I like quirky books by enterprising authors, so I enjoyed reading Myra Skoller’s story about her consignment shop, Designer Resale in Miracle on 81st Street: Designer Resale, a Girl’s Dream by Myrna Skoller (Author House 2013). It isn’t always the best written books that grab my attention, but those about people who have an inspiring tale to tell. The author details the past twenty 23 years of her designer consignment store located in New York City’s Upper East Side. She started with literally nothing, and turned her passion for fashion into a successful business. If you love to shop (or sell) to consignment stores, you’ll find the book particularly fascinating. The author really does describe the trials, tribulations and excitement of owning and operating a high end fashion resale store and she actually seems fairly grounded, grateful, and humble. That’s refreshing, too. It’s not the most beautifully crafted writing, but it’s a beautiful story. You can visit the store in NYC and you can learn more online: http://www.designerresaleconsignment.com/
When you read most chick lit fiction, it seems as though the entire world is young, fabulous, working in a creative and glamorous environment, and has a bunch of quirky and loyal friends. That’s pretty much the template, too, for Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grosse (William Morrow 2012). In this book, the main character is Alex Lyon, who by some stroke of luck, ends up with a job writing very snarky and sometimes very bitchy blog posts for “Chick Habit,” an online blog/magazine that has more hits and followers than advicesisters.net (and most other online publications) would dream of ever seeing in a lifetime. But this is fiction, folks, so its ok to exaggerate. In any case, Alex has a boyfriend, an apartment, the requisite quirky and loyal friends, some co-workers that she likes (and one she doesn’t), and a boss who constantly pushes her to do more. I can’t imagine the “blogger lifestyle” that the author, Jessica Grosse, has created for Alex, but perhaps Jessica has had some fabulous breaks in her real life that have allowed her to write about Alex this way. The book implies that if you are a bitch and you write irresponsible and damaging things, people will read (and the will) but you can’t expect to get a lot of love back in return. Despite the somewhat weary plot and some really dubious story lines, the book has good dialogue, and it’s skillfully written. The characters are likeable if not totally relate-able for every generation, and the fast pace gets you hooked. A muscle-bound hunk came swimming up to me , attracted by the cover. When he asked what I was reading, I shared, then we had a long and spirited discussion about other mostly non-fiction books that we read and loved. It was the perfect diversion, poolside, at Sonnenalp in Vail, Colorado (did I mention my fabulous life, LOL)! In any case, it’s a good read from cover to cover.
Rock and Roll, Limos, Love Affairs, Fire Island and more, are the stuff gay men’s dreams are made of. according to A Short Jew in the Body of a Tall W.A.S.P. by Mark Okun and HIllary Brower (Dog Ear Publishing, 2013). This book is packed with drama and the kind of self-absorbed “fabulousness” that I also recognized in another book about a talented gay men coming out and moving forward in Life. Mark Okun was adopted by a Jewish couple and didn’t meet his birth parents until many decades later, when he meet them for the first time, and gave them makeover. He used them in this way when his own career as a celebrity hairdresser had hit a bump in the road. But before this, Mark writes about tons of boyfriends, sex, and AIDS, plus other issues that both gay and straight people face. He left his boyhood home in Syracuse, New York, to find fame as a hairdresser in New York City. He was cute, and he was very into other cute men. His looks and personality gained him entree into the hottest clubs, and a world of drugs and alcohol (and funerals of friends who had died from AIDS) that eventually threatened to bring him to his knees. The story has a happy ending, but Mark’s struggles to figure out who he is and what he really wants. Although his lifestyle wouldn’t be for everyone, and the book is written in a very self-absorbed manner , it is still interesting to see how a man with many demons, finds his way into the proverbial light. You can’t help but like Mark, flawed as he is. The book seems authentic and sincere. Go with Mark on his journey of discovery and you’ll feel grateful your life is probably not as complicated. It’s hopeful, and interesting, and worth reading both for the lessons learned, and a nice story with a happy ending.
No sooner do I finish covering Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City for one season, it seems like the next one is already here. Inf act the Spring 2013 collections will be shown in a few days. Since I am a photographer as well as a writer, sometimes the runway shows just seem to blend into one another. Even though I take my own, credible photos from the media riser, I can’t remember details. Flipping through the pages of the SFP LookBook brought each piece to life again, in full color and details, along with things I might have missed when I saw the shows live, including hair, makeup, nails and accessories. Each piece that a designer selects to send down his or her runway is unique is some way, and that’s powerfully demonstrated the remarkable, coffee-table book: The SFP LookBook: Mercedes B enz Fashion Week Fall 2013 Collections/Jesse Marth (Schiffer Fashion Press 2013). This amazing book is large, and full of gorgeous photographs of individual fashions from 80 of the exciting designers whose designs walked the runaway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week’s Fall 2013. Fashions are included from: Michael Kors, Tadashi Shoji, Monique Lhuillier, Diane Von Furstenberg, Badgley Mischka, Naeem Khan, and more. Even better, this gorgeous book is both for the stylist and pro, and the consumer who just loves fashion. And the large, hard-bound book with 384 exciting pages of photos is a real bargain at just $45.00! Get up close and personal with high-end ready-to-wear, sportswear, menswear, accessories, and eveningwear presentations. Quickly reference the season’s hottest trends, including: intricate prints and embroidery; lacy, tiered dresses; garments with cut-out leather details; tribal-inspired urban menswear; and bold gowns in rich jewel tones. This would make an amazing holiday gift for a fashionable friend, or get it for yourself to oogle the clothes and the models, and be inspired to try out some of the trends, yourself. I don’t normally promote sales sites on advicesisters.net but at just $45.00 this book is a bargain and a joy! GET ONE!!!
There are some really nice recipes in Tasting Home: Coming of Age in the Kitchen by Judith Newton (She Writes Press, 2013). But the point of the book really isn’t a cookbook. It’s a culinary diary of the author’s life from childhood and beyond. If food is love and sustenance, Judith finds her solace through the dishes she makes in various kitchens and homes, as she deals with her personal issues, including a long-term commitment to a man she loves, who turns out to be gay. The personal story is accented by recipes in chapter, organized by the time and cookbooks that helped to shape the author’s life, and that highlight her changing lifestyle and world view. It is truly a coming of age story, but also one that shows how you can bring joy and satisfaction to your life, even when it’s in crisis. Get a copy of this prize-winning book for yourself, and share it with your “foodie” friends, or anyone who is going through a rough time. It is a nicely written book that will inspire.
A housewife becomes dissatisfied with her “perfect” life with a controlling husband is unfaithful, and suffers through the death throes of her marriage. Then she finds an escape hatch and impulsively breaks free, not sure how to find her full potential. But eventually, she journeys far and wide, having amazing experiences and finding her true place in the world. It’s not a fresh story, but it is the authentic one, chronically the authentic journey portrayed in Unbridled: A Memoir, by Barbara McNally (Balboa Press, 2013). How many people just yearn to break free of their self-imposed prison, and soar?! This book is Barbara McNally’s version of the story. She was unhappy with her life, and set herself free to find her independence, and herself. As the book unfolds, Barbara starts to unfold, too, unleashing the passion and purpose she repressed for so long, and finding the way to make her own bliss. Overcoming your fears, living outside of the norm, and finding out who you are, takes strength and courage. Perhaps everyone has this ability, but most of us wouldn’t dare to act on it. The author, did, and found her true calling and full potential. Ahhhh!!!!!!