What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag?- Abby Fabiaschi

Happy SPRING!  It was so fun to share my first Bookish {Beauty} Bag post that I decided to share a BONUS post today!  Typically I will feature these once a week but if I get more participation I will be featuring more during the week 🙂  If any readers or authors have thoughts, ideas or would like to participate please contact me via email.

This is the happiest of Mondays not only because its SPRING but because we get a sneak peak into Abby Fabiaschi’s bag, author of the amazing I Liked My Life, which I had the privilege to read and review (see previous post).  Thanks for sharing your bag with us Abby- your wallet is everything and your make-up game is strong 🙂

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via Amazon

A story from debut author Abby Fabiaschi that is “as absorbing as it is illuminating, and as witty as it is heartbreaking.”

Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch…until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge…but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?

 

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

Like many moms, I have a duel bag identity: day-to-day I carry an un-stainable large, charcoal Longchamp bag that fits everything I need, plus an extra layer of warm clothes for the kids and whatever prizes or shells or art work they create and collect during the day. When I get an adult night, I bust out a Chanel clutch my mother bought me for my thirtieth birthday. 


What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

After years of spending too much money on a beauty routine, an esthetician suggested Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub for a cleanser, Witch Hazel as toner, and Cetaphil Face & Body for a light, matte moisturizer. All in, it’s about twenty bucks and my skin has never looked better. I do still splurge on makeup though: Trish McEvoy’s BB Instant Solutions is a light, liquid tint with SPF that’s worth its price tag, and Lancome’s 24 Hour Long Wear Foundation is great for TV and bright lights. I often layer them, using the BB as a primer.


What you always carries in her bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  

As I add years, more and more! For lips, Clinque’s Chubby Sticks and whatever-brand-is-on-sale-at-CVS gloss. For foundation touch-ups, I use Lancome pressed powder and Giorgio Armani’s bronzer. Oh, and Lancome eye cream. By the end of the day I now get these lovely dark rings that require attention.


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

Yesterday I started a novel titled The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. I bought it months ago and can’t recall who recommended it, but I’m hooked. I’m also jazzed for two books on pre-order from my favorite two writers: March 21st Lisa See’s next novel comes out: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane and April 25th Elizabeth Strout’s Anything is Possible will be available. That’s my idea of a perfect spring lineup.
And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you 🙂

A giant Nalgene of water and Rolos. Because, in case you missed it, a Rolo a day keeps the doctor away.

Abby Fabiaschi credit Nina Subin

 

*Thanks to Abby for your time!  Visit her on her: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook page!

 

 

 

 

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

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It’s a new year and I have started my reading list for 2017!  With that, I have also revived my blog which has been “sleeping” for the last few months as being a mom of two is quite the challenge.  I wish I had been sleeping too, buuuuuut  I know sleep and I will meet again some day, lol!  To start off the reading year I just finished up Abby Fabiaschi’s I Liked My Life.  Set in a town just right next door to where I live, Wellesley, MA, it’s a beautiful story about a mother, Maddy, who commits suicide and leaves her daughter and husband to pick up the pieces and start their life over with out her.  Each chapter is narrated by each character experiencing life without her including Maddy herself.  What I can say is not only do you get a heartbreaking story about a family who is suffering without a mother and wife but a shocking twist as well which is one of the best ingredients you can add to a story.  I loved it.  I thought the writing was thoughtful and the story was unique.  If this is the type of stories stored in Fabiashi’s mind we are all in for a treat as she will have lots to share in the literary world!  This is a phenomenal debut and Abby should be on your favorite authors list after this gem. It is definitely one to add to your 2017 list!

 

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*Thanks to St.Martin’s Press for sending a copy for review to Bliss, Beauty and Books.

Strong is the New Beautiful by Lindsey Vonn

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Nowadays we are encouraging and seeing so many STRONG WOMEN!  Whether it be politics :), careers, education, the list goes on- we are seeing so many amazing females supporting and praising one another.  One thing that is always in the media is body image.  Raising a daughter of my own, I am always conscious about this topic.  More and more celebrities, sports figures and designers are coming forth embracing all sizes and shapes.  It’s so refreshing to see that a size o or 2 is not the norm and that we are all beautiful in our own way.  I was so excited to receive a copy of Lindsey Vonn‘s new book, Strong is the New Beautiful.  An Olympic athlete, role model for girls and stunning women she writes a part memoir, part food guide and exercise manual that is all about empowering women.  I loved this book so much and will continue to use this as a reference for healthy choices, inspiration and motivation as I come off my maternity leave.  I am always looking for ways to improve my eating and make exercise fun.  What I love about this book most was Vonn shares her favorite recipes, workouts, playlist and go-to everyday routines as well as opening herself up to the personal struggles she endured to get where she is today.

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I am excited to try some of her recipes as well as incorporate her work out favorites into my exercise regime.  If you are looking for an empowering read from a kick-ass women this is it! I also recommend this book as a great gift for teen girls as Vonn shares so many positive messages about body image and self-esteem.  This book is the epitome of a BLISSFUL read.  Enjoy and stay strong and beautiful!

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via Goodreads ~

Lessons in strength, fitness, food, and attitude from the popular world champion skier and beauty icon—Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn.

Olympic Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn wants women to stop thinking about “losing weight fast,” and instead focus on loving their bodies for what they are and what they can do. Lindsey is a small-town Minnesota girl at heart turned world-champion skier, but that didn’t come without hard work. In Strong Is the New Beautiful, Lindsey lays out the never-before-seen training routines and her overall philosophy that have helped her become the best female skier in the world—tailored for women of all shapes and sizes. Lindsey backs up her fitness program with advice on what to eat and how to work out, and kicks readers into high-gear, helping bolster their self-confidence and build a better body image, with the tips and tricks she’s learned as a pro.

This is Lindsey’s regimen, and she encourages people to take from it what will work for them. She bounced back from injury not by doing every single thing a trainer said, but instead, by thinking about the fitness plan that would work for her, and eating the right foods that would make her feel and get healthy. In Strong Is the New Beautiful, she interweaves her training and diet regimen with compelling stories of her life growing up in the heartland, her love of skiing, the challenges she’s faced—including injuries, illness, and depression—and her secrets to wellness, fitness, and recovery.

Supported by cutting-edge science and the latest studies on health and exercise, filled with routines even those hitting the bunny hill of working out can master, and illustrated with dozens of workout shots and photos from Lindsey’s own collection, Strong Is the New Beautiful will inspire and motivate you–whether you’re an aspiring athlete, want to get back into shape, or are eager to up your game—to make your body stronger than ever before, inside and out.
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Thanks to Harper Collins for sending a copy for review.

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

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The cover alone of The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis sold me.  It’s stunning.  But not only was the cover amazing the story was even better!  This was a wonderful debut book by Davis.  It had some glitz and glamour with a dash of mystery and murder.  Hello perfect read.  If you are looking for a cozy read this fall this book is IT!  Read on below for my thoughts as well as my “Bliss Chat” with Fiona.  She was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions about this wonderful book and fabulous setting of the Barbizon Hotel!

The book centers around Darby who is a new NYC resident in the 1950’s wanting to make a life for herself and lives at the Barbizon Hotel.  A women’s only residence, where the girls are trying to make a living and stand on their own two feet.  Starting off on the wrong foot, Darby befriends Esme, a risky maid who is a jazz singer by night.  Engulfed in the beauty and excitement of the city Darby is influenced by Esme to take chances she normally wouldn’t take.  Fast forward to Rose, prest day, who now lives in what was the Barbizon.  Fascinated by a woman whose face is covered and scarred she decides to investigate who she is and what her story is.  The woman is not one to talk so Rose has to piece together the puzzle by talking with other residents of the Barbizon.  The mystery starts to unfold and Davis captures the essence of this magical hotel all the while hooking the reader in a murder-mystery.

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Bliss Chat with Fiona Davis

1.The Barbizon is so glamorous and magical.  What drew you to this location for the book?

For decades, the Barbizon Hotel for Women was the go-to residence for cultured young ladies to live while they worked or studied in New York City. Many ex-guests went on to great fame, including Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford, Sylvia Plath, and Liza Minnelli, as well as writers like Eudora Welty and Joan Didion. When it went condo in 2005, a dozen or so of the long-time residents of the hotel still living there were moved into rent-controlled apartments on the fourth floor. It occurred to me that the building would make a great setting for a novel, with an interesting mix of old-school glamour and modern luxury.

 2. What did you do in terms of research for the book?  Did you talk with anyone that resided there or worked there?

I read through old issues of women’s magazines from the early 1950s to get an idea of what life was like back then, and was drawn into the fashions, the expectations, and the political climate. I also interviewed a number of women who’d live in the hotel in the 50s and 60s to find out what it was like. I learned all kinds of gems, including the fact that although men weren’t allowed beyond the public areas (even the elevator operators were female), the guests snuck them up all the time.

3. I love that it was a murder mystery mixed with fabulous female characters.  What drew you to this idea?

I adore a great mystery – Agatha Christie hooked me as a kid and today I’m drawn to the suspenseful plots of authors like Clare Mackintosh and Tana French. So I made the modern-day heroine a journalist, who starts digging into a tragedy that involved one of the fourth-floor residents back in 1952. The interweaving of the clues and red herrings made my head spin at times, but I enjoyed every minute.

 4. I know you were an actress which is so fabulous!  Can you tell us a little more about that and did that life have a little inspiration in your book as so many actresses frequented The Barbizon?

I had a wonderful time in my twenties acting in New York City, as I was lucky enough to get involved with a theater company that put on masterful shows by playwrights like Jean Genet and Shakespeare. For the book, I wanted to describe what it’s like to step out on a stage in front of an audience. Instead of acting, I used the setting of a downtown jazz club and made my 1952 heroine, Darby, get up and sing. I think that was one of my favorite scenes to write and edit.

 5. As a writer, where is your favorite place to write?

I have a great home office, but when I need to avoid distractions, I head to the New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. There’s something about the long walk across the plaza, past the Henry Moore sculpture, that settles my head and puts me in the right frame of mind to crank out a scene or two.

 6. Name 3 blissful things that you can’t live without.

A massage once a month, a glass of Chardonnay after a long day of writing, and a morning run in the park with my best friend.

 7. What is the first thing you do when you complete a book?

Road trip! I’m wrapping up the first draft of my next book, and plan on heading to Cape Cod for a fall weekend with friends. Can’t wait.

 8. What was the last book that you read?

I mentor a sixth-grader who introduced me to Newbery Medal-winner The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis. It describes a fictional family in 1963, when a bomb in the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church killed four girls, and is an uncanny depiction of family dynamics, as well as heartbreaking.

 9. While on tour what is a must-have beauty product in your make-up bag?

Violets are Blue Facial Serum, which is great for transitioning from summer to fall; Fresh Sugar lip gloss in petal; and Kerastase V.I.P. Volume in Powder, which makes my baby-fine hair look way thicker than it actually is.

 10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016/17?

You bet: Zadie Smith’s Swing Time (out in November), Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel (December) Jamie Brenner’s The Forever Summer (April 2017)

 

 

The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes & Bliss Chat

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Are you looking for a fun, quirky story that has you guessing and rooting for the main character?  Well, The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes is the perfect pick.  I absolutely loved it and am hoping, fingers crossed, maybe for a sequel 🙂  I loved the main character that much and the plot was so fantastic.  This is a wonderful debut for Himes and I can tell she is going to have many fabulous books in her future.

The One That Got Away centers around Abbey Lahey who is married to Jesse.  She lives a typical mom and family life where she feels under appreciated and overworked.  She starts to daydream at work one day about a former coworker who she had a crush on, Alex Van Holt, who also had a crush on her.  Alex, who is drop dead gorgeous and super successful, always lingered in the back of her mind as the one who got away.  While at Nordstroms one day, where she was returning a bag that she couldn’t afford or justify, she slips and falls.  As she comes to, she realizes she is living the life of Abbey Van Holt.   Married to Alex with a family, she is living the upper class, rich life while supporting Alex who is running for election.  She is super confused and wondering how to get out of this but not before she enjoys the finer things in life with Alex.  The bags, the clothes, the shows, OH MY! (think Carrie Bradshaw 😉  Soon she starts to realize that this road not taken was not taken for a reason and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

 

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This book was an instant favorite for me and would absolutely make a perfect movie.  Himes is so charming with her words and storyline and the characters are developed so perfectly.  This is a must read debut for any reader who loves a light hearted, fun read.  I have chose it as my Poolside Pick for this week and was so honored to be able to “Bliss Chat” with Leigh about the book and a few of her favorite things!

 

Bliss Chat with Leigh Himes

1. I loved this book so much!  What made you decide to write about the road not taken?

Thank you, Courtney! Like my character Abbey, I saw a photograph in a magazine of a man I almost dated years before. After my husband and I had a good laugh about how I sure didn’t choose wisely, I remember thinking it would be a good set-up for a novel. Weeks later, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head so I sat down and started writing, and then couldn’t stop.

 2. Who did you enjoy more in developing Jimmy or Alex?  Abbey Lahey or Abbey Van Holt?  

Great question. At first, I’d say Alex because in many ways he’s my dream guy. He’s handsome, charming and ambitious, but also self-deprecating and funny. But Jimmy has my heart, too, because he’s so real. I’ll be standing on the sidelines of my son’s soccer game or in the school pick-up line and think “lots of Jimmy’s here today” and I mean it as the ultimate compliment. As for Abbey, it has to be Abbey van Holt… I’d love to live her life for a few days.

3. In your life is there a road you wished you traveled or do you ever think about that in any situations that may have been from your past?

I used to have so many regrets and would analyze my decisions constantly. Why didn’t I move to NYC when I was twenty-two? Why did I buy this old house? But writing this book, and getting older, has been cathartic. Now I don’t believe in roads not taken… all our experiences are just steps on the path we were meant for.

 

4. What has been your most favorite thing about the process of this book and going on book tour?

The best thing about writing is falling in love with your characters. On tour, it’s meeting fellow book lovers. I’ve met school librarians, veterinarians, reporters, artists, emergency room nurses, fellow novelists, etc., and I love hearing about their lives and how they make things work.

 

5.  As a writer, where is your favorite place to write?

In my bed! We don’t have air conditioning anywhere but our bedrooms so in the summer I’ll sneak back upstairs in the afternoon with my laptop. I have to bring coffee, though, to prevent nappage.

 

6. Name 3 blissful things that you can’t live without?

Besides husband/kids/dog, I’d say avocados (in any form), super-hot baths, and my NinoBrand sweatpants, which are so cool they make me proud to be a “sweatpant mom.”

 

7. What is the first thing you do when you complete a book?

I’ve only completed one, and if memory serves, my husband and I went out to our secret place: a little strip mall beer shop in Ardmore, Pa. that serves drafts and hot dogs in the back. So maybe that will be my new end-of-book tradition.

8. What was the last book that you read?

The excellent “The Expatriates” by Janice Y.K. Lee.

 

9. While on tour what is a must-have beauty product in your make-up bag?

A friend turned me on to Beauty Counter products and I am obsessed, so I always travel with my BC Cream Cleanser and Night Cream. My other current obsession is eyebrow pencils… right now I am using one from Hourglass.

 

10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016?

 

Yes! On my list are “June” by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, “If I Forget You” by Thomas Greene, and “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. But before that, I’m checking out two paperbacks: “A Window Opens” by Elisabeth Egan and “Everybody Rise” by Stephanie Clifford. I’ve heard great things and I like to support debut authors! 😉

 

*Thanks to Hachette for sending a copy for review to Bliss, Beauty and Books!

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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There is nothing better than the perfect ice cream cone on a hot summer day.  There is also nothing more perfect than a sweet summer read to take you to exotic places like Italy which is exactly what Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch did for me.  This book is a YA book but really a must read for adults as well.  It is a beautifully written love story wrapped in blanket of soul searching and coming of age.  Welch makes a wonderful debut with this book.

Love and Gelato centers around Lina (Caroline).  After losing her mother she is sent off to Tuscany, Italy to stay with her father Howard- her mother’s last wish.  Howard manages a cemetery in Italy, not the job that Lina thought her absentee father would have.  He is excited she is here and does everything to get her settled as she is anxious to go home.  After receiving a journal that her mother once owned, Lina starts to uncover things about her mother’s past she never knew.  As Lina starts to learn more about her Mom she also meets a young man, Ren who befriends her and introduces her to his circle of friends.  Lina starts to adjust to the Italian life and really confides and trusts Ren as does he.  The journal leads Lina and Ren on an adventure through the streets of Italy.  What Lina thought she knew about her past starts to unfold.  She starts to see everything is not what it seems and that Italy is the heart of the world where you can really find true love.

 

For this being Welch’s first novel I was shocked.  The writing and plot was superb.  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  The story was relatable for any age as it deals with coming of age, young love, death and friendships- something we have all been through.  The characters were so unique yet their relationships were woven together so seamlessly.  Lina is the girl that you will root for until the end and come to love.  Grab your passport and take this trip to Italy- you literally will feel transported.  Love and Gelato is the perfect refreshing, sweet treat for your next trip to the beach!

*Thanks to Simon Teen for sending a review copy to Bliss, Beauty and Books

The House of Bradbury by Nicole Meier #SRC2016

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Continuing with my #BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge I was delightfully surprised by the gem of a book, The House of Bradbury by Nicole Meier.  Meier, a debut author, tells a story of unexpected friendships and mysterious love all against the backdrop of the historic home of Ray Bradbury.  It is a fun, quick read that I could have finished in a day. The story was that seamless and captivating.  Again another summer pick that will be a perfect companion at the beach or the pool.  Can you tell summer reading is my favorite 🙂

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Mia is a young writer who has been unsuccessful with her first novel.  Panned by the critics, she also starts to lose her sense of direction as her fiancee Carson leaves her and she is now living with her sister.  She sees that Ray Bradbury’s, a famous mystery/sci-fi author,  house is for sale and decides that purchasing the house may just be the inspiration and new start that she needs.  Carson being the big Hollywood producer helps her purchase the home but that doesn’t come without some baggage.  Mia agrees to take in a young, drug recovering actress, Zoe, who needs a little sense of direction as well, as a favor to Carson.  Shortly after moving into the home, mysterious notes are appearing her doorstep.  Could it be her handsome neighbor or just some kids playing a prank?  As she she starts to develop a friendship with Zoe she sees how she is struggling and almost becomes a mother figure of sorts to her, something Mia was not prepared for.  As Mia adjusts to living her life at Bradbury she can see all the magic that it once held for Bradbury himself and her creative energy is sparked.  Will she write her next novel, find love and create new friendships?  She soon discovers that this house and the presence that was once there could be exactly what she needed in her life.

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Meier shines in her debut novel.  A sweet story that reaffirms friendships can be made in the most unlikely situations and love always shows up when we are least expecting it.  The house being a character itself played a huge part in the book and Meier so beautifully depicted that.  I loved the relationship between Mia and Zoe.  This relationship really developed each character so beautifully and it made me love Mia even more.  The House of Bradbury is a perfect summer read with a sunny plot and refreshing ending!

*Thanks to BookSparks for sending a copy for review.