Friday, March 29, 2013

Serving Victoria by Kate Hubbard

Oh yes, I am a Downtown Abbey fan. Anything Downton..gossip, behind the scenes, cast interviews and I do have a Free Bates T-Shirt:) So when I saw this book, Serving Victoria on the review list, I jumped at the chance. Hubbard has written a book about the Upstairs Royal household during "Queen Vicky's" reign. It is very interesting the way it all happens in the Royal castle. The Royal "servants" are most likely a cousin, a cousin's cousin, an old friend's sister or sister-in-law. These are mostly Lords & Ladies in their own right. If you were asked by the Queen, you didn't turn her down even though it would mean months of the year away from your own family.
Author Hubbard relies on letters and diaries to glean her information about what went on in the royal household from the time the Queen sat on the throne until her death at the end of the book. A real glimpse into the life of a Queen who is best known for her life long grieving after the death of her husband Albert. What it does give the reader is a real look at the Queen. Her portraits would you believe she was foul and austere but in actuality she was vulnerable, selfish, odd and someone who was very controlling. She never made a move without consulting her husband, Prince Albert. After his death, she herself wondered what would become of her people.
The book tells of Ladies in waiting, Ladies of the bed chamber, Dressers, not to mention Governesses, Teachers of the children, Religious Teachers for the children ( and the Queen had nine children)  .. the list seems endless. I don't think I could have withstood the constant presence of these many people. (And I will never find out since my title Queen Bee is a title without any real Royal significance:)
I enjoyed this book but it not an easy read. There are many people and titles to remember and you need a scorecard to keep track of births and deaths. But, if you enjoy a bit of history and all things Royal, it is worth the read. Available May 2013.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

purminerals Tinted Moisturizer

Love it when I come across a great beauty product, especially one that combines so many steps into one. I have used purminerals for the last two weeks and I love it! It is a very lightly tinted  moisturizer and it has an SPF 20. But the secret ingredient, Ceretin Complex,  is an exclusive blend of ceramides (for moisture) and non-irratating retinol (for anti-aging). Last time I was at the dermatologist, she told me to use products with retinol and to make sure I moisturized daily. Most products with retinol are night time products and I would be forgetting that step more often than not. But having a 4 in 1 product that I can apply in the morning before my makeup, is chance on forgetting any step.
purminerals tinted moisturizer has a very light  coverage so that when I apply my mineral makeup, I need only either a light dusting or a touch up . It also helps my skin up to look better under my makeup, more luminous.
purminerals  has been developing skin care products since 2002. Their products not only offer exceptional coverage but also nourish and condition your skin for that healthy glow.
You can find purminerals products at an ULTA near you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pain, Parties, Work by Elizabeth Winder

Sylvia Plath.  I am sure you have heard the name and probably can't place it. Plath was a poet and writer of short stories. She also wrote one novel, The Bell Jar, before she killed herself in 1963, at age thirty.
Author Elizabeth Winder takes Plath's life in the summer of 1953 and exposes the real names and places of Plath's first downhill spiral with mental illness. At times while I read, I felt deja-vu..I felt like I was reading The Bell Jar where only the names were changed to protect the not so innocent.
Plath was a very gifted writer from early on, having her first poem published at age 8. Her father died the same year, and her mother decided due to her tender age,  she would not attend the funeral. Years later she would remark that she did not mourn his death until she was in her twenties, breaking down into unconsolable tears at last.
Through high school and college she had more small works published and she ended up winning a spot with Mademoiselle, in the summer of 1953 along with 19 other young women, as a junior editor. They would all stay at the Barbizon Hotel,  be involved in fashion shoots, photo sessions, dinners, dances..they would meet famous fashion experts, writers, poets, actors and actresses. A few of the girls, including Sylvia, would be put to work actually editing writers for the magazine. It was not all fluff for those few. They were expected to work and work hard.
This was quite a different world away from where most of these girls had been brought up. Sylvia hailed from Wellesley, MA...some of the girls were from the corn fields of the mid-west and plantations in the south. Needless to say,  most were naive about living in NYC.
After this world wind summer in NYC, Sylvia returned home and made her first suicide attempt, spending three days under the cellar of her home after taking a bottle of anti-depressants. She was 21 years old.
Such a tragic life. The Bell Jar, written by Plath, focuses on her life after the suicide attempt and her stay at the asylums, her therapies and treatments, her coming back into the"normal" world.
So much has been written about Plath since her death, it was good to read a novel about that one summer.... tragic though, because you can see the unraveling of a young woman's life. Something she obviously never fully recovered from.
This is a very good book, I recommend you read it. I also recommend you read some of Plath's works before or after this book. Definitely re-read The Bell Jar.