event here.

Would you like to win a copy of The Honest Life? If so, leave a comment or fill out the form below by 9:00am on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. A winner will be chosen and contacted via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to claim the prize. The giveaway holds no cash value. The winner must live in the U.S.A. and be at least 18 years or older. By leaving a comment or filling out the form, you agree to the above terms and conditions.

Disclosure: Livemom was provided with a copy of The Honest Life.

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Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2105 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded LiveMom.com out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

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