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The EveryGirl's Guide to Life

The EveryGirl's Guide to Life

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The EveryGirl's Guide to Life

4/5 (13 valutazioni)
584 pagine
4 ore
Apr 19, 2011

Nota del redattore

Real-world advice...

Maria Menounos may be most famous for chatting with celebs on the red carpet, but her advice couldn't be more down to earth. From career & family to hair & makeup, her all-American tips & tricks are foolproof.


Raised by working-class immigrant parents and later exposed to Hollywood's most elite experts in every field, Access Hollywood's, Today's, and Nightly News's reporter Maria Menounos reveals her EveryGirl secrets on everything: her systems to organize life, manage time, and ascend the ladder of success; her lazy woman's workout; her weight-loss tips (how she lost forty pounds and kept it off); and her guide to styling yourself like the stars—a self-proclaimed EveryGirl, Maria often does her own hair and makeup for celebrity events.

In The EveryGirl's Guide to Life, Maria shares personal experiences and photos from her life and professional journey as well as the various mantras, mottos, and philosophies she's adopted from the world's most impressive women. She gives advice on health, career, relationships, renovations, recreation, and more. From your carpet to the red carpet, Maria teaches the EveryGirl on a budget how to do it all, while living a healthier and happier life.

Apr 19, 2011

Informazioni sull'autore

At age twenty-two, Maria Menounos became the youngest person to host Entertainment Tonight. She was among the youngest to host the Today show and to report for NBC's Nightly News, and the first person to act and star in movies while doing so. Maria is a hands-on multitasker who seeks to succeed in all aspects of life, particularly when time and money are short.

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  • Lazy people end up working the hardest. Laziness in life leads only to more work and stress.

  • Set one overall goal for where you want to be in the future and try your best to have all life choices, personal or career, somehow serve this goal.

  • Maximize every resource, as well as every minute of the day, fitting in everything from fashion to family to finances to fitness.

  • Base decisions on worst-case scenarios; hope for the best but plan for the worst.

  • The closest thing to a key to happiness is organization.

Anteprima del libro

The EveryGirl's Guide to Life - Maria Menounos


Part One


ON THE EMOTIONAL PLANE, A STRONG FOUNDATION CONSISTS OF HEALTHY SELF-ESTEEM AND HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS WITH FAMILY, PARTNERS, AND FRIENDS. When you don’t have those elements in place, your house is built on sand and your life has a weak foundation. I’ll go into this more later on in the book, but the life foundation I refer to right now is the one on a more physical plane.

Part of this foundation is actually your house—where you live and spend up to one third of each day. Whether you have your own mansion, apartment, condo, or bedroom or live in your parents’ basement, there are ways to set up your space and manage it so your foundation becomes strong.

Your House Is Not a Giant Closet

Many people treat their houses as giant closets, hampers, or in extreme cases, garbage cans. Bedrooms littered with clothes, desks covered with papers, bathroom counters scattered with products, and closets stuffed with everything you’ve owned since junior high school are all humongous roadblocks! Our homes are supposed to be our sanctuaries from the woes of the world. When you think of a sanctuary, do you really think of garbage and clutter?

The physical foundation of my childhood home was less than stellar. The house was always clean, but we were not organized. During tax time, it was always a struggle to find necessary bills and important receipts. If we needed tools for a job, we could never seem to find them, either. Tired and beaten down from our days of labor, being in a house that was disorganized did little to relieve our stress. The fact that the men of the house left dishes, garbage, and dirty clothes wherever they pleased only made matters much worse. Had we just taken the time to properly organize the house and to initiate routines, our lives would have been easier and more productive.

Today, Mom’s house is organized and her foundation is strong. It is gratifying to me especially since I helped and advised her on how to do it with all my newfound knowledge. Her life has become simpler and more manageable even though she has a much larger house now than the one I grew up in.

Mom and me on the red carpet in Hollywood. I styled and did both our hair and makeup!

Copyright © Maria Menounos


EveryGirl Gets Organized

My LA Story: Just Spinning My Wheels

When I first moved to LA, I thought it was faster to throw my clothes on the floor when undressing, toss mail and papers onto any and all available tabletops, and leave dishes in the sink forever—along with old food in the fridge. It was really me being lazy, but what I didn’t know then is that lazy people are the ones who work the hardest in the end. I spent hours rushing around trying to find things and was always running late as a result.

I was far less productive at work than I could have been, and even worse, the way I was living was destructive. In less than a year, I’d been hospitalized four times due to a variety of symptoms that stemmed from poor nutrition and from the exhaustion of chasing my tail. I couldn’t manage the workload and, as a result, I couldn’t manage to eat well.

Working in the news is a tough business that involves many hours, but other successful women were able to do their jobs and not get sick. What caused me to flounder? Well, always rushing and struggling to locate clothes, keys, and files didn’t help. Nor did having a sink full of dishes during those times when I wanted to cook and eat a decent meal. I was not only stressed and uncomfortable at home but I was also losing time in my day just spinning my wheels. That precious time could have been spent catching up on work or, God forbid, napping or relaxing—things successful women get to do.

The Key to Happiness

One day my friend Randal Malone asked me rhetorically if I knew the real key to happiness. Randal has had a well-traveled life. Born into a wealthy Kentucky family, he was close friends with Hollywood legends ranging from Lucille Ball to Ginger Rogers. He is a unique individual and a lot older than me—two things we should all seek in friends, but again, more on that later. Needless to say, I was a little taken aback when this well-traveled man said the key to happiness wasn’t money, fame, or even health. He concluded, through his many trials and journeys, that the key to happiness is organization. Since I’ve become more organized, I am so much happier. Plus, with our weakening economy, we are all being forced to do more with less. The best way to achieve this is through being organized.

Now, are you ready for the best news of all? You don’t need a high IQ, a college diploma, good looks, or parents with money to be organized. Being organized is just a matter of putting in some extra time and effort, which, again, saves you time and effort in the long run. People don’t think it’s easy, but it is, and I’ll show you how.

EveryGirl Motto: Disorganization inhibits happiness and increases stress and chances for failure.

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Warning: Clutter Ahead

In my house is there junk I struggle to part with? Are there moments where my schedule is so insane that some stuff piles up? Are there times that I’m just too plain exhausted to do anything more? Yes, but I try to keep only what I need, and I make sure to set aside time the first chance I get to put stuff away. Dishes left in the sink, clothing thrown onto the floor, newspapers and magazines placed in piles, toiletries scattered about, mementos and even too many decorations and unnecessary furniture lying about are all what I consider clutter. Clutter can be worse than bathroom scum, furniture dust, and carpet mold. We need to rid ourselves of that stuff, too, but only after we have rid ourselves of clutter.

I have friends who will tell me they’re depressed, and when I see their homes filled with clutter, I tell them, Who wouldn’t be depressed? Clutter may not be the direct culprit in all cases, but it’s for sure not doing anything to help. FYI, if you are someone who is in one of the above-described scenarios or even a girl who just experiences tremendous heartache, listen to your new girlfriend Maria. Decluttering and organizing your life are among the healthiest forms of medicine in coping with emotional pain.

EveryGirl Motto: Respect your possessions—maintain them well—but never let them rule your life. If you do, objects will weigh you down, making it harder to grow or get ahead.

EveryGirl Motto: Think less not more when it comes to your stuff. It’s freeing to have breathing room where you live. The more stuff you have, the more you have to clean, to distract you, to maintain, and to move.

EveryGirl Motto: Women love to shop (believe me, I have my moments), but try to resist and to buy only what you need. It will mean having less money and more clutter if you don’t!

EveryGirl Motto: There is no such thing as an organized failure.


Just last week I was cooking vegan food in my kitchen with Alicia Silverstone as part of an Access Hollywood segment. When we were done cooking, the producers accidentally removed all sorts of things from my counter, thinking they were items purchased for the shoot when they were mine. Gone were the spice rack I never used and a few other irrelevant items. The kitchen looked so much better without them, so I got rid of them. By the way, Alicia, the cheesy, oozy guacamole dish was delish.

Plan a Full-Scale Attack

So, hopefully, it’s settled. The clutter has to go, and your physical foundation needs to get organized. Prepare to give up a few nights, weekends, or even vacation time. This is a full-scale attack. You’ll be decluttering every part of your house, which includes closets, drawers, and storage areas. If you have only a bedroom, your task is even easier. If it’s a house, then take it room by room, starting with your bedroom, then your bathroom, and then whatever place or room you call your office, and so on. Since the goal is to strengthen our physical foundations, it makes sense to begin with the room where we begin and end our days, i.e., our bedrooms and bathrooms.

A wardrobe is to me what medical supplies are to a doctor. It’s a requirement for my job. You probably don’t need one this big. I built this closet using pieces from IKEA. It was way cheaper than hiring a professional and you would never know it wasn’t custom-made.

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

The EveryGirl Dream Closet

The big question is where will all of your clutter go? Part of the answer is transforming clutter into stored items. Before clutter can become a stored item, it needs an actual place to be stored. And by stored, I don’t mean stuffed away or swept under a rug or a bed. You’ll need to do a full assessment of what you have for storage space, with the most attention going to your closet or closets. Is your closet set up for maximum efficiency in terms of storing what you have? So many closets could hold so much more but are designed improperly.

What you’re looking for is a means to store all of your clothes and items in a way that you can see them and have access to them. If you can’t see the stuff you have, you won’t use it. Worse, you may even buy something that you already have later.

EveryGirl Extra-Credit Tip: Invest time into creating a proper setup and maintenance cleaning. Believe me, I used to be a big slob. I worked hard to change and still work hard to be organized every day.

Yes, you could call a closet company, but be prepared for them to charge you anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to fifteen thousand dollars. Fifteen thousand dollars was the actual price they quoted me. Instead, you can do it in house and save yourself thousands. There could be some lifting, tool use, assembly, and construction involved on your part. I know that may be scary for some of you, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s not hard. In fact, it’s empowering to do it yourself.

The chandelier is also from IKEA for less than twenty bucks

Copyright © Elise Donoghue


Consider hiring someone who specializes in organization. There are many pros out there now who come to your house and completely organize all your personal effects. They’ll box and file your belongings. You can find them online. It will cost you, but if you have no choice, it’s money well spent.

If you’re not good at organizing, then find friends who are. If necessary, pay them each a day’s wage or barter or offer to do something for them in return.

Schedule an actual date and time to start your project. Don’t put it off for someday.

To find different ways to organize your closet, search the Web, look through decorating magazines, and visit stores like IKEA, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.

Do you want several poles or perhaps cubes? Maybe you want a drawer system.

Assess what makes sense for your lifestyle and the type of items you store in your closet.

Organize your closet by groups, including jeans, skirts, dresses, and shoes. Color-match items within those groups. All your pink shirts will now be living together, as will all of your jeans.

Make sure that everything in that closet has a place. There will be no more free throws and letting the shoes and skirts land wherever. Expensive purses always come with purse bags. Those are their homes. Make sure your things are always returned to their homes.


Sure, boyfriends, hubbies, and parents or a big fat checking account can do this kind of work for you. But what happens when one day, worst-case scenario, God forbid, there are no boyfriends, hubbies, or parents to do it for you? What if the fat bank account has suddenly grown thin?

The needier you are, the more apt you’ll be to settle on partners who aren’t right for you. I knew a girl who literally let her drunken and abusive husband back into her house just because she couldn’t handle doing, as she put it, the guy things around the house.

Engaging in these tasks doesn’t empowers you in just personal choices; it empowers you in business ones, too. The confidence I get from being handy and from knowing I can take care of myself is a confidence that extends to my work. If I lost my job, I’d manage. I’d downgrade to another fixer-upper and would clean the house and mow the grass myself. If you need added motivation, I don’t know a guy out there who doesn’t admire a woman who can do things for herself.


Tools are something you need to buy and to always have on hand. You don’t need a machine shop, just a hammer, a tape measure, pliers, and a screwdriver with detachable heads. Tool kits come in plastic suitcases and are sold at Target for under forty dollars. In addition, pick up an electric or battery-operated drill, for as low as thirty dollars, and a set of drill and screw bits, for as low as ten dollars. These drills are lightweight and convenient for hanging items, in addition to completing many other projects.

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Build Your Closet

When creating your closet, sketch out what extra shelves need to be created or what extra poles need to be put in. If you are someone who can’t visualize this sort of thing, then call in a friend or a friend of a friend who can. Don’t be afraid to go to places like Lowe’s, IKEA, or Home Depot to look at displays. They have all the clips, brackets, shelves, poles, and attachments you’ll need and the tools to do it, too.

As you design your closets, remember what I made you ask yourself earlier. Is the closet designed to maximize every inch of space available? For instance, can you get a second pole in below the one you have? One place that can also be overlooked is the backs of closet doors. These are amazing spaces for hanging wire shoe racks (available at any of the above-mentioned stores) or long mirrors. If you need shelves cut to a certain size, Home Depot or Lowe’s can cut them for you. By having them cut for you, the shelves are easier to transport home, too. They have white shelves in their closet section, but you can also just use finished plywood and paint it if necessary.

For installing shelves and shelf brackets, you’ll probably need to pick up some plastic anchors. These anchors are just plastic sleeves that you insert into predrilled holes (holes you can easily drill with your new drill) in your wall. Once inserted, screws can be screwed into them to firmly attach the bracket that will hold your shelf. The bigger the anchor, the more weight it can hold. Anchors are also great to use when hanging heavy paintings and mirrors. I’d be lying if I said I could hang Sheet-rock. Still, I can manage to drill holes and turn screws, and that’s the most you’ll probably need to do. Workers at Home Depot or Lowe’s can usually advise you on what to do and what to buy. If the task is too daunting, then as I said, enlist a friend or parent if need be. Just get it done.

Or Just Buy One

If your bedroom closet isn’t big enough, then consider the closets that you can buy, construct, and place in your room, as I have for my home. IKEA has an amazing selection. These require heavy lifting and construction, but there are companies and individuals who get paid a nominal fee to construct them. They’ll do it better and faster than you, too. Look online or ask a clerk at IKEA to find one. If it seems pricey, remember it’s far less than a closet company would charge, and it’s something you’ll be using for many years that will improve the quality of your life.

Keven and I bought everything we needed at IKEA. We assembled it all together: cabinets, mirrors, dressers, and shoe racks. We lined the perimeter of my office with the units, and added a rug and an ottoman, too. With a small amount of money and some extra space, I can get ready in a comfortable environment. I know I’m lucky to have a spare room for a dream closet, but yours can double as an office (mine did for years) or you can have a setup like this in your bedroom.

Label your jeans, for example, SKINNY or WIDE LEG. I also do it by size!

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Stacked IKEA nightstands hold my jewelry, sunglasses, and other accessories. I have found that hanging purses is a great way to keep them neat.

Jewelry trays keep everything tidy.

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Drawers and Cabinets

Now that our closets are maximized to properly hold our stored items, let’s do the same for drawers and cabinets. Once again, Home Depot and Lowe’s have some neat items to help you, but so do Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and the Container Store. There are great innovations out there, such as drawer dividers and cabinet organizers. The same rule applies. What we don’t see we won’t use, so let’s make sure that when we do open cabinets and drawers, we see everything.

Dividers are a great way to organize T-shirts.

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Copyright © Elise Donoghue


I use dividers for my underwear to keep them from becoming messy in a drawer. For my belts, I bought four nightstands with thin drawers from IKEA that I keep inside my closet. I have a dresser, which I also bought at IKEA, for jewelry and sunglasses. I use jewelry trays from Lowe’s to lay all the items out. Another jewelry organizer I love is the hanging jewelry bag. When I didn’t have the space, the hanging jewelry bag was a lifesaver. All the jewelry was in clear view and easily accessible.

Organize Your Jeans

I keep jeans on shelves and organize them by style, labeling each shelf for skinny jeans, wide-leg jeans, jeans for flats, comfy and casual jeans and so on. No longer am I fishing through tons of jeans. This makes getting ready faster and easier. When I recently interviewed Jen Utley, wife of Philadelphia Phillies star Chase Utley and former stylist for Access Hollywood, I took a tour of her beautiful house. When I told her of my system, she flipped.

EveryGirl Extra-Credit Tip: Create little dividers between hangers, as is done in clothing stores. Have the dividers separate sizes and make corresponding notes on them: SWEATERS, BLAZERS, and so forth.

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

As for my other clothes, I have one rack each designated for blouses, dresses, button-downs, sweaters, sweat suits, blazers, and so forth. I have a ton of clothes because of my job, but you can still use the same system. When I was at ET and living in my first house, I had a small closet and dresser, but I made it work.


Just like all the pro stylists, I have a stand-up steamer, which I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond. The speed, ease, and efficiency are amazing and beat ironing. I also take a travel-size one on the road with me. Or just hang the item in the bathroom when taking a steamy shower—that always does the trick in a jam.

I haven’t used an iron in years!

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Find Hidden Space, Create Hidden Storage

A great place for storage is under the bed. I find that long plastic boxes with flip-open lids—the kind used to store wrapping paper—make excellent storage units for this purpose. I keep three of these under my bed and easily slide them out when needed. They’re ideal for things you don’t use every day or for things you use while in your bedroom, such as heating pads, extra linens, or even workout gear. You can find these and other handy storage gadgets at the Container Store.


My makeup is organized in my bathroom drawers, and each drawer has its own dividers. Face products, like foundation, bronzers, powders, and concealers, are in one drawer; eye shadows, liners, and mascaras are in another; lipsticks, balms, lip liners in another; and all skin stuff, such as moisturizers and eye creams, are in another. I keep all my hair products in a basket inside the cabinet. Brushes and combs are in their own separate drawer. A few years ago, I won the Spike Video Games Awards’ Cyber Vixen of the Year award. The trophy is a gold monkey holding a joystick. All of my headbands hang from the monkey’s crown. It works for me!

Copyright © Elise Donoghue

Face Cloths and Hampers

On the counter, I have a basket for my face towels, and each towel is rolled up to give my bathroom that high-end hotel feel. I like my hamper close to where I undress.

EveryGirl Extra-Credit Tip: Pick one color for all the towels you’ll buy. White is great. It gives your bathroom the hotel feel, and stains can be bleached if necessary.


I remember visiting Ying Chu for Seventeen magazine. Dynamic, pretty, and successful, Ying showed me a major part of her foundation—her office. I walked in, and besides noticing that it was beyond organized and beyond Zen, I saw that pretty much everything had a printed label. For example, she had these little white cardboard boxes from IKEA labeled to store a variety of useful items. She never had to worry about where things were, and the place looked so neat.

I applied her technique to my office, as well as my closets, drawers, shelves, and storage areas. This helps you and others, roommates, parents, partners, children, housekeepers, babysitters, or nannies, to put things back in their proper places.

I label so many things, and as a result, I always know where everything in my life is, as do the people who live with me and work with me. Labeling is so important that I highly recommend you purchase a labeler of some kind. A printed label will look sleeker, neater, and more professional than a handwritten label. Another useful tip—create RETURN TO labels. Stuff like staplers and calculators seem to end up in every room of the house other than the room I need them to be in, namely my office. I label many things RETURN TO MARIA’S OFFICE or RETURN TO KITCHEN or RETURN TO FAMILY ROOM.


Our respective storage areas are in order. The next thing we need to do is buy a box of heavy-duty trash bags, then roll up our sleeves and engage in one massive cleanup. Starting with our bedrooms, we’ll separate clutter into four piles.

One pile should be designated for items to be donated to friends or charity. A second pile is for those items to be sold on places such as eBay or Craigslist. A third pile is for those items you wish to keep but need merely to store properly. A fourth pile is for trash, e.g., loose papers or broken items. In assessing your clutter and what item goes into what pile, think about wh at it is you really and truly need.


Give away

Sell on eBay or Craigslist

Store properly


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  • (5/5)
    Self-help books seem to be a dime a dozen these days and the 'guide to life' ones often promise more than they deliver. I usually pass. So why am I reading and reviewing this book? Well, I have a family member that is headed off to college out-of-state and while she may think she knows it all she's about to have a rude awakening on exactly what she doesn't know. And while advice from an older (read ancient) adult often gets brushed off, that same advice coming from a savvy older sister or cousin is appreciated and heeded. Maria Menounos is that sister and this book is that advice neatly packaged. In the interest of full disclosure I had not heard of Menounos before reading this book - she is a broadcast journalist/entertainer and frankly I'd rather read than watch TV. But I was attracted to this book by its cute cover (I never said I couldn't be shallow) and I read the book before giving it to the intended recipient.I was impressed.This is not some celebutante tell-all but a nicely written and oh so practical guide for girls just starting out. Menounos bases the entire philosophy of the book on the principle of 'kaizen' - which means to see yourself as your main competition and to focus on besting your last best. Menounos has put this principle to good use - from the humble beginnings of a working class immigrant family (which she is intensely proud of)on to Hollywood, a successful career and strong personal relationships. She shows you how she got there, tells you what she has found important and warns against the pitfalls. Topics covered are home/office organization, personal style, relationships, health and business. The advice is concise, practical and frugal - her message is that you can have it all if you have a plan and are willing to work hard and believe in yourself. It does not miss a trick in covering what every young woman needs to know in order to be a success. Sprinkled throughout the book are interesting photos of Menounos' life plus a simple (yet effective) workout routine, healthy recipes and an appendix with a number of organizational checklists. The tone of the book is most appreciated - Menounos maintains a very positive attitude throughout, no nasty tell-all here.This book goes to the top of my list of graduation/starting out gifts for any young women I know. The only complaint I have about the book is that I wish it had been bound in a ring binder type format; it would have been more useful if it were able to lay flat as you refer to certain sections or copy any of the checklists. Other than that, loved it.