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Summer Sizzling Novels

2 Aug

If you liked Gone Girl, you will like these summer picks. All are fast-paced novels, with more twists and turns than State Route 1 down the coast in California.

If you were not a fan of Gone Girl, with an unreliable narrator, you probably will not like most of these.

So, my favorite is The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Yes, it’s confusing with the narrators, but stick with it for the multiple surprises at the end. I guarantee you will not figure out the ending!

Another psychological thriller is The Wife by Alafair Burke. Again, another marriage mistake. Who is the con artist? It will keep you flipping the pages.

 

Then, there is the Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. It reminds me of the Hitchcock classic movie, Rear Window. Yes, someone sees a murder being committed.

Finally, there is The President is Missing. How can you go wrong with the dynamic duo of James Patterson and Bill Clinton? Forget the politics and read a thriller!

What are your beach reads this summer?

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Heavenly Fashions

27 May

You neither have to be religious nor Catholic to enjoy the exhibit “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” (now through Oct. 8.) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. You just have to love fashion and art!

Fashion and the Catholic church intertwine in this expansive exhibit. “Heavenly Bodies” features the fashions of many well-known designers who were raised Catholic, but are not necessarily religious. Some of the designers include: Dior, Lacroix, Lagerfeld, Galliano, Givenchy and Saint Laurent. All the designs were influenced by the church. There is one room devoted to garments on loan from the Vatican.

The vestment, top left, is from the Vatican, while top right is by John Galliano.  Both designs in the bottom half are by Christian Lacroix.

It’s a brilliant mix of fashion. In fact it’s quite enchanting and heavenly.

Happy Socks!

25 Apr

 

Photo: Paul Morse, AP

 

 

Detroit’s Architectural Legacy

4 Apr

We, Motowners, recognize the beauty of Detroit’s architecture. Now, others are finally acknowledging. The New York Times article, “Detroit’s Looking Up” by John Dorman, highlights the grand buildings from the Fisher Building to the First National Bank Building. The article delves into the famed architect Albert Kahn. Be sure to check out the NY Times story here.

But, there is so much more. Frank Lloyd Wright, Yamaski and Saarinen have a large footprint in the city.

As a former magazine editor in Detroit, I had the opportunity to work with the late Balthazar Korab. His architectural photography is outstanding. Here is his photo of the fountains at Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Michigan Modern, by Brian Conway and James Haefner is a new book eleased last month and features a Frank Lloyd home located in Detroit. On the cover is the General Motors Tech Center designed by Eero Saarinen.

 

 

Doesn’t Everyone Have a Crazy Aunt or Uncle?

8 Mar

 

Well, meet The Mighty Franks, a memoir by Michael Frank. With wit and charm Frank weaves the tale of his storybook Hollywood family. They are all a bit wacky and mostly loving at times.  His parents, aunts and uncles are all siblings, while the grandmothers live together.  Everyone lives close by, and it’s an eccentric enclave. The family dynamics are compelling, comical and hurtful, which is why there is a possibility of a TV mini-series. Without giving away the plot, let’s just say the special aunt goes overboard.

I had the opportunity to meet with the author on his recent book tour. He is a charming as the book. He tells me his next book is fiction. I’m looking forward to more zany characters.

Superhero Alert! It’s a Dad with MS

22 Feb

Max Melamed, age 13, wrote and illustrated the book Who is El Pitlum Rossicles? He wrote the book as part of his Bar Mitzvah project. (When Jewish children are 13, they often choose or are required to complete a social action project to make the world a better place.)  The story of “grit and perservance” is about a superhero who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The superhero is actually the father in the story, who is underestimated by the family because of his disease. He helped everyone in the town, and no one suspected him because of his condition.

It’s a personal story for Max because his father does have MS. Another reason Max wrote the book was to inspire others who might have a family member with this disease. Profits from the book go to help find a cure for MS. Max will personally send a copy of his book to anyone who donates $18 or more to the National MS Society.  For more information about Max’s book click here.

As Max states, “If your mom or dad has MS, don’t stress because they can be heroes and you can help too!”

The title of the book is an anagram. What do you think it spells?

 

The New Fashion Statement

10 Jan

As a former lifestyle and fashion editor, I’ve written about the stylish “little black dress” on numerous occasions. It’s timeless, classic and yes, ever so slimming. I even reviewed a book with the same title.

But as I watched the Golden Globes the other night, I was proud that the little black dress made a statement for the Time’s Up movement addressing sexual harassment.

Black is bold, elegant and now empowering.

Can we ever have too many black dresses?

 

 

Above: Oprah Winfrey wore a black Versace gown at the Golden Globes. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Accent on Détroit

22 Dec

So you’ve heard Orange is the New Black, but now Détroit is the New Black. Détroit is the New Black is the brainchild of Roslyn Karamoko. Karamoko was featured in the January 2018 issue of Elle magazine as an influencer contributing to the fashion scene in Motown.

She moved to Detroit in 2013 after spending six years as a retail buyer in New York and Singapore. She coined the phrase Détroit is the New Black and put it on T-shirts. She expanded the line, above, in this holiday hipster guide. In addition she features established designers like Tracy Reese and other labels from the local fashion scene.

Karamoko adds panache to Motown’s stylish scene. It’s not surprising that she was named Time magazine’s hottest Motown designer last year.

Stylin’ With Detroit Legs

29 Nov

These Detroit leggings are silky, sexy and fabulous. There’s the perfect amount of spandex for a jog, a walk or hot yoga. Yes, they are made in the U.S.A. by skinnytees.

The creative force behind skinnytees is Linda Schlesinger. I’ve known Linda for years, and her creative, fashionable spirit is boundless. And she has a personal and entrepreneurial story that’s compelling. Her messy divorce left her impoverished and depressed, but she overcame her obstacles.

Writer and blogger Suzy Farbman relates how Schlesinger scores and soars with skinnytees. Read it here.

Linda relied on her fashion experience to reinvent herself with skinnytees. Years ago she started out with a children’s boutique and then designed knitwear. Skinnytees began with a simple tank top for women of all sizes. Today there are more than 120 colors and 60 plus styles including tanks, tees, skirts, leggings, etc.

These Detroit leggings are a Motown collage featuring city icons. From the main streets of Woodward to 8 Mile, from the tourist attractions of the Motown Museum and Greenfield Village to the Ambassador Bridge and the tunnel to Canada, these themed leggings are fashionable, stylish and active- wear friendly.

A bonus is that all the profits from the Detroit has Legs collection will benefit the nonprofit Cass Community Social Services, to help support their projects with food, housing, health services and job programs in the metro Detroit area. (Yep, let’s add philanthropic spirit to Linda’s character traits.)

Detroit Has Legs is the first of many themed clothing lines expected from the brand.

I can’t wait for more. Paris, New York? Or maybe Nashville, Palm Beach or Silicon Valley!

 

Smitten with a Book in the Kitchen

8 Nov

 

Deb Perelman is multi-talented. She’s a blogger, author, chef, photographer, mother and wife. I discovered her through her blog smittenkitchen. Her second cookbook is Smitten Kitchen Every Day ($35, Alfred A. Knopf), with easy recipes that can fit into a busy life. Or as the subtitle says, “triumphant and unfussy.”

All the recipes look yummy, and of course, Perelman was the photographer. From the sticky toffee waffles to the pizza bean bake (recipe below) to the peach melba popsicles, many recipes are kid- friendly. For the veggie lovers, the succulent salads and the 18 vegetarian main courses are delightful.

Perelman is as amazing as her book. Here is a list of the cities for her book tour. I wonder, can she sing or dance?

Pizza Beans / Tomato and Gigante Bean Bake

I like to think of this as a vegetable-rich (but not overwhelming, should you be trying to entice the hesitant) baked ziti where the ziti is replaced by giant beans. I used Royal Corona beans from Rancho Gordo but you might find large white beans such as these sold as fagioli corona or gigante/gigandes bean at an Italian or Greek grocery store. Regular-sized white beans will work too, they just have a less distinctive and dramatic texture. While it’s good solo, we often serve this with garlic bread for extra luxury. It reheats well from the fridge or freezer. For a meaty variation, brown some fresh sweet or spicy Italian sausages (about 3/4 pound or 340 grams) with the vegetables.
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large or 2 regular carrots, diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white or red wine (optional)
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) curly kale leaves, chopped or torn
  • 2 1/4 cups (550 grams) crushed tomatoes (28-ounce or 800-gram can minus 1 cup; reserve the rest for another use)
  • 1 pound (455 grams) cooked firm-tender giant white beans
  • Up to 3/4 cup (175 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pound (225 grams) mozzarella, coarsely grated
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons (5 grams) roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

Prepare the beans and vegetables: Heat the oven to 475 degrees. In a 2 1/2-to-3-quart (ideally oven-safe) deep sauté pan, braiser, or shallow Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the onion, celery, and carrots.Season well with salt and black or red pepper. Cook, sautéing, until the vegetables brown lightly, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wine, if using, to scrape up any stuck bits, then simmer until it disappears, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the kale, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until collapsed, then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the beans, and, if the mixture looks too dry or thick (canned tomatoes range quite a bit in juiciness), add up to 3/4 cup broth, 1/4 cup at a time. Simmer the mixture together over medium for about 10 minutes, adjusting the seasonings as needed.

If your pan isn’t ovenproof, transfer the mixture to a 3-quart baking dish. If it is, well, carry on.

Bake: Sprinkle the beans first with the mozzarella, then the Parmesan, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned on top. If you’re impatient and want a deeper color, you can run it under the broiler. Finish with parsley, if desired.

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