Blissful Beauty- Skin Nation with Michelle Stafford

You all know I love a fabulous beauty product and with the change of season it’s crucial to change up your products and regime.  I was lucky enough to receive a bundle from Michelle Stafford- Soap Opera Goddess and Queen :)- from her line Skin Nation.  And I can tell you- I LOVE IT!  It’s a safe, natural line that PERFORMS.  Once I researched a little more about her line I wanted to talk to Michelle because I thought the story about Skin Nation was fantastic.  She created this line after her sister was diagnosed with cancer and realized that the skin care industry is un-regulated with its ingredients and formulations- so much toxicity.  I loved this about Michelle- not only is she a established actress but she is a beauty GAME- CHANGER.  Read below for my chat with Michelle ❤

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1. I know that Skin Nation was born due to your sister being diagnosed with Stage-3 Breast cancer.  Give me a little background into why you chose skin care as your mission?

Well, when my sister was diagnosed i started studying up on everything toxic. I had figured when she got well i would help her change her eating habits. Eat healthier. So i had to do it first. that lead me to find out how many horrible toxins were in our Skin Care. I also knew that women were not aware of this. I wanted to create something to help women from the inside out. I wanted to help men too! Let’s not forget about the men!

2. What is the biggest shock about the beauty industry you discovered in your research for Skin Nation?

So much! It seems to be a not very, how should i say this, above board industry. There are some shady companies. But i know if there was a new thing that say…dog poop was making women look younger women would be putting it on their skin. Honestly, women will do anything to look younger. I really REALLY wanted to give women a healthy way

3. Did you have any mentors during the building of Skin Nation? If so, what was their best advice?

I did not. On the contrary. Nobody helped me. People even tried to stop me.

4. What kind of research do while planning out your line?  How do you decide what products to have?

I listen to my customers. That is key. I call them on the phone personally.

5. Career moms would love to know- How do you balance motherhood, Skin Nation and General Hospital?

I don’t. I fail at this every day

6. Best beauty tip/secret you’ve received?

It’s super boring, but true. Water and no sun. No smoking as well.

7. What is your morning ritual (beauty, kids, work, etc)?

4 8oz glasses of water upon rising then jasmine pearl green tea

8. Name 3 of your beauty inspirations?

My mom my mom my mom.

9.  Are you a reader and if so last great book you read?

I wish i were! I honestly have no time. I wish i were.

10. What beauty advice would you give to your daughter in 10 years?

She will be 18 in 10 years. believe me, she will give me the advice.

11. If you could name a lipstick after one of your soap characters who would you choose and why?

Oh wow, give me a minute on this one

12. Top 3 favorite make-up products?

Urban Decay Ultra flair lashes. Urban Decay Naked palettes, MAC Spice lip pencil

13. Any beauty tips/advice for a mom on-the-go?

I have a “5 minute make up” that i do on my “Skin Nation Sundays” it’s on my facebook “therealstafford”

14. I am sure you love them all but what are your top 3 favorite skin nation products?

The “Miracle Potion”, “Refresh Face Wash”,  Tie between the “Ultra Glow” and the “Super Sexy Firming Cream”

15. Lastly, fill me in on how your sister is doing 🙂

She is amazing!!! Over 5 years Cancer Free!! Miracles happen!!

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*Thanks to Michelle for taking time to chat with me!

 

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Open Book with Amy Blumenfeld

As we wind down these final days of summer there is still PLENTY of beach reading time!  Amy Blumenfeld’s debut novel, The Cast is the perfect choice to beat the end of summer scaries- P.S. that is a real thing 😉  It has got friendship, drama, heart and a complex cast of unforgettable characters. I was thrilled to ask her a few questions for my latest Open Book.  I have to say- her vacation spot is on my bucket list, her lipstick choice needs to be a reality and her life advice is something I always forget but is so true!  Thanks for sharing Amy ❤

THECASTfor Amazon

via Amazon ~

Twenty-five years ago, a group of ninth graders produced a Saturday Night Live–style videotape to cheer up their ailing friend. The show’s running time was only ninety minutes, but it had a lasting impact: Becca laughed her way through recovery, and the group—Jordana, Seth, Holly, and Lex—became her supporting cast for life.

On the silver anniversary of Becca Night Live, the friends reunite over the Fourth of July to celebrate Becca’s good health—but nothing goes as planned. The happy holiday card facades everyone’s been hiding behind quickly crumble and give way to an unforgettable three days filled with complex moral dilemmas and life-altering choices. Through humor, drama, and the alternating perspectives of five characters, The Cast explores the power of forgiveness, the importance of authenticity, and the immeasurable value of deep, enduring friendships to buoy us when life plays out differently than expected.

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Robin Williams, Oprah

Current binge series? 

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and 

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

Last favorite book?

The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis and Limelight by Amy Poeppel. Very different books, but equally engrossing. 

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it? London. A good book, tickets to a West End show, and the key to the Kensington townhouse I’ll be renting so that I can pretend I’m a local.

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? 

Sunday NYT

Last person you sent a text message to? 

My husband

Book you read that you wished you wrote? 

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

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

I did not have a teacher who encouraged me to become a writer but I did have a professor in graduate school who suggested I turn my master’s project into a book. Although it was a very circuitous route, The Cast is what eventually blossomed from the seed he planted all those years ago.

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

No. The characters in my head make enough noise!

Describe your writing space? 

As soon as my daughter is off to school I make a mug of tea and sit down at the dining room table with my computer. By the time she gets home, my laptop and I have usually relocated to a sofa, an area rug on the floor, my bed, or if the weather is nice, a spot outdoors. 

Coffee or tea? 

Though I love the aroma of a coffee shop, I’m definitely a tea person.

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? 

For kids, I like to give My Book About Me by Dr. Seuss. For adults, it’s all based on the recipient. I match the book to the person.

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel. First, because I am a huge Billy Joel fan – my first big concert as a kid was seeing him play at Yankee Stadium. Second, I believe in the importance of authenticity and gravitate to people who stay true to themselves. 

What/Who inspires you? My parents, husband, brother, and daughter. 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? No

Favorite Instagram account? It’s a tie between Jennifer Garner and my 20-something-year-old nieces living in Chicago. 

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? Great Expectations. It would be a nude shade with a little shimmer.

Current #TBR pile? Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall, Beauty in the Broken Places by Alison Pataki, The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Best advice you’ve ever received? One step at a time. No matter how great or small the goal, I find this to be the most practical piece of advice I’ve ever received. I apply this to nearly everything I do – from packing a lunchbox to hosting a party to writing a book. This is what I keep in the back of my mind and it tends to get me to the finish line. 

 

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Elyssa Friedland

Books are basically the chicest accessory you can have and its even better when the author writing these books is just as chic.  Elyssa Friedland is just that author.  She first graced our TBR’s with her debut novel, Love and Miss Communication and her latest, The Intermission has been getting high praise and making all the “Best of Summer” lists.  The Intermission takes on the subject of how well do we really know the person we are sleeping next to?  Elyssa was so kind to share her fabulous bag and accessories with me as well as introducing me to a beauty line I had never heard of!  Oh be still my books and beauty heart ❤

Intermission cover jpg

via Amazon ~

A HelloGiggles Best New Release
A PopSugar Best Book of July
A BookBub Editor’s Pick
A SheReads Best Book of Summer
A GoodReads Buzzy New Release
A Mind Body Green Best Book of July
A PureWow Best Beach Read of Summer 2018

Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn’t tell anyone, not even the person who shares your bed?

Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know–and how much should we want to know–about the people we love the most?

After five long years, the unshakable confidence Cass Coyne felt as a bride is gone. Her husband, Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten. It’s true that the quirks he once found charming in his wife–her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes–are beginning to grate. But for him, these are minor challenges in a healthy relationship.

So it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital “intermission”: a six-month separation during which they’ll decide if the comfortable life they’ve built is still the one they both want.

Aside from a monthly custodial exchange of their beloved dog, contact will be limited. But as the months pass, they begin to see that calculated silences just like these have helped to drive them apart–and that it may finally be time to confront the blistering secrets they’ve been avoiding.

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What is your bag of choice?

The Mansur Gavriel leather bucket bag. I have it in black and tan. It can be worn cross body, on one shoulder and sometimes I tie the strap to make it shorter and wear it in the crook of my elbow. I hate bags with lots of compartments and zippers. I just want one big receptacle for my stuff.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Youngblood is my favorite makeup brand. It’s organic and the color selection is very cool. The lipstick is long-lasting and I swear by the shade Just Pink. I also love Laura Geller black mascara. It thickens and lengthens but doesn’t make me look like a stripper. Giorgio Armani is my brand of choice for foundation. 

 

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

Wallet, phone and sunglasses are typically all I take with me. Sometimes a lipstick if I remember. I’m a relatively no frills person and am totally comfortable going out during the day without makeup. That will probably change as I get older but I’m hoping to ride this au natural thing through my thirties. The sunglasses are an absolute requirement, even in the winter. I think I have light sensitivity (or maybe I just like being able to pretend I don’t see people on the street I don’t feel like talking to!). 

 

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

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang on my Kindle and I’m listening to The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand. Both are excellent and I’m not just saying that. 

 

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

My ear buds for my iPhone because I am always listening to a book on Audible. If I forget them, I’m one unhappy camper. 

Elyssa.Friedland. credit Lucia Engstrom

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Open Book with Caroline Kepnes

Continuing with my love for the hometown gals today with the one and only Caroline Kepnes!!!!  Dream. Come. True.  Kepnes, born in Cape Cod now living in Cali, latest book Providence is out now!  Currently making like every summer must- read list and best of 2018 books list, continues with her creepy and dark vibe but also intertwines a love story throughout.  You may remember her debut stunner, You, which was praised by none other than thriller master Stephen King.  You was adapted for television and will be premiering in September on Lifetime.  I am so THRILLED, pun intended, that she is my latest Open Book, sharing her love for the New York Housewives, lattes and Judy Blume ❤

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via Amazon ~

“A dark beauty of a book, Providence kept me up at night with characters that made my heart a little bigger.”—Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive

“Part love story, part supernatural thriller and completely engrossing” (People)—from the acclaimed author of You, whose work Stephen King describes as “hypnotic and totally original”

Best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe share a bond so intense that it borders on the mystical. But before Jon can declare his love for his soul mate, he is kidnapped, his plans for a normal life permanently dashed.

Four years later, Chloe has finally given up hope of ever seeing Jon again. Then, a few months before graduation, Jon reappears. But he is different now: bigger, stronger, and with no memory of the time he was gone. Jon wants to pick up where he and Chloe left off . . . until the horrifying instant he realizes that he possesses strange powers that pose a grave threat to everyone he cares for. Afraid of hurting Chloe, Jon runs away, embarking on a journey for answers.

Meanwhile, in Providence, Rhode Island, healthy college students and townies with no connection to one another are suddenly, inexplicably dropping dead. A troubled detective prone to unexplainable hunches, Charles “Eggs” DeBenedictus suspects there’s a serial killer at work. But when he starts asking questions, Eggs is plunged into a whodunit worthy of his most outlandish obsessions.

In this dazzling new novel—and with an intense, mesmerizing voice—Caroline Kepnes makes keen and powerful observations about human connection and how love and identity can dangerously blur together.

Praise for Providence

Providence is a novel that doesn’t fit into one box—it’s tender and dark, eerie and cool, heartbreaking but also an affirmation of the power of love. Kepnes perfectly captures each character’s struggle and pain in such a unique, unconventional way that every page—every sentence—is a delightful surprise.”—Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars

“Caroline Kepnes is cool right this minute. . . . [Providence is] terrifically conceived and executed. . . . Kepnes has an exhilarating, poppy, unexpected voice.”The New York Times Book Review

“An addictive horror-tinged romance that’ll keep you guessing.”Entertainment Weekly

Caroline Kepnes_credit Courtney Dowling Pugliese_Ace Photography

 

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

 I’m gonna go with all dead because the impossibility of the lively conversation is bittersweet to me. Joan Rivers, Spalding Grey and Patricia Highsmith.

  1. Current binge series?

 I just started Succession because my friend told me about a violent moment involving a can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce.

  1. Last favorite book?

 Fashion Victim by Amina Akhtar, what a unique, biting out-there and in-there book.

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

 Bathing suit, sneakers & books, Martha’s Vineyard in summer OR snow suit, sneakers & books, Sweden in winter.

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 Sunday NYT because more and more I don’t recognize so many people in US Weekly!

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

 Kristina Valentine, friend from home, we just realized we are both here.

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.

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

 Mick Carlon, Kathleen Flaherty and Ed O’Toole at Barnstable High School, Meredith Steinbach, Chuck Mee, Tracy Breton at Brown University.

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

 Sometimes. With Providence it was a lot of covers and originals because I was writing about nostalgia, capturing that period between the time in your life when it’s all ahead, and that time when you’re like oh, ok, this is how it worked out. With the draft I just finished, I blasted “Between the Cheats” by Amy Winehouse after most sessions. That’s a haunting, menacing song.

  1. Describe your writing space?

 My sofa is named Corky and my lower back wishes that I would sit at my desk in the ergonomic chair, but you know, such is life. I also write in coffee shops with headphones on. There’s nothing better than realizing you have lost sense of your surroundings because you’re so in the zone. I can write anywhere when it’s in my head. That’s a wonderful thing about the cell phone, the notepad app.

  1. Coffee or tea?

 Latte

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

 Stewart O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster

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

 I think it would be a great time to remake “Smooth Talk”, which is based on “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates. And I would love to see “The Beloveds” by Maureen Lindley brought to life. Kealan Patrick Burke has a graphic short story in John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night Volume 3 that is crying out to be adapted too, a divorced father spending time with his daughters, oh God, that could be so well done. I mean the storyboards are already there!

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

 “Nothing Compares 2 U” because of the longing, the love, the soul, the yearning, the soaring, the emotional highs and lows that define my life and what writing is for me.

  1. What/Who inspires you?

 Everything. I’m fascinated by the cultural and psychological impact of technology on our lives, so you seey characters grappling with their emotional hardships that are exacerbated by all this communication and connection.

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 I watched this week’s episode of Real Housewives of New York four times, so that’s my jam. The women on that show fascinate me and it’s been on for so many years, they’re like family you watch from afar.

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

 @PopCultureDiedin2009 THANK YOU FOR ALL THE GIGGLES AND MIND FUCKS

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

Sleeping Beauties, a glowing, incandescent shade reminiscent of the dress worn by Barbie Magic Moves in the 80s

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 Now reading (and savoring) Foe by Iain Reid, then Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall, How to Get Into Our House and Where We Keep the Money by Panio Gianopolous, Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard, The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder, The Hunger by Whitley Strieber, The Goddesses by Swan Huntley

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Hold onto your real feelings while you make stuff up

 

 

you-9781982103101_hr

via Amazon ~

*Soon to be a Lifetime drama series*

Hypnotic and scary.” —Stephen King

“I am RIVETED, AGHAST, AROUSED, you name it. The rare instance when prose and plot are equally delicious.” —Lena Dunham

From debut author Caroline Kepnes comes You, one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2014, and a brilliant and terrifying novel for the social media age.

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.

 

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Open Book and a Beauty Bonus Round ~ with Jenna Blum

We have an extra special, extra fabulous guest today who is a sparkly Boston gal whose latest gem of a read is out now!!!!  Drumroll and marquis lights please….Jenna Blum is in the house and we have a special “Open Book” today!  The Lost Family is a non-negotiable for your summer reading list.  It is set over 3 decades, told from multiple perspectives and filled with love, loss and hope.  I am so thrilled to have Jenna on the blog and to support such a wonderful local author ❤

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via Amazon ~

The Lost Family is an extraordinary read, the kind of book that makes you sob and smile, the kind that gives you hope…. It is compassionate, masterful and disturbingly contemporary.”—Tatiana de Rosnay, bestselling author of Sarah’s Key

The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket bourguignon and impeccable service and to admire its dashing owner and head chef Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the parade of eligible women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished.

Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Though she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.

Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page a husband devastated by a grief he cannot name, a frustrated wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both her own family and another lost before she was born. Spanning three cinematic decades, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love.

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

Hemingway, Frederick Douglass, Obama.

 

2. Current binge series?

The Handmaid’s Tale. I wish Season 3 would begin way before April 2019–we may be living in Gilead by then.

 

3. Last favorite book?

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

 

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

Book, iPad, snacks. A beach anywhere!

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

NYT always.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My dear friend Stephanie Ebbert at the Boston Globe, who writes on gender issues.

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

The Stand by Stephen King.

 

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

Yes! Mr. Laskowich at Watchung School in Montclair, NJ, who read to us each day for 1/2 hour before lunch. Mr. Phillip Stern at Glenfield Middle School in Montclair, who didn’t mind when I wrote a whole novel about him in 7th grade (I had a major crush).

 

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

Never. Music to me is a language and it competes with the language in my head.

 

10. Describe your writing space?

It’s usually covered with images from the book I’m working on. Black Lab Woodrow snoring on bed because he finds writing very boring.

 

11. Coffee or tea?

COFFEE

 

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

I generally give newly published books by friends to help them get out into the world.

 

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

Mine! 🙂 (Those Who Save Us, my first book, is under option. I’d love The Lost Family to become a movie as well—or a series on HBO, SHOWTIME, Hulu, Amazon Prime….)

 

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

Free To Be You & Me, because I believe in the sanctity of personal choice and respect.

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

Injustice inspires me to try & do something about it. Also the Obamas.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Nope!

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

My dear friend writer/ yoga guru Sara DiVello. Selma Blair. Reese Witherspoon’s book club.

 

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

Those Who Save Us and it’d be blood red.

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

So much! I actually have a TBR ottoman. I’m traveling on book tour for The Lost Family right now so I’ll have to do this from memory. Many chef memoirs, continuing research for my next book. Anthony Bourdain. Curtis Sittenfeld short stories. Julian Barnes.

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Jen, do your best.” My dad.

 
 
BONUS SECTION*
 
1. Favorite place to shop in Boston? Anthropologie!
2. Biggest fashion splurge? Anthropologie! 
3. Beauty must-haves? Anthropologie! Also concealer, waterproof mascara & eyeliner. I wear cat-eyes to the gym because I’m from Jersey originally and that’s what we do.
4. What do you carry in your purse for beauty products? Matte lipstick from Revlon that would stay on during a nuclear winter.
5. What type of purse/bag do you carry? Normally, I don’t—I have a Coach wristlet but I like to travel light. When traveling for book events, a Coach tote bag. 
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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Amy Mason Doan

I am so thrilled to have Amy Mason Doan share her fabulous tote filled with some of my favorite things!  Her debut novel, The Summer List, is what beach reads are made after.  Friendship, secrets and a scavenger hunt are all perfect ingredients into this must-read for the sun and sand.  Read below for more about the book and Amy’s beauty musts ❤

THE SUMMER LIST.cover

via Amazon ~

In the tradition of Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, The Summer List is a tender yet tantalizing novel about two friends, the summer night they fell apart, and the scavenger hunt that reunites them decades later—until the clues expose a breathtaking secret that just might shatter them once and for all.

Laura and Casey were once inseparable: as they floated on their backs in the sunlit lake, as they dreamed about the future under starry skies, and as they teamed up for the wild scavenger hunts in their small California lakeside town. Until one summer night, when a shocking betrayal sent Laura running through the pines, down the dock, and into a new life, leaving Casey and a first love in her wake.

But the past is impossible to escape, and now, after seventeen years away, Laura is pulled home and into a reunion with Casey she can’t resist—one last scavenger hunt. With a twist: this time, the list of clues leads to the settings of their most cherished summer memories. From glistening Jade Cove to the vintage skating rink, each step they take becomes a bittersweet reminder of the friendship they once shared. But just as the game brings Laura and Casey back together, the clues unravel a stunning secret that threatens to tear them apart…

Mesmerizing and unforgettable, Amy Mason Doan’s The Summer List is about losing and recapturing the person who understands you best—and the unbreakable bonds of girlhood.

Doan bag

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

 This handmade purse from my favorite Portland designer & retailer, Radish. I’ve had it for at least three years. I love the unique shape, plus it’s comfortable on my shoulder and holds everything. The other side has a little pocket with blue detail that’s the perfect size for my phone.

 

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

Urban Decay lipstick in Mosh Pit (a little goes a loooong way so I use a lip brush), Urban Decay tinted eyebrow tamer, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in Carbon Black, Glycolix 20 percent Glycolic Acid toner, Tarte Double-Duty palettes.

  

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

Solid perfume in coconut or lavender. I use it for stress relief! A little bit on the wrist relaxes me. And I always have a heavy lanolin hand lotion and lip balm.

 

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

OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES by Abbi Waxman. I loved her first book, THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS, and her latest is just as funny & sharp. At a recent book club event in San Diego I was on a summer reading panel with Abbi, and she was as witty as her writing voice.

 

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

Fruit rolls and almonds. I have a 12-year-old daughter who’s growing about an inch a night and is hungry 90 percent of the time, so I carry snacks for her just like I did when she was tiny.

Headshots + Profile Imagery by Sash Photography

 

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*Thank you to Graydon House for a copy for review and Kathleen Carter Communications for facilitating the interview.

Open Book with Amber Brock

Today I am absolutely judging a book by its cover.  I mean, how can I not?  Amber Brock’s latest, Lady Be Good is out and all you will need is a look at this poolside cover and be sold.  This cover screams glamorous summer read.  If you are looking for 1950’s glitz and glamour from Miami to Cuba then this is the book.  I am thrilled to have Amber as my latest “Open Book”!  We are talking all things from books to beauty to the Muppets 🙂  P.S. Her book to lipstick name may go down in history as one of the best ❤

Lady Be Good

via Amazon ~

Set in the 1950s, Lady Be Good marks Amber Brock’s mesmerizing return, sweeping readers into the world of the mischievous, status-obsessed daughter of a hotel magnate and the electric nightlife of three iconic cities: New York, Miami, and Havana.

Kitty Tessler is the winsome and clever only child of self-made hotel and nightclub tycoon Nicolas Tessler. Kitty may not have the same pedigree as the tennis club set she admires, but she still sees herself as every inch the socialite–spending her days perfecting her “look” and her nights charming all the blue-blooded boys who frequent her father’s clubs. It seems like the fun will never end until Kitty’s father issues a terrible ultimatum: she may no longer date the idle rich. Instead, Kitty must marry Andre, her father’s second-in-command, and take her place as the First Lady of his hotel empire. Kitty is forced to come up with a wily and elaborate plan to protect her own lofty ideas for the future, as well as to save her best friend, Henrietta Bancroft, from a doomed engagement; Kitty will steal Henrietta’s fiancé, a fabulously wealthy but terribly unkind man from a powerful family–thereby delivering the one-two punch of securing her now-fragile place on the social ladder and keeping her friend from a miserable marriage.
Then Kitty meets Max, a member of a band visiting New York from her father’s Miami club, and her plans take a turn. Smitten, but still eager to convince her father of her commitment to Andre, Kitty and Hen follow Max, Andre, and the rest of the band back down to Miami–and later to Cuba. As Kitty spends more time with Max, she begins waking up to the beauty–and the injustice–of the world beyond her small, privileged corner of Manhattan. And when her well-intended yet manipulative efforts backfire, Kitty is forced to reconsider her choices and her future before she loses everyone she loves.

Amber

 

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

Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, and Stephen Fry. Apparently, I want conversation I can’t keep up with!

2. Current binge series?

Fresh Off the Boat. I’m admittedly late to the game on this one.

3. Last favorite book?

I love the Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan, particularly China Rich Girlfriend.

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

Good walking shoes, a guide to historic castles, and my RailPass. I’m going to the UK!

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

I read the NYT articles that my beloved coworker sends me, but I definitely pick up US Weekly at the salon.

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

My husband.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb or Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. Two of my all-time favorites.

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

Mrs. Rutledge, who was my teacher and mentor and is now my friend. I owe her so much, and I’m forever grateful she’s a part of my life.

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

I listen while I’m planning but not while drafting (too distracting). My husband makes me playlists to inspire me—sometimes with era-appropriate music, sometimes to match the tone of whatever I’m working on. The playlists have had everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to Rhianna on them. Like my reading preferences, my tastes in music are eclectic.

10. Describe your writing space?

I have an office with ocean-blue walls and windows that look out on the trees and birds in my backyard.

11. Coffee or tea?

Mostly coffee, but I like a cup of tea on a cold afternoon.

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

I love passing along the Harry Potter series, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.

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

Until recently, I would have said Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett, but the mini-series is coming soon on Amazon. I got my wish!

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

“Rainbow Connection” (yes, by Kermit the Frog). It’s such a lovely song about the power of dreams and hope, and it’s been a favorite of mine for a long time.

15. What/Who inspires you?

My husband and my mother.

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Not for me. I prefer my drama fictional.

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Chrissy Teigen.

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

I’d call it Sangria and Sensibility, and it would be a deep wine-red. More of a Marianne color than Elinor.

19. Current #TBR pile?

Mostly 10th grade essays. When I finish those, I’m looking forward to getting back to an ARC of Not Our Kind by Kitty Zeldis. I also got myself I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon that’s waiting on my coffee table.

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

“Wherever you go, there you are.” I take it as a reminder that you bring your baggage with you, so no change of situation will ever be enough to bring joy. Joy has to come from within.

 

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