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overtakenbyanap "overtakenbyanap" RSS Feed (BC in Canada)

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The Little Pink Book of Elegance
The Little Pink Book of Elegance
Price: $3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice little summary of manners and grooming along with wardrobe, January 26, 2014
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Good book. Modern day version of charm school. How to act, how to dress-- just the basics. For more on developing manners and charm I'd suggest Miss Manners, or an old book with a lot of good stuff in it called "Better than Beauty, A Guide to Charm. Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm For more on grooming, hair and makeup I suggest How to Look Expensive by Andrea Lustig How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor's Secrets to Getting Gorgeous without Breaking the Bank and for more advice on clothing try Style Clinic by Paula Reed. Style Clinic

Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm
Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm
Price: $8.51

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not outdated AT ALL!, January 26, 2014
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Written in 1938 it is as useful today as it will be in 2038! Human nature doesn't change. The authors give the clearest best guide to manners, grooming and behaviour I've ever seen. Yes there are a very few bits of antiquated advice but not many and they make this book fun. As other reviewers state well this book is about developing into an independent fun person with a good mind and clear ethics. The manners and graces to work on are NOT self effacement.

This era from the roaring 20's to the eve of WWII was the beginning of women's lib. It was put on hold during the post WWII era and picked back up in the restless 60's. This earlier feminist era didn't view men as the enemy like the social revolutionary feminists of the 60's did. Nor did the proto feminists of the 30's advise women to stay home, stay quiet and look pretty as their highest priority in life. This probably comes as a shock to today's reader unless she is aware of the general thinking of the different decades relating to feminism and a woman's place in society.

This was a time in history when women WERE beginning to demand more than just a vote, they wanted to work and support themselves, find their own happy place in life and they weren't defined simply by their role in marrying a man, bearing children and keeping a house clean with regular meals on the table. Many of the women of the 30's experienced a dearth of men their age, the ravages of WWI having decimated their chances of a husband, home and children and those left grieving a lost love, were supporting themselves as reporters, teachers, nurses and secretaries. Yes it was a pink collar ghetto but it meant there were OTHER ways for a woman to live besides marrying and bearing children. Included in that era were things like the Great Depression in which many men were unable to take on the full responsibility of a wife and children (something this book touches on). People, all people were glad of a job and the ability it gave one to be self supporting and have dignity and worth. This book was written as a guide for women newly navigating a job, perhaps family and children and the expectations of a changing society. Their mothers and grandmothers grew up in the Victorian and Edwardian era which viewed a woman as the angel of the house, childlike, unable to support herself, only needing her man and bearing a lot of children. The women of 1938 were very very different. Just look at the career of Coco Chanel who epitomized this era. Look at the films of the era, the books and the clothing.

In the rush to provide jobs for the returning vets of WWII the women of the late 40's (a decade AFTER this book was written), were expected to go home, free up a job for a man, let him be a breadwinner and get on with the job of procreation. Thus the mid century emphasis on women being mothers, wives and homemakers to the exclusion of being part of the workforce. A return to the pre WWI Victorian and Edwardian concept of femininity. Back to the "angel of the house" again. The clothing became restrictive --Dior's New Look required a serious girdle and corsets that Coco Chanel had liberated women from 20 years prior. The socially acceptable jobs for women were nurse, teacher, secretary or failing that, a shop clerk but this was viewed as a sad second best, not the fulfilling career that it used to be prior to WWII. Some women took in work like sewing and tailoring, others took in laundry or did housework for other wealthier women. Modern day feminism was born in reaction to that 1950's era. The late 50's and early 60's was so beautifully pictured at the beginning of the Mad Men show on TV. That is what most young women think of as feminism never dreaming of the era of the 20's and 30's when feminist thought and culture was REALLY born.

This book is valuable not just for the good advice but also for the historical value showing the REAL birth of feminism and the view of women in 1938.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2015 8:36 PM PST

Traveller Returns
Traveller Returns

5.0 out of 5 stars One of her WW2 stories. Terrific!, January 25, 2014
This review is from: Traveller Returns (Kindle Edition)
This story has some rich details of life in England during the war years. Reminds me a bit of Josephine Tey's Brat Farrer. What if you were dead except you really aren't. Can you go home again?

The story draws you into the minds of the characters and as the story unfolds there is murder and romance and Nazi spy threats.

One of her best.

The Clock Strikes Twelve
The Clock Strikes Twelve

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite Wentworth cozies., January 25, 2014
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This is one of her war era tales and it's a great one. Evil relations, money, intrigue, a murder, romance, a country house party AND romance! Just after the clock strikes twelve, to ring in a new year, somebody is murdered.

I suggest reading this one at Christmas, especially if family is getting on your last nerve! You'll appreciate them better when compared to the decedent and HIS family!!! Bad people get their comeuppance via the impressive brain of our real heroine, Miss Maude Silver and her mighty knitting needles. In the end all impediments to true love are bulldozed out of the path of the young lovers by Maudie the Magnificent and all is well in the English countryside yet again.

The Ivory Dagger
The Ivory Dagger

3.0 out of 5 stars OK for the collector of P.Wentworth "cozies" BUT, January 25, 2014
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This review is from: The Ivory Dagger (Kindle Edition)
one of the most uninspiring heroines ever helped by good ol Maudie! It's one of the books that seems to drone on a bit, with uneven suspense and characterization.

NOT the best book of the Maude Silver detection series to start on, best left for the serious collector.

As an aside, the murdered man IS a collector-- of antique ivory carvings and boy is he serious. Our beautiful but very dumb heroine is his living ivory statuette and he plans to acquire her thru a marriage foisted upon her by her wicked stepmother. The fact that she is solid ivory from ear to ear seems to simply add to her value in his eyes.

If you would like to have a good start, try Through the Wall by Patricia Wentworth or Miss Silver Intervenes. Either one will get you hooked on Maude Silver, her incessant knitting and hortatory coughs!

Through the Wall (Miss Silver Mystery)
Through the Wall (Miss Silver Mystery)

5.0 out of 5 stars One of her best, January 25, 2014
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Typical Miss Silver mystery. Romance, murder, English country house, money and crazy relatives. In short a really good "cozy". This one is a bit better than most, really well drawn characters, the suspense is even and builds to a surprising conclusion and all the nice people live happily ever after. Post WW2 era circa 1950 or so.

If you want to start reading Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver mysteries this is one I'd happily recommend.

Miss Silver Deals With Death: A Miss Silver Mystery
Miss Silver Deals With Death: A Miss Silver Mystery
by Patricia Wentworth
Edition: Paperback
39 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Kindle this is Miss Silver Intervenes, January 25, 2014
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I agree with the other reviewer that there is a jarring bit of anti antisemitism. If you are collecting Patricia W. you may wish to know that this title was published elsewhere as Miss Silver Intervenes. The Kindle version on Amazon here has it as that. Other reviewers have given good thumbnail sketches so I won't bother.

I like it as a snapshot of life in wartime London. The clothing, the rationing, the daily details are good. The characters come to life and are well drawn apart from the above racism. It is a small part of the book, in no way does it form the major characterizations and such attitudes were very present at the time.

On the whole a good book and a good example of her work.

Style Clinic
Style Clinic
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Style guides out there., January 23, 2014
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This review is from: Style Clinic (Kindle Edition)
If you want a short course in French or European minimalist elegance this is your book. The author is the style director of Grazia, a UK fashion weekly and a former columnist for InStyle magazine. She lives in London.

This isn't for the women who MUST follow the latest trends, although a trendy type would find this a good book, this is for anyone who wants to nail down a quiet classic look of elegance with a European chic flavour. It is a well organized course on dressing well. Lots of pictures to illustrate the concepts the author is getting across.

In the Introduction the author says "Fashion is a fleeting pleasure but style is like an enduring affair with someone who loves you back". She is NOT anti trends nor is she boring and safe as some reviews state. She is all about having fun with less expensive items, while building up a backbone of quality items that suit your personal style.

The first chapter begins with a closet clean out, what to keep, and what to ditch. Something the minimalists often miss is the concept of keeping some things, even if you haven't worn it in the last year. Things like evening wear.

Surprisingly this European minimalist agrees that you SHOULD keep some things that are only worn infrequently. In my own experience having a nice group of evening clothes is a real time and money saver. Generally when you get the invitation, it's a bit late to start shopping unless you want to come home with an expensive compromise outfit that you really hate, but you needed by next Friday. It's actually best to ALWAYS keep an eye open for outfits suitable for evening wear or graduation/bridal events, even for funerals. When you spot the right thing (even better if it's on a discount) you buy it, and store it for later.

The second chapter gets into wardrobe renewal, buying the basics, then how to take on the trends. The third chapter gets into the classics and using colour effectively followed by flattering your figure, and head to toe trouble shooting.

Chapter 5 is about dressing your age but not being trapped in it. Then on to a chapter on shopping--how to save money.

Chapter 7 is all about coats which are important in a cold climate, they are often what people see you in the most, and a little care in shopping for a flattering fit and colour will pay off big. Chapter 8 is on suits, the least useful chapter for me and anyone else who doesn't work in a suit type environment.

Chapter 9 covers pants, the best shapes for your figure. Chapter 10 is Dresses including the LBD. Next is skirts then the final chapter covers shoes, handbags, jewelry and other accessories.

I really like this book. I'm glad I bought it, and I highly recommend it.

The Wardrobe Wakeup: Your Guide to Looking Fabulous at Any Age
The Wardrobe Wakeup: Your Guide to Looking Fabulous at Any Age
by Lois Joy Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.84
69 used & new from $2.82

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book is a disorganized mess, January 22, 2014
I enjoyed Makeup Wakeup. I was hoping for more of the same so I ordered this in paperback (not in Kindle) thinking that with all the photos and sidebars this would work better in paper. HMMMM wish I hadn't. At least if you get a dud on the kindle you can quickly return it. Not so much returning a paper version. Much more difficult.


The chapter headings don't relate much to the contents. They are largely indecipherable.

Cheryl Tiegs gives a great little foreward, and even the introduction by Lois Joy Johnson sounds promising with "1-2 -3 ways to use this book". 1 was If you want more style, 2 was if you want to look contemporary but not silly, and 3 if you are starting over after a major lifestyle transition. Great, but then the book (and the table of contents) goes downhill from there.

Chapter 1: Same old Clothes, 10x more style starts with a rah rah cheer to remind the reader what her generation of women is capable of. We dress for ourselves, we find the bargains. Yup uh huh, HOORAH for me, I got up and I dressed myself-- and now what?

We have "keepers" in our closet, reminders of the past. Before launching a closet tossing session we skip to the next heading which is; What are your reasons for not buying new clothes? Mhhm a lot more cheerleading and rah rah about how much better we are now than when we were younger. We KNOW more!!! Maybe, but what is the point here?

This is followed by such earth shattering tips as wearing black with navy or letting it all hang out, but remember to wear a belt, and wearing one colour head to toe to lengthen your line. Editing the wardrobe is in there but in such a scattered and disorganized way that you the reader will be hard pressed to find anything useful.

A little more cheer leading about why she loves her aging bod and why you should love yours too and a few "inspirational" clips about some aging female "role models" which are almost sure to get people irritated with themselves because most people aren't head of their firm, or pr director for Dior or like the author, an editor of More magazine.

Unfortunately these chapters read like she cobbled them together from the breathless headlines at More magazine where the readership must require regular cheer leading to feel good about their aging selves.

Very little actual substantive ---HOW TO DO THIS--- follows the breathless headlines. Instead we see plenty of cute photos of women who don't look their age AT ALL and who are thinner, richer and way more accomplished than 99% of the female population over the age of 50.

Yeah, I'm more depressed after reading this book than I was before I plunked down $16.62 Canadian. Fortunately I didn't pay the full cover price of $26.50 Canadian!

The assumptions in this book are that you have money to spare for investment clothing, now that the kids have flown the coop, and maybe you've scored a good divorce settlement, your retirement needs are taken care of and your elderly relatives have all shuffled off their mortal coils leaving you an inheritance.

Oh and you are thinnish, maybe with saggy bits and a belly but still able to fit regular clothes. If you are less than that ideal, a little posture work and a diet will quickly do the trick along with some Spanx.

Oh and you invested in Hermes scarves and other classic items when you were younger because now you can mix them up with finds from H&M or Zaras. Page 39 "Wear Wear status jewelry and accessories ironically". Translation if you got it, flaunt it, but not all at once in one eye popping display of wealth. Dilute it with your Target finds. Like the "59$ Target" purse she mentions as a cheaper alternative to 2 much more expensive ones from Coach (yes, that one was the mid level model) and some high end thing for several thousand dollars.

Kind of patronizing to those of us who actually do shop low end retail and must make it work on budget. For the record I shop at Winners in Canada and most of my purses cost me between 30 to 45$ and are leather, but I buy them in the last mark down prices at season end clearance bins. They look great. I look for high end details like pebbled leather or glove soft leather with clean simple lines. I find the 59$ Target purses ok but way above my budget and the quality doesn't look as if it will hold up for the 3 to 5 years I get out of my purses.

According to this book, you are now BUDGETING by going to the mall instead of Michael Kors to pick up some bargains to "wear ironically" with that Hermes scarf. This will make you chuckle or cry. Budget now means Banana Republic with occasional forays into Target. Buh bye Michael Kors. (I love his ads, they look so lush and gorgeous!)

Plus size ladies just need to head to the thrift store. I've been plus sized (now a size 14-16) and let me tell you, the plus size clothes in the thrift stores are pretty well worn, if they last on the racks at all as they are in great demand. It's the petite designer clothes from years ago that end up on thrift store racks. Which is what the author would wear, so I tend to think she has never ever shopped for plus size in a thrift store, and when she sees lots of goods in her size, she thinks the same holds true for other larger sizes.

The author poses questions to herself throughout the book, gleefully answering with a "Me too, Same Thing!!!!". I suppose these are questions she gets all the time as editor of More magazine but it feels a bit weird. Like she is asking a rhetorical question, and answering it in the same breath.

She also piles on the cheerleader chatter to boost self esteem. After a while I feel like Dr Phil and Oprah BOTH invaded my closet and are cheerfully hollering at me to wear more of what I like, and that old chestnut beloved of fashion magazine editors "Forget the rules!" Yup, that's why I bought a book on wardrobe advice--for cheerleading AND the advice to just forget the rules. Rules, what rules are these??? She does get into a few but only after telling you to break "the rules". That is such meaningless fluff, and it seems like it's a verbal tic of every fashion editor or fashion writer ever born.

This book was DESPERATE for a real editor, but not this former magazine editor author! She needed a firm hand and she needed to be told to put more into the story under each chapter, and each "headline". Less vanity shots of her, more of real women DOING what she asked showing before and after. Several shots of her in a fur hat were positively alarming. This is all about her and a few perfect people who have aged slightly but still are light years ahead of the rest of us.

The sad part is, there are some really good bits in the book but you really have to wade through an awful lot of drivel to find them. This author did well with Makeup Wakeup but not with this sequel.

Meanwhile I recommend a few cheaper better books to get your wardrobe wakeup on. First is Style Clinic then The Little Pink Book of Elegance: The Modern Girl's Guide to Living With Style (Little Pink Books) (Little Pink Books (Peter Pauper)) and also Effortless Style and to save money Style on a Shoestring: Develop Your Cents of Style and Look Like a Million without Spending a Fortune plus How to Be a Budget Fashionista: The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous for Less

For those who want some more in the aging with style and elegance books check out Chic & Slim Toujours: Aging Beautifully Like Those Chic French Women and Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance along with French Women Don't Get Facelifts: Aging with Attitude and lastly Charla Krupp wrote a couple of great books that fit in this topic and offer a tremendous amount of help in a very organized format How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better and her looking thinner book How to Never Look Fat Again: Over 1,000 Ways to Dress Thinner--Without Dieting!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2014 7:00 PM PDT

Countdown to the Second Coming
Countdown to the Second Coming
Price: $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear outline of prophecy re the rapture., January 17, 2014
Dave is with the Lord but he left a lot of good books behind him. This is a clear outline and analysis of events prior to the rapture. The scriptures Dave uses are clear and unequivocal. Good place to start in any study of this type.

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