Friday, February 26, 2010

The September Issue

I do most of my book/dvd shopping through Amazon but in this case I purchased from Barnes & Noble because they were offering an extra disc with footage from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Gala. If you are any sort of fashion follower, this is a must see. I happened to see it in the theater and as soon as I did, I knew I was pre-ordering the DVD. It's fabulous! Of course I'm now kicking myself that I tossed my September 2007 issue of Vogue. I just don't have the room for all those heavy magazines in addition to all my books - something has to give.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Catwalk Cats

This is not a "new" book but I was watching "The September Issue" last night and was reminded of Grace's great drawings.

Grace Coddington & Didier Malige: The Catwalk Cats -- For more than 20 years, the fashion powerhouses Grace Coddington and Didier Malige have lived together with a menagerie of incorrigible cats. This delightful, giftworthy book records their relationship through photographs (Malige's) and drawings (Coddington's) that document the couple's highly entertaining private and work lives through the eyes of their feline friends. These include Henri, an old-school, catnip-addicted, surfing chartreuse; his sister Coco, a couture-obsessed chartreuse on a sashimi diet; and her pal Baby, who doesn't quite share Coco's discipline, and will, sadly, never fit into a sample size. Then there's Puff, a mixed-up long-hair from Harlem whose curiosity--anyone for fortune-telling at Dave?--hasn't killed him yet; and finally Bart, the Persian youngster who would rather sit on the rooftop terrace than in the front row. The Catwalk Cats, a visual diary introduced by the irrepressible Puff, gives us a window into four madcap seasons in the life of this fabulous furry brigade, with sections devoted to the Collections, the Campaigns, and, of course, the Catfights. At once delightful and dishy, it is both a convincing argument for the fundamental similarities between felines and fashionistas and a moving meditation on love and life as a family.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Bag Lady Papers

The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing It All -- A victim of Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme, mom and former Self magazine editor-in-chief Penney, hyperventilates her way through this intriguing memoir of putting it back together. Finding herself almost entirely without money, Penney faces the unexpected need to retrench with a daunting sense of paranoia; brought up by aloof parents, Penney lived for a long time with a chronic, seemingly irrational fear of becoming a destitute bag lady. As a "Person of Reduced Circumstances", Penney bolsters herself with chin-up wisdom ("unless you've been mummified, you have choices and alternatives") and bravely vows to apply her own nail polish while eulogizing her days as an expensively-dressed editrix at Conde Nast. While she ponders lists labeled "money can still buy" and "money can't buy," a collection of well-heeled and influential friends encourage her with quotes from Emerson, invitations to the Caribbean and tax advice. With considerations like, "Is it worse to have had money and lost it? Or is it worse to never have had money at all?" Penney can be an (admittedly) unsympathetic protagonist, but her struggle is genuine, her charm expansive and surprising, and her strength winning.

Note: This title is available on the Kindle.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Perfect on Paper

Perfect on Paper: The (Mis)Adventures of Waverly Bryson-- Waverly Bryson is a late-20s successful businesswoman who almost has it all: dream job in Sports PR, two best friends, and a bar where everybody knows her name. What she doesn't have is a ring on her finger, and after being left at the altar, she's in no hurry. Besides, she has plenty of other issues to tackle, including her wayward father, a new rival at work, and an ever-shrinking amount of personal time. To keep sane, Waverly makes a habit of jotting down "Honey Notes," her own brand of self-deprecating wisdom and pipe-dream for a line of greeting cards.

As Waverly stumbles back into the dating scene (no stalkers or jean shorts, please), her personal and professional lives threaten to collide. Perfect on Paper reminds readers that everyone has a bad date (or twelve), and that everyone needs a best friend to tell them, “Honey, you are not alone."

About the author: Maria Murnane is currently an independent marketing writer, residing in New York City. She spent several years in San Francisco as an agent in sports PR, before quitting her job to pursue her passions in life: writing and soccer. She ended up in Argentina where she played semi-pro soccer and wrote the first draft of Perfect on Paper.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You-- Kelly Cutrone, the brash, brutally honest boss and mentor to Whitney and Lauren on the hit MTV series “The Hills” and “The City,” and star of Bravo's new "Kell on Earth," combines personal and professional stories to share her secrets for success without selling out.

Kelly Cutrone has long been mentoring women on how to make it in one of the most competitive industries in the world. She has kicked people out of fashion shows, forced some of reality television's shiny stars to fire their friends, and built her own company—one of the most powerful PR firms in the fashion business—from the ground up. Through it all, she has refused to be anything but herself.

Kelly writes in her trademark, no-bullshit style, combining personal and professional stories to share her secrets for success without selling out. Let's face it: this is a different world than the one in which our mothers grew up, and Kelly has created a real girl's guide to making it in today's world. Offering a wake-up call to women everywhere, she challenges us to stop the dogged pursuit of the “perfect life” and discover who we are and what we really want. Then she shows us how to go out there and get it. Much of our culture teaches us to muzzle our inner voice and follow the crowd; Kelly enables us to stop pretending and start truly living.

With chapters on how to find your tribe (those like-minded souls who make your heart sing), how sometimes a breakdown is really a breakthrough, and how there is no such thing as perfection, Kelly also shares practical advice, such as how to create a personal brand and how sometimes you have to fake it to make it.

Raw, hilarious, shocking, but always the honest truth, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside calls upon you to gather up your courage like an armful of clothes at a McQueen sample sale and follow your soul wherever it takes you. Whether you're just starting out in the world or looking to reinvent yourself, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside will be the spark you need to figure out what you have to say to the world—and how you're going to say it.

*I just started this book - so far, so good. I will update with my rating when I'm finished!*

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes -- In this pleasant memoir about learning to live and eat à la française, an American journalist married to a Frenchman inspires lessons in culinary détente. Bard was working as a journalist in London and possessed of the wonderful puppy-dog enthusiasm of young Americans when she first met her husband-to-be, Gwendal, a computer engineer from Brittany. Soon he had the foresight to put her name on the gas bill of his Parisian apartment in the 10th arrondissement, and they were destined to marry—and cook together. Her memoir is really a celebration of the culinary season as it unfolded in their young lives together: recipes for seduction (onion and bacon); getting serious over andouillette; learning to buy what's fresh at the Parisian markets (four and a half pounds of figs); surviving a long, cold winter in an unheated apartment; and warming up their visiting parents over profiteroles. Bard throws in some American recipes that feel like home, such as noodle pudding, and comforting soups for a winter's grieving over the death of the father-in-law. Bard carefully observes the eating habits of her impossibly slender mother-in-law for tips to staying slim (lots of water and no snacking). Bard keeps an eye to healthful ingredients (Three Fabulous Solo Lunches), and, as a Jewish New Yorker, even prepares a Passover seder in Paris, in this work that manages to be both sensuous and informative.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Than A Housewife

Vicki has always been my favorite housewife AND she's the only one that has been on since the original season! And after reading the book I can see why. Although you may find Vicki loud and annoying at times she is obviously the most real out of any of the cast members. As I believe she pointed out this season, she's the only one who isn't hurting financially. She has a job. Her home isn't in foreclosure. She works hard and her family seems to appreciate her. Her kids don't walk all over her like Lynne's! This season we saw Vicki and Donn rekindle their relationship. And if you read the book you will have a new appreciation for not only Vicki but Donn as well.

The book is divided into 4 basic parts: her life growing up, starting her business, advice on starting a business, and her role on RHOC. She also has a Q&A section near the end which was taken from her Facebook page but is redundant since she's already answered all the questions by that point. It's all very interesting. She talks a lot about how she got into the insurance business after getting a divorce from her first husband then moving to California with Donn. She's an inspiration and you can see how driven she is on the show but she says you get 10 mins of her per episode so you're not really getting the full Vicki. She doesn't talk extensively about the show but says she's learned a lot (like how she treated Donn) and explains how and why. Again, it's reality tv and creative editing accounts for much of what we see. I don't want to give too much can skip or skim over her parts on the insurance business unless you are looking to start a business of any kind. The advice seemed good and she obviously knows what she's doing or wouldn't be so successful.

You can visit the website for the book here.

Out of 5 stars I'd give it 4 stars!

Brava, Valentine

Brava, Valentine: Trigiani's sequel to Very Valentine is a sweet second act for shoemaker and designer Valentine Roncalli. Val takes over the New York family-run shoe business with feet-of-clay older brother, Alfred; falls for the dashing, older Gianluca in Italy; and takes a business risk in South America, where she unearths a dusty chapter of family history. There are plenty of picturesque globe-trotting adventures in Tuscany, Manhattan, and Buenos Aires, and, for artistic and independent Val, a grown-up commitment evolves. There is no art without love. Only love can open someone up to the possibilities of living and creating art, Val writes to the wary Gianluca. And the startling twist of family history finally challenges an old-fashioned, insular clan to join the modern world. But it's always the endearing, unnerving and rowdy Roncallis who steal the show. Look for a heartbreaking exit of one beloved character, and a cliffhanger breakup in this charming valentine to love, forgiveness, and family.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Model Home

Model Home -- Warren Ziller moved his family to California in search of a charmed life, and to all appearances, he found it: a gated community not far from the beach, amid the affluent splendor of Southern California in the 1980s. But his American dream has been rudely interrupted. Despite their affection for one another — the "slow, jokey, unrehearsed vaudeville" they share at home — Warren; his wife, Camille; and their three children have veered into separate lives, as distant as satellites. Worst of all, Warren has squandered the family's money on a failing real estate venture.

As Warren desperately tries to conceal his mistake, his family begins to sow deceptions of their own. Camille attributes Warren's erratic behavior to an affair and plots her secret revenge; seventeen-year-old Dustin falls for his girlfriend's troubled younger sister; teen misanthrope Lyle begins sleeping with a security guard who works at the gatehouse; and eleven-year-old Jonas becomes strangely obsessed with a kidnapped girl.

When tragedy strikes, the Zillers are forced to move into one of the houses in Warren's abandoned development in the middle of the desert. Marooned in a less-than-model home, each must reckon with what's led them there and who's to blame — and whether they can summon the forgiveness needed to hold the family together. Subtly ambitious, brimming with the humor and unpredictability of life, Model Home delivers penetrating insights into the American family and into the imperfect ways we try to connect, from a writer "uncannily in tune with the heartbreak and absurdity of domestic life" (via the Los Angeles Times).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Very Valentine

Very Valentine -- Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world.

In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.

While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected. Very Valentine is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani's trademark heart and humor.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010



Sara B. is losing her cool.

Not just in the momentary-meltdown kind of way—though there's that, too. At the helm of must-read Snap magazine, veteran style guru Sara B. has had the job—and joy—for the past fifteen years of eviscerating the city's fashion victims in her legendary DOs and DON'Ts photo spread.

But now on the unhip edge of forty, with ambitious hipster kids reinventing the style world, Sara's being spit out like an old Polaroid picture: blurry, undeveloped and obsolete.

Fueled by alcohol, nicotine and self-loathing, Sara launches into a cringeworthy but often comic series of blowups—personal, professional and private—that culminate in an epiphany. That she, the arbiter of taste, has made her living by cutting people down…and somehow she's got to make amends.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Notorious Royal Marriages

Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny, and Desire-- A funny, raucous, and delightfully dirty 900-year history of the royal marriages of Europe's most famous-and infamous-monarchs.

Since time immemorial, royal marriages have had little to do with love- and almost everything to do with diplomacy and dynasty. Clashing personalities have joined in unholy matrimony to form such infamous couples as Russia's Peter II and Catherine the Great, and France's Henri II and Catherine de Medici-all with the purpose of begetting a male heir. But with tensions high and silverware flying, kings like England's Henry II have fled to the beds of their nubile mistresses, while queens such as Eleanor of Aquitaine have plotted their revenge...

Full of the juicy gossip and bad behavior that characterized Royal Affairs, this book chronicles the love-hate marriages of the crowned heads of Europe and ponders how dynasties ever survived at all.