Stories for: Books

Books, Gift GuidesTable that Book!

Looking for a last minute gift? I don’t know about you, but I love to receive a good coffee table book. It’s not something that I often splurge on, and it’s always a great addition to any home. Here’s a couple of books that would be beautiful on anyone’s coffee table!

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Blow Me a Kiss by Alice Harris – Provocative and sensual, this book celebrates and explores the iconic “red lip” by featuring notable art and photographs – including those of celebrities. Boys, perhaps this makes a great gift for a new girlfriend?

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National Geographic’s World’s Best Cities by Annie Fitzsimmons – This visually stunning book is a tribute to the cosmopolitan destinations. Ideal for the jet-setter in your life, the book reveals gorgeous photos and vital stats, best local foods, oddities and more on chic cities around the globe.

BooksParisienne French

parisienne frenchThe first thing I packed for my trip to Paris is possibly the chicest little book I own: Parisienne French. It’s a girl’s guide to conversing in French, complete with phrases, conversations, and neighborhood tips. This definitely does not fall in the textbook genre, but rather a fun and witty insiders’ guide to getting around Paris, perfect even for someone who’s been there multiple times. Ever since I finished (and forgot) most of my grade school French, I’ve wanted to relearn it but in a useful way. I’d love to actually know what vernacular is used to, say, chat with the bartender. Although it’s possible to get around Paris knowing very little French, it’s more fun to venture off the beaten path to the cozy bistros and little boutiques, where the real treasures are found. For those situations, Parisienne French comes into play with tips on how to talk to Parisians and blend in a little with some charm. Parisienne French is authored by Rhianna Jones, a Chicago-native with a degree in French Literature who adores all things French. She spent time living in Paris and working in the fashion industry, and shares her intimate knowledge of the vogue city of lights with her readers.  READ MORE

Books, Hotels, International, Mom & Kids, TravelLittle Luxe Guides

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Traveling with the whole family doesn’t mean sticking to Disney and eating at McDonald’s! For the chic and adventurous set, having the little ones in tow opens up a whole new world of discovery. While researching for upcoming voyages, I’m always searching for a balance of fun, luxury, culinary adventure, and cultural knowledge. The hardest thing is knowing who to trust for well-curated recommendations–until now. The new Little Luxe City Guides are a godsend of valuable gems of information, and draw from the expertise of the original Luxe City Guides which have been popular with jetsetters for years. Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bali are the exotic destinations in the Little Luxe family, and provide a trusted source of concise information, easily tucked into a carry-on bag! The accordion style guides are protected by a plastic cover and can function as a quick reference when abroad, or even a jumping-off point for doing research in preparation. It’s a time-saver shortcut to the best kid-friendly hotels and villas, interesting activities, and even cute kid stores, so you have a savvy insider’s point of view from the start. READ MORE

Books, TravelObsession of the Moment: TASCHEN 4 Cities

Books, Fashion, ObsessionsObsession of the Moment: Masters of Fashion Illustration Book

BooksRuben Toledo for Penguin

Redefining the idea of books as art are Penguin Deluxe Classics: classic works of literature rebound in French flaps with re-imagined cover designs from artists such as Ruben Toledo, fashion illustrator and husband to a Michelle Obama favorite designer, Isabel Toledo.  The Toledos have been receiving a lot of buzz recently for their recent Target design collaboration of resortwear, which imparts their signature high-fashion gothic design elements.  Check out some more of his trademark design elements with his blend of fanciful, macabre and dreamy covers for some of my favorite books, including Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter and my personal favorite, Wuthering Heights.

The Ruben Toledo Wuthering Heights cover does a fantastic job of conveying the key elements of the story in a single look: the brooding, the tempestuous and impassioned Healthcliff/Cathy romance, and the setting against the dark and stormy English moors, which are a secondary character to the story in and of itself.  I’m also loving the other innovative cover design collaborations that Penguin is doing in honor of its 75th anniversary, such as Penguin Ink, which has some of the world’s best tattoo artists and illustrators creating new covers for classics by David Foster Wallace, Martin Amis, Helen Fielding, and Ian Fleming.

The Ruben Toledo versions are currently sold on Amazon, and reduced from its current list price of $16 to $10.88.  If you know of anyone that is a fan of the gothic-inspired look of Alice in Wonderland and other similar titles, this would make a great gift!

BooksTableTopics Cubes

Hosting dinner parties with the company of good friends, delicious food, and plentiful amounts of wine is by far one of my favorite ways to spend a Friday or Saturday evening. While our conversation and spontaneous dance parties are surely enough fun to last well into the wee hours of the morning, I thought it would be fun to add another dimension to my friendly gatherings. Enter TableTopics Cubes, which I’d been eying for a while at a fabulous Beacon Hill boutique, Flat of The Hill. TableTopics Cubes are available in a variety of topics, including Family Gathering, Girls Night Out, and even Book Club edition. Each card is printed with a question that’s meant to inspire, make you think, or even make you embarrassed! I opted for the “not your mom’s dinner party” theme, which I thought would be versatile enough to use for all sorts of get-togethers. Even political questions like “should we have a national healthcare system?” are interspersed with less mature, more personal ones like “what alcohol can you never drink again?” (My answer? Raspberry Stoli.)

TableTopics Cubes are the ideal game to play with family and friends; easy to transport, basically no rules, and literally anyone can play! Retailing at $25, they aren’t the cheapest game you can buy, but will provide hours of priceless entertainment for you and your friends.

I look forward to adding another TableTopics Cube to my collection of games. Next? The Gourmet Edition! TableTopics Cubes are available on their website, as well as Amazon and local stores near you.

Accessories, Beauty, Books, Cheap & Chic, Fashion, Fragrance, ShoesCheap & Chic: May 2010

Beauty, Books, SkincareYour Skin, Younger

We all want younger looking skin, but how many of us actually know the science behind aging and skin? Although I claim to care about my skin, I have to admit that I definitely don’t keep up with the latest research on skin. When I was sent a copy of the book Your Skin, Younger for review, I almost read the whole thing in one sitting. Written by Drs. Alan C. Logan, Mark G. Rubin, and Phillip M. Levy, experts in naturopathic medicine and dermatology, it’s an easy and interesting read all about what it takes to keep your skin looking young–naturally.

Sun exposure and genetics certainly play a part in the visible signs of aging skin, but so do stress, diet, intestinal function, and even cooking techniques! The book suggests steaming, boiling, stewing, simmering, and poaching your food as much as possible to avoid oxidative stress and collagen destruction. These things can ultimately cause wrinkles, so the authors include recipes that incorporate healthy cooking techniques, as well as healthy skin foods. Who knew that even the color of foods has been proven to affect the aging of your skin? Your meals should always have deeply colored fruits and vegetables.

The part of Your Skin, Younger that is most relevant to my life is about stress. Studies have shown that stress compromises the barrier function of your skin, causing water loss and creating more inflammatory chemicals. In short, stress affects your skin more than you think. The authors provide tons of tips on how to reduce the stress in your life, starting with getting a good night’s beauty rest, which I am certainly taking to heart.

If you want to learn more about natural ways to get younger looking skin, be sure check out Your Skin, Younger, available for $14.95 at Amazon.com.

Books, Fitness & HealthThe O2 Diet

March is National Nutrition Month and for those of us that are (or want to be) health conscious, now is the best time to start paying attention to your lifestyle.  Recently I got my hands on a copy of The O2 Diet, designed by my go-to nutritionist, Keri Glassman, which focuses on harnessing the powers of antioxidants (fresh and natural foods) to help you feel and look your best.  I’ve been a longtime fan of Glassman and have even gone in for her nutritional counseling services.  I’ve always found her to be incredibly positive and empowering, giving me tips and solutions that actually help me feel like I am in control of my wellness and that have actually helped me change my eating habits and attitude in many ways.

I was really excited to find that Glassman conveys the same positive messaging in her new book.   I’m generally wary of “diets” since I find them so gimmicky, but Glassman doesn’t focus on dieting as much as on finding wholesome, nutritious, and natural foods.  In addition, she encourages readers to consume foods high in antioxidants which protect the body from damage by free radicals.  Antioxidants have been touted to have health benefits from slowing the aging process to preventing cancers.  But even more importantly, eating foods high in antioxidants make you feel good, and feeling good prevents you from going back to consuming unhealthy processed foods. READ MORE

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