Friday, August 30, 2013

David Evangelista Scrub shampoo, HD Hold hairspray, Straight smoothing serum and Shield leave in-conditioner

My hair is a mess.  Thin and naturally wavy (but not pretty curls), for four years I've been trying to grow out one layered cut after another.  And I've been through three hair stylists...none of whom...for some reason...honored my "I hate layers.  Don't cut any more layers!" and all of whom cut new layers as soon as my hair showed any signs of growing out.  After my most recent disaster, which resulted in head ringing layers, I've taken to cutting my own hair....which mostly consists of the few whisps longer than the rest as I try to even it out.

That means my hair care is even more important as I need to keep the various layers from drying out and breaking.

I am loving the David Evangelista products.  These arrived in the mail with the company's compliments a few months back but trying out hair care takes a while.  What are the long term effects?

So far, so good!  I really like the Scrub shampoo which gently exfoliates.  It really doesn't dry or strip my hair and this product I will continue to use.  It's hard - for me - to find a good like product.  I also have the Straight, a lifesaver in that it kills the frizz that my layers can develop when there is any moisture in the air, which happens even in a Los Angeles summer and makes the layers look a (worse) mess.  The Shield, a leave in conditioner, does smooth and straighten.  I like it and the product is a good version of its genre, but I'm not a big leave-in conditioner fan.  If you are, I think you'll love it.  Last, I have the HD Hold hairspray which doesn't have sticky residue as it promises and leaves my hair soft after I spray.  I also really like the smell!  Which I've never said about a hair spray.

The site is at:


The products are also available on QVC.  David himself is a long respected and well known celebrity and media beauty expert with an impressive resume.

I love these products and will continue to use them!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Favorite thing of the day: three review books came in the mail: John O'Hara and Terry McMillan

I love getting review books in the mail!  First of all, I love to read.  Next, by expanding what I will read this past year I've really had fun trying new genres.  Some work better than others...but what I like best always surprises me (there are some really good witch books out there).

Today I got three books in the mail....unusual.   I'm a little behind on my review reading (but only a little) so now must pick up the pace!  Luckily, I read fast.

A while back I read John O'Hara's Appointment in Samarra and loved it.  The book was a brilliant satire of life just before the Great Depression and demonstrated well how a few bad decisions can unhinge a life.  O'Hara was the most published short story writer in The New Yorker of his time.  I jumped at this package of The New York Stories and BUtterfield 8.  I recently read a very positive review of the former in the WSJ.  The reviewer said that O'Hara's characters discuss everything but what they're really thinking and that shows better than any other way who they really are.  I can't wait to dive into these two!

Terry McMillan I haven't read since how Stella Got Her Groove Back.  When it came out...a long time ago.  I was too young for the story of a woman getting divorced but loved it anyway.  This new book, Who Asked You? is about a grandmother in a mixed race Los Angeles neighborhood whose daughter drops off her two children then disappears.  I live in Los Angeles so know the location and world well. I'm curious to see how McMillan handles the related delicate topics.  Life is complicated today.

As above, I never get three review books in a day!  And I'm so excited about all of these!  Truly my favorite thing of the day.  Reviews to follow when I finish the books.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I hate writer's block...which doesn't hit me often...but when it does....

It hurts.

Yesterday.  Then today I was with I'm behind (though I so loved seeing Jason).

And the writer's block came from fear...I felt more pressure to write something "great" which is also the death of any writing at all.  Somehow, the more I let go of what I must do, should do or can do - the more I actually do.  And better.

I write - sort of - through it....taking more breaks to lighten and find a new way of viewing my project.  But it's hard not to panic and wonder if I need to throw the whole - almost final - draft away.  And I have done that before.  It hurts.

So today I wrote two blog posts first...for which I never feel any pressure.  Burned incense.  I reassured myself that my deadline can be put aside...even though the book has been promised (maintain your idea of quality or ship on time?).  And I realized the draft needs to go into a binder and not be just stuck together with a clip (how I like to work...I got lazy).

We need to push through our fears.  Finishing anything means committing and risking failure.  That's a hard risk to take.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Favorite thing of the day: The Psychology of Risk by Ari Kiev MD, Steve Cohen's psychologist

Risk taking is crazy making.

I remember reading a quote by Michael Milken along the lines of:  Everyone has a breaking point; the only question is how much stress it takes for them to reach it (not directly attributable to memory of it instead).

Last week an article from INC on how entrepreneurs often don't deal well with stress was making the Facebook rounds.  Click:  link  And it got me thinking....

Ari Kiev is the psychologist Steve Cohen of SAC Capital hired to help him and his traders deal with the risks inherent in making the type of big trades that made the firm successful.  I don't know if Cohen is guilty (of inadequate supervision, a charge that has effectively shut down his job creating firm of around 300 people).  But I do know that trading at that level - and subject to the market's unpredictability and capricious ways - was so stressful that he hired someone to help him find his mental balance.  Indeed, Cohen was well known for needed and using calming techniques and psychology (if I remember correctly meditation too) to handle the stress of his job.

Throwing stones at the successful is so easy; we forget how hard building something from nothing is.  I'm doing it now and - wow.  I heard the founder of a billion dollar company tell a room of students of his concern about speakers like him.  "You see the ones of us who succeeded but even more failed.  And we make it sound exciting but don't tell you how hard it really was or how close we sometimes came to failure".

The Psychology of Risk was written for traders but the advice crosses disciplines.  With a busy and stressful week ahead of is my favorite thing of today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Don Quixote: my favorite thing of the day

Dream the impossible dream.

I'm a somewhat practical girl.  I have a background in finance and a law degree.  I also write terrorist novels and am now tackling education (as in fixing).  So I guess I'm just better armed than some when charging my windmills.

Don Quixote means a lot to me.  First, it's a really good book.  The first "novel".  Next, Cervantes had a terrible life, including spending time as a slave, yet he produced this iconic book.  And, importantly, I still maintain that - in reading the book - the world around our poor Don is more troubled than he is.

Don Quixote died a broken man, as did Cervantes.  But look at how he's lasted.  Most even moderately literate people know of him and how he chased windmills.

Most men die broken.  Don Quixote chased his dream.  And he saw, breathed and lived it.  Sure he was a little crazy.  Don't you have to be when you choose to see the good, even when it isn't really there?

I guess I'd rather my glass was half full and not half empty.  Don Quixote is not only my favorite thing of the day he's an everlasting image (and belief system) in my head.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes book review

I like Jojo Moyes' writing style.  She does, however, tackle topics that are tough to write about without falling into cliche, or worse - parody.  And she deserves a lot of credit for that effort.  I loved Me Before You, about a paraplegic former master-of-the-universe and his nurse.  I initially declined to read that book because the topic made my eyes roll.  I then changed my mind after seeing a complimentary review and got a lot out of the book.  The story dealt with all sorts of and death, our fears, a loss of control and horrible injury.  Moyes did not fall into cliche.

In The Girl You Left Behind, Moyes takes on another tough topic.  It has two main characters that alternate and during different time frames.  The first is a brave woman in occupied France during WWI.  The second is a widow stumbling on after the death of her husband.  Where they intersect is that the second woman has a painting of the first stolen by the Germans during the war (or was it) and the surviving family wants it back.

Moyes is good at drawing me into her creations and carrying me along with her story.  The book does that very well.  It's actually a fun read, despite the subject matter.  The weakness for me in this book is that I honestly didn't like either of the two main women characters.  They both see the world only through their own lens and self interest.  One could argue that Sophie, the woman during WWI, does a lot for others...but she just didn't win my sympathy anyway (hard to do given her dire circumstances).

I still recommend the book because it's a great read...and I think the bias is on my end...we all get drawn to different people.  My pet peeve is characters like this; most readers tend to love them as it's only by exploring such inner conflicts, which includes a selfish weighing of what we really want, that we get to know a character thoroughly.  I ended up really enjoying this book and am glad I read it.  Anyone who reads it...I'd love your thoughts....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mac Midnight pressed pigment and matte Plumage eyeshadow...favorite things of the day...

Yes, back to makeup.  I got crazy busy again and wear makeup every day!  And today I got a box from MAC...that I ordered and was so excited to get.

The two items I grabbed are the pressed pigment in Midnight and the matte eye shadow in Plumage.  You'll notice in the photos that somehow I managed to get the sparkle in the matte and I'm really mad at myself.  Then again, it is just makeup!  Those glitter things can migrate anywhere!


I love color...which works really well with the blue plus (green, yellow, grey, depending) eyes that I have.  And I hate hard lines or too much color (too much is always too much).  So the soft grey blue matte of Plumage makes a great blended liner.  And the pigment?  Well, this one actually has almost too much pigment for me but I love the color...and with something soft and glittery like this I can blend it out to an almost wash of color.  Some people complain about that quality.  I love it.

Might be my favorite favorite of August.  I love these two colors.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Last Maha teacher training class...with Steve Ross and Tom Morley...

We all need to find ways of staying sane (I'm writing this in Los Angeles).

Today was my last teacher training class at Maha Yoga with Steve Ross and Tom Morley...the studio and teachers to whom I've been going to forever.  I thought the class would be a quick and easy exercise to complete an earlier one I dropped when my divorce (many years ago) got ugly.  This one ended up being anything but.  Rather, in an already tumultuous year (a few people close to me almost died; as did a less close friend; another less close friend did die; and a few people decided to try to force me....very forcefully...into their dramas) I found myself having to face some of my own demons.

I did it in a safe place, with caring teachers (and fellow students) I could trust.

And I grew, taught a yoga class and re-stabalized.

Instead of focusing on poses they focused on breaking down barriers (internal and external).  Poses anyone can mimic; true teaching comes of giving of oneself.

And the progress of everyone in the class was astounding.

Note, Steve and Tom are very good at what they do and pack their classes to overflowing (seriously, people have been known to do the class outside the studio when no room is left).

So I thank them all...teachers and students a like.  I am such a better person and I've worked through so many issues and re-stabalized.  Wait, what just happened?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Egypt: the chaos of revolution

No one said it would be easy.

I obviously didn't take the picture above...I snagged it from an online report of events in Egypt.  And what a mess...

I've written a book, a novel, about this eventuality.  Still in manuscript form, I never expected my harsh predictions would really play out in such a horrible way on the streets of Egypt.  But my guess wasn't much of a leap.

Most revolutions devolve into chaos.  Indeed, only rarely do they not.  America is one rare example of a mostly peaceful transition into democracy after we beat our foreign overlord.  Few of us study the horrible domestic instability that hit our shores after we "won" the war.  Luckily, we had great leaders and a guiding philosophy that worked - for whatever reason.

My heart goes out to those in Cairo.  Mosques and churches are being burned.  People are being shot.  I'd guess food is harder to come by, people are missing work and school and utilities are increasingly spotty (even in a country used to being run by a dictator or the army).

What will happen?  My guess, is that unless the right leader emerges the situation will continue to spiral further into chaos, as per Syria and Algeria (the latter 20 years ago).  And that's the basic premise of Escape.  Who knows whether the book or real life will prove more optimistic.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On not sleeping and I am

Little sleep for me last night; I've been up since 3:00 am.  Luckily, I've long believed that one bad night's sleep does little's a continued lack of sleep that gets you.  And, my yoga teachers have guided me through I tend not to sleep when something is on my mind. need rest not sleep...Steve...3:00 to 5:00 am is the most spiritual time of the day.  My need to sort things out and this is your way of doing it.

I have been pushed to grow so much this year!!!!  Whether I wanted to do so or not.  To my credit I embraced the opportunity though sometimes it overwhelms.  And with the level of creative work I've been doing professionally this year the next result has been a little dream like at times.  No wonder I keep diving into the colors of makeup...they are tangible and present.

Last night before bed I needed to take in....having spent the past two weeks putting too much out.  There is a proper balance.  Creation is impossible without the input necessary to conceptualize something from scratch.  I Am That, by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was my choice.  Lately I've been doing my favorite thing of the day...being too busy to delve deeper.  But this book is vast so I want to handle it differently.

First, the book is profound.  Indeed, so much so that it isn't an easy read.  Almost every line has meaning and helps us/me ground ourselves/myself  into the reality of life.  I am, the author discusses, which is basically the only reality that matters.  I've been confronted numerous times this year with the question of who I I hadn't really contemplated much before.  When you really think about it the answer is harder than initially assumed.  Too often we identify with what we do not who we really are.  Perhaps our actions define our person?  Maybe not.  Maharaj maintains that it's easier to say what we are not than what we are.  And from there we can begin defining who we are.

I went to a very Los Angeles event last week.  While there I watched too many chasing after what they should define who they think they must be?  I don't know - but I observed manic need all around me.  I didn't six months ago.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Favorite thing of the day - The Covert Messiah book trailer on YouTube

I'm a sucker for YouTube in all forms.  This new book will be out September 9 and looks thrilling.  Details are far...but below is an advance description.  This one I want to read!

"In her latest thriller, Lankford continues to engage hearts and minds in an enthralling ride across continents and cultures.  It's a read that blends fast-moving plot with a deep look at what's wrong with society and how we can reach inside ourselves for answers.  Filled with politics, philosophy and religion from the ages, this adventure sings to its readers, even while keeping them on the edge of their seats.  A must read for anyone who wants a tale that compels and challenges" Vanitha Sankaran, author Watermark

A thrilling escapade from New York city to a Tanzanian village, with all the elements of good story telling. You won't put it down. Joyce Elson Moore, award-winning author of historical fiction

Monday, August 12, 2013

Get Your Child to the Top is now on Amazon Kindle

I get excited when something I've created crosses media platforms.  This book is now on kindle...and no longer just in hard/soft copy.

What does it take for kids to succeed in today's world?  Read and find out!

Link: click

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Waking up - my favorite thing of the day

I'm going to a funeral today.  The father of two young children.  No words can improve the situation, or indeed, no actions can as well.  Not that death can ever be glossed over.  My grandmother said it was the only thing that can't be made better.

And she knew a lot about grim situations.  Born in the US, her parents took her back to Poland right before WWII.  Wealthy, they lost everything when the Nazis stormed Poland.  For two years my grandmother hid my grandfather as the Nazis came looking for him daily (he was in the Polish Underground and had escaped from a concentration camp).  She also lost most of her brothers and her mother during the war.

Death can't be fixed.

I'll also go to the farmer's market and yoga.  Since I got no work done yesterday I'll try to rekindle that flame as well.  The mundane can be the most precious gift any of us are given.

Mostly, I'm just glad I woke up this morning.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Urban Decay 24/7 eye pencils on sale for $6 - my other favorite thing of the day

Only $6?  Yes!  On both the Sephora and Urban Decay sites...and they both have slightly different colors.  I already stocked up: copper, great, gold, blues...a purple...can't remember the exact color names (but get Flipside!).

Urban Decay redid their line so is clearing out the old, or "vintage" shades.  Love it!  This is my other favorite thing of the day.  And I opened and am wearing one of the above...Deviant...a bright, dark blue and one of my all time favorites.

Marc Jacobs Starlett eye shadow palette - my favorite thing of the day

Sephora now has the full Marc Jacobs line on their site!  I got this palette...pictured...when they had a pre-sale of a few items a few weeks ago.  And I love it and am tempted to buy more products.  I try to wait for online reviews but so far they've all been positive for the items I'm eying (more eye shadow and the beautiful lipsticks).  Will I bite...with all the makeup I already have?

This palette is gorgeous and so flattering.  Neutral but with an edge.  The shadows are buttery, pigmented and last.  The two middle colors are my favorites (peach and goldish ones) but I love them all.  I really like the Ingenue, Lolita and a bunch of the lipsticks (called gels). What to do...?

Colors as described by Sephora:

The Starlet 204: metallic muted lilac, metallic champagne pink, metallic dark copper brown, metallic bright copper, metallic gold, metallic bluish silver, metallic gunmetal gray.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mugler Addict box - my favorite thing of the day

It arrived last night.

I love the idea of a box that arrives periodically filled with makeup or perfume.  Like a surprise gift for me.  I haven't signed up for one before because I actually don't always like surprises (I know what I like and want).

But I finally bit and got the Mugler Addict for $50 a year.  For that price, I get four boxes, free shipping on all the site sells and a concierge I can call when I need help or recommendations.  And the first box arrived last night.  So, for $12.50...what did I get...

I got two deluxe scent samples:  Angel perfume and Mugler cologne.  Two regular samples of Angel Aqua Chic and Alien Aqua Chic.  A deluxe sample of Angel body lotion.  And, a Magma Lip Lacquer in shimmering blue effect which looks to be almost a full size.... as it's .01 oz smaller (a full size is $35).

So far I've been playing around with the scents...the Mugler arrived open with only a drop left to try.  A quick call to my concierge and they are sending me a new one!  I actually really love it..and my living room smells like the scent as the box is seeped in it.  Very nice.

The set made me smile.  Fun and full of quality products, so far I'm glad I signed up!!!  We shall see what the next box holds in a few months.  And I might consider another such subscription based on how much I like this one.

Perfume makes me does lip it's a double on that. I'm a huge Alien fan so I hope that makes it into a box!

Monday, August 5, 2013

L'oreal Infallible Eye shadow in Sultry Smoke and Endless favorite thing of the day


Because they are perfect, gorgeous and make me smile.  I get push back on some of my makeup posts ...especially when I share them on Linkedin (most of the CEOs and CFOs I advised were men and don't really get the makeup thing as professional).  The work I'm doing is more creative in some ways now.  I need the distractions from something light.

And the colors get me thinking.  Art and music help us tap different aspects of ourselves.  Nature can do the same.  So far, I can't fully put the process into words but when I play with the colors I do find different creative thoughts flowing.  Blending them together isn't that dissimilar from walking on the beach; it's in the moment and totally there.

Maybe it only works for me...but at least I've found a prompt that taps into my unconscious.  What works for you?

And, not only are these long lasting and basically waterproof (hello Maha Yoga) they also cost between $5 and $8, depending on where you get them.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain Review

Necessary Errors is a stunning work.  Jacob is a young man teaching English in Prague just after communism has fallen.  Crain is a literary critic (well known and respected) publishing his first novel.  They are both stepping into new territory and exposing their vulnerability.

In both cases, the attempts are worthwhile endeavors.

Jacob is struggling with who he is and how to fit in the world.  A coming of age story is a classic narrative and one that I personally have difficulty sometimes embracing.  As with a love story, and it usually does contain a version of one, being sympathetic and age appropriate can be hard to master when looking back.  Crain does it (very well).  I felt for Jacob.  He's smart but also unsure.  Reading the book I can see the man he's shaping into.  I can remember my own struggles.

However, what I liked best about the book is different.  Crain creates a world and takes us into it.  That's the kind of writing where book length becomes an advantage.  We want to stay here, in this world of the author's imagination.  I've been to Prague and perhaps that helps but who can say for sure. Crain has the dialogue, the imagery and the developed characters that allow us to stay a while and feel welcome.  He creates places, scenes and personal interactions that help my curiosity and attention.

Jacob is also gay.  I hate pointing that out but do think a disclosure matters.  For me, having gay friends and also a bias that all relationships - romantic or not - stem from the same place, this reality is just one more variable in a complex web of interactions.  But some readers are looking for the related insights and others are closed to them.

Nuanced, rich and delicate in its imagery and human interactions - this book is a worthwhile read.  I loved it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker - a revue

The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic is the right title for this book.  Barker has crafted a complex narrative with an educated heroine…trying to find her way through an alternate world.  I’ve been reading outside of my genre and comfort zone…and this book definitely falls into that goal.

Nora’s boyfriend has dumped her to marry another.  Seemingly, by magic, as she’s dealing with this humiliation - while scheduled to be at a mutual friend’s wedding (which he will attend) - she’s swept into a glamorous alternate life.  Not initially realizing that much of what she’s experiencing is due to magic spells, it’s only during a personal confrontation that the illusion turns into a nightmare.

A wizard rescues her and becomes her mentor and guiding light into an alternate reality and whole other world.  I love the idea of a writer showing such imagination (and dedication) and enjoy being carried along for the process.  Of course the book is long, over 500 pages, as befits a project this ambitious.

To detail the plot would wreck the story…from a pretty early point. You really need to trust the author on this one and go along for the ride.  I was hooked from the first chapter.

I liked the heroine, though admit she was a bit too unsuspecting.  This gives Barker a foil to set up her plot and surprising magical twists…but does detract from her main character.

The book is really worth reading.  It’s fun and it works.  No, this genre isn’t one that will occupy too much of my reading schedule. But if you like this sort of story and being dropped into an alternate (and detailed) world then you will so enjoy this book.  If not, well, I enjoyed it.  Well worth reading.