Monday, October 31, 2011

Fante by Dan Fante

I have often heard the term "raw" being used in describing movies, books and talent but I am not sure I have ever come across a book that I could only use that word to describe it. Dan Fante has written a book that he says is a look into his family's legacy of writing, drinking and surviving but it is really more a look into his own life of the same.  It is very honest, sometimes graphic, sad, and yes, raw. But, I could not put it down. Was it like watching a train wreck? Maybe.
Dan Fante is the son of writer John Fante, who wrote a few novels back in the 1930's & 40's and screenplays in the 60's & 70's. He was a heavy drinker, a mean & mostly absent dad & a bad husband. Dan Fante writes that he had his first beer at age four, when alcohol became his drug of choice. Although, let me say that liquor wasn't his only vice !
Dan Fante's life is like the wildest roller coaster you have ever been on. An alcoholic drug user that blacked out most days of his young adulthood right into his forties, got tangled up with the Black Panthers, the mafia, hookers & name it. AND he actually lives to tell about it.  
He writes about his parents& siblings, his father's writing acheivements and some of John Fante's most famous /infamous brawls but the saddest part of the book is that it is a true story of a life wasted. If you ever had any doubts about the dangers of alcohol, you won't after reading this book. Well written and worth the read.
***I am so looking forward to the release of Gregory Maguire's Out of Oz, tomorrow November 1st. I have it pre-ordered on my Kindle so hopefully I will receive it right after midnight tonight. Some sleepless nights ahead !!***

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Don't Sing at the Table by Adriana Trigiani

Grandmothers give all kinds of sage advice. I think most of it probably is in one ear and out the other when we are young. Fodder for eye rolling in our teenage years, I am sure. But as we get older and have grandchildren of our own, these little gems of wisdom start coming out of our own mouths. Trigiani's Don't Sing at the Table is a compilation of great advice from both of her grandmothers. Some spoken, some unwittingly absorbed.
The author was very lucky to have spent alot of time with both of her hard-working Italian grandmothers. Both very strong women with very strong opinions on family and business. Viola was a seamstress who started as a sewing machine operator in a clothing factory. She was promoted to manager, and after she married, co-owned a blouse factory with her husband. Lucia was also a sewing machine operator in a children's clothing factory.  When she married a shoemaker, they planned to open their own shoe business but unfortunately her husband died suddenly at age 39. Lucia worked in a shoe factory making children's shoes while she put her three children through college.
Trigiani writes about her two grandmothers with humor and respect, telling stories of the  history of her family, from Italy to New York and beyond. A sentimental journey packed with advice that we could all use !

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: Philosophy Skin Care Products

My sister R, months ago, told me that she had picked up a kit of Philosophy skincare products and after only a few days use, had started to receive compliments on her skin. At the time, I was using & reviewing another line that I really liked, so I put the Philosophy idea aside. Three weeks ago I decided to browse Amazon, (I had a $50 gift cert) and saw that they carried Philosophy products. After reading up on all the different products, I chose a kit with:  Purity, a cleanser, Help me, the night time retinol lotion and Hope in a jar, the much bally-hooed moisturizer. I have been using the three products for two weeks now and I do notice some differences in my skin. The cleanser, Purity I use in the shower every morning on my face & neck. Makes my skin squeaky clean but does not dry it out. I am using the Hope in a jar after my shower on face & neck and am finding no flakiness or dry spots on my face. At night after using my standard swipe of witch hazel to remove all my makeup, I use the Help me retinol cream. Retinol helps to reduce red  spots, sun damage, lighten age spots. I do notice a bit of improvement. Nothing very dramatic but I am continuing to use it and am hoping that two weeks from now I see a huge improvement.
I must also say that I do enjoy watching the Philosophy products getting hawked on QVC. There are so many products !!
If you use Hope in a jar and it's not doing a thing for you, you may need When hope is not enough serum ! My sister R told me that her kit contained Miracle worker retinol pads and that the pads were what she thought made the difference. So my next purchase will be Miracle worker.  Miracle worker pads evidently trump Help me lotion.
Let me warn you, though, all this great stuff comes at a high price. Miracle worker pads retail at $70.00 for 60 pads. (My sister R says next time she will cut the pads in half) After your face, you also swipe it over your hands, so more bang for the buck ! If you are looking for products that work, then I think Philosophy is a good bet. Start with a kit and go from there. I do recommend that you tune in to QVC and watch for the deals , which they do have. You also can see the products being applied & explained and I think that does help you decide which products you will need.

Philosophy products are sold in Sephora stores & on line at , Macy's stores, online at and online at and of course, QVC.