New and noteworthy Summer Books



I swear there is no better time to catch up on reading than the summer. TV shoes are mostly reruns, unless you are addicted to BRAVO shows like I am! I set aside hours every day to make sure I read. A lot.

So obsessed with books am I that I don’t always get to read what I download in a timely manner. I want to encourage you to get your hands on these, which are currently waiting for me on my Kindle!

I try to post about books on Fridays but my list of review books are piling up and I want to share right this minute. Head over to Goodreads or Amazon to get a hold of these perfect summer reads.

Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

I’m a big fan of Ms. Bushnells! I will read everything and anything she writes! In this story,  “a famous writer must resort to faking her own death in order to get her life back from her most infamous creation–Monica.”

I expect this to be just like her other novels, lots of fun and humor!

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s other novels and I’m looking forward to this one, the plot has definitely grabbed my interest. The synopsis reminds me of the Gwenyth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors.

“A young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.”

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

“Only a year ago Isabel Moore was married, was the object of adoration for her ten-year-old daughter, and thought she knew everything about her wild, extravagant, beloved best friend, Josie. But in that one short year her husband moved out and rented his own apartment; her daughter grew into a moody insomniac; and Josie—impulsive, funny, secretive Josie—was killed behind the wheel in a single-car accident.”

Stop right there! I will read this but will tissues next to me.

Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

I’ve read books by Susan Wiggs in the past and have liked them.  Check out the synopsis:

“When caregiver Faith McCallum arrives at the  lakeside estate of Avalon’s  Bellamy family, she’s intent on rebuilding her shattered life and giving her two daughters a chance at a better future. But she faces a formidable challenge in the form of her stubborn and difficult new employer, Alice Bellamy. While Faith proves a worthy match for her sharp-tongued client, she often finds herself at a loss for words in the presence of Mason Bellamy—Alice’s charismatic son, who clearly longs to escape the family mansion and return to his fast-paced, exciting life in Manhattan…and his beautiful, jet-setting fiancée.

The last place Mason wants to be is a remote town in the Catskills, far from his life in the city, and Faith McCallum is supposed to be the key to his escape. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet strong-willed caregiver as a live-in nurse gives his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to return to his no-attachments routine. For Faith, it means stability for her daughters and a much-needed new home. When Faith makes a chilling discovery about Alice’s accident, Mason is forced to reconsider his desire to keep everyone, including his mother, at a distance. Now he finds himself wondering if the supercharged life he’s created for himself is what he truly wants…and whether exploring his past might lead to a new life—and lasting love—on the tranquil shores of Willow Lake.”

This sounds like the perfect book to read on a rainy day!

Soul Shifts by Barbara De Angelis

This is the kind of book that I will read throughout the day, in snippets here and there. I am a constant work in progress and love reading books to help me along my journey. Here’s the 411:

“There are pivotal moments in the lives of all seekers when we realize that we’ve been traveling on our path of growth toward happiness and ful­fillment, but, simply put, we want to go faster. How we have been living, working, and loving just isn’t enough or even acceptable anymore. We know we’re being called to something more signi­ficant and expanded—we can feel it. At these times what’s needed is not simply more change or an adjustment in our outer life, but profound transformation. We don’t just want to rearrange the pieces of ourselves so that they look better temporarily. We want nothing less than rebirth. We are ready for Soul Shifts.”



Goddesses Never Age by Christine Northrup

Like the book above, I will read this throughout the day. The title is gripping, isn’t it? I don’t want to age!

“Taking all the right supplements and pills, or getting the right procedure done, isn’t the prescription for anti-aging,” Dr. Northrup explains. “Agelessness is all about vitality, the creative force that gives birth to new life.” Goddesses Never Age is filled with tools and inspiration for bringing vitality and vibrancy into your own ageless years—and it all comes together in Dr. Northrup’s 14-day Ageless Goddess Program, your personal prescription for creating a healthful, soulful, joyful new way of being at any stage of life.

The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart

I have read and enjoyed Leah Stewart’s novels and have high expectations for this one! Tell me you aren’t intrigued with this teaser:

“In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor’s complicated and cloaked life.”


Don’t Get Me Wrong by Marianne Kavanagh

I’m just finishing this one up. I really enjoyed the story and the authors writing style reminds me a little bit of Jojo Moyes.

“Kim and Harry are total opposites who happen to have the same favorite people in the world: Kim’s older sister, Eva, and her young son, Otis. Kim has never seen what her free-spirited big sister sees in a stuck-up banker like Harry and has spent her childhood trying to keep him out (must he always drive the most ostentatious cars and insist on charming everyone he meets?), while Harry’s favorite occupation is provoking Kim.

Both Harry and Kim are too stuck in their prejudices to care about what’s really going on beneath the surface of each other’s lives. They’ll never understand each other—until the worst of all tragedy strikes. Faced with the possibilities of losing the person they both love most, long-buried secrets come to a head in ways that will change both Harry and Kim forever.”

Tales from the Back Row by Amy Odell

I want to dive into this book and not resurface until every last page has been devoured! This is my kind of story!

“In Tales from the Back Row, editor Amy Odell takes readers behind the stage of New York’s hottest fashion shows to meet the world’s most influential models, designers, celebrities, editors, and photographers.

But first, she has to push her way through the crowds outside, where we see the lengths people go to be noticed by the lurking paparazzi, and weave her way through the packed venue, from the very back row to the front. And as Amy climbs the ladder (with tips about how you can, too), she introduces an industry powered by larger-than-life characters: she meets the intimidating Anna Wintour and the surprisingly gracious Rachel Zoe, not to mention the hilarious Chelsea Handler, and more.”

Rachel Zoe? Anna Wintour? Stop there,  I already love it.

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

Another tearjerker I think. I have an enormous stack of books to read and this one is near the top. I cannot wait to read it. Here’s what you need to know:

“Ella’s life has been completely upended. She’s young, beautiful, and deeply in love–until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she’ll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers’ block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He’s on the look-out for a love story. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.”

I don’t want to ruin the rest for you. Suffice it to say these two get together and…I don’t want to know any more!

Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

I hope this is as good and creepy as some other thrillers I’ve read recently. I used to read suspenseful novels voraciously and got burnt out. I’m now back into them. When done right, these books will keep you up into the wee hours of  the morning.

“After a perfect start, Daniel and Laura’s travels end abruptly when they are thrown off a night train in the middle of nowhere. To find their way back to civilisation, they must hike along the tracks through a forest…a haunting journey that ends in unimaginable terror.

Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what they saw that night. But as they try to fit back into their old lives, it becomes clear that their nightmare is just beginning.”


Soft, Hydrated Skin and Lips with These Products




by Caroline Leavitt

 Don’t pout!  Pure and Simple is all organic and good for you!
Summer can dry and burn your lips. But Pure and Simple uses cold-pressed essential oils and natural Shea Butter that leaves a protective velvety layer on your lips. Totally vegan, organic, gluten free and certainly not tested on animals! So, pucker up!



End parched summer skin with Souffle of Shea whipped Shea butter, now in Pear-Berry!

Summer’s the time to show off your skin, but who wants to do that if your dermis is dry and flaky? Slather on Souffle of Shea whipped Shea Butter.

It’s also beauty boosted with mango butter, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E, and more–all to make the skin you are in in soft, supple–and totally healthy. Plus, I found the pear-berry scent absolutely intoxicating!

Find more by going here!

Must Read SUMMER BOOKS 2015

Reading 2015

I’ve been away on vacation and got a lot of reading done. Vacation time is usually spent reading, sleeping and working out. I accomplished all three!

I read these memoirs: Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer,  Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison- both very different but really intriguing!

I also read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline.

There are so many amazing books out right now, here’s what’s on my To-Be-Read Pile and what I have recently enjoyed!

1. The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst

This book has been called “A modern-day Gatsby tale of forbidden love, family secrets and the true price of wealth” so it looks very good!

2. A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

I loved this book and read it cover to cover quickly. The authors humor and writing style appealed to me right away.  Alice Pearse is a part time working mother but when her husband makes a career change, Alice steps up to work full time.  She lands her dream job but of course there are unexpected  bumps in the road and finds out she can’t do it all.

3. Kale and Coffee: A Renegade’s Guide to Health, Happiness, and Longevity by Kevin Gianni

I am a big fan of the skincare line by Kevin’s wife Annmarie Gianni, so I’m well familiar with Kevin too. In this new book, Kevin travels the world to determine how and what we should eat. I love a good memoir and I enjoy healthy living so I’m very excited to see how this book plays out. I’m sure we can glean some good info from Kale and Coffee. I have high hopes!

4. The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

Alternating points of view give this novel an undercurrent of suspense. A teenage girl is murdered but by who? And why? Kate knows something, a sixth sense about Rosie. But she blacked out while on a horse ride through the area where Rosie’s body is found.

This book is like a puzzle that keeps you turning the pages until its determined what happened to Rosie.  A good thriller!

5. The Appetites of Girls by Pamela Moses

This well written novel follows the struggles of four young women- Ruth, Francesca, Opal, and Setsu. They meet as freshmen at Brown  University and become best friends despite their many differences.

Each girl has her own issues to overcome and the story is told in flashbacks, building believable characters.  Loved this one!

I’ve been waiting and waiting forever for author Vanessa Diffenbaugh to write another novel after the brilliant The Language of Flowers. And how she has!

6. We Never Asked for Wings

This is the story of teenaged Alex, his little sister Luna and single mom Letty.  Letty always had help with her children from her illegal immigrant parents and barely took care of her own kids. When her parents move back to Mexico, Letty is left clueless as to how to be a proper mother to her children.

Alex, desperate to figure out the identity of his father, is delving into a romantic relationship with a classmate and young Luna misses her grandparents. The story builds around Letty’s struggles trying to build a better life for herself and her kids as well as Alex and his father. Its a great follow up to a tremendous first  novel. Highly recommended!

7. The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans

This is on my Kindle, ready to read and it sounds like a winning novel!

Alix Gower has a dream: to join the ranks of Coco Chanel to become a designer in the high-stakes world of Parisian haute couture. But Alix also has a secret: she supports her family by stealing designs to create bootlegs for the foreign market. A hidden sketchbook and two minutes inside Hermès is all she needs to create a perfect replica, to be whisked off to production in New York.

Then Alix is given her big break – a chance to finally realize her dream in one of the most prominent Parisian fashion houses – but at the price of copying the breakthrough Spring Collection.

Knowing this could be her only opportunity, Alix accepts the arrangement. But when a mystery from her past resurfaces and a chance meeting has her falling into the arms of a handsome English war reporter, Alix learns that the slightest misstep – or misplaced trust – could be all it takes for her life to begin falling apart at the seams.

8. The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Another book just waiting for me. And another one that sounds so good that I want to clear my calendar and do nothing but read all day and all night.

In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.

At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion—a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla’s arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family’s past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed—and their personal histories completely rewritten.

9. The Last Summer At Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

This book is getting rave reviews and makes me wish I could read several books at one time because my To-Be-Read pile is huge!

Young Adelia Monteforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she meets and falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are soon throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.

Grief-stricken, Addie flees—first to Washington and then to war-torn London—and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper, as well as a chance to redeem lost time, lost family…and lost love. But the past always nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.

10. Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

This looks like a thriller that I’m going to read in one sitting!

After the heartbreak of losing his girlfriend, Beck, Joe Goldberg thought he’d never love again. But when mysterious Amy Adam begins working for Joe at Mooney Books, he finds himself obsessed with his new employee. Amy is Beck’s opposite—she hates Twitter, she doesn’t even have an email address, she’s completely unsearchable online—and she quickly captures Joe’s heart. But just before Joe can ask Amy to marry him, she disappears, leaving a trail of clues in her wake.

Joe is then forced to do something so vile, so awful that he nearly loses his mind: he moves to Los Angeles to find Amy. He is tortured by a series of aspiring Angelenos—an insufferable stand-up comedian, philistine booksellers, a money-hungry nanny, and a slutty ghostwriter—before meeting his ticket to a more luxurious world: a surgically enhanced, social media–savvy heiress named Love Quinn. But Joe can’t stop stalking Amy, despite the world opening up to him with Love on his arm. Will Joe finally escape his sordid past? Or is Love just the latest casualty in Joe’s unrelenting search for the perfect match?


What is on your reading pile? Mine is growing and growing…just added a few more!


Travel series: cruising with celiac/ gluten allergy, Royal Caribbean


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Because my family loves to cruise, it’s how we vacation every year. There is definitely something to be said about unpacking once, knowing where you will eat each night and having the luxury to do what you want with no thought to how you are going to get there. Gym? Library? Need a snack? Want to be alone? You can do it all on a cruise.

We just got back from a nine day cruise to the Caribbean and I want to focus on the food, primary what it’s like on Royal Caribbean with a severe food allergy/celiac.

On the first day we went for lunch to the Windjammer which is basically a huge buffet available almost all day. There are loads of options and if you are vegetarian, it’s probably not hard to put together a decent meal.

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Those of us who are celiac/gluten intolerant have a much, much more difficult time. Whereas on Celebrity cruises, each dish had a simple label indicating there was gluten (for the most part), on this cruise it was not labeled. All it would take is a simple placard with ingredients used (like the buffet at Whole Foods) or even a notation of allergens for each dish.

As my fellow Celiac sufferers know, even the most innocent foods can contain gluten;things like cold cuts, French fries, hot dogs, sauces, salad dressings, plus cross contamination is at an all time high at the buffet. While I could cobble together some salad with plain olive oil, I was never able to have a hot lunch and forget the desserts. When I asked for a gluten free cookie, I was handed a wrapped Udi’s cookie- it was delicious but how about more gluten free options?

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I wasn’t sure if the pre-made eggs contained gluten, the omelettes are made from what I think is a pre-made mix, did the potatoes have gluten? I never knew and the workers in the buffet, while very nice and helpful, didn’t always know what “gluten” was.

Forget the desserts, pastries and any breakfast breads. Gluten free toast is available in the dining room which is where I ended up eating as much as I could since I could order with a waiter and make sure the kitchen knew my food couldn’t contain gluten. Even a crumb will make me sick for days and as my Celiac friends know, once you get sick, it takes a long time to recover. From a single tiny crumb, yes.

In the dining room, I did find that breakfast was limited to fresh eggs- you have to clarify gluten free- and I could get toast however the hash-browns do contain gluten, and there are zero pastries, muffins or bagels for those who cannot have gluten. On the last day I discovered they do offer gluten free french toast which was really good.

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Many items on the lunch menu contained gluten so I was pretty limited to a burger with a gluten free bun- which was good- but no fries because they are made with breaded items and fried chicken.

I liked the salad bar buffet in the dining room until I realized the tongs the chef used to toss the salads were doing some major cross contamination. For example, if the person ahead of me had croutons on their salad the chef would use the tongs to mix it together then lightly rinse off the tongs in a vat of water and use the same ones on my salad. The vat of water would ultimately be a big stew of crouton particles and other glutinous things that make me (and my fellow Celiac friends) sick.

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At dinner, I let my waiter know about my gluten issue and he helped me figure out what I could safely eat. What I could choose from was limited but I was grateful that I had options. The first few nights, I was irritated because the only gluten free things for dessert were ice cream or jello, neither of which I like. Now I am not a big fan of sweets but take away the ability to have something and I’ll want it!

I asked the waiter to see if there were other gluten free desserts, as someone who likes to bake I know there are countless desserts that can be made gluten free. A blend of certain flours will yield results that you’d never guess were GF. Thankfully I did get a really nice dessert each evening- I didn’t have the choices every else got but at least I had something!

I would love to see Royal Caribbean make an effort for their gluten free travelers, especially with the buffet- I was really upset to find such a small availability of gluten free foods. I was pretty much struck eating salads with olive oil and a breakfast of eggs.

Labeling food with allergen placards is a good first step, then put a big effort into creating gluten free foods so that we can have more than one or two options. Muffins, pancakes, French toast and bagels can be made gluten free, most everything can. Special attention needs to be paid to cross contamination too.

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Probably the easiest and most cost effective is spelling out ingredients at the buffet followed by some effort put into gluten free foods at a stand-alone buffet within the Windjammer. A gluten free buffet with more than one or two options would be so appreciated by the gluten free community. I cannot even imagine how thrilled Id be with gluten free oatmeal or a muffin in the morning, or maybe a gluten free pizza at lunch- like normal, gluten eating people get!

I hope Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruise lines (and any other resorts and hotels who have clientele that need gluten free food ) see this post and make some strides in being a more gluten-free friendly.  Just because we cannot have gluten doesn’t mean we don’t want choices or to enjoy food!

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In the meantime, I packed loads of gluten free snacks for myself and stuck to those. Next time I will pack my homemade scones and Udi’s muffins since breakfast seemed to be the most difficult meal to find GF items. Or maybe the next time I go on a cruise, the cruise lines will have adopted a wider range of choices for their gluten free cruisers.

Fingers crossed.

Sun Protection with Suntegrity



I am super excited to share Suntegrity sunscreens with you.  I have heard many people lamenting on the fact that finding a good sunscreen is quite a challenge, especially when you are green and clean.  And especially when you are looking for sunscreen for the face.

First, a word from Suntegrity:

“Suntegrity Face and Body SPF 30 products use only the best known physical block ingredient (non-nano size zinc oxide) to provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and super anti-oxidants and amino acids to enhance that protection and help with skin repair. Our products use non-toxic preservatives to maintain their integrity without sacrificing safety or health. Our company was awarded “Champion” Status by the EWG/Compact for Safe Cosmetics.”

Impressive, right?

I tried some samples of this brand and was instantly impressed with the 5 in 1 Tinted Moisturizer spf 30. The 5 refers to the fact that this sunscreen “treats, hydrates, protects, primes and covers” and yes, it really does!

This product is very creamy and gave some natural looking coverage while smoothing out my imperfections. Oh and yes, it protects from the harmful rays of the sun.  It contains some powerful ingredients like Hyaluronic acid, astaxanthin, red algae and Certified Organic: aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea as well as non-nano sized zinc-oxide.

The Body Sunscreen comes in scented and unscented,  personally I love the scent which is a really light and clean smelling citrus. The lotion is quickly absorbed and my skin felt very silky smooth after applying.   This sunscreen is made with Green Tea Extract, Cucumber Extract, and Pomegranate Seed Oil and “20% non-nano, uncoated zinc-oxide for therapeutic broad-spectrum protection against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.”

I have to say I was really impressed with both products, not only is this brand super clean but the formulas are non-greasy, not streaky or sticky and my skin looked and felt soft and clean. You seriously cannot get better than that! I know a product is truly outstanding when I want more more more!

You can find out more by going to visit Suntegrity here.



By Hello Dollface