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 “BEACH” Bag? ~ Elizabeth Klehfoth

All These Beautiful Strangers was getting major buzz before it even hit shelves.  Tapped as the potential next Gone Girl and optioned by Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories for development, this debut novel by Elizabeth Klehfoth is a thrilling page-turner that deals with elite boarding schools, missing family members, and a mysterious secret society.  I was thrilled when Elizabeth shared her beach bag with us and let us know her must-haves and current reads.  Keep your eye on her readers, I see many great things from Miss Klehfoth ❤

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via Amazon ~

“This is going to be big.” –Entertainment Weekly

“Juicy, clever, and beguiling.”- Cecily von Ziegsar, author of the Gossip Girl novels

A young woman haunted by a family tragedy is caught up in a dangerous web of lies and deception involving a secret society in this highly charged, addictive psychological thriller that combines the dishy gamesmanship of Gossip Girl with the murky atmosphere of The Secret History.

One summer day, Grace Fairchild, the beautiful young wife of real estate mogul Alistair Calloway, vanished from the family’s lake house without a trace, leaving behind her seven-year old daughter, Charlie, and a slew of unanswered questions.

Years later, seventeen-year-old Charlie still struggles with the dark legacy of her family name and the mystery surrounding her mother. Determined to finally let go of the past, she throws herself into life at Knollwood, the prestigious New England school she attends. Charlie quickly becomes friends with Knollwood’s “it” crowd.

Charlie has also been tapped by the A’s—the school’s elite secret society well known for terrorizing the faculty, administration, and their enemies. To become a member of the A’s, Charlie must play The Game, a semester-long, diabolical high-stakes scavenger hunt that will jeopardize her friendships, her reputation, even her place at Knollwood.

As the dark events of past and present converge, Charlie begins to fear that she may not survive the terrible truth about her family, her school, and her own life.

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What is your bag of choice for the beach?

I have a simple Nautilux striped canvas tote that fits my beach towel and essentials.

What do you always carry in your beach bag for beauty products?

I keep things pretty simple in terms of beauty products when I head to the beach. I always pack my Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm–it contains Vitamin E and peppermint oil, so my lips always feel moisturized and fresh, and my GlamGlow Mega Illuminating Moisturizer for my face, which is great for dry skin and also enhances my complexion with a nice glow.  Sunblock is a must.  I use Equate Sport Sunscreen SPF 30, because it gives me good coverage and doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily. I also pack a couple of black elastic hair ties so I can keep my hair up and off my face.  

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

For every day, I use Origins Checks and Balances face wash, Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (it’s the only body lotion where I can be 100% sure I won’t break out), CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 foundation, CoverGirl Clean powder, Almay Gel Smooth Liner in black, Almay Intense I-Color Everyday Neutrals eye shadow for blue eyes (I love these palettes!  They really make my eyes pop and I never get creases), and CoverGirl Full Lash Bloom mascara in black.  For nighttime, I’m obsessed with Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream.  It smells faintly of oranges and I always wake up with my skin feeling smooth and soft.  

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The High Season by Judy Blundell.  It’s an engrossing tale that follows three women in the town of Orient, located on the North Fork of Long Island, for one summer.  Ruthie Beamish is a fortysomething woman who lives in Orient year-round, but who must rent out her house during the summer in order to keep it.  Jem is Ruthie’s 15-year old daughter, who’s juggling a falling-out with the popular girls at school and a crush on the handsome and troublesome son of the tenant renting her house for the summer.  And then there’s Doe, a young woman who’s trying to make her way in the world despite a troubled past by rubbing elbows (and snapping Instagram shots) of the well-to-do in the Hamptons.  This poignant story explores the dividing line between the have and the have-nots, is full of laugh-out-loud lines and heartbreak, and is all about second chances, finding yourself, and new beginnings.  It’s a must-read for the beach this summer.

Any other fun item/must-have that you always have in your beach bag?

In addition to my beach read, I always pack my iPhone and headphones so I can listen to music while I veg, a fluffy beach towel, and my crystal rose and calico Raen sunglasses.

Elizabeth Klehfoth Author Photo

 

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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 ❤

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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.

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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.

Books and Looks: Vintage Icons and 2018 picks

Aside from books and beauty I am obsessed and fascinated by old hollywood- actresses, icons, socialites and so on.  I have a huge collection of coffee table books on the subject and love a good non-fiction book about some of these amazing women.  I paired up some of my most anticipated 2018 picks with a few, just a few, of my favorite vintage glamour gals 😉  Happy reading!

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Coming June 26, 2018

via ~ Penguin Random House

In the new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love and Something Borrowed, a woman is forced to choose between her family and her most deeply held values.

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. Her husband’s tech business is booming, and her adored son, Finch, is bound for Princeton.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs. His adored daughter, Lyla, attends Nashville’s most prestigious private high school on a scholarship. But amid the wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in.

Then one devastating photo changes everything. Finch snaps a picture of Lyla passed out at a party, adds a provocative caption, and sends it to a few friends. The photo spreads like wildfire, and before long an already divided community is buzzing with scandal and assigning blame. In the middle of it all, Nina finds herself relating more to Tom’s reaction than to her own husband’s—and facing an impossible choice.

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Jackie and Lee- as classic and chic as an Emily Giffin novel.

 

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Coming March 13, 2018

via~ Penguin Random House

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Angelica Huston- strong, stunning and mysterious-. Bohjalian’s novels through and through.

 

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Coming June 5, 2018

via~ Simon and Schuster

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Weisberger returns with a novel starring one of her favorite characters from The Devil Wears Prada—Emily Charlton, first assistant to Miranda Priestly, now a highly successful image consultant who’s just landed the client of a lifetime.

Welcome to Greenwich, CT, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor.

Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton, Miranda Priestly’s ex-assistant, does not do the suburbs. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.

Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She’s the former face of L’Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It’s all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina’s arrest for a DUI—with a Suburban full of other people’s children.

Miriam is the link between them. Until recently she was a partner at one of Manhattan’s most prestigious law firms. But when Miriam moves to Greenwich and takes time off to spend with her children, she never could have predicted that being stay-at-home mom in an uber-wealthy town could have more pitfalls than a stressful legal career.

Emily, Karolina, and Miriam make an unlikely trio, but they desperately need each other. Together, they’ll navigate the social landmines of life in America’s favorite suburb on steroids, revealing the truths—and the lies—that simmer just below the glittering surface. With her signature biting style, Lauren Weisberger offers a dazzling look into another sexy, over-the-top world, where nothing is as it appears.

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Natalie Wood- charming and bright- all things encompassing Weisberger’s books.

 

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Coming July 3, 2018

via~ Penguin Random House

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Marilyn Monroe- smart, game changing and naturally perfect- Cristina Alger’s collection of books.

 

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Coming July 3, 2018

via~ Penguin Random House 

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?

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Katharine Hepburn- spirited and unique, the excitement I have for The Intermission!

 

 

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Coming May 1, 2018

via ~ Harper Collins

THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE SUMMER—SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING SCANDAL’S KERRY WASHINGTON

An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

A night out. A few hours of fun. That’s all it was meant to be.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time.

When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighborhood bar, they want a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow moms insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed.

Thirteen days. An unexpected twist. The Perfect Mother is a “true page turner.” —B.A. Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors

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Babe Paley- classic and rich- the highest praise for Molloy’s debut novel!

 

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Coming May 15, 2018

via ~ Simon and Schuster

From Jessica Knoll—author of Luckiest Girl Alive, the instant New York Times bestseller and the bestselling debut novel of 2015—comes a blisteringly paced thriller starring two sisters who join the cast of a reality TV series. One won’t make it out alive. So…who did it?

When five hyper-successful women agree to appear on a reality series set in New York City called Goal Diggers, the producers never expect the season will end in murder…

Brett’s the fan favorite. Tattooed and only twenty-seven, the meteoric success of her spin studio—and her recent engagement to her girlfriend—has made her the object of jealousy and vitriol from her castmates.

Kelly, Brett’s older sister and business partner, is the most recent recruit, dismissed as a hanger-on by veteran cast. The golden child growing up, she defers to Brett now—a role which requires her to protect their shocking secret.

Stephanie, the first black cast member and the oldest, is a successful bestselling author of erotic novels. There have long been whispers about her hot, non-working actor-husband and his wandering eye, but this season the focus is on the rift that has opened between her and Brett, former best friends—and resentment soon breeds contempt.

The Favorite Sister explores the invisible barriers that prevent women from rising up the ranks in today’s America—and offers a scathing take on the oft-lionized bonds of sisterhood, and the relentless pressure to stay young, relevant, and salable.

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Twiggy- Iconic.  The name Jess Knoll is building for herself with her writing.

What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg

You all know I love a fabulous female author and when that fabulous female author is a New England gal, well then we were meant to be fairy book sisters.  I was so thrilled to receive a wonderful package from Jeanne early on in her book promotions and then to have her be part of the Booksparks Summer Reading Challenge, well that was icing on the cake!!!  Eden is the perfect end of summer or beginning of fall read.  You will be able to escape back to the beach with this family drama or snuggle in a cozy sweater and endure this rich saga.  This is Jeanne’s debut novel and for sure the start of more wonderful books to come.  Lucky us ❤

EDEN Cover

via Amazon~

Becca Meister Fitzpatrick―wife, mother, grandmother, and pillar of the community―is the dutiful steward of her family’s iconic summer tradition . . . until she discovers her recently deceased husband squandered their nest egg. As she struggles to accept that this is likely her last season in Long Harbor, Becca is inspired by her granddaughter’s boldness in the face of impending single-motherhood, and summons the courage to reveal a secret she was forced to bury long ago: the existence of a daughter she gave up fifty years ago. The question now is how her other daughter, Rachel―with whom Becca has always had a strained relationship―will react.

Eden is the account of the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, as Becca prepares to disclose her secret and her son and brothers conspire to put the estate on the market, interwoven with the century-old history of Becca’s family―her parents’ beginnings and ascent into affluence, and her mother’s own secret struggles in the grand home her father named “Eden.”

 

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What is your bag of choice?

I really like classic handbags, not floppy ones, but those with a little bit of structure.  I can carry papers and books as easily as the must haves without things getting creased or crumpled.  I’ve been using a Miu Miu bag this spring.

I like my bag to be deep so that I can stash some leggings and work out top at the bottom.  These days I’ve been having to squeeze in short work outs at the gym.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I started using Rodan & Fields beauty products last December when a friend of mine became a distributor. They are fantastic.  The multi-function eye cream has decreased the puffiness around my eyes.  Their most amazing product, however, is the Lash Boost.  I put it on my eyelids before bed and now my eye lashes are so full and lush, I barely need to wear mascara.

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

I always carry hand cream – living in a cold environment, my hands dry out easily.  I like to have moisturizer on nearby at all times, especially scented with lavender or grapefruit.  It not only brings my skin back to life, but the scent can sort of wake me up.  I also like to have lip-gloss on hand as well as a hairbrush and a big clip.  I never know when my hair is going to feel like a windswept mess and I might need to put it up on top of my head.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett.  Annie is an instructor at Grub Street in Boston where I have found an inspiring community of writers.  This debut novel is heartbreaking and funny at the same time.  The protagonist is a quirky, young girl named Elvis.  The language is sparse and poignant.  I highly recommend it for lovers of contemporary fiction.

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

Haha… when my kids were young, I’d always be able to find some sort of snack in my purse.  But there’s a poem I like by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers that begins “Keep a poem in your pocket and a picture in your head, and you’ll never feel lonely….” I’ve taken that to heart and carry a book, a paperback for those times when I’m waiting for an appointment (I’ve been going to the dentist quite often in the last year!)  I also carry a small moleskin journal I use to write down interesting observations or snippets of conversation.  Sometimes I’ll hear a word and want to write it down for future use. But lately, I’ve been jotting down notes on my phone and carrying ear buds in order to listen to audiobooks.  This evolution of my life condensing onto my phone feels efficient, however, I can’t help but feel that I’m losing something at the same time.

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Lake Union Double Feature ~ What’s in My Bookish (Beauty) Bag? ~ Kathy Cooperman and Kerry Lonsdale

Lake Union is a treasure chest of books and authors.  The publishing company of Amazon, is always producing literary gems and I am lucky to be able to get my hands on them.  I am so excited that two of their fabulous authors ~ Kathy Cooperman and Kerry Lonsdale decided to share not only their gorgeous bags but celebrate their two latest releases!  Both the prefect anecdote for end-of-summeritis 😉

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via Amazon ~

“Lighthearted…You’ll speed through this read.” —Real Simple

Best friends Annie and Sarah need cash—fast. Sarah, a beautiful, successful lawyer, wants nothing more than to have a baby. But balancing IVF treatments with a grueling eighty-hour workweek is no walk in the park. Meanwhile, Annie, a Harvard-grad chemist recently transplanted to Southern California, is cutting coupons to afford her young autistic son’s expensive therapy.

Desperate, the two friends come up with a brilliant plan: they’ll combine Sarah’s looks and Annie’s brains to sell a “luxury” antiaging face cream to the wealthy, fading beauties in Annie’s La Jolla book club. The scheme seems innocent enough, until Annie decides to add a special—and oh-so-illegal—ingredient that could bring their whole operation crashing to the ground.

Hilarious, intelligent, and warm, Crimes Against a Book Club is a delightful look at the lengths women will go to fend for their families and for one another.

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What is your bag of choice?

My bag of choice is a Simply Vera Wang handbag I got at Kohls last year.  It’s like my brain:  roomy, compartmentalized and full of junk.  I love it because it’s practical, but stylish.  My older kids – I have four of these creatures—are getting to a point where they don’t want their mom to embarrass them with her sheer dowdiness.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

I use a mashup of high-end and bargain basement products – whatever works.  I have very dry skin (think tumbleweed) so I need stuff that moisturizes and protects; otherwise, I look like the Crypt Keeper.  My go-tos these days are: Laura Geller’s Spackle Supercharged Primer (moisturizes like nobody’s business), Tarte primer and concealer (takes ten years off my face – I hope), Lancome liquid eyeliner, and Almay multi-coat mascara (cheap, but works great to prevent me from looking like one of those pin-cushion-eyed babies from The Muppets).   Also, since I have frizzy, super thick hair (a Jewfro), I use CHI Shine Infusion hair spray to moisturize and tame my hair.

 

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

Since I live in sunny San Diego, I always carry weapons-grade sunscreen for me and my kids.  I also would never be caught dead without a hairbrush (see Jewfro referenced above) and lipstick.   I use Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Color lipstick.  I love bright, red lipstick, but I am too lazy and disorganized to reapply.

 

What are you currently reading?

YOU’LL GROW OUT OF IT by Jessi Klein.  She’s hilarious (writes for Amy Schumer).  She tells on herself with great honesty.  I also read a ton of Simon Brett murder mysteries.

 

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

Emergency chocolate.  And life savers for when the emergency chocolate runs out.  I use candy bribes on my children and myself.

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via Amazon ~

From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes the highly anticipated sequel. Told from one man’s two perspectives, Everything We Left Behindeffortlessly blends suspense, mystery, and romance in an exploration of loss, resilience, and the compelling need to protect the ones we love at all cost.

Two months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.

Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.

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

I have three bags I switch around throughout a week: a red Kate Spade shoulder bag, a saddle-brown Michael Kors bag that looks like a piece of luggage, and the black leather Moda Luxe you caught me with today.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks? 

bareMinerals is my go-to for all beauty products, from facial lotion to lipstick. It’s the only brand I’ve come across that works for me. It doesn’t dry out my skin or feel too heavy.

 

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

Lipstick! My everyday color is the bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Rise Up. You’ll also find the Mentha Shimmer Tint lip gloss in Bare Mint flavor from Co. Bigelow in that fuzzy leopard print cosmetic bag along with the bareMinerals performance wear powder foundation I use for touchup throughout the day. A new favorite is the invisible glow powder highlighter I received with my last bareMinerals purchase. It was the freebie gift and gives your cheeks and chin that dazzling magazine shimmer you see in ads.

 

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

I prefer to travel light, even around town, so I don’t carry paperbacks. I’ve been a die-hard e-reader since Amazon first launched the Kindle. (I used to own the flagship white brick version.) Right now I’m reading several books on  my Kindle Oasis, a couple of early reads for books publishing in 2018 along with Camille Pagan’s FOREVER IS THE WORST LONG TIME.

 

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

I wouldn’t necessarily call them fun, but I ALWAYS must have my Tory Burch (prescription) Sunglasses and Coach bifocals. (Gah! My poor eyes.) You don’t see it in the photo (because I ate it), but I always carry an RxBar. My favorite is the cocoa and date bar. And thanks to my fair English-Scottish complexion, you’ll always find Supergoop lip balm in SPF 30 and CeraVe Sunscreen face lotion in SFP 50 in my bag.

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Thanks to Kathy and Kerry!

What’s in my Bookish (Beauty) Bag? ~ Stacey Lender

Stacey Lender‘s debut novel City Mouse is nothing short of fantastic.  Compared to The Real Housewives, Lender takes on suburbia, friendship and motherhood- all ingredients for a perfect beach read and page-turner.  I am delighted she shared her bag with us today and HIGHLY recommend City Mouse for your beach bag paired with a crisp glass of wine because that’s what all suburban wives and mom’s do…right?  Also I immediately fell in love with Stacey when she shared her vintage Gucci make-up bag, gasp!

CITY MOUSE

via Amazon ~

“A hilarious book about the city vs. suburb divide.”
New York Post, a Must-Read Book

“City Mouse is a sharp and sophisticated novel of suburban life with a narrative voice that is equal parts witty, observant, and vulnerable. A wonderful debut!
Susan Isaacs, New York Times best-selling author

“For every city mom who fears death by suburbia–and for every suburban mom who wonders if it’s just her–this insightful, funny trip into the secrets behind those picket fences is required reading.”
Maureen Sherry, author of Opening Belle

“City Mouse reminds mothers of that priceless lesson: the grass is always greener…and maybe even alcohol-soaked Astroturf. I tore through this book like a bored, competitive housewife tears through her Xanax.”
Faith Salie, author of Approval Junkie

“Lender sharply portrays the corrupt privilege of upper-middle-class suburbanites, and with a twist of her pen, the Stepford Wives take the upper hand over their husbands…the climactic explosion takes everyone by surprise. A bracingly tart portrait of suburban hell.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Lender’s enlightening, beautifully plotted novel dives deep into the notion of having it all while playing with the shallow notions of the American dream.”
Publishers Weekly

“This defines a beach read for me! So relatable to our own lives as it is all about mom trying to find out exactly where she fits in the in the scheme of suburbia–all that goes along with it. Plus, when a book is described as The Stepford Wives meets Bad Moms, how can you go wrong?”
Mom of the Year (blog), included in 20 Best Summer Books

“It’s not long before neighborhood secrets give away to scandal, proving the grass–and the Astroturf–isn’t always greener on the other side of the white-picket fence.”
Star Magazine

“With real estate prices on the rise, Jessica, Aaron, and their kids are forced to ditch their chichi Manhattan digs for the suburbs. Though she had her worries, Jessica settles into her new normal with ease–but when she embarks on a moms-only trip with her new galpals, she ends up learning a few eye-opening lessons that spur her to reevaluate her life.”
OK! Magazine

“Lender’s debut novel is positively irresistible. It’s hilarious and insightful and just the type of book any city girl needs to tote to her vacation rental this summer…even with three kids in tow.”
Daytime Confidential

Priced out of their Manhattan neighborhood, Jessica and Aaron move with their young daughters to the one place Jessica swore she’d never go: the suburbs. But to Jessica’s surprise, life in the commuter belt makes a great first impression. She quickly falls in with a clique of helpful mom friends who welcome her with pitchers of margaritas, neighborhood secrets, and a pair of hot jeans that actually fit.

Still, it’s hard to keep up in a crowd where everyone competes for the most perfectly manicured home and latest backyard gadgets. And what’s worse, as the only working mom in her circle, Jessica sometimes feels disconnected and alone. So she’s thrilled when she’s invited to a moms-only weekend at the beach, which she assumes will mean new opportunities for real talk and bonding. Instead, the trip turns into a series of eye-opening lessons, and Jessica must decide if she’s strong enough to be honest with herself about the sort of life she really wants.

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What is your bag of choice?

I recently discovered this great brand Verloop Knits, and am in love with my new summer tote. It’s so happy and bright and has such a beautiful texture – plus it can go straight from the beach to a lunch meeting. It’s a perfect match for my W.H. Petronela Python iPad sleeve.

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

When it comes to beauty products and makeup, I’m all about speed and a natural everyday look. For skincare, Tatcha Brightening Serum is incredibly sheer and lightweight and gives my skin an amazing glow. Kevyn Aucoin has so many terrific products, especially the eyeshadow and long-lasting Precision Eye Definer (bonus: it never needs a sharpener). For lips, I like NARS lip gloss because it isn’t sticky, and when I step it up at night and wear lipstick, this sparkly tube of Lipstick Queen’s All that Jazz says, ‘it wouldn’t kill you to put on a pair of heels.’

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

Elta MD SPF 46 sunscreen is seriously the best product out there for sensitive skin and one of my everyday musts. I always throw a pair of sunglasses in my bag (and have quite a collection of $5 street fair specials), but when I splurge, my go-to shades are Lafont Paris.

What are you currently reading?

Summer is my favorite time to chill with a good book, and I like to mix it up with juicy novels, memoirs, biographies, and short story collections. Colum McCann is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve been catching up on some of his works including Thirteen Ways of Looking. Last month I was at an event where author and comedienne Cynthia Kaplan read one of her hilarious essays about sex after childbirth, and I can’t wait to dig into Leave the Building Quickly. Also on my must-reads for summer: Abby Fabiaschi’s debut I Liked My Life and Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke’s The Good Widow.

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

In high school I saved up for this Gucci makeup bag, and while I’ve upgraded its contents since those Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker days, to say that this little bag has stood the test of time is an understatement. It’s been with me on my roadie travels across the country, at my wedding, and a million everyday stops in between. Oh the stories this bag could tell…

 

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*Many thanks to stacey for sharing her gorgeous, summery tote and blessing us with a wonderful beach read ❤