Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading



I love a good novel that keeps me engaged from page one and has me hooked all the way until the last page. And in The Assistants, Camille Perri manages to do just that while infusing humor and pop culture references throughout. A+ job on this novel! I typically do my reading in the evenings and I couldn’t wait to pick this back up after a long day.

Tina Fontana is an assistant to a super wealthy media mogul who spends more on his luxurious lunches than she earns in a week. She’s worked for years catering to his  largely extravagant needs while she struggles to get by with rent and student loans.

After noticing a technical error in her boss’s expense reports, she realizes that can pay off her college loans and be debt free with the extra money. So she does just that. Soon word gets out and she’s approached by someone else who needs a favor paying something off and it just keeps going. It reminded me of a modern day Robin Hood. What Tina is doing isn’t that bad because she’s helping people, right?

While Tina has remorse for stealing funds from the company, she feels worse knowing the assistants to the bigwigs of the Titan Corporation are blowing through enormous amounts of money on things like trips and wine while their assistants can barely pay their bills. But of course everything spirals out of control and this is where the author does a deft job of keeping things interesting and believable.

Excellent book! I need to find more like it. Check it out here on Goodreads.com!


Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser sounds gripping and intense thanks to the idea that a woman’s husband just up and leaves with no obvious reason. WHY?  What did he do? What did she do? Surely there were clues and hints that he was going to do something. I immediately want to know more.

What appealed to me about this one is that it offers a  bit of suspense wrapped in an intriguing idea for a plot.

Check it out:

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

I like the idea of multiple viewpoints and  I look forward to reading this.



I love a good road trip story and the bid on an abandoned storage unit reminded me of my friend Gayle’s excellent novel, Self Storageso instantly I wanted to find out more about Traveling Light by Lynne Branard.

It all starts when Alissa impulsively puts a bid on an abandoned storage unit, only to become the proud new owner of Roger Hart’s remains. Two weeks later, she jumps in her car and heads west, thinking that returning the ashes of a dead man might be the first step on her way to a new life. She isn’t wrong.
Especially when Blossom, who just graduated from high school, hitches a ride with her to Texas, and Alissa has to get used to letting someone else take the wheel. Posting about their road trip on Facebook, complete with photos of Roger at every stop, Blossom opens Alissa’s eyes to the road in front of her and to how sometimes the best things in life are the ones you never see coming.

This has great potential and I am envisioning it as a movie too! Due out in January.

I’ve long been a fan of Lorna Landvik’s writing dating back to her first novel, Patty Jane’s House of Curl. I was thrilled to see that she’s written a new novel and its due out in 2017. Pre-order, add to your Goodreads list, write it down but do not forget.

I love her humor and how each book, typically based in the Minnesota area, is so charming and fun.

Here’s what you need to know:

Set adrift when her mother sells the salon which has been a neighborhood institution for decades, Nora Rolvaag takes a camping trip, intending to do nothing more taxing than roast marshmallows over an open fire and under a starry sky. Two chance encounters, however, will have enormous consequences and her get-a-way turns out to be more of a retreat from her daily life than she ever imagined. But Nora is the do-or-die-trying daughter of Patty Jane, who now must embrace the House of Curl’s slogan: ‘Expect the Unexpected.’

With her trademark wit and warmth Lorna Landvik follows Nora and an ever-growing cast of characters between city and wooded retreat, Minnesota and Norway, a past that’s secret and a future that’s promising, but uncertain. Responding to a mysterious letter with a Norwegian postmark, Nora’s grandmother Ione travels to her native land to tend to a dying cousin and her husband–two people who played a painful, pivotal role in her past. Nora, accompanying her, is surprised by her grandmother’s long-ago love story—but even more surprised by the beginning of her own.

I cannot wait to get my hands on this!

When To Toss Your Makeup

When To Toss Your Makeup


In the past, I was terrible at throwing out makeup and skincare products, letting my bathroom grow cluttered as I took in more products but did not get rid of anything.

Hoard much? Why yes I do but only beauty products. And shoes. And clothes.

It wasn’t until I thought I was developing glaucoma thanks to cloudy eyes due to old mascara, that I starting considering the possibility that my makeup was old! I realized that I had mascara from years ago that I kept in rotation.

If you use natural, organic, clean, and/or non-toxic products, especially skincare, you will notice the smell is off and oils will give off a pungent scent alerting you that it’s rancid. Conventional products typically have lots of preservatives in them, you won’t know when a product is past its prime.


Here’s the run-down of when to toss your makeup:

Mascara: 3-6 months

Eyeshadow: 18 months

Eyeliner: Pencil can last one year, liquid lasts six months.

Foundation: Liquid lasts for about six months, powder lasts two years.

Blusher/Bronzer: Up to 2 years

Lipgloss, Lip Liner and Lipstick: 2 years but you will know if it’s gone bad by the smell and texture.

Nail Polish: 1-2 years

If you want to read more, check out this article here. Take a look at CheckFresh to see when products are expired- note they do not list organic brands. And if you want to download an app for your smart phone, try this one.

Coola Makeup Setting Spray

Coola Makeup Setting Spray


There’s nothing like a really good, matte setting spray to lock down your look for hours.  I put this Coola Makeup Setting Spray, SPF 30 to the test this week. First, I went to the Botanic Gardens at the University of California, Riverside. This place features acres of greenery and plants, lots of trees and cacti and if you visit, you’ll want to spend a long time wandering around.


What I did  not anticipate is that I would be walking for what felt like miles and in very hot weather. I always underestimate the California sunshine, especially in October!  I wore pretty minimal makeup but didn’t want it to fade so I spritzed this over my face before I left.

Cucumber and Aloe Vera Extracts to help soothe and refresh skin; and Hyaluronic Acid, known to bind moisture and help soften, tone and rehydrate skin. Reduce the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays with broad spectrum SPF30 protection.

But yesterday was I really need the Coola Makeup Setting Spray not only to keep my makeup on but to protect from the sun. I drove to the Living Desert in Palm Desert just past Palm Springs. I was in the car for a long time, then I walked in 100* heat for what seemed like hours. When I finally got back home, I was surprised my makeup was completely still on my face and hadn’t faded. The only makeup that had worn off was my lipgloss.


This product features organic ingredients such as:

Alcohol, Aloe Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Orange Water

I keep it out on my counter to spray after I apply all of my makeup. Typically this includes moisturizer/sunscreen, concealer, foundation, mascara, and blush. I do not spray this specifically over the eye area but in a general mist over my entire face and it really works. I mean, if it can keep my makeup in place in very hot dry weather while in direct sunlight, through sweat then you know you have a winning product. For best results, spray every two hours. But it lasted six hours with a few generous spritzes for me.

To learn more about Coola, please go here.

Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading




If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m reading this book, This Is Not My Beautiful Life by Victoria Fedden. From the first page, I was hooked. Victoria’s writing is so good that you are instantly pulled into her crazy life. I am always on the prowl for good novels or memoirs and when I find one, I grab it! I am also a sucker for great descriptions and amazing writing- this has both.

Here’s the premise:

This Is Not My Beautiful Life is the story of how Victoria lost her parents to prison and nearly lost her mind. No one ever said motherhood would be easy, but as she struggles to change diapers, install car seats, and find the right drop-off line at pre-school—no easy task, when each one is named for a stage in the lifecycle of a f*cking butterfly—she’s also forced to ask herself whether a jump-suit might actually complement her mom’s platinum-blonde extensions and fend off the cast of shady, stranger-than-fiction characters (like the recovering addict who scored a reality show when he started an escort service for women) who populated her parents’ world.

Dubbed a real life Arrested Development, it’s funny and intriguing but then you realize it’s a true story and you are glad that Victoria chose to share it.


I am especially excited to read The Spy: A novel  by Paulo Coelho. This is about Mati Hari, a woman I know very little about but her name has come up several times in my reading lately. A professional dancer whose routines were considering daring and sexy, she was also the mistress of a French diplomat, and later, a spy for France during World War II.

The book promises to be an excellent read. Check it out:

When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city. As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men. But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage.
Told in Mata Hari’s voice through her final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to defy convention and who paid the ultimate price.

This book is due out in November so add it to your Amazon pre-order or Goodreads list.


I am a big fan of Sonia Choquette’s so anytime she comes out with a new book, I know I have to read it. In Your 3 Best Super Powers, she helps us explore Meditation, Imagination, and Intuition in order to help us with our inner guidance. Sonia breaks down how to work with meditation, intuition, and imagination

Sonia helpfully breaks down how to work with meditation, intuition, and imagination. If you want to learn more about delving deeper into your own creative powers, this is a must-read.



I haven’t started Size Matters By Cathryn Novak by yet but I think it’s going to be a good one. I love a novel with a sense of humor and this promises to make the reader giggle- and then maybe also add some heart which this definitely promises to do.

John Frederick is a man of considerable substance, in every sense of the word. Rich, intelligent, reclusive, and very large, John Frederick lives to eat. His everyday needs are tended to by Mrs. Floyd, his house manager, and by a never-ending parade of personal chefs.

Enter Lexie Alexander, the latest applicant for that once-again vacant position. A young woman of magical sensibilities, fresh out of culinary school and still recovering from a recent personal tragedy, Lexie lives to cook. As time passes, a love of food, musical comedy, and tea begins to weave a connection between John Frederick and his new chef—but then a major medical crisis completely turns life at Frederick House upside down, threatening the bond John Frederick and Lexie have forged.

A young woman of magical sensibilities, fresh out of culinary school and still recovering from a recent personal tragedy, Lexie lives to cook. As time passes, a love of food, musical comedy, and tea begins to weave a connection between John Frederick and his new chef—but then a major medical crisis completely turns life at Frederick House upside down, threatening the bond John Frederick and Lexie have forged.

Come on, this sounds fantastic! What’s better than food and reading except when you’re reading about food, am I right?

And two books you HAVE TO READ RIGHT NOW. Caroline Leavitt who is an amazing and insightful author wrote Cruel, Beautiful World and everything about this novel (and all of her other books) is pure perfection. You can find it here.

And Maria Semple, who is a goddess, wrote Today Will Be Different and I just love Maria’s sly sense of humor and you will too. Find this book here.



Comfortable Shoes for Walking and Exploring

Comfortable Shoes for Walking and Exploring



I’ve been doing a lot of roaming around with my camera lately and comfortable shoes are a must have. Gone are the days when I want to just look good and not worry about achy hips and a sore back.  I remember about twenty years ago, going to the San Diego Zoo and wearing a pair of heels because back then, I was concerned with appearing cute. Well, it’s not very cute to have pain in your back and blisters all over your feet from wearing improper shoes. Thankfully now there are shoes that look good, are comfortable, have support and won’t make you reach for band aids and ibuprofen!


Image result for Bernie Mev atlantis

I wear these Bernie Mev shoes quite a bit. They are perfect paired with shorts, a sundress, jeans. They are the Atlantis style and are so soft for feet and heels. Woven elastic straps adjust to your foot and the hook and loop strap allow you to tighten or loosen as the day goes on. The insole is padded and these feel like wearing slippers, super comfortable and they cradle the foot while also giving the bones support.


Ahnu Women's Maia Thong Sandal,Black,5 M US


I wore these Ahnu Karma Maia thong sandals a lot over the summer too. They worked well with jeans as I wandered around New York City and took as many photos as I could. Super comfortable, there was no blisters or pain and I frequently slipped these on as I ran out the door.


Image result for Ahnu Malini

These Mary Jane type sandals are the Malini style and are also by Ahnu Karma. Again, very comfortable and soft, easy to put on with anything from a skirt to shorts. As we slip into cooler weather (though its still warm enough for sandals here in California!) Both Ahnu Karma and Bernie Mev offer a variety of well made, comfortable shoes appropriate for travel, walking, adventuring, or just running out to the store.


Last winter I wore my Coolway boots constantly and I’m bringing them back out this season! I also had a pair of lace- up sandals that my daughter took and claimed as her own, the ones pictured above. I loved those. And I loved the ones below, which she also grabbed from me. Good thing I am a giving person.



Coolway shoes and boots are sturdy and comfortable, I have a couple of pairs and they are in rotation constantly. I get cold feet very easily in the winter and need to wear socks and shoes that cover my feet! Boots are typically my first choice during the cooler months and I will wear them until the temperature heats up. I already have my eye on a pair of Coolway boots with buckles that will look on point with jeans and a cozy sweater. Not sure if I’m willing to share those!


For Coolway USA, go here. To check out Bernie Mev’s super comfortable, signature woven shoes, go here. Take a look at Ahnu Karma here.