StyleBistro Book Club: April 2015
Peruse our picks from this month's new releases, then shop the beauty and fashion finds inspired by our chosen reads.
We're bookworms here at StyleBistro, and we understand that finding your next great read can sometimes be as frustrating as searching for a special-occasion outfit—they never seem to materialize when you actually need one. We also know how inspiring the written word can be, which is why we combed through this month's new releases and paired our top picks with a beauty or fashion item that corresponds to each tome. Be sure to check back each month for a fresh batch of stylish reads.
Cristina Velocci, Deputy Editor: French Coast by Anita Hughes ($16, out April 7 from St. Martin's Griffin)
As we gear up for a season of weekend getaways and days spent lounging poolside, you're going to need some easy reading material to keep you entertained. And for that may I suggest Anita Hughes' latest novel, which follows Serena Woods, a features editor at Vogue's fictional San Francisco office, as she travels to Cannes on assignment to interview legendary French Vogue editor-in-chief Yvette Renault and ghostwrite her memoir. Before she leaves, the seemingly perfect protagonist becomes engaged to an aspiring politician—and it all goes downhill from there. The narrative is essentially a confluence of several tumultuous romantic relationships that intertwine in surprising ways, but the vivid, detailed descriptions of the characters and surroundings are just as amusing (in every scene, you'll get a full download on what each person is thinking, eating and wearing, right down to the Lancome lipsticks). While I easily could have paired this book with Serena’s signature Givenchy perfume, I went with a gold hair clip like the one she uses when she’s not securing her strands with a ribbon color-coordinated to her outfit (clearly this is not someone who can let her hair down in a literal or metaphorical sense). If you're not inspired to wear more hair accessories by the time you finish this tome, you'll at least definitely want to book your next vacation to the French Riviera.
Ann Brady, Executive Editor: Going Off Script by Giuliana Rancic ($18, out April 7 from Random House)
You would think someone who interviews Hollywood’s elite at major events for the E! Network would be busy enough with just that endeavor. It’s inspiring to me that Giuliana Rancic also owns two restaurants in Chicago with her husband, has a wine label, a clothing collection for HSN and now—for the second time—she’s an author. Going Off Script explores Rancic’s personal life in a way that most of us don’t see—her life behind the camera. For someone who is on-the-go, she seems to balance it all quite well. Her mental snapshots of her life are fascinating, particularly her childhood as an Italian immigrant. In all the chaos that is my own life right now—planning a wedding and moving—her words were a reminder to me to take on challenges with gusto. This Moschino (also Italian) iPhone camera case is too cute for words and it reminds me that even though I’m on my phone constantly, that same device has the power to capture my life—and all the wonderfully crazy moments that I might otherwise miss.
Bethany Cantor, Style Editor: Icons of Women's Style by Josh Sims ($22, out April 28 from Laurence King Publishing)
As diverse and ever-changing as the fashion industry is, there are still some items that are considered timeless. These pieces have and will remain a part of stylish womens' wardrobes in some form or another, forever. Sims' gorgeous, colorful book takes a look at the history and legacy of these items—among them the little black dress, the trench coat, the peep-toe heel, the Breton top and even culottes. These icons of style are essential to every closet and I picked the trench above so you can start building your own timeless wardrobe immediately. While you're at it, pick up a copy of this book for yourself and an extra for a fashion-loving friend—it makes a fabulous coffee table book.
Dana Burke, Assistant Editor: Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin ($27, out April 14 from Dutton)
As a third-generation Hollywood girl, Jess Dunne is pretty used to navigating life around the rich and famous. From mastering the art of the un-stare (the polite way to gawk at a celebrity without actually staring them down) to dealing with ridiculous requests, she's game for whatever. But even despite her can-do attitude, she's struggling to get her dream job as a chef because of the ridiculous beauty standards in LA—even in the kitchen. After an opportunity presents itself to become the personal assistant of an accomplished (read: Oscar-winning) composer, Jess jumps on board without hesitation. Despite her killer kitchen skills and knowing her way around an espresso machine, she's sent to Starbucks on the daily to pick up her boss's extremely absurd request of a caffeine fix. To honor her first two jobs in the book, I decided to pick an adorable floral mug ($11) from the coffee mega-chain. Cozy up with your favorite hot beverage and pick up the clever and heartfelt book yourself to find out how Jess attempts to get ahead on the outskirts of fame.
Katie Davidson, Associate Editor: Obsessive Creative by Colette Dinnigan ($75, out April 7 from Harper Collins)
Boho is a popular word, especially around this time of year. While festival-goers (and wannabes) flaunt free-spirited fashions, Collette Dinnigan is a bonafide bohemian. This month, the Australian-based designer releases her intimate memoir detailing her nomadic upbringing traveling the world, which helped pave the way for her creative career. The beautiful coffee table book is filled with her photos—from personal family memories to professional milestones on the runway and red carpet—as well as original sketches and watercolor paintings. To start your journey through the life of the celeb-favorite couturier, model Helena Christensen writes the forward, recounting the first time she met her: “I could sense that her designs were an extension and reflection of not only her personality and style, but also her soul and spirit.” Step into that same free spirit with one of Dinnigan’s designs (and keep your eye out for her upcoming Anthropologie collab, out later this month).
Kristina Rodulfo, Associate Editor: Sugar Crush by Dr. Richard P. Jacoby and Raquel Baldelomar ($26, out April 15 from Harper Collins)
I've been reading health, fitness and diet books like a mad woman lately so Sugar Crush naturally made it to the top of my reading list. I started it right after experiencing a wellness retreat and one of the biggest takeaways I had after meeting a nutritionist was to seriously lay off the sugar. This is not new advice, of course, but Dr. Richard Jacoby's inclusion of scientific research and clinical studies on sugar's dangerous effects not only on your waistline but also on your nervous system really made a powerful impact. If I'm being honest, I often wanted to throw the book across the room because of its many harsh truths about my sweet tooth. You get guided through understanding the basics and complexities of sugar and carboyhydrates' long-term effects on the body with practical diet advice and quizzes determining how at-risk you are for developing sugar-linked diseases. It's tough information to wrap your head around but nonetheless fascinating for any health-conscious person. The first step to positive change is understanding your own eating patterns. That's why a food journal is essential to keeping track of every little thing you ate—yes, even that single bite of a chocolate bar you had one afternoon. Having a record of what you consumed will help you clearly evaluate just how much sugar you're taking in and where you can improve.
Caitlin Miller, Senior Associate Beauty Editor: Meb for Mortals by Meb Keflezighi with Scott Douglas ($20, out April 7 from Rodale)
I've been running consistently for about two years now. Since my still relatively new adoption of the runner lifestyle, I've been intrigued by the thought of the marathon. Now that I've decided to commit myself to 26.2 miles, I figure I better learn from the best—Meb Keflezighi, the winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon. In his new "how-to" book, Meb for Mortals, Keflezighi explores the different areas of running from the specific strides to the training time tables to even what to eat. Although this might intimidate a newbie runner, Keflezighi breaks it down so it's accessible and attainable for, yes, mere mortals. And while I know my fast pace will never be anywhere near his "slow" one of seven minutes, I can learn from his passion and dedication to the sport. And it's for this reason I knew I had to pair this read with another runner's passion project. Nicole DeBoom, founder of women's athletic brand Skirt Sports, teamed up with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run and finish the Boston Marathon in 1967, for a pair of cool joggers to commemorate her epic run. The retro-fit 261 Fearless Runner Pant ($88) pays tribute to the uncomfortable '60s cotton sweatpants and sweatshirt the passionate Switzer ran in back in the day. Every time I wear these joggers, which showcase Switzer's bib number 261, I think of those runners who have inspired me like Keflezighi and Switzer. More importantly, I imagine myself crossing the finish line of my very own marathon.