Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum



First things first – a big shout out to the person who designed the cover of Hausfrau – it is so gorgeous I wanted to buy it before knowing anything about the actual content. And I’m not the only one! Three strangers asked me what I was reading because they were so drawn to how pretty this thing is, so I guess we do sometimes judge books by their covers … which is very apt because this novel is all about the unhappy things that might be covered up by a beautiful surface.


Hausfrau is definitely one of my favorite books of 2015; the writing is immediate, engaging and full of dark humor. The story is about Anna Benz, an affluent housewife and mother of three, married to a handsome banker and living what appears to be a picture perfect life in Switzerland. As we all know, appearances can be deceiving and Anna is actually very isolated within her shiny, happy life. Things start to unravel as she embarks on a spectacular streak of self-destructive behavior, diving headlong into bad decisions and a series of ill-advised affairs.


This is such a realistic and interesting portrait of an utterly alienated person careening towards (probable) disaster – with really lucid and interesting musings on choice, predestination and consequences along the way – I had a hard time putting it down.


Plus, bonus points for all the frank sex scenes! There is so much cringe-worthy writing about sex out there it is a relief to have an author who can handle it as well as Essbaum does. I should probably also mention that there are some pretty clear parallels to classic novels Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary and this is a great contemporary addition to that particular canon, so if you’re a fan of those (and even if you’re not) you should definitely pick up a copy of this book – do it before the paperback comes out and they change the cover…



Gayna xo

daily dose:


Cheers to the Freakin’ Weekend!


Nike Women Toronto Take Edmonton


Jen Edmonton 1

I have always identified as being a runner. From early years of cross country and track and field running in grade school, to early morning solo runs along the waterfront, running was a large part of my physical and mental well being.


Over 5 years ago I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right hip and was advised by the rheumetologist to refrain from running as I was suffering from a lot of low back pain. This brought me great sadness but I reluctantly complied knowing how important my physical health was to my work and livelihood. I spent the next few years focusing on rehab, mobility, flexibility and strength and soon learned how to live without running. It was always something I knew I could do if I wanted to but the idea of reinjury was frightening.

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Thursday Thought: A New Beginning




Many, including myself wait for New Years Eve to set lingering goals and look to midnight as the moment where we can shed our pasts and re-start our new year with promise. I remember a conversation I was having with my girlfriends a couple of summers ago, right around this time of the year. I was expressing my sadness that summer was coming to an end; summer is my favourite season (the sun comes out early and is so delightfully warm, I get to wear dresses and everyone’s spirits are a little higher) I was not ready to let it go. My girlfriend Amanda, who loves summer as much as I do, changed the tempo of the conversation when she mentioned that she was excited for fall. For her, fall was the time of year where she felt she could re-start.


It’s that time of year again now, or at least feels like it with this 18-degree weather, and I am again thinking about that conversation. Amanda’s sentiment struck a chord with me and with September quickly approaching, I am beginning to feel what she expressed. With the weather rapidly changing and the summer heat leaving us, the fall feels like the perfect time to re-start. The changing of seasons is a renewal of life, both in shedding the old and preparing for the new and most people welcome the change. The crisp air, a new school year and the changing of seasons makes us feel like we have a second chance.


So instead of waiting for December 31st when it is expected that we make resolutions, maybe we can think about our new beginnings now. A new season and a new opportunity to renew our goals, ambitions and set our re-start button.

Does fall make you feel this way?

Leave us a comment and let us know.


-karen michelle//.

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