Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dear Diary

A blurb from Fashion Week Daily:

What do Plum Sykes, Dylan Lauren, and Atoosa Rubenstein all have in common? Three of fashion's most put-together women all have things they'd like to teach their younger, shyer, more awkward selves. The go-getters have each contributed letters to the upcoming book, If I'd Known Then: Women In Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves, edited by Ellyn Spragins (of The New York Times's "Love & Money" column fame), to be released by Perseus in May. Additionally, the book features contributions from Jessica Alba, Natasha Bedingfield, Sasha Cohen, Spanx founder Sarah Blakely, and many others.

While Lauren's letter to herself begins, "Dear Dill Pickle, Am I fat? Would he like me better if I were thinner?" Rubenstein's is addressed to her 7th-grade self, urging her to be strong and think of the bright future ahead despite the group of older bullies tormenting her in the present. Meanwhile, Sykes, whose real name is Victoria (she was nicknamed "plum" because a variety of the fruit is called Victoria) wrote a Bergdorf Blondes-esque note to her shy younger self. "The thing that you don't know that I do is that popular teen extroverts turn into loud, pushy adults," she penned. "Really interesting people tend to be the quiet ones. They don't need to show off or shout about themselves because their talent speaks for itself. It's chic to be shy."

Designing Women

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ultimate Blogs

Peeps, Eurotrash, and ‘Dooced’:
The editor of Ultimate Blogs shares some of her good and bad discoveries.

Blogs read over six months:
Around 2,000.

Most overrepresented topic:
Political blogs, which Boxer spent a mostly wasted month reading, and which tended to be too timely and unoriginal to include.

Most overrepresented oddball topic:
“The handful of blogs devoted to scientific research on the marshmallow Easter candy Peeps.”

Most underrepresented topic:
“Military blogs that are not in some way censored or gung ho stuff.”

Blog she most wishes she could have included:
Dooce, a “mommy blogger” who was fired from her Web job for blogging about it, leading to the new verb dooced. Boxer pitched the book with a sample from Dooce, but the mother “had a book deal going and couldn’t do it.”

Most ridiculous blog:
Snakes on a Blog, “devoted to getting invited to the premiere of Snakes on a Plane, still active.”

Most intriguingly ridiculous blog:
One Red Paper Clip, “by a man hell-bent on trading up from a paper clip until he got a house to live in. He did it, and is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most successful Internet trade.”

Best conspiracy news:
Conspiracy Theories, focusing on “the long tentacles of Google, Google Earth, Microsoft, airport security cameras, Diebold voting machines, etc.”

Most revolting post:
“Eurotrash’s fictional send-up of prostitute blogger Belle de Jour, in which she takes a dump on a table for a client. Eurotrash is in the book. The post is not.”

Dead writer most likely to have blogged:
Others have suggested Karl Kraus and Jack Kerouac. “I would go with Plato.”

Blogs she still checks very frequently:
The Times blogs, because “I’m just fascinated by the ways in which newspapers are trying to get bloggy. Journalists don’t make the best bloggers, and bloggers don’t make the best journalists.”

The review of Ultimate Blogs can be found here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

More on David Sedaris' New Book

Apparently David Sedaris can't decide on a's the article from the New York Observer:

Publisher's Weekly reported earlier this month that David Sedaris had changed the title of his forthcoming book of essays. Originally it was listed as All the Beauty You’ll Ever Need. Then it popped up as Indefinite Leave to Remain. Then, just a few months before its June 3rd publication date, it became When You Are Engulfed in Flames. What happened? The publisher of Little, Brown, the house that is putting out the book, told PW that there was nothing to it: “Titles change!” he said. Well, sure! But why?

We caught up with Mr. Sedaris yesterday and asked him; he spoke to us by phone from Paris.

Turns out “All the Beauty” was never a serious title—just something Mr. Sedaris submitted because Little, Brown had to send their catalog to the printer. And “Indefinite Leave to Remain”? That came from the top of Mr. Sedaris’s new Green Card, which he’d been awaiting eagerly. His partner, Hugh Hamrick, was the one who suggested he use the phrase as the title of the book. Mr. Sedaris liked it, but learned quickly that other people didn’t. “Whenever I said the name to people they just blinked. They had no reaction to it whatsoever.”

The new title, the one about the flames, came from an instructional brochure Mr. Sedaris found at his hotel when he visited Hiroshima last year. “It was called ‘Best Knowledge of Disaster Damage Prevention and Favors to Ask of You.’ And it was broken up into different chapters. ‘When You Check In a Hotel,’ ‘When You Find a Fire,’ and ‘When You Are Engulfed in Flames.’ It just slayed me.”

Mr. Hamrick, meanwhile, who lives with Mr. Sedaris in Paris and London, is still lobbying for “Indefinite Leave to Remain.” As it happens, that’ll be the second title Mr. Hamrick has come up with that Mr. Sedaris has eventually rejected: the first time was with 2000’s Me Talk Pretty One Day, which was originally called “Primates on the Seine,” a phrase that came to Mr. Hamrick in a dream. Mr. Sedaris loved it, but eventually bailed on the idea.

One wonders if Mr. Hamrick is a little bit hurt by this pattern! Perhaps Mr. Sedaris would consider going back to “Indefinite Leave,” if only out of loyalty?

“It’s a little too late now,” he said. “I don’t think I can change it again. Maybe I could, but not change it back. If I found something better I could probably do it.”

Monday, February 18, 2008

Book Review: Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello

The advanced readers copy arrived on Saturday so of course I spent all day yesterday reading it and finished it this morning - below is my review. I also take back the part about it being 100 pages too long - you really need to read the entire book to get the whole story! I will try not to reveal too much here.

First of all, this is a fashion/memoir so you have to weed through all the personal stuff to get to the “bringing home the Birkins” part of the story (if that is what you are really looking to find) - but even that is pretty good because the author is very witty. For me, the interesting part is how he got into the whole business of buying birkins (selling one of his Hermes scarves on eBay when he decides to relocate to Spain leads to someone asking him to find older versions of the scarves) and all the crazy stuff he does to get them (i.e. traveling all over the world to different Hermes boutiques in order to score the most prized croc versions). Some of his stories are entertaining but the lengths he goes to just to get these bags seems hardly worth it and in the end he more or less goes out of business (it doesn’t say what he is doing now but he still lives in Barcelona with his boyfriend Juan). It sounds so stressful! He certainly disproves the make believe 2-year waiting list to get one of the bags which I think is hilarious! Incidentally, he didn’t even know what a Birkin was until Carole Bayer Sager won some Hermes playing cards on eBay and asked him to find her a Birkin. Can you imagine? Oh and I particularly loved the author's descriptions (and illustrations) of the Hermes salespeople - right on point!

The kicker here is how overpriced these bags really are – especially when bought in the US or resold on eBay or elsewhere! He even threw in the Hermes "Oprah incident." In the end, Birkin Boy has millions of dollars of Hermes loot pass through his hands but decides to stop the insanity. The book definitely proves that no one ever is ever satisfied with what they have and always want more, more, more.

Moral of the story: Money cannot buy you happiness but it can certainly buy you as many Hermes Birkin bags as you wish.

To buy or not to buy: If you are a true Hermes-manic this book is a MUST. I "needed" it and was willing to shell out the bucks just for the opportunity to read the advanced copy! Sadly I did not win the signed copy on eBay which I would have practically given an Hermes scarf for (you all know what I bibliophile I am having worked in book publishing and it would have been a great addition to my signed copy collection!). I am not going to reveal how many scarves I have in my possession or will inherit but oh how I wish I had know Michael when I was trying to track down that darn zodiac print scarf with the black colorway!

Photo credit: Taken by me with my Kodak digital camera so please do not use it without permission.

Another coming of age novel...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Overheard in New York

A few of my personal favorites:

Teen girl tourist: "...And he was like, 'You people from Connecticut! All you ever do is drink cocktails and text-message each other!'" - 2 train

Girl: "He had the nerve to tell me that I had no life. I was like, 'I do too have a life! I am drinking constantly!'" - Petite Abeille, Tribeca

Hipster chick: "Quite frankly, I'd rather wash all my bras tonight." - F train

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I just landed myself a softcover advanced copy of Bringing Home the Birkin (see previous post) - yay me! It's not going to have all those bells and whistles as the copy that cost someone on eBay $1000.00 but what the heck would I do with a cardboard Hermes birkin bag anyway?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clotheshorse Confidential

I read about both of these books in the NY Times Style section. Usually their reccomensdations fall flat but this time they picked two good ones. The Meaning of Sunglasses is pithy and entertaining. Buy it! Also, in the same book review was What's Next: The Experts' Guide: Predictions from 50 of America's Most Compelling People which looks like a great read and has received favorable reviews.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Martha Stewart to Launch Oversize Title

Last week, we learned that consumer confidence has hit a low, that employers last month cut jobs for the first time in more than four years, that retailers just suffered the worst January on record, that wage growth has slowed and that the Fed's inflation fears were growing. In the media sector, we absorbed depressing financial results from newspaper companies and learned that revenue was essentially flat again last year at Time Inc., the country's best-known magazine publisher.

You might think that would be enough to make publishers bring back Budget Living magazine, but Martha Stewart has the opposite idea. A prototype concept for a title targeting those in the luxe life envisions the magazine taking on the outsize look-at-me format of W magazine.

But media buyers said it could work -- and augur more to come.

"In most circumstances, high-end advertisers are kind of recession-proof," said Steve Lanzano, exec VP-general manager at MPG. "Secondly, big luxury advertisers want to maintain premium-ness. Big, beautiful photography and pictures allow them to attain the premium pricing."

A spokeswoman for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia wouldn't say much about any big luxe ideas. "We have ideas about all kinds of market segments, including this one and several others," she said. She declined to elaborate.

But publishers increasingly are enthusiastic. Martha's big-and-rich book, should it survive development and reach launch, will share tactics not just with W but also the recently arrived Trump magazine -- whose first shamelessly oversize, 12-inch-by-10-inch cover teased "The Most Refined Superyacht Right Now."

When New York magazine introduced New York Look, a highly visual and polished title devoted to high fashion, last November, it made the spinoff about 15% bigger in size. Affluent homes are already served with big coffee-table periodicals such as Elite Traveler, Cigar Aficionado, Ocean Drive and Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens.

The inverse strategy is just as clearly tactical: Consider Everyday Food, Stewart's digest-size, basic-staple recipe title that's easy for everyday people to carry around. Its readers' household income, according to Mediamark Research's fall report, reached almost $52,822. Cigar Aficionado households, on the other hand, claimed $97,811.

So the concept at Martha Stewart is less innovative than it is jarring amid this economic gloom and, more importantly, part of a growing split in print. Publishers under all kinds of pressure, not least their rising digital competitors, increasingly are setting tough priorities. The result is a widening divide between utility players such as newspapers and lavish showcases like luxury magazines.

This is certainly news given the folding of Blueprint! Read the entire article here.

How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook?

A really interesting article on Facebook and social networking sites. I have a MySpace that is private and rarely use but that's it. I hate the idea of all my personal information being out there.

HarperCollins Will Post Free Books on the Web

In an attempt to increase book sales, HarperCollins Publishers will begin offering free electronic editions of some of its books on its Web site, including a novel by Paulo Coelho and a cookbook by the Food Network star Robert Irvine.

The idea is to give readers the opportunity to sample the books online in the same way that prospective buyers can flip through books in a bookstore.

“It’s like taking the shrink wrap off a book,” said Jane Friedman, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide. “The best way to sell books is to have the consumer be able to read some of that content.”

Starting Monday, readers who log on to will be able to see the entire contents of “The Witch of Portobello” by Mr. Coelho; “Mission: Cook! My Life, My Recipes and Making the Impossible Easy” by Mr. Irvine; “I Dream in Blue: Life, Death and the New York Giants” by Roger Director; “The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President: Who the Candidates Are, Where They Come from and How You Can Choose” by Mark Halperin; and “Warriors: Into the Wild” the first volume in a children’s series by Erin Hunter.

HarperCollins also plans to upload a different title by Mr. Coelho each month for the rest of the year.

For more than a year, visitors to HarperCollins’ Web site have been able to use the company’s Browse Inside function to look at some pages of most of the publisher’s current titles. Ms. Friedman said she believed that by displaying even more of the book’s content free, more readers would be enticed to buy.

Brian Murray, president of HarperCollins, said that the free electronic editions would be available only for one month, and readers would not be able to download them to laptops or to an electronic reader like Kindle from The print function will also be disabled, but readers will be able to link to retailers like to buy copies of the books.

Ms. Friedman said she doubted most people would read the entire versions online, but HarperCollins would track whether the editions actually helped increase sales. “We will know very soon if we sense any kind of cannibalization,” she said.

There is evidence that readers still buy books even if they can get the content free on the Web. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” a children’s novel illustrated with cartoons, was published online three years ago at, an educational Web site. But the physical book has spent 42 weeks on the New York Times Children’s Chapter Books best-seller list.

Reached by telephone in Paris, Mr. Coelho said: “I believe that generosity pays off.” On his own blog, he gives readers links to pirated editions uploaded by readers in numerous languages. “I believe that they are not going to go beyond 20 or 30 pages” when reading on the Internet, he said.

Neil Gaiman, the fantasy novelist, short story and comics writer, is asking readers of his blog to vote on the title they would most like to give as a gift. An electronic scan of the winning title will be offered free on the HarperCollins site later this month. Mr. Gaiman said the online effort was not so different from what has been going on for generations.

“I didn’t grow up buying every book I read,” said the English born Mr. Gaiman, 47. “I read books at libraries, I read books at friend’s houses, I read books that I found on people’s window sills.” Eventually, he said, he bought his own books and he believes other readers will, too.

HarperCollins will also begin offering 20 percent of some books two weeks before the hardcover editions go on sale. Starting Tuesday, readers can see the first fifth of “The Perfect Wife” by Victoria Alexander; “Deep Dish” by Mary Kay Andrews; and “Friend of the Devil” by Peter Robinson, all books that go on sale later this month.

NY Times: 2/11/08

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bringing Home the Birkin

You can see the press kit on the eBay listing - the book when released will not come with the "handbag" slipcase.

NY Post 2/8/08: The lure of the Hermes Birkin bag knows no bounds. An advance copy of "Bringing Home the Birkin," which chronicles author Michael Tonello's success in circumventing the faux two-year wait list and reselling the insanely coveted accessories, sold for nearly $1,000 on eBay this week. Tonello's hysterical tome about catering to desperate "label whores" is sure to be on many uptown bedside tables when it arrives in April. "Hermes has created a totally fake waiting list, and if you know how to ask for the bag, you get it right then and there," said one source. "People are so desperate, thinking they can't get Birkins because they aren't Katie Holmes, that Michael would resell the bags at a huge profit. He traveled all over the world doing it."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More Books News

Candace Bushnell (Sex & the City, Lipstick Jungle) is penning a new book that will be out in late August, it is called "One Fifth Avenue." I am sure it's nowhere near finished but the proposal was decent enough to get her another book deal. Don't forget to watch Lipstick Jungle tonight on NBC!

And for the David Sedaris lovers like me, his new book "All the Beauty You Will Ever Need" will be released on June 3rd. Yay!

Six Word Memoirs

I like to believe that "less is more" especially in writing and Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure is a perfect example.

Catholic girl. Jersey. It’s all true. – Mary Elizabeth Williams

Became my mother. Please shoot me. – Cynthia Kaplan

Full of tequila and bad ideas. – Buck Johnston

I still make coffee for two. – Zak Nelson

My second grade teacher was right. – Janelle Brown

Not as blonde as I look. – Ellen Meister

Gin joints. Love affairs. No relation. – Dean Ellis

Stole wife. Lost friends. Now happy. – Po Bronson

Girls from the Bronx are different. – Arielle Basch

I like big butts, can’t lie. – Dave Russ

Well, I thought it was funny. – Stephen Cobert

Danced in fields of infinite possibilities. – Deepak Chopra

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Chic Shopping in Paris

I am a sucker for these kinds of books because I am always afraid I am going to miss something. I saw Paris Chic & Trendy: Designers' Studios, Hip Boutiques, Vintage Shops in Vogue this month and then saw Chic Shopping Paris which unfortunately will not be published until after my trip but maybe worth taking a peek for my next visit.

Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton

If you missed it you can pre-order it on Amazon - here is the link to Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton (Full Sub). Because it's Fashion Week, every night around 8PM, Sundance is airing a "fashion focused" documentary. Last night was Seamless which I had seen before and was just ok. Tonight is "Karl Lagerfeld is never happy anyway". Thursday is Yves Saint Laurent - His Life and Times/5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris, Friday: Unfolding Florence and Saturday: Who are you Polly Maggoo? I cannot get enough of these fashion documentaries. They are facinating especially Signe Chanel which aired on Monday in several parts. It's amazing to see how those clothes are made and how they justify the prices!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's Official

Lauren Weisberger's (The Devil Wears Prada & Everyone Worth Knowing) new book is currently titled "Chasing Harry Winston" and will be released on May 27, 2008. I will be trying to get my hands on an advance copy A.S.A.P. and anyone is welcome to read it after me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

2008 Mini-Calendars

I get the shoe calendar every year - it's the perfect desk size and really what I was looking for all along during the "great calendar search" back in December. It's now $3.99 at Barnes & Noble as is the handbag calendar and several others.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton Documentary Update

I posted about this documentary on Coterie awhile back and now I am giving you the update I promised. Loic Prigent’s Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton documentary will air on Monday evening, February 4th on the Sundance Channel. Thanks to FabSugar and Cosmo Radio for reminding me to remind you!

For The Cupcake Lovers

Amazon to Buy Audiobook Seller for $300 Million

I think this is good news. Athough you could download books from Audible already via Amazon this might give audio readers a wider selection and perhaps at a discount. We shall see. If you'd like to read the entire article from the NY Times please click here.