Category Archives: must reads

must reads: pretty picks for a lazy long weekend

Is there anything better than the Friday before a long weekend? Especially when that long weekend is the one that marks the beginning of an entire season of sunny days, watermelon and swimming pools.

I plan to spend my Memorial Day doing…well, not much. Lots of lazing around on the deck, during which I’ll probably be sipping a glass of wine iced tea and poring over some of the pretty, pretty books that have landed on my desk this month.

Wouldn’t you just kill for your Memorial Day to have a view like this?   Read on

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must read: maya’s notebook

Maya's Notebook, via Shopping's My Cardio

Friends, a couple of weeks ago, I had one of those life experiences that gets me really excited about writing. More often than not, those experiences involve meeting other writers. But this time, it wasn’t just another writer – it was Isabel Allende.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, let me say this: if you ask me for a book that will change you – really and truly change the way you think about reading and about writing – I will send you a copy of The House of the Spirits. (No, really…I’ve sent it to at least a half dozen people.) Her writing is like nothing else. It is lyrical, epic, and more full of imagination and impossibilities than anything I’ve ever experienced.

So, when I heard she was giving a lecture nearby to launch her newest book, Maya’s Notebook, the wonderful people at Harper (her publishers) were kind enough to let me attend. And it was remarkable. Read on

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must reads: april

Friends, I have such a tremendous stack of Must Reads for you this spring! Truly, I haven’t seen this many amazing new titles cross my desk in a very, very long time. I’ll have more for you in a few weeks, but so far, these are the stories I can’t put down.

Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli and Me – Patricia Volk’s new memoir has a strange premise, and I was skeptical. But I ended up utterly entranced. As a child, Volk recalls her father buying designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s perfume, Shocked, for her mother every year, remembering the bottle, the fragrance and the gift’s presentation in exquisite detail. She then stumbles upon a biography of Elsa and is taken by her approach to life, a completely different perspective from the one she receives from her mother. It’s a stunning portrait of her home life, interwoven with Elsa’s life, but the pieces I love best are the details about what it meant to be a woman of style in the 1950s. There’s a fantastic scene where Patricia and her mother go to have a fur coat made, and she details the entire experience: her mother teaching her how to choose pelts, all of the work and multiple fittings, but also how it felt, and what it clearly meant to her mother to go through the process. If you have any love of memoirs or curiosity about fashion the way your grandmother would have experienced it, it’s a must.

The Secretary – Most of you don’t know this, but besides my former lawyering, I had a brief fling with politics. It ended in a fiery crash of disaster suitable for a Lifetime movie, and I still develop a nervous tic when someone tries to talk shop with me, ten years later. But talk to me about Hillary Clinton, and my eyes will still light up like the idealistic ingenue I once was. I can’t get enough of her no-nonsense, balls-out approach to power, and I want to know more, more, more about this woman who can weather any storm and rise to any (almost…oh, so very close!) height. While wearing a scrunchie, even! Kim Ghattas’ new memoir of her time covering the Secretary of State’s tenure for the BBC is every bit the insider’s view I’d hoped it would be. Packed with details about every major event Clinton presided over, the whole thing is incredibly well-written and honest, yet respectful. Modern history buffs and fans of women in power, this one’s for you.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris. For some of you, that’s all you had to hear – you’re clicking to buy this very moment. But for me…Sedaris and I haven’t always gotten along. I find him funny, sure, but I always felt there was a lot of wading through minutiae to get to that great one-liner in each story. But not this time. I can’t tell if I’ve changed or if he has, but his latest is hilarious, for the most part, peppered with subtle jabs and full-blown, laugh-out-loud moments. He still didn’t get every laugh he wanted out of me, but we’re definitely on the right track. I’d suggest reading with a glass of wine in one hand, and a friend sitting nearby to whom you can read particularly hilarious passages aloud. Isn’t that what humor books are for?

As Sweet As Honey – If you’re looking for a novel to whisk you away to distant shores, Indira Ganesan’s latest is your ticket. Set on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, it paints stunning pictures of a slice of the world most of us aren’t likely to see, and a culture whose customs and colors are so bright, strong and full of life, you can’t help but be dazzled. As Sweet As Honey is the story of a woman who doesn’t quite fit into her native culture, trying to navigate a path between her family’s hyper-traditional expectations and a more progressive way of life. This is a character novel at its very best – by the second chapter, you can actually see every person that walks into the room in your mind’s eye.

What are you reading this month?

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friday finds

Happy Friday, friends! I’m feeling kind of thoughtfully, intentionally slow this spring morning, so I hope you’ll forgive a little brain wandering in today’s FF.

First things first: let’s talk deals. I happen to know that Kate SpadeVince and Cole Haan are all having their Friends & Family promos this weekend, and they’re doozies. I have all the details up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds…so much easier to keep you updated on all the best steals in real time. Read on

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mario testino: in your face and on your coffee table

Mario Testino: In Your Face, Taschen, $60

You know I love a good coffee-table tome. And if it’s one that will spark a lively conversation, no matter who walks in your door? So much the better (and infinitely more interesting than leaving boxes of trivia cards scattered throughout your living room, or playing a rousing game of “Would you rather…?” after one too many white wine spritzers).

This isn’t your mama’s coffee-table book, thank goodness. Everyone from your spouse to Great Aunt Hilda will have an opinion – and a strong one at that – about the contents. But that’s a good thing, right?

Read on

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must reads: january

January never fails to make a bookworm out of me. I read like a fiend all summer, but then fall hits and I’m in a shopping frenzy until after the holidays. But January…oh, there’s just nothing like a storm outside and a cup of tea inside to convince me that my Sunday afternoon is best spent curled up on the couch with a new novel.

And luckily, I have so many goodies on my list this month!

Read on

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proud to present: zagat portland

Well. I had big plans to tell you about face cream today, friends. But instead, this arrived on my doorstep. 

Finally! After months and months of exhaustive cardio, I can show you what I’ve been working on all this time. Meet the 2013 Zagat Portland City Guide! I was lucky enough to work with some of the best writers in town (including my dear, dear pal, Jen Stevenson, whose foodie cred is second to none) to cook up this insider’s guide to all things PDX: food, nightlife and (of course) shopping!! And I’ll admit – I’m pretty darn proud of it. I’m on and everything, you guys. Big day for me!

If you’re a local and want the skinny, or have PDX on your travel agenda, I’d be super flattered to know I was tagging along with you, tucked in the bottom of your very stylish handbag. In a non-creepy, non-Lilliputian sort of way, of course.

Nab one right here…I promise not to autograph it.

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