Stories for: Books

BooksSo, You’re Going Through Twilight Withdrawal…

You finished the last of the Twilight book series, and you’ve watched the trailer for New Moon, but you just need something else to get you past your Edward Cullen fix.  If this sounds like a familiar situation to you, run to your nearest Barnes and Noble, to pick up Vampire Academy, the closest substitute to Twilight and the long departed, much beloved Buffy. Vampire Academy, was recommended to me by the younger sister of a friend, has all the elements that made Twilight and Buffy so addictive in the first place:

Embarrassing book cover art, and reading meant for a demographic much younger than your own?  Check, including a faux Angelina Jolie look-alike (making that Kindle all the more useful to conceal your book choices).

Interesting and fascinating descriptions of the vampire sub-world?  Check! Vampire Academy has that and more, centering on a whole academy of young vampire royals and their loyal Dhampirs, who are half vampire/half human  sworn guardians to protect the vampires against the evil Strigoi, vampires turned bad.

Touching female friendship?  Check! Buffy is to Willow as Lissa Dragomir (Vampire royal) is to Rose Hathaway (Dhampir.)

Forbidden love story?  Check!  I won’t give away the love story here but be on the lookout for the love blossoming between Rose Hathaway and someone else that is just as Edward/Bella and Angel/Buffy-worthy.

I breezed through the first book in just about 2 days and soon devoured the next 2 books in the series the following week after.  While  Vampire Academy lacks a very key Robert Pattinson, it makes up for it with zero Bella whining/angst in the books (exactly how many times can one hear Bella talk about how muscular Edward’s chest is and how unworthy she is of his love?)  And surely when this book becomes inevitably made into a movie, someone equal to People’s Sexiest Man Alive will be cast for the key role of Dimitri, Rose’s teacher and mentor — here’s hoping!

BooksKafka on the Shore

As soon as I finished finals in May, I set out to create a big list of summer reading. I have always loved to read, but sadly, my favorite hobby was put on the back burner during second semester due to the large quantities of schoolwork filling up my plate. Since May, I have read quite a few novels, but none of them made any lasting impression on me until I read Kafka on the Shore. This gripping novel, a blend of reality and fantasy, takes you on a wild ride not soon to be forgotten or put down! Written in 2002 by Haruki Murakami and translated to English in 2005, Kafka on the Shore quickly became a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2005 and for good reason.

I have to confess, I was a little apprehensive about opening the book. The back summary speaks of talking cats and fish raining from the sky. I am usually a realistic fiction fan, hardly ever choosing fantasy, so this tidbit of info was a little off-putting for me.  Luckily, Kafka on the Shore delivers just the right amount of reality and fantasy to appeal to both camps of readers. READ MORE

BooksLake With No Name

Guys, I have been on a reading rampage lately, devouring books in one sitting- not even showering after the gym and giving up my otherwise Tuesday evening events to down a 300 page book in 3 hours. I used to do this when I was 12 and then the Internet happened and it hasn’t been until this summer that I’ve gotten back into appreciating good books.

At any rate, here’s one that I read last night that I enjoyed though I’d have to preface the review with a few personal details.  The book is called Lake with No Name, a memoir written by Chinese mystery novelist Diane Wei Liang chronicling her life in Beijing before and during the Tiananmen Square Massacre.  It was originally published back in 1993, but Simon & Schuster picked it up again in time for the 20th anniversary of the event which happened on June 4, 2009.  Now, despite the implications of all that, the book is not (nor do I think it was meant to be)  a political statement but rather a coming of age love story of a bright college student figuring out her relationships during the late 80s. READ MORE

Books, SkincareLittle Bee, Big Buzz

I received this book, Little Bee, as part of a Sephora mailing they sent to beauty editors to launch their new summer beach collection. While the major event that sets the story in motion does take place on a beach, reading about it didn’t particularly motivate me to slather on some of their Divine Oil and go for a frolic in the sand.

The name of the book, the cover and even the cutesy, cryptic description (It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.) had me thinking this was going to be an easy, breezy book.  Boy, was I wrong and I figured that out somewhere in the middle of the first, mildly graphic death scene.

That said, I did read it in one sitting- which is something I haven’t done in a very long time.  It’s a good book, but when I finished around midnight last night, I had to distract my mind by hitting up a few fashion blogs before turning in for the evening. READ MORE

Books, Dining & Nightlife, New YorkEating Clean in NYC

Editor’s Note: This guest post today is brought to you by our friend Jennifer from YogaDeals. As you can tell by her blog name, Jennifer is the go-to person for yoga and fitness tips, the best deals, and cheapest happy hours (ok, you can’t really tell about that one, but we know from experience).  She’s also been a  lifelong health nut thanks to her mom serving her whole wheat bread back when no one even knew what that was. Today she shares a cheap find that helps you locate delicious and healthy food in Manhattan for locals and visitors alike.

In New York, each neighborhood is blessed with a variety of cuisines and price points on every block. But when it comes down to it, New Yorkers are not exactly known for their ‘home cooking.’ Instead they have been given the unique gift of enjoying the tasty fruits of some of the world’s most amazing culinary artists. Sadly, tastiness usual comes with a guilt-ridden calorie count, and now with obesity (and vanity) levels rising, even New Yorkers, the very ambulatory society, are still looking for healthier options that don’t require a cooking class.

[enter: Clean Plates NYC] READ MORE

Books, FashionMichelle Style

The Obamas may only have been in office for a few months, but the world is completely enamored with Michelle Obama – and in particular, her fashion sense.  In fact, Obama is the second first lady… ever, I believe, to get her own style book and today, fans will be able to pick up their own copy of Michelle Style, available from Harper Collins.

I was lucky to get my hands on a copy early and spent some time going through the book.  It’s an incredibly thorough review of Michelle’s sartorial choices to date, complete with style guide and quotes from industry insiders.  Fans of the First Lady certainly won’t want to miss out. Since Mrs. Obama has already established herself as a very important figure in the fashion industry, her choice to don a particular designer could, in fact, make his career.  Most famously, is her love for Jason Wu a designer she’s worn over and over again.  Wu, who didn’t even have an online presence at the time Mrs. Obama wore his white gown to the Inaugural ball, all of a sudden debuted a spectacular website only days after.  I also follow Michelle Obama’s style in the media as part of my job in keeping up with the fashion world.  At first, I didn’t get the hype.  I didn’t see Mrs. Obama’s outfits cutting it in the hallways of the glossy world of fashion magazines and I’d always followed socialite editors on Patrick McMullan as my own style inspiration. But what I grew to see was that her choices really spoke to the millions of working women across America who would never think of wearing platform Louboutins and mini skirts to the office. Whereas so much of fashion is purely aspirational, Mrs. Obama’s style is attainable which makes this book, perhaps, more relevant to readers than the last 5 years worth of Vogue combined.

Check it out for yourself on

BooksThe Sky Isn’t Visible From Here

Felicia Sullivan, as a person and as my friend, is awesome! So awesome, that she critiqued my grad school application essays for me the DAY after I met her. So awesome that her memoir got optioned into a movie.  Hellooo Sundance- we’re coming!  There’s a picture of her being my hot date at a fashion party last year.

In addition to being (obviously) a talented writer and deeply introspective and insightful person, Felicia is just plain fun, kind and cool.  We’re always gossiping and chatting about beauty, fashion, FOOD, and the lack of qualified men in New York City. And if I ever need some serious advice, she’s my go to gal.

If you believe in karma, this is a true sign of how fabulous the cosmos think Felicia is:  she won a free pair of Louboutins once.

Plus, she always replies to my emails within 5 seconds with hilarious stuff like:

“Baby, I’m on the elliptical, but there is a decent pic of me on my about me page.  Sent from my iPhone. ”  Someone who emails during the gym?  Definitely a kindred spirit. READ MORE

Beauty, BooksConfessions of a Beauty Addict

I love a good chick lit but I love it even more when it also includes insider secrets of the publishing industry, product recommendations, and is penned by a fellow blogger- in addition to the obligatory hot guys, lovable protagonist, and the bitchy underminer that eventually gets served. I devoured Nadine Haobsh’s newest book: Confessions of a Beauty Addict in one sitting last week while simultaneously getting jealous and giddy reading about all the going-ons of Bella Hunter, Beauty Editor. If you love yourself a little Devil Wears Prada style peek at what really goes on in the beauty world, you’ll have to get yourself a copy. READ MORE

BooksSomething Borrowed

If you were on Team Jennifer during the whole Brad/Angelina fiasco, Something Borrowed is a book that could potentially make you see Angelina’s point of view and even make you sympathetic to her cause.  Although this book wasn’t published recently, it is one of my favorite chick-lit books and I always recommend it to my girlfriends on long plane flights for its compelling narrative and addictive plotline.

I am not giving anything away by telling you that the book starts off immediately with the everygirl protagonist, Rachel, sleeping with her glamorous best friend, Darcy’s boyfriend, Dexter.  Despite whatever initial feelings of hate you might bear towards Rachel, author Emily Giffin, deftly explores the frenemy relationship between Darcy and Rachel, to make you empathize with and root for her heroine.  The writing is easy to read, and the poignancy of Rachel and Dex’s feelings keep you turning pages.

Pick this book up before your next long haul plane flight, and be enthralled as the hours fly by and you become absorbed.

Books, Celebrities, FashionInfluence

It’s no secret if you check out my obsessions that I am officially a fan of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (and not just because they are alumna, or rather un-graduated alumna of my alma mater).  I know people have mixed reactions regarding the bohemian chic look that they made popular, but I always give them credit for wearing interesting and original looks.  I grew up watching them on Full House like everyone else, and even ran into Ashley Olsen one time on the street back in my college days; I’m pretty amazed at how these teenage millionaires have created not only one, but two carefully created fashion lines (The Row and Elizabeth and James) and also a new, interesting coffee table book all about the creative process. READ MORE

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