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Nina Garcia’s Look Book: What to Wear For Every Occasion

7 Sep

Few things in fashion are timeless – the Little Black Dress. A strand of pearls. The high-heel. Nina Garcia.

Since the 1980’s, Nina Garcia has been blessing women everywhere with her fashion expertise. As a leading voice of fashion, Garcia has run with the best, from Project Runway to international runways and catwalks. A vast knowledge and incredible ability to forsee fashion trends mixed with her innate classic fashion sensibility has bought us a new book, “Nina Garcia’s Look Book: What to Wear For Every Occasion”.

Look Book is your ticket to chic in the simplest of day-to-day situations. Garcia preps you for a bevy of firsts – first day of work, first dates, the first time meeting your beau’s parents, and so forth. She even offers up advice on how to dress for a break-up:

This probably goes without saying, but don’t accessorize with jewelry that he’s given you. It’s just bad form, unless you want to make a statement. I personally wouldn’t. Karma does exist. That said, if the bastard cheated on you, wear his favorite dress, the jewelry he gave you, and make him cry.

A compilation of very valuable gems from your fairy fashion godmother, you must get your hands on this book today (the last Barnes & Noble I spotted this book in had it on sale along with Garcia’s other books. Let’s hope you get as lucky!).

FOODY BOOK Review: “Medium Raw” by Anthony Bourdain

22 Aug

Anthony Bourdain

“Six o’ clock in the morning is when the pains raisins come out, and already the customers are lining up in the dark outside this tiny Parisian boulangerie waiting for the first batch. The baguettes are ready -piping hot from the brick oven, fabulously deliberately ugly and uneven in shape, slashed crudely across the top. They’re too hot to eat but you grab one anyway, tearing it open gingerly, then dropping two fingers of butter inside. It instantly melts into liquid- running into the groves and inner spaces of white interior. You grab it like a sandwich and bite, teeth making a cracking sound as you crunch through the crust. You havent eaten since yesturday lunch, your palate is alseep and just not ready for so much sensation. The reaction is violent. It hurts. Butter floods your head and you think for a second you’re going to black out”

– Anthony Bourdain, author of Medium Raw

This, MASQUE readers, is pure lust after food. That butter description made me a little hot! From chef-turned-author Anthony Bourdain, his follow up to the New York Time Best Seller Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw takes the reader in another realm of the food industry. I highly suggest reading both novels if you desire a deeper ,”raw”  and uncut look into the food industry.

Summer Reading List

12 Jul

Every year, I fool myself into thinking I can accomplish monumental things within eight weeks of vacation. As such, my summer “To Do” list is always a mile long. Perpetually near the top, however, is my summer reading list; a mix of new books, classics and a few old favorites to re-read before bed. Here are a few I plan to tackle:

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger: Book Cover

Somehow, I’ve managed to make it to this point in my life without reading The Catcher In The Rye. Madness, I know. I’ve heard great things about this classic and so many of my friends claim it as one of their favorites. So I figured its high time I “check it out” (library joke! …no? Ok.)

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead: Book Cover

Who doesn’t love a good coming-of-age novel? Personally, I’ve yet to tire of them. Colson Whitehead’s semi-autobiographical tale of a Black teenager who summers in the Hamptons with his family is, according to Borders, a “deeply affectionate and fiercely funny” portrayal of adolescence and the search for racial & class identity. I really look forward to reading this one…

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros: Book Cover

The House on Mango Street was on my 6th grade summer reading list (I don’t even want to think about how long ago that was). And its been one of my favorites since then. The story of Esperanza Cordero, a young girl growing up in a Latin neighborhood in Chicago, is beautifully told in a series of vignettes. I highly recommend it and its a fairly short read, perfect for that 2-hour train ride  from NYC to the beach…

These are only three titles from my list, what’s on yours?

51 Things You Should Know Before Getting Engaged

16 Nov

I’ll admit it, I am a lucky girl.

To have found what so many women look for at the age I did is almost a miracle. There’s butterflies, trust, romance and friendship…so what about the next step?

51 Things You Should Know Before Getting Engaged is a collection of wisdoms from psychotherapist Michael Batshaw, a husband and a father. Based on observations and personal experiences, 51 Things is what Batshaw offers to the modern woman as a guide for relationships moving into the next phase.

Examples of some of the  “things”:

3. Beware of the person of your dreams. (if something seems perfect, there is almost always something wrong with it…)

6. Great Sex will NOT save a mediocre relationship! (amen!)

19. Be Open to Discussing Your Family’s Problems – You’ve probably Inherited some of them Anyway (I agree with Batshaw, environmental issues are usually passed down and patterns should be discussed)

28. Couples Who Don’t Argue are In TROUBLE! (Contrary to what some believe…)

Batshaw offers up these and forty-seven other pieces of advice that I’m sure you’ll want to take into consideration. Not only does Batshaw give you tips, he challenges you to delve deeper into your relationship after each one. In assessing your relationship before taking that big leap, this can prove to be very helpful.

This purse-sized gem is intended for the up-to-date lady on the go, seeking wisdom at her convenience. No more calling mom or your girlfriends for help, 51 Things is all you need! Haha, no seriously, this book  is chock-full things you may not have thought about before in your relationship. I suggest you ladies (and gentlemen!) all get out and pick up a copy of 51 Things You Should Know Before Getting Engaged. We don’t want you to get into something without being fully aware of what you’re getting yourselves into 😉

“51 Things You Should Know Before Getting Married” is written by psychotherapist Michael Bratshaw. Published by Turner Publishing Company.

“Wildflowers” by Lyah Beth LeFlore

22 Oct

Lyah Beth LeFlore has a few notches on her belt. She’s written three books before this one, including a very intimate telling penned by the late Gerald Levert and his father, Eddie Levert (I Got Your Back). She’s also written Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, and now brings to you a story with a cozy, family feel.

Wildflowers is the story of a family of women who are strewn and torn separately but      together they are inseparable. A gang of sisters, aunts, cousins, daughters, etc. are all kept  together by a love for their family and one another.There’s an abused Hollywood publicist,  a stay-at-mom trying to break free of her Stepford ways, a crackhead cousin, etc.

Be warned: If you’re not into what some consider “hood novels”, the first chapter (and one of the characters) will throw you. There was some foul language, abuse, and pregnancy that turned me off, but once I got into the story I understood why LeFlore chose to speak for some characters the way she did. There was a contrast in education, social status, etc. that needed to be made clear.

Here’s an excerpt:

Chloe

A BIBLE AND A GUN

My hands were as steady as a surgeon’s, precise and meticulous as I flipped out the chamber of my Ladysmith.

Sweat poured down my trembling body, soaking through my cotton nightgown and terry-cloth robe. I felt as though I had just walked through hell’s fire, but had been yanked out by hand of the Lord and baptized in his blood all at once. I closed my eyes tightly, my thoughts battling the deafening throb, pounding between my ears. I could hear Mother’s words, “Don’t tell nobody everythin’. You gotta keep the devil guessin’!

I’d owned this gun for almost three years and as many times as I’d practiced loading and unloading it I’d never actually shot the damn thing. I figured tonight is just as good as any to break it in. I grabbed a fistful of bullets from a small leather pouch, dumping them into a pile on the floor, and started to load them into the chamber one by one. My brain was running on fumes, but one thought was crystal clear: The devil has to go.

I know you shouldn’t question God, but this is one of those times I gotta make an exception. What happened, God? Was this a test and I failed? I wonder, if a God-fearing person has to make a decision to do something drastic, in this case taking another’s life to save two, does that still make it a sin? God, please forgive me, but there just ain’t no more time to keep contemplating the what- ifs, whys, and how comes. I have to do this for my unborn child.

Crash!

I was jolted by the sound of a wooden chair scraping across the tiled kitchen floor, quickly followed by the loud cracking sound of splintering wood and shattering glass. My heart raced as I slipped the last bullet into the chamber and snapped it closed.

“You owe me money and I want out of this marriage!” His menacing, rage-filled voice echoed through the entire house.

“Stop breaking my things!” I screamed, cupping one hand over my ear.

No weapon that forms against me shall prosper . . .

“Chloe!” Every time he called my name it sent a shock wave throughout my entire body. “Get the [explicit] out here now! Do you hear me?” He slammed the hall closet door shut. “I used to have a good life!” His shouts faded in and out as he walked from room to room. “You ruined my [explicit] life!”

His expensive Italian loafers made a series of quick dull thuds on the carpet as he barreled down the hallway toward the back bedroom, where I had sought safety.

Clop . . . Clop . . . Clop . . .

His steps stopped just on the other side of the door. He liked expensive things, shoes especially. I had grown sickened by how he made it a point daily to advertise how much he paid for each pair he owned. It was his idea to sell all my large pieces of furniture. He said we were going to start our lives fresh together. The first thing he convinced me to do was clear out the guest bedroom.

He turned the entire room into his personal dressing room. Shoes, some never worn, housed in fancy shoe boxes, stacked in alphabetical order according to designer, lined the walls. I had never met a man who owned more pairs of shoes than I did.

Copyright © 2009 by Lyah Beth LeFlore

From the book Wildflowers, published by Broadway Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.  Reprinted with permission.

The lives of these women are intricately woven together, and their stories are told in their many multihued voices. By turns humorous and hopeful, honest and poignant, with rippling boldness and crackling prose, WILDFLOWERS (Broadway Books; September 2009; Trade Paperback Original) by Lyah Beth LeFlore is a beautifully written novel that explores the richness and complexity of the love between mothers and daughters.

Lyah Beth LeFlore is the coauthor of Cosmopolitan Girls and author of the Essence bestseller Last Night a DJ Saved My Life and the national bestseller I Got Your Back:  A Father and Son Keep It Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family, and Friendship, a collaboration with Grammy Award–winners Eddie and Gerald Levert. A former television producer, she has been featured in the New York Times, Essence, Ebony, Jet, and Entertainment Weekly, and has appeared on CNN and BET.

We’re giving away a few copies of this book, so write in and let us know your fondest family memories!

“Incognegro”

31 Aug

Incognegro is graphic novel revolving around the title character’s efforts to use his penman’s anonymity for good.  Due to his fair complexion, Zane Pinchback, and his ability to pass, allow him access to a world which would be not only closed off but dangerous for a black journalist to enter.  Using multiple personalities, Pinchback infiltrates lynchings, usually organized by the Klan, and publishes details that would otherwise be lost to the media world.  The story becomes more complex when he finds himself on the brink of retirement but is pulled into his last story due to a personal connection.  Smart, gripping, and an interesting commentary on race, as well as a critical lens into our country’s history, Incognegro is a must-read (particularly to those who can truly identify with the illusions of race and appearances).

How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World.

7 Jun

In a world ruled by reality television and materialistic desires, it becomes very difficult to maintain any class…and your sanity. The fully-clothed woman with her hair pinned up in a bun will often be overlooked for the woman with hair extensions and her breasts out…or so we think. 

I got my hands on a great book not to long ago. How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World is a magnificent collection of different ways you can go about being a lady. Written by Jordan Christy, this southern belle immersed in the entertainment industry offers great advice on how to maintain a vestige of dignity while still having fun. From dating to dress, diction to dining, this book delivers. 

A definite recommendation, you can pick this book up from Barnes & Noble, Target and Amazon. Check out the auther, Jordan Christy, here.

Eating in and loving it!

7 Apr

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Do people own cookbooks anymore? It is so much easier to google a recipe on the way home from work and attempting to make magic happen in the kitchen… to eventually order take-out. 😦

The Get ‘Em Girls’ Guide to the Power of Cuisine is more than a cookbook!! It is an instruction manual which includes stocking the pantry, selecting wine, and even dating advice. Some recipes revolved around the relationship are:

*”Grown ‘n’ Sexy” desserts meant for sharing
*The first “Morning After” Breakfast
*The “Bring Him Back” Chicken Soup when he’s sick
*”Meet the Parents” Carrot Cake and much more!

Eating out is a slim option nowadays and cooking at home for loved ones is much more intimate and easier on the pockets.

Whether you’re cooking for friends or your significant other, The Get ‘Em Girls’ guide will have a recipe that you can work with. With over 120 easy and delicious recipes how could one go wrong?

Pick up The Get ‘Em Girls’ Guide to the Power of Cuisine today!

10 children’s books you should read.

29 Mar

top 10 reads

A big kid at heart, I am a very big fan of children’s books. My house is still full of them. As a child, you read the books and take it face-value; but many of them provide some insight into things adults may take for granted. Meghara Eichhorn of Examiner.com has outlined some children’s books that you should consider taking a second look at…

Continue reading

BAAD! Ass Women

26 Mar


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Do you remember To Kill A Mockingbird? With child characters Jem and Scout Finch, placed during the Great Depression in Alabama? Their father, an attorney, was defending a Black man who was accused of raping a white women. Their town and neighbors all had “screw faces” about his choice to take the case and people started calling the Finch Family “nigger-lovers”…

Well the women of BAAD! Ass Women is having an open discussion tonight, in the Bronx, about the use of the “n” word in the banned novel by Harper Lee, in harmony with Women’s History Month.

Location:  Bronx Academy Arts & Design (get it? BAAD?) 841 Barretto Street, Bx, NY

More info: 718 842 5223