Part thought-starter, part workbook, the real legs of the story stand up on Swenson’s ability to weave her seemingly disparate areas of expertise into a book that evokes the feeling of sitting around a table, mugs of tea in hand, chatting with girlfriends about all the important things in life. Swenson’s own relatable, down-to-earth narrative blends with Q & A sections featuring women from her inner circle. This approach, and the overall tone, help create the “women helping women” vibe that resonated with me from the first page to the last.
Highlights include a section on health and wellness with health coach Taryn Mason, who shares her experience of living a life steeped in, “I’m not good enough.” I’m not sure there’s anyone alive who couldn’t see some of herself in Taryn’s depiction of a woman constantly searching for what’s next, what’s better. I felt a burst of, “Hell yeah!” when she revealed that her life opened up in so many wonderful ways once she overcame that sense of never-enoughness.
I also enjoyed sections by Katie Dohman, who offers a fresh perspective on parenting and relationships, as well as by Mary Pokluda who offers insight into creating community through networking and connecting with others.
A couple sections felt lightweight, including one on finances another on skincare and makeup - surprising given the author’s background in the beauty industry. I didn’t feel disappointed that these topics weren’t as weighty as others, though women who are looking for guidance especially in those particular areas might.
I thoroughly enjoyed Beauty in Balance and recommend reading it once through before going back and tackling the introspective workbook portions of each chapter. I think the book would make a terrific gift for several of the women in my life - I can see us going through it together over the phone or a glass of wine, sharing revelations and nodding knowingly at one another. Book club, anyone?