Open Bag with Anita Hughes

We have a mix up today.  A little bit Open Book and a little bit Bookish {Beauty} Bag with Anita Hughes.  I am a HUGE fan of Anita’s and thrilled to be able to celebrate her latest release, California Summer.  If you are familiar with her works then you know she has a way of transporting her readers to the glamorous locations that her books take place.  These settings often are their own character within the story and her latest is set against the beautiful backdrop of California.  She is the queen of beach reads and I am thrilled she is on the blog today ❤

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via Amazon ~

“The perfect beach read!” ―Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House Reunion.

“Tender and triumphant…California Summer made my heart sing. ―Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Between Me and You

Anita Hughes’s California Summer is a charming and beautiful love story about a former Hollywood producer who trades her cast list in for cookbooks in the hopes of following her dreams and finding new love.

Ben and Rosie are Hollywood’s newest director/producer dream team. After hitting it big at Sundance, it seems that their ten years of love and hard work are finally paying off. Rosie is happy making independent films, but Ben wants the A-List celebrity package: a house in Beverly Hills, fancy cars in the driveway, and his name on the biggest blockbusters. He’s willing to do anything, even sleep with the most famous producer in town, to get them.

Rosie is devastated by Ben’s affair, and she decides to take a break from show business. She accepts her best friend’s invitation to spend the summer at her parents’ estate in Montecito. It’s far away from L.A., the perfect place to start over.

In Montecito, Rosie meets a colorful cast of characters including Rachel, who owns a chocolate shop, and Josh, a handsome local who splits his time between surfing and classic cars. Suddenly Rosie has new friends and a new purpose. She starts a business in the village, and her luck seems to be turning around. But Rosie knows all too well that success comes with a price, and the price might be losing love…again.

California Summer is a touching and romantic story about following your dreams but not letting them get in the way of love.

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What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with? Rona Jaffe, Edith Wharton, and Maeve Binchy – three of my favorite authors of all time.

Current binge series? Reruns of the OC.

Last favorite book? The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Lip balm, a sun hat and a book.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Sunday NYT’s!

Last person you sent a text message to? My daughter.

Book you read that you wished you wrote? Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Not really.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? No, it has to be quiet.

Describe your writing space? The love seat in my bedroom, looking at the bunnies in the garden.

Coffee or tea? Coffee.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.

What/Who inspires you? My children.

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No.

Favorite Instagram account? None.

Current #TBR pile? Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow.

What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have? Anything from Kate Spade.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  Bare Minerals Bronzer, Chanel lip gloss.

What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  Lip balm.

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines) Small Admission by Amy Poeppel.

 

Hughes, Anita_CREDIT Sheri Geoffreys

 

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Open Book with Michelle Gable

I have been a huge an of Michelle Gable’s since I first read, I’ll See You in Paris.  She has a way with her storytelling that transports you.  I was thrilled to hear that she was going to be writing about John F. Kennedy in her latest, The Summer I Met Jack.  I am a Kennedy enthusiast and always love a story that I do not know much about cue this book and the quintessential New England summer read.  I am so excited to have Michelle back on the blog to day in my latest “Open Book” feature and if you like Flashdance then you will LOVE Michelle- see below ❤

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via Amazon ~

“[The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all.” —Kirkus Reviews

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.

Based on a real story – in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.

Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.

 

Michelle 278_credit Joanna DeGeneres

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

JFK, Tim Ferriss, and Oprah. A dream book club could never be complete without her!

2. Current binge series?

I’m not really a binger, but the most recent series I watched was the One Day at a Time reboot.

3. Last favorite book?

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Bikini, linen dress, and a book. Two places I’ve been dying to see are Portugal and Isla Holbox in Mexico.  

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Neither. People Magazine and/or Entertainment Weekly. 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My good friend and doubles partner, Erin.  

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Gloria by Keith Maillard

 8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

I was an accounting major (you know, like most aspiring authors), but took creative writing classes as electives. One professor said I was “selling out” by going into finance. I was like, “if by ‘selling out’ you mean, ‘pay my rent,’ then you are correct.” Maybe that’s not encouragement, exactly? When I was younger, the support definitely came from my dad.

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

Never.   

10. Describe your writing space?

We recently turned our daughters’ former playroom into my office and it’s a great space. It’s at the top of the stairs, with a sliding barn door and windows that open onto the stairwell. It is gray with pops of blue and has white built-in cabinets and dark walnut floors lied diagonally. The desk is huge and there are three distinct work spaces, so my girls can do their homework with me, if they want.

11. Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.

 12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

 13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Amazon made a pilot for The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and I loved it. I kept waiting for the rest of the series, but it never came. I wish they’d finish!

 14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

This is embarrassing but the first song that popped into my head was What a Feeling by Irene Cara from the movie Flashdance. It reminds me so much of my childhood and I sing it to the girls all the time. I love the lines “Take your passion, and make it happen…” I was trying to convince my youngest daughter to use it for her “walk up” song this summer at the national playoffs for softball, but she was unmoved by my pleas.

 15. What/Who inspires you?

Other writers inspire me for sure—whether they write novels, or scripts, or something else. If I’m stuck, reading something always helps.

 16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No—although I do like Bethenny Frankel.  

17. Favorite Instagram account?

That’s a tough one! Probably @celestebarber or @travelandleisure

 18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

I recently read and loved Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood. It comes out in August and is about the true story that inspired Nabokov’s Lolita. I’m sure there are many shades of “Lolita” out there already, so I’d call it “Sally” after Sally Horner, the real girl behind the book. It’d either have to be very light pink, to reflect her innocence, or a garish, glittery fuchsia, something a young girl would think was pretty just because it was so loud.

19. Current #TBR pile?

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

A Theory of Love by Margaret Bradham Thornton

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

 20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“If it’s not a ‘hell yes,’ then it’s a ‘no.’” This helps me prioritize and reminds me not to say yes to things out of obligation, especially when I’m on deadline, or about to go on tour!

 

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Open Book with Katherine Center

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center is an absolute must for your beach bag this summer.  With a Starred review and praise from Emily Giffin and Elinor Lipman, Center has written the perfect companion to your crisp glass of Rose’.  I was thrilled when she sat down to chat and shared her current reads, love for coffee and Tina Fey .gif’s 😉

How to Walk Away_Cover

via Amazon ~

From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best―a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.

Katherine Center_Author Photo

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures—living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

I’ve been bingeing on Carrie Fisher’s audiobooks (all the memoirs: The Princess Diarist, Wishful Drinking, and Shockaholic), and now I feel like now we are best friends, so she’s first on my list. Next, I’d say Meryl Streep, because she’s Meryl Streep—and a Vassar girl, like myself, though I suspect that means more to me than it does to her. And then, of course, for all obvious, fabulous reasons: Oprah.

 

2. Current binge series?

 I just finished a BBC TV series called The Halcyon, which was divine—set in a fancy-as-a-castle hotel in London during WWII and profiling the lives of the aristocratic owners and the staff of the hotel. Totally luxe sets and costumes and yummy romance and intrigue and blitz-related drama. They had storylines planned for every year of the war, but it just got canceled. Actually, they didn’t know they were being canceled when they filmed the last episode, so it ended on a cliffhanger. Unsatisfying, but worth it overall. I’ll just write a fan-fiction ending in my head . . . .

3. Last favorite book?

I read Everything, Everything on my daughter’s recommendation and absolutely loved it. Devoured it in a day.

 

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Books, notebooks, and a fuzzy robe. And I’d go somewhere chilly and cozy with cobblestone streets and fairy tale architecture. My mom’s family is from Germany and Ireland, and I’ve never been to either. Denmark’s on the list. So’s Iceland. Also, I want to see the Fjords. And the little town of Giethoorn in the Netherlands that they call “the Venice of the North,” where you can only get around in charming little boats.

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

A little bit of both, I’d say. I’m a hybrid.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My daughter. With a .gif of Tina Fey doing finger-guns.

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. I don’t get that feeling too often, but I had it in a big way with that one. It was the first book of hers I’d read, and I just admired so much the way she got inside—and dramatized—her character’s thoughts. They felt utterly real, totally 3D, and I felt for those people so much. It was like I became them, all of them at once, in this magical feat of empathy and imagination. So many articulated moments of insight about the human condition. Just a rich, satisfying, heart-expanding read.

 

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

Many! I was lucky. Almost every english teacher I ever had encouraged me in some way. My sixth grade english teacher, Mrs. Paulus, sent me a note in the summer saying she knew I was going to grow up to be a writer. My 11th grade history teacher, Dr. Zammito, predicted my future career with total confidence. And my beloved Vassar professor Beverly Coyle once told me, “I can count on one finger the students I’ve had who can write like you.” 

 

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

I never listen to music when I write, and it’s mostly because I feel like the words have their own rhythm, and I don’t want anything pushing against that. The writing process is very auditory for me. I hear a voice talking in my head—the narrator. Then I write down what the voice is saying and shape it as I go. I have to hear it all, both as the words are coming and after they reach the page. 

 

10. Describe your writing space?

The bathtub! And the bed. Actually, I’ll write anywhere in my house. Any soft place I can curl up with a fuzzy blanket and my laptop or manuscript (no laptop in the tub, of course). I don’t have an office, though I tried it once. We set up a little area in our attic as my office, but I never went up there. It felt too far away from everything. Writing’s lonely enough as it is.  

 

11. Coffee or tea?

Oh, God, coffee! I brew cups of it constantly when I’mwriting, and I don’t even drink them all. I justlike the idea of them. The sound of the percolator, the buttery brown color, the warmth, the aroma—even just the scent of dry grounds in the bag.  

 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I’m most likely to match books to people, so I’m eclectic with book gifting—but I have definitely given Tina Fey’s Bossypants to many people.

 

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

I’d like to see them turn more romance novels into movies. The world is sadly devoid of romance these days. Every now and then, the BBC remakes a Jane Austen, but there are lots of great love stories out there that would make delicious, swoon-worthy movies. I’d love to see Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflowers series as movies.

 

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Sheesh. This is tough. I could name fifty right now, and tomorrow I’d pick something different. But today, right now, I pick the Beatles’ “I Will,” which is both sad and catchy, both mournful and hopeful, and full of both love and loss. All that rich bittersweetness wrapped up in the chocolate-y smoothness of Paul McCartney’s divine voice. With harmonies.  

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

I am genuinely, viscerally inspired when I get to see the best in people.  Kindness, courage, nurturing, self-sacrifice. I love stories about how we overcome hardship and how we take care of each other. I love people who do the right thing, even when it would be easier to do the opposite. I love people who laugh a lot, and find ways to stay hopeful, and savor any joy that comes along.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Can I answer “sometimes”? I’ve definitely gotten hooked on various shows in the past—Top Chef, Project Runway, Queer Eye—But I’m probably more of an HGTV person at this point. I like shows about people making things, renovating things, and improving things. I love to watch the creative process in action. I recently got hooked on a show called Stone House Revival about a carpenter who renovates revolutionary-war era farmhouses in Pennsylvania—exposing beams, and stone walls, and giant old cooking hearths. So fun to see those farmhouses come back to life! Delicious.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

There’s a great one called Words of Women that features great quotes and snippets of wisdom.

 

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

Pride & Prejudice.

And it would be the color you’d get if you crushed a raspberry into a chocolate bar.

19. Current #TBR pile?

I always have a big stack of books eyeballing me from the bedside table.  I’m a glacially slow reader—I have to hear the words in my head like talking—so it’s a very slow rotation. Here’s the current stack.

Tell Me Three Things—Julie Buxbaum

The Year of Yes—Shonda Rhimes

The Inn at Lake Divine—Elinor Lipman

The Light We Lost—Jill Santopolo

Cinder—Marissa Meyer

The Morning Gift—Eva Ibbotson

and The DaVinci Code, because I’ve never read it.

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

From my dad, for writing: “Write it. Then go back and take out half the words.” And from my mom, for life: “You just have to assume everything is okay until you have evidence to the contrary.”

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Open Book with Camille Di Maio

Any time Camille Di Maio writes one of her historical fiction gems they are a must for your reading wish list.  Her latest, The Way of Beauty is out now and is the story of two unlikely friends who are connected by a past and present love.  I was thrilled to chat with Camille again, she was featured last year in “What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag”,   and today she is talking Reese Witherspoon, coffee and Beatriz Williams, three of my favorite things ❤

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Hearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.

Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it.

Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.

Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

 

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  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures – living or dead – would you want to have a book club with? I would love to meet with Agatha Christie and ask her how she writes her amazing stories. I have read every single Poirot book and have never – ever – figured it out. Reese Witherspoon, so we could talk about all my favorite subjects – books, movies, parenting, clothes, and living in the south. And Rebecca Ryman, because she wrote my favorite book of all time – Olivia and Jai.
  2. Current binge series? I can’t wait to start Season 2 of Victoria. I’m waiting for my daughter to come home for spring break so that we can binge it to our hearts’ content!
  3. Last favorite book? I just finished reading an early copy of Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle, and it’s the kind that had me putting things off so that I could read “just one more chapter.” Ha – I ended up finishing it in one day.
  4. What three things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation? 1. Always a book (or ten). 2. A sarong, because of course, there will be a beach. 3. Postcard stamps, because I LOVE sending snail mail.
  5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? Us Weekly. Magazines are escapism for me.
  6. Last person you sent a text message to? My daughter in college. We keep in touch every day.
  7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? Olivia and Jai. It almost kept me from writing. It was a debut book and it was so so good. It intimidated me for a very long time.
  8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? My mom was my greatest encourager when I was growing up. She drilled me in vocabulary and believed I could do it even when I doubted.
  9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? If I listen to music, it is classical. I get focused on lyrics otherwise and it distracts me.
  10. Describe your writing space. With four kids and a husband who works from home, I do my best work out of the house. I love going to the library or my local Barnes and Noble, breathing in the literary air.
  11. Coffee or tea? Coffee. Cappuccinos to be precise!
  12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? I have favorite authors that I gift frequently – Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams.
  13. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Vassar. It is about being grateful for all the distractions – the laundry, the bills to pay, the phone ringing, the kids needing you. Because that is really paradise, even if we don’t realize it in the moment.
  14. What/who inspires you? People who have an ethereal quality to them inspire me. They seem to have a peace that transcends the challenges of the day.
  15. Bravo reality tv – yes or no? No. I always wonder how much is scripted or manipulated and I prefer just a well-written story instead. This isn’t Bravo, but as far as reality tv goes, I love Shark Tank.
  16. Favorite Instagram account? Book Barista has such lovely posts about books and libraries and all things literary.
  17. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? Best Day Ever, named after a book by Kaira Rouda. The cover is a deep red. It would make a great, daring lipstick.
  18. Current #TBR pile? Are you kidding me? I have a whole TBR house. If I live to be a thousand years old, I will never finish them all, and I will certainly bring more in than.
  19. Best advice you’ve ever received? It’s more of a quote: “Let no one come to you without leaving better or happier.” Saint (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta. I try to live this every day.

 

About Camille 

Camille Di Maio always dreamed of being a writer, and those dreams came to fruition with her bestselling debut novel, The Memory of Us, and her second novel, Before the Rain Falls. In addition to writing women’s fiction, she buys too many baked goods at farmers’ markets, unashamedly belts out Broadway tunes when the mood strikes, and regularly faces her fear of flying to indulge in her passion for travel.

She and her husband homeschool their four children and lead an award-winning real estate team in San Antonio, Texas. They split their time between Texas and Virginia. Connect with Camille at camilledimaio.com.

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Janna King

I am on a role with fabulous books to pack up in that beach bag!  Janna King’s new novel, The Seasonaires is the quintessential book to accompany a spring cocktail.  There is nothing like a read that is stylish, sexy, murderous and greedy- all the ingredients that make up this sparkling debut.  I was thrilled when she opened up her ridiculously amazing bag filled with a bounty of beauty must-haves.

The Seasonaires-AD

via Amazon ~

For a twenty-something, there is no summer job better than being a seasonaire. No responsibilities, college is barely a thought, and you’re surrounded by glamorous, beautiful people.  Intoxicating and seemingly carefree, what could possibly go wrong?

An idyllic Nantucket summer begins like a dream for scrappy Mia from South Boston; Presley, a gorgeous Southern beauty queen; Cole, a handsome introvert; Jade, the sultry daughter of a model and music mogul; J.P., an energetic young designer; and Grant, a playful party-boy.

Tese six are working as seasonaires―influential brand ambassadors―for the clothing line Lyndon Wyld. But like all things that look too good to be true, the darkness lurking underneath slowly rises to the surface.

Lyndon Wyld, the chic tigress who owns the eponymous business, rules their daily life by curating their every move, which the seasonaires are obligated to post on social media for their growing throngs of followers. Corporate greed, professional rivalries, and personal conflicts mix with sex, drugs, and the naiveté of youth, exploding in a murder that sullies their catalog-perfect lives.

The Seasonaires is a fresh and stylish debut that perfectly captures today’s zeitgeist, promising to thrill until the very last page.

JK Bag

JK bag 2

 

What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have?

My AllSaints bucket bag is the perfect size, though revealing what’s inside, it seems like a bottomless clown bag. When I carry my laptop, which is 90% of the time, my Urban Outfitters faux leather reversible tote will also hold my bag. And since my novel is about seasonaires in summer, I’ll mention my beach tote pick: Mar Y Sol’s Montauk (colorful pom-poms, smushes into my suitcase and is fair trade).

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Moisturizer (with SPF, of course), Cetaphil liquid face soap, Benefit Benetint Cheek and Lip Stain, and Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara in Extreme Black. It’s the only mascara that doesn’t irritate my eyes. More importantly, it won’t run when I cry because I cry about pretty much everything⎯happy, sad and in between⎯yet it comes off with just soap and water. I’m learning to use liquid eyeliner and the results are very entertaining, like a 4-year-old drew on my face. For my hair, Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment and DevaCurl Super Creme. I was an 80’s perm girl until a stylist showed me I have naturally wavy hair. I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed or proud of the fact that I don’t own a brush or comb. As a sucker for anything with an amazing scent, I love Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter and Philosophy Fresh Cream perfume (okay, so I smell a little bit like a bakery). I could live in a Lush store.

 

What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  

Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick (I’ve used this since I was in college), CO Bigelow Vanillamint Supreme 2x Lip Shine & Breath Freshener (I’m a multi-tasker), Systane Ultra Eyedrops for my dry writer eyes, Eurcerin Moisturizing Creme for my dry writer hands, a snag-free hairband for messy, high buns (the higher the better), and Saje Peppermint Halo Headache Relief, because there’s nothing beautiful about a painful mind-splitter.

 

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines)?

Vanity Fair, In Style, Vulture, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#*ck by Mark Manson (though I still give far too many), and From Cradle to Stage by Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of Foo Fighters Dave Grohl (because my daughter is in a band and #lifegoals: rock-mom).

 

And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you?

My iPhone (I’m always one text/goofy Bitmoji away from my two kids who have been away at college), my dreaded progressive glasses and sunglasses (I finally treated myself to fancies by Dita and Oliver Goldsmith), Purell, Band-Aids, a pen I can never find, Orbit gum, my keys (with myriad keys and fobs⎯my kids always said they could hear me coming), my dad’s handkerchief (he passed away a year ago), a mini pack of Kleenex (I don’t actually use the handkerchief), my “trust” ceramic rock, chewed gum (see above) wrapped in a receipt I will discover I need later, and two notes from my kids from when they were little. Do I sound obsessed with my kids? Guilty as charged.

Janna King

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*Thanks to Kathleen Carter for coordinating the interview and a review copy of the book.*

 

Open Book with Amy Poeppel

From the stunning, fabulous cover to the addictive title, Amy Poeppel’s Limelight is the one of the hottest reads of spring and must for any beach-read addict.  I was thrilled when she said she would answer Bliss, Beauty and Books “Open Book” questions.  She talked US Weekly, Real Housewives,  bookish beauty and her current TBR pile.  Read on to learn more about Amy and her latest book ❤

LIMELIGHT

via Amazon ~

“Outstanding…A tribute to Broadway, teen celebrity life, and a mother who has now seen it all, this work is tough love at its finest and a great read for those wanting a ride on the wild side.”—Booklist (starred review)

Best New Books You Should Read This Spring—PopSugar

In a smart and funny new novel by the author of the critically acclaimed, “big-hearted, charming” (The Washington Post) Small Admissions, a family’s move to New York City brings surprises and humor as their lives merge with the captivating world of Broadway.

Allison Brinkley—wife, mother, and former unflappable optimist—discovers that a carefully weighed decision to pack up and move her family from suburban Dallas to the glittery chaos of Manhattan may have been more complicated than she and her husband initially thought.

Allison learns that New York is unruly and bewildering, defying the notions she developed from romantic movies and a memorable childhood visit. After a humiliating call from the principal’s office and the loss of the job she was counting on, Allison begins to accept that New York may not suit her after all.

When Allison has a fender-bender, witnessed by a flock of mothers at her son’s new school, she is led to the penthouse apartment of a luxurious Central Park West building and encounters a spoiled, hungover, unsupervised teenager who looks familiar. It doesn’t take long to recognize him as Carter Reid—a famous pop star who has been cast in a new Broadway musical. Through this brush with stardom, Allison embraces a unique and unexpected opportunity that helps her find her way in the heart of Manhattan.

In a book that delivers laughs, warmth, and delightful wish fulfillment, Poeppel dives into celebrity culture and modern motherhood with her trademark “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Maybe in Another Life) style.

Amy Poeppel

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a book club with?

 I would love to be in a book club with Michelle Obama and Sarah Silverman, and I’d revive Noel Coward and invite him to join. I’m convinced the four of us would have great chemistry! (Lots of wit to go around!) We would drink cocktails, talk, and have a lot of laughs together, and we would choose terrific books to read.

2. Current binge series?

Barry on HBO! I love it in large part because I’m crazy about Bill Hader. I don’t know how this particular show works so well: it combines the humor of amateur acting classes with the horror of gruesome assassinations. Imagine if Waiting for Guffman and Pulp Fiction had a film baby… Weird, right? But for many reasons (the acting, the writing, the premise), the result is perfection.

 

3. Recent favorite book?

I adored Elinor Lipman’s On Turpentine Lane — it’s fantastically funny, original, and smart.

 

4. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Books, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. You’ll find me on the beach or pool-side.

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Please don’t make me choose!!

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

I sent a chicken emoji to one of my kids for no particular reason, other than as a way of saying hello.

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Julie Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members. It’s so funny and clever, and I love epistolary novels.

 

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

I had so many fabulous teachers when I was in school, and I feel really grateful about that. From kindergarten through high school, I had English teachers who inspired me, encouraged me, and taught me to think and write. Bob Scanlan, a theater teacher/director I had in college, taught me how to write fast-paced dialogue.

 

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

 Unfortunately, I get way too distracted when I listen to music, especially music with lyrics. I need silence to get any work done.

 

10. Describe your writing space?

My desk is supposed to be my writing space, but it’s always too messy to be used. Instead, I sit on my bed, hunched over my laptop. Not great for the spine but terrific for productivity.

 

11. Coffee or tea?

Coffee!

 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

 I have given Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons to many of my friends. I first read this lovely book when I was in my early twenties and have always found it has such broad appeal. Ellen is one of the most memorable female characters in fiction.

 

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

 May I name a few? Salvage The Bones by Jesmyn Ward, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and The Bucket List by Georgia Clark.

 

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

I don’t know what it is about the song And She Was by The Talking Heads, but it feels like my theme song. I’m not an out-of-body experience kind of person, but something about this woman floating above her house and her neighborhood, checking out the world from this awesome perspective, and “moving out in all directions,” strikes me as fun and bizarre. Plus it’s just a great song.

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

Morning people inspire me. I am so impressed by anyone who wakes up and either writes (I’m talking to you, 5am Writers’ Club) or exercises. I am useless for about an hour after the alarm goes off and dysfunctional until I’ve had coffee. Mid-afternoon is a really good time for me.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 In phases, that’s a definite yes. I always get hooked on a Real Housewives of Absolutely Anywhere for a whole season, but then I’ll forget to watch it when it comes back on again. So I’ve seen the first season of every Real Housewives show.

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

 @thecontext for art and style, @bookbaristas for books and the reader’s life, and @henrythecoloradodog for the cutest dog/cat pictures ever.

 

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

I would wear “No Regret Rose” every day, named after Andrea Dunlop’s She Regrets Nothing. It would be a lovely shade of pink, like the cover of the book, and a little sparkly to go well with champagne.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

Heads Of The Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow

The Late Bloomers’ Club by Louise Miller

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

The best writing advice I’ve received is from Anne Lamott’s book Bird By Bird: “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something — anything — down on paper.”

 

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*Thanks to Kathleen Carter Communications for setting up this interview and a review copy of the book!*

What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Rochelle Weinstein

I am always on the look out for that perfect spring/summer read.  When I heard about Rochelle Weinstein’s latest, Somebody’s Daughter I knew I had to add it to my #tbr pile.  Weinstein, a best-selling author, visits a current theme when a young girls indiscretion goes viral and the aftershocks effect a whole family.  This one is a MUST-read people.  Also a perfect Mother’s Day gift for all our mama readers out there.  Thanks Rochelle for your gift of books and sharing your bag with us ❤

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via Amazon ~

From USA Today bestselling author Rochelle B. Weinstein comes an emotional novel for mothers, daughters, and anyone who has ever felt imperfect.

Emma and Bobby Ross enjoy a charmed life on the shores of Miami Beach. They are a model family with a successful business, an uncomplicated marriage, and two blessedly typical twin daughters, Zoe and Lily. They are established members of a tight-knit community.

Then, on the night of the girls’ fifteenth birthday party, they learn of Zoe’s heartbreaking mistake—a private and humiliating indiscretion that goes viral and thrusts her and her family into the center of a shocking public scandal.

As the family’s core is shattered by disgrace, judgment, and retribution, the fallout takes its toll. But for Emma, the shame runs deeper. Her daughter’s reckless behavior has stirred memories of her own secrets that could break a marriage and family forever.

 

What is your bag of choice?

Hi! Thanks for inviting me to talk about books, bags and beauty! My girlfriends laugh at me because I’ve never been one to spend on bags. Comfort and practicality have always been my rule of thumb. Right now, I’m toting around a black Hermes over-the-shoulder bag that I purchased at a secondhand store in mint condition. It’s the perfect, slim size and forces me to de-clutter, keeping only the necessities. Come spring and summer my bags are almost always casual and fun like this camel-colored fringed Jennifer Haley. I rarely follow the trends, choosing styles that suit my fashion and lifestyle.

What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  

I’m not your typical *girl*. I grew up as the tomboy with older brothers, and watching football is where I’ve “blushed” my cheeks. BUT, I am a girl, so there are the essentials I can’t live without. Cover Girl 490 is my go-to lip color. They’ve discontinued it, but I’ve stockpiled about a dozen. It’s subtle and moist and keeps me from eating my lipstick for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For nighttime, Chanel 61 Rouge Coco Shine has just enough color to say I haven’t tried too hard. I can’t live without my Origins rejuvenating hand cream. I purchased this recently in Boston while visiting colleges with our twin sons. The saleswoman promised me deliciously soft hands “that look years younger” and the lotion doesn’t disappoint. Tweezers and manicure scissors! When I’m stopped at a light, and the Florida sun is streaming through the windows, these tools make for great quick tune-ups. Stray hairs, an eyebrow, etc. And then there is my beloved Dr. Hauschka’s lip care stick. The very best for dry lips which you can tell, I have issues in that department. Writing this, I’m realizing how I desperately need to step up my make-up game.

What are you currently reading?

The month isn’t complete without my Vanity Fair magazine. I have a backlog of New Yorker magazines which I hope to get to soon. And as an author, I always enjoy Writer’s Digest. Right now, I’m enjoying Jamie Brenner’s The Husband Hour which releases 4/24 and listening to Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake. I recently finished the trifecta of domestic suspense: The Woman in The Window, The Last Mrs. Parrish, and The Wife Between Us. I also LOVED Laurie Frankel’s This Is How It Always Is.

Any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you.

I don’t leave home without my SmilePik. It’s like lipstick with a hidden toothpick. I have bottles of EO sweet orange hand sanitizer in every bag in my house. A note pad for jotting down scenes, plot ideas, or other musings. And I always have fun bags to transport my crap from bag to bag. It makes for an easy, simplified transition and I’m all about simplicity.

 

 

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About the Author

Rochelle B. Weinstein is an author, speaker, and former entertainment industry executive. Her novels include What We Leave Behind, The Mourning After, Where We Fall, and Somebody’s Daughter. She recently completed her fifth novel, This Is Not How It Ends, an epic love story set in the Florida Keys. She lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and twin sons. For more, visit rochelleweinstein.com.

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