Where can we learn how to talk to our kids about sex? Who can we trust to advise us on how to look amazing? Who can explain why a marriage changes so much in the course of a lifetime? Why, books are the answer, of course.
First and foremost, we must keep things in perspective. I love a bargain, but I don’t want everyone to know I shop from the five dollar rack. I’d love to look polished, but my beauty routine is often limited to slapping on lipstick and mascara as I run out the door. If you’re like me, don’t miss beauty editor Andrea Pomerantz Lustig’s HOW TO LOOK EXPENSIVE. Lustig has put together an entertaining array of tips and tricks from the people who make stars look effortlessly glamorous. Included are a celebrity facial you can give yourself at home (you must first light aroma therapy candles), a list of the ritziest looking nail colors (Essie Ballet Slippers leads the pack), and the twenty-one makeup essentials (if you don’t have a sheer pearly cream highlighter, get moving). There’s also a handy list of resources.
If you now feel motivated to really get your look together, learn the JEMMA KIDD MAKE-UP SECRETS. Subtitled “Solutions to Every Woman’s Beauty Issues and Make-up Dillemas,” we have the opportunity to learn from the best. No one knows better than Jemma Kidd, former model, business woman, international make-up artist, and award-winning product designer. Jemma’s make-up line is sold in Target, among other places, so it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to tune up. The photos are terrific, and I especially like that Jemma teaches us to recognize our own eye and lip shapes; she fills us in on current runway trends; and informs us how to get “perfect skin in an instant.” The only down side is that now there’s no excuse for looking as if we really, really were hoping we wouldn’t run into anyone we know.
Mark Di Vincenzo lets us in on “More of the best times to buy this, do that, and go there,” in BUY SHOES ON WEDNESDAY AND TWEET AT 4:00. Di Vincenzo has formulated that everything we do successfully depends on timing. Who wouldn’t take a flyer on his tips for getting rich, pretty, and healthy? This paperback is also crammed full of tasty tidbits of info, such as the fact that the average amount someone withdraws from an ATM each month is $411; toothpaste with menthol helps alleviate the itch from a mosquito bite; South Dakota residents can get a license at fourteen years and three months old. Need I say, this is a natural for trivia buffs on your holiday list.
TALK TO ME FIRST is the promised book on how to become the go-to person your child talks with about sex. Deborah Roffman promises that with the tools she provides, parents can be the ones who give their kids the valuable information they need. It’s important to teach youngsters to view the sexually-saturated media critically; to become approachable about all lifestyle questions; and to know when to set limits on how much should be communicated to kids, with respect to their age and maturity. Moms and dads must learn how to recognized “teachable moments.” There’s also guidance on dealing with social media and other technology.
Marriages change as a couple journeys through life together. It’s extremely helpful to recognize THE NINE PHASES OF MARRIAGE, as set down by Susan Shapiro Barash. Women from different backgrounds and stages of life were interviewed. Barash discovered that many women feel the honeymoon is over with the birth of the first child; 65% of women say they wouldn’t marry the same spouse if they had it to do all over again; and even if the wife makes more money, three-quarters of the woman surveyed want their husband to be the bread winner in the family. Midlife divorce and remarriage is also discussed in depth.
Jackie Hooper tackles THE THINGS YOU WOULD HAVE SAID: THE CHANCE TO SAY WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED THEM TO KNOW. When Hooper, then twenty-three years old, heard about the death of the actress Natasha Richardson, she was moved to try to help people who were dealing with loss. She started a blog that asked for letters from people who wished they had the opportunity to say what they’d never had the chance to articulate. She received an avalanche of letters, some of which she publishes here. They cover a wide range of topics; a woman must apologize for being a bitch when she was in high school; a Holocaust survivor is moved to thank the woman who saved his family from the Nazis; a teenager expresses regret for not visiting a friend who has passed away. While there are certainly situations in which I find myself unable to communicate what I’d like to get across (how do you tell a longtime friend that she’s changed for the worse over the past couple of years?), I do know one thing for sure. Always say “thank you,” always say “I love you,” and never hesitate to smile and wish someone a good day.
We’ve always known that books are our friends. How great to have friends who can give good advice when we really need it!
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Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com