Open Book with Katherine Center

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

How to Walk Away_Cover

via Amazon ~

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

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

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

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

Katherine Center_Author Photo

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

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

 

2. Current binge series?

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

3. Last favorite book?

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

 

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

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

 

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

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

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

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

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

10. Describe your writing space?

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

 

11. Coffee or tea?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

15. What/Who inspires you?

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

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

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

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

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

 

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

Pride & Prejudice.

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

19. Current #TBR pile?

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

Tell Me Three Things—Julie Buxbaum

The Year of Yes—Shonda Rhimes

The Inn at Lake Divine—Elinor Lipman

The Light We Lost—Jill Santopolo

Cinder—Marissa Meyer

The Morning Gift—Eva Ibbotson

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

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

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

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Open Book with Camille Di Maio

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

About Camille 

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

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

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? DOUBLE feature ~ Lynda Cohen Loigman and Gina Sorell

 

Happy May 1st!  I am so excited for the new month and the fact that I have hit over 900 followers in Instagram.  I wanted to celebrate with not one but two bag features!  I am so thrilled to have reached this milestone and am hoping for over 1000 by the end of summer.  Today I have the wonderful Lynda Cohen Loigman, whose highly popular debut, The Two Family House recently came out in paperback and Gina Sorrell, also a debut author and her book, Mothers and Other Strangers.  I was so excited to be able to have both fabulous ladies on the blog.  I have been a huge fan of Lynda’s and she actually introduced me to my favorite nail polish color- Well Read.  I was also thrilled to be able to support Gina and her beautiful book baby 🙂

Lynda Cohen Loigman

Two Family House_COVER

via Amazon

“An emotional but dreamy novel that…will transport you far, far away from your next dreary Monday morning. You may do a lot of sobbing, but don’t worry, you’ll be smiling by the end.” ―Bustle, “12 Spring Break Reads To Help You Escape Normal Life”

**Buzzfeed, “14 Of The Most Buzzed-About Books”

**Popsugar, “6 Books You Should Read”

“A novel you won’t be able to put down.” ―Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author

Brooklyn, 1947: In the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born, minutes apart. The mothers are sisters by marriage: dutiful, quiet Rose, who wants nothing more than to please her difficult husband; and warm, generous Helen, the exhausted mother of four rambunctious boys who seem to need her less and less each day. Raising their families side by side, supporting one another, Rose and Helen share an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic winter night.

When the storm passes, life seems to return to normal; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and the once deep friendship between the two women begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost, but not quite, wins. Moving and evocative, Lynda Cohen Loigman’s debut novel The Two-Family House is a heart-wrenching, gripping multigenerational story, woven around the deepest of secrets.

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Bag of choice

This is going to make me sound really old, but ever since I hurt my back a few years ago, my favorite bags are lightweight totes. My friend Gabrielle had a great one that I kept raving about, and last year my husband got a similar one for me for Mother’s Day. It’s made by a company called Monserat De Luca, and it weighs almost nothing. The fabric is beige suede, but it has a little bit of sparkle to it, so it’s fun.

Favorite beauty picks 

I’m a Laura Mercier fan. I love the primer, the tinted moisturizer and something called “secret finish.” I don’t exactly know what it does (it’s a secret I guess), but I like the way it makes my skin feel.

Always carry in my bag

Wallet and keys

Lipstick and lip gloss

Advil

Hand lotion – usually Eucerin.

Giant individually wrapped wintergreen lifesavers

I keep a notebook and pens in my car so that if I think of a story idea I can write it down. If I’m traveling for a book event, I’ll bring a second tote to carry my computer, books and extra makeup. My mascara always has to be waterproof because I will cry at the drop of a hat!

Currently reading

I’m having a GREAT month for books! I just finished The Orphan’s Tale, by Pam Jenoff and Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister. Now I’m reading All Grown Up by Jamie Attenberg. I’m almost finished with that one, so next up is The Idiot by Elif Batuman.

Author Photo

Gina Sorrell

Mothers and Other Strangers Final

via Amazon

“My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted.”

Thus begins this riveting story of a woman’s quest to understand her recently deceased mother, a glamorous, cruel narcissist who left her only child, Elsie, an inheritance of debts and mysteries. While coping with threats that she suspects are coming from the cult-like spiritual program her mother belonged to, Elsie works to unravel the message her dying mother left for her, a quest that ultimately takes her to the South African family homestead she never knew existed.

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What is your bag of choice?

I’m obsessed with bags. Every year someone in my family gives me some sort of tote bag, purse, pouch or foldable bag for my birthday. I always carry a reusable bag and these Loqi ones are so pretty. I love Baggu too. I tend to carry too much stuff, so it’s important to me to have something lightweight, and something that I can wear cross-body. My bright blue Longchamps was a birthday present and I take it everywhere. I also cannot resist a good tote bag. This year my husband got me a bag from Litograph with the entire Strunk & White Elements of Style printed on it. They’ll print novels too!

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Right now I’m going through a phase of trying new face creams, but might just have to come to terms with the fact that unless I sleep more, I will always look tired! I use Thayers rosewater toner, the cream of the month, (currently it’s this terrific light moisturizer from Luzern), Maybelline mascara, Mac brow tamer, a little powder and Fresh tinted lip balms. I have one in just about every color. For evening I’ll wear a Chanel lip gloss. And I always have lip balm, rosebud salve is a staple.

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

I don’t carry much make-up but I like to always have a foundation powder compact such as Clarins, or Benefit, rosebud lip balm, and lip gloss.

What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Caroline Leavitt’s Cruel Beautiful World. Caroline is a wonderful writer and a terrific champion of novelists. I love her books, they really sweep me up and carry me away, and her latest Cruel Beautiful World, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, is a stunning page turner about seduction, love, loyalty, and power. I also read magazines, literary, fashion, city guides, design and food magazines. Vanity Fair, Toronto Life, New York Magazine, LA Weekly, Dwell, Good Housekeeping and more. My parents had a beauty salon when I was growing up and bought everything, so I never had to. Now that I’m paying for them, I’m a little more selective, or else I get subscriptions, Poets & Writers is a must.

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

I’m a mom and a snacker, so I always have hand sanitizer, kleenex, healthy snacks for Little Man, fruit leather, granola bars, crackers, and some sweets like fruit juice gummies. I love the Vegan ones that Surf Sweets makes. And all natural raspberry licorice. I have a sweet tooth! And I always have reading glasses, a notebook and pen.

Gina Sorell credit Ian Brown

Follow Lynda and Gina:

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Gina

Twitter ~

@lyndacloigman

@ginasorell

Instagram ~

@lloigman

@ginasorell

*Thanks ladies for the wonderful interview!  Congrats on two AMAZING debuts 🙂

BONUS: What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Cristina Alger

 

I figured we would all be struggling after a long weekend so hoping a BONUS post for the week will help brighten things up!  Who else than none other than one of my favorites, Cristina Alger, to show us her ridiculously beautiful bag and add some chic to our Tuesday.  Her latest book, which just came out in paperback, This Was Not the Plan was one of my favorites of 2016.  It is the perfect book buddy to accompany a glass of rose or tuck into a beach bag.  Cristina was so kind to let us peak into her Hermes (insert heart eyes) bag filled with gorgeous accessories and go-to mom must haves.

This Was Not the Plan paperback_High

via Amazon

From the acclaimed author of The Darlings comes a “funny, bittersweet, and ultimately uplifting look” (Sarah Pekkanen) at fatherhood, love, and family life.

Charlie Goldwyn’s life hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Widowerhood at thirty-three and twelve-hour workdays have left a gap in his relationship with his quirky five-year-old son, Caleb, whose obsession with natural disasters and penchant for girls’ clothing have made him something of a loner at his preschool. The only thing Charlie has going for him is his job at a prestigious law firm, where he is finally close to becoming a partner.

But when a slight lapse in judgment at an office party leaves him humiliatingly unemployed, stuck at home with Caleb for the summer, and forced to face his own estranged father, Charlie starts to realize that there’s more to fatherhood than financially providing for his son, and more to being a son than overtaking his father’s successes.

At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, This Was Not the Plan is a “sparkling and heartfelt” (Bookpage) story about loss and love, parenthood, and friendship, and what true work-life balance means.

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What is your bag of choice?

My bag of choice is my Hermes Evelyn bag. It was a big splurge and I still feel vaguely guilty about how much it cost, but I wear it every single day. It’s incredibly chic, goes with everything, and is, in my opinion, the perfect size. It’s also a cross body bag, which is great for a mom on the go.

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I am (and I mean this literally) a dry person. My hair, my skin, my sense of humor. As a result, I am a devoted user of Carmex, SkinCeuticals Overnight Dry Moisturizer, Frederic Fekkai Shea Body Butter, and Neutrogena Hand Cream. All my makeup is NARS. I love their sheer glow foundation and their matte lip pencil, which I like to wear layered under their lip gloss. Also, I have very fine blondish hair so I have to pencil in my eyebrows every morning or else it looks like I don’t have any. The best eyebrow pencil I’ve ever used is the mechanical one from Sania’s Brow Bar. It’s a magical product.

 

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

Carmex. Hand Cream. My Mason Pearson hairbrush (for both my daughter and for me – she’s very precious about her hair). I don’t wear a lot of makeup during the day, but at night I usually bring my NARS lip pencil and gloss with me. I don’t carry a wallet – too bulky! – just a metro card, some cash and a credit card, which I usually tuck in my back pocket.

 

What are you currently reading?

The early stories of Truman Capote. I can never get enough Truman Capote. IN COLD BLOOD is one of my favorite books of all time.

 

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

My daughter calls me “the snack lady” – I always have snacks! I also carry a strip of photo booth photos that my husband and I took at the Santa Monica Pier before we were married. Seeing my husband’s face always makes me smile. And a good scarf can jazz up any outfit. Except in summer, I’m never without one.

 

Cristina Alger_Photo Credit Deborah Feingold

 

Twitter: @cristinaalger

Facebook: Cristina Alger

Instagram: cristina.alger

 

*Thank you Cristina for opening your bag to readers!  It’s just as chic and fabulous as you are 🙂

 

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.

Bliss Chat with Cristina Alger

You may have seen my recent post about Cristina Alger’s The Was Not The Plan, a fabulous beach read that I can’t rave enoigh about.  I was lucky enough to ask the mom of two a few questions about her writing as well as some fun scoop on her! Read below and again grab the book before your next vacation or trip to the beach but remember sunscreen too as you’ll be so absorbed into the book you’ll surely get a tan 😉


As a mother of two and married, what made you decide to tackle on the subject of a widowed, single father?

 

I wanted to write a book about someone who is grappling with the same issues I’ve been grappling with since becoming a parent three and half years ago: What does it mean to be a good parent? How can anyone be physically and emotionally present for their kids while also providing for them financially? And how does one parent effectively in the face of grief? I am blessed to have an amazing partner with whom I share all responsibilities: my husband and I both work, we both change diapers, we both do midnight feeds and sleep on the floor next to the crib when one of our kids is sick. But Charlie has to do all of these things on his own, and I think that’s what makes his journey so heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.  

 

I know you were a former financial analyst and attorney. Charlie struggles with life-work balance throughout the book. Did you find it was a struggle for you? If not did you see it happening with co-workers a lot?

 

Every day. New York is such an intense place to live; the cost of living is incredibly high and people here are, on the whole, very career-focused and hardworking. Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I worked all the time. I stood in awe of my co-workers who, like Charlie, were doing the same thing, except with children at home.

 

As an author what do you find gives you balance while writing a novel and simultaneously raising two little ones?

 

Balance? What is this magical balance of which you speak? Honestly, most days I’m just trying to keep my head above water with two little kids. I try to remind myself that this stage of my life is temporary, and eventually they will be in school and I’ll have more time to write, and that helps me just go with the flow and enjoy this time with them. A partner at my law firm once told me that one of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is seeing balance as a daily struggle. If you try to do everything well every day, you will inevitably fail and get frustrated. She thought it was more important to achieve balance over the course of, say, a month or a year, and I think she’s right. I have days when I don’t write a word and days when I’m traveling to a book event and don’t get to see my kids. But overall, I have a decent balance that works for me and that’s the important thing.

 

Like Charlie did with Caleb, what is the best part about raising your family in NYC?

 

There are so many great things about raising kids in New York City! For one thing, literally anything (diapers, Thai food, dry cleaning) can be delivered to you at any time of day here. What I like most, though, is that my kids are growing up in such a diverse place. You walk down the street and hear multiple languages and see people from all walks of life doing all kinds of things: visiting museums, eating dim sum, going to synagogue. Our friends, too, have such varied careers – publishing, the arts, finance, education, media. I like to think that my kids will grow up feeling like anything is possible. My kids are Irish-Cuban-Jewish mutts, so diversity is something we really try to embrace and celebrate in our house.

 

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

 

Somewhere my children aren’t. I mostly go to the library down the street, where small people aren’t asking me for snacks every five minutes and there isn’t a pile of laundry calling my name.

 

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

 

Besides my family? Running, coffee and Central Park.

 

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

 

I get in bed with a glass of wine and a book (not my own). 😉

 

8. What was the last book that you read?

 

Camille Pagan’s LIFE AND OTHER NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES.

 

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

 

Under-eye concealer! I have one from NARS that almost makes me look well-rested.

 

10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016?
I feel like I say this every year, but what an amazing year for books! I can’t wait to read Marie Semple’s TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT and Ann Leary’s THE CHILDREN. And anyone who hasn’t read LILY & THE OCTOPUS by Steven Rowley must do so immediately.