Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Be Chic Literate (Part Two)

I'm not gonna lie: for about two or three years, I was totally addicted to romance novels. Benign as that may sound, it was something serious for me. It started with the purchase of a single book to read on a plane ride to Puerto Rico, and turned into a full blown obsession. I could complete one in a day and then stay up 'til the wee hours of the morning starting a new one. Knowing this, I started buying books two and three at a time so that I would always have a new book to start when I finished one. I scouted out all of the used book stores in town, joined a couple of book subscription clubs, made almost daily visits to my local Wal-Mart, not to mention buying in bulk from Amazon, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble. So when I say I was addicted, I'm not being overly dramatic. It's possible I had a librarian degree in another lifetime. I was finally able to stop myself from buying new books after I filled two bookcases and replaced the clothes on the shelf of my walk-in closet with paperback novels. Wall to wall, y'all. But I digress...

I actually stopped reading for a while in an effort to break the habit. But when I found myself pregnant, not working, and home alone for the majority of the day, I needed something other than my beloved cable television to fill my days. So armed with a library card I trekked out to the local library and was determined to find worthy reading material: something light and funny, realistic and relate-able, witty and intelligent, a source of escape that didn't leave me feeling dirty (or hot and heavy) in the midst of it. And thus I discovered "chick lit" and my world has never been the same.

It is in that vein of literature that Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus chose to contribute their collective prowess and both readers and movie goers (perhaps you're aware of certain a major motion picture starring Scarlett Johannson, Laura Linney, Alicia Keys, and Paul Giamatti?) are grateful. Together they have written "The Nanny Diaries," "Citizen Girl," "Dedication," and now they continue to tell Nan's story in "Nanny Returns."  

Nan has returned to NYC with her husband, H.H (Harvard Hottie), after living abroad for 12 years. She's embarking on a different kind of journey now, starting her own consulting business and fixing up her new abode. Unexpectedly (and annoyingly to Nan), H.H's biological clock begins to tick and her time spent with the X family may have permanently stopped her own. In the midst of this maelstrom of life decisions, lo and behold, Grayer X (her former charge, now 16) shows up drunk and on her doorstep. Turns out Mr. and Mrs. X continued to procreate (he's got a brother named Stilton, age 7) and now they are in the midst of a very ugly, Upper East Side style divorce. Out of a guilty sense of responsibility, Nan once again steps into the world of the X family, in an effort to help the boy that she left behind (and his young brother) and finds her "mommy gene" along the way.

Emma and Nicola were kind enough to not only send me an advance copy of the book (which is now available in book stores) but also answered a few of my questions:

What compelled you to revisit Nanny's story?

For years we had been just as curious as readers about what happened to Nan and all the characters in the first book.  We pictured a happy hazy sunset for Nan, but didn’t let ourselves think about Grayer too much because we weren’t optimistic about his chances. Then last Spring we had a series of A-ha moments back-to-back and before we knew it a story had unspooled before us.  We were inspired by articles we read about private schools being taken over by parents who wanted to buy their children a world without consequences.  Then we read about the Astor trial and something about a son turning his father in for embezzling from his mother really struck us. Of course the Madoff story was rife with gripping family dynamics, from the sons turning in their father to the father/son accounting firm that had enabled the fraud in the first place. It all got our minds churning about pulling back to look at the larger impact of this community.  

What was the experience like, having "The Nanny Diaries" made into a movie and how involved were you in the process (were you ultimately pleased with the results)? 

We really enjoyed the movie and it remains a completely surreal experience for which we are thoroughly grateful.  While we did visit the set as guests, we had no creative involvement in the movie.  It is definitely a different journey than the novel in that it was a social satire while the movie is a romantic comedy--and with a romantic comedy, you have to have a happy ending.  Nanny Returns picks up where the novel left off and we ultimately bring the readers, we hope, a satisfying and realistic sense of closure.

As former nannies, what advice would you give to fashionista mommies out there?

While nanny-ing is hard work, it is by no means as hard as being a mom, so we don’t have advice on that front quite yet.  Our advice to fashonista nannies is  to look for the cute comfortable with an eye toward synthetic fabrics that can be easily cleaned of juice box spray.  We’re fans of Pumas, yoga pants with a high lycra count, Old Navy layers on top, and the trusty black ponytail holder.

Do you think the Nanny line of stories is complete, or is this something you will continue to develop?

We’ve learned to never say never! Our first YA novel, The Real Real, about the world of teen reality TV just hit stores in paperback today and we are hard at work on our next YA novel, Over You, in which we delve into the heart of heartbreak and what’s required to get over it.  Our novel, Dedication, about a woman who’s high school boyfriend disappears before prom and then resurfaces a few years later as the biggest pop star of her generation--and every song he’s world-famous for is about her—will be out in paperback in March.  You can read an excerpt of Nanny Returns right now on our website at www.emmaandnicola.com , friend us at Facebook at “Emma and Nicola Authors of the Nanny Diaries” to enter contests to win a signed first edition, and follow us daily on Twitter @NannyDiaries.  

What advice do you have for aspiring novelists?
Nicki wrote Harvey Fierstein a fan letter as a teenager and he wrote back to her: “Keep your heart and ears open always—the rest is easy.”  We live by it.  Also, be disciplined, set up a regular timeslot- even if it’s just one hour a week, and hold to it as sacred writing time.  You’d be amazed how bit by bit that story will get written!

What chic/fashionable purchase(s) did you make once you "made it big" as authors?

Honestly, we both went out and got dogs, which are true luxuries in NYC because most apartment buildings won’t let you have them and you need to be around to walk them as we don’t have back yards.  And while we were on tour in London for Nanny Harvey Nichols was having an insane sale.  We ran into each other in a crowded aisle with Prada purses on each arm and Gucci shoe boxes piled to our chins- every item was under $100.  It was our one crazy day of X-like indulgence :)

I was really excited when I found out that there was to be a sequel to "The Nanny Diaries!" I devoured it (I actually checked it out on that aforementioned visit to the library) in about a day and a half and subsequently read (and thoroughly enjoyed) "Citizen Girl." Emma and Nicola kindly sent me "Dedication" as well and I am now reading it (I'm actually kind of getting on the hubby's nerves with my late night reading stints). "Nanny Returns" is definitely a must read for any fashionista who has left a job with a heavy heart and a niggling "I wonder" on her conscious, or has been a baby sitter (or nanny) in a past life, or if you're just like me, a connoisseur of fine "chick lit." 'Til next time...

Fashion Forever


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be Chic Literate (Part One)

I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and as such, I am a firm believer in the power of the written word. Books do so much for a person, they educate, broaden horizons, and allow the imagination the opportunity to soar and explore places a body may not ever experience. My favorite things to give my girls are books, I love discussing them with my friends (it's a wonder I haven't started or joined a book club), and I could spend hours upon hours in my local library, Barnes & Noble, or on Amazon.

You can not imagine my excitement at being given the opportunity to review 3 new books! They are all very different, but very much in the same vein due to their overwhelming relevance in any given "fashionista's" life. Here is the first:

(Annette Tatum)

The concept of this innovative interior design book is to draw from your own individual fashion and style sense to inspire and create a personalized living space that uniquely reflects you. Annette explains how to determine your personal style aesthetics (it's amazing how much a close examination of your closet can tell about you) and how to use that visual inspiration as basis for decorating.  A style guide is utilized to identify your personal style sense using the following categories: Romantic, Couture, Classic, Casual, Bohemian, Retro, Resort, Modern, Eclectic, Vintage, and Eco. What I really like about the style guide is that the book goes on to create several mash ups of those eleven basic style aesthetics, and demonstrates how to collaborate seemingly different tastes successfully (which comes in handy if you share your living space).

Not only is the book exceedingly helpful and informative, it is visually gorgeous. From it's beautiful cover to the exquisite photography inside (taken by Karyn R. Millet), you can't help but be inspired to improve your surroundings when looking at this book. It would even be beautiful on display for your guests as a coffee table book! The Well-Dressed Home is perfect if you are looking to revamp your homestead for the holidays or new year, or if you are like me and preparing to move to a new abode. I am now so excited to have the blank canvas of a new home to execute some of the ideas I've gotten from this stunning book! It also makes the perfect gift for any fashionista in your life, whether she's in a studio apartment or manse, new to her home or been there for ages, young or old (in fact, my mother try to sneak away with my copy after I showed it to her!). You can get your copy of The Well-Dressed Home at http://www.annettetatum.com/book/ 

Or... You can win it here! Just leave a comment here telling me why you would like to receive your very own copy of The Well-Dressed Home (whether it's to keep or give as a gift) for your chance to win. For bonus entries:

-Become a fan of Mama Fashionista on Face Book
-Become a fan of The Well-Dressed Home on Face Book
-Follow @atatumstudio on Twitter
-Follow @mamafashionist1 on Twitter

Just leave an additional comment for each bonus entry option you fulfill. Please leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win. This give away is open to US residents only and is open until 11:59 pm EST December 26. Visit Annette's website at http://www.annettetatum.com/blog/ for more information on The Well-Dressed Home and to see some of her exquisite designs.

'Til next time...

Fashion Forever...


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Lovely Box

yep... It's part of the prize too... It's got lots of lovely goodies inside (possibly some make up, who knows?)... 'till next time...

Fashion Forever...
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Come On Ladies...!

When I was a little girl, the Sanrio Store was my favorite place in the world. One of my favorite things to do was to go in and choose a surprise grab bag-they had them in assorted sizes and price ranges and it was always so much fun to go home and find out what goodies I had scored. It was as much mystery and suspense a little 7-12 year old girl could handle (hey, they were innocent times back then). It was the fond memories of  that feeling of giddy anticipation and slight triumph that inspired my latest give away, but apparently y'all aren't quite there with me yet.

So here are some deets on what's up for grabs: a 3.4 fl. oz bottle of Hanae Mori Butterfly Eau de Toilette Spray (with notes of: strawberries, bilberries, black currant, bulgarian rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, almond, and praline) worth $90. Yep 90 bucks. Plus some other stuff. Good stuff (I've got good taste ladies)... I would tell you about it, but I think maybe I should let you earn it...

Photo courtesy of Sephora

So click here to go to the original post for details on how to enter. And I've extended the deadline so that we (I) can have more fun with this. Perhaps I'll leak more details on the prize day by day; I'm sure I'll be more inclined to do this if see more people participate. Maybe if you leave me a message on Twitter (@mamafashionist1) or on the Facebook fan Page (see the right side bar for deets) I'll give exclusive info on the prize... 'Til next time...

Fashion Forever...

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