Thursday, February 20, 2014

Post Cards from Cookie by Caroline Clarke

Imagine you were adopted at birth, had great adoptive parents and a good life. Never entered your mind to look for your biological parents, would never hurt your mom & dad by looking. You are now grown with kids of your own and a minor medical issue comes up. You start to wonder if there is any information in your file about your bio-parents that you should know.
You contact the Home for Unwed Mothers, where you were born and arrange a meeting. You go in and sit down and think that you don't expect to hear much of anything. Back in those days, not a lot of information was kept about birth mothers. A woman walks in carrying a file folder, a kind of thickish file folder…she begins to read it to you. She begins to describe to you the mother you never knew…and it sounds familiar…the young girl, the dates, a reference here or there….and you walk away from the meeting and realize that your birth mother was very likely your friend Timmie's older sister. AND your friend Timmie was Nat King Cole's daughter…your grandfather was Nat King Cole.
Sounds like I made it up doesn't it? It is a coincidence of the wildest order, fate, karma..magic?
Caroline Clarke discovered this truth and decided to contact her birth mother , Carole  "Cookie"  Cole. Over a period of seven years they wrote postcards, telephoned, emailed and met face to face seven times, until Cookie's death from cancer. This memoir is their story.
As you read along, you can feel author Clarke's raw emotion, as if she is sitting down with you and recounting the story in disbelief…it is like a fairytale, with not the happiest of endings. Written from the heart, the best kind of book.  
The book comes out in April and I recommend it whole-heart-edly.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Priscilla by Nicholas Shakespeare

It is always so interesting, this period of the 20-30-40's, to read about it's women.There were a few very strong, very surprising women who did not fit the mold. Priscilla Mais was one of these women. Her nephew Nicholas Shakespeare, through a series of love letters, photos and a draft of an autobiography, pieced together a fantastic tale of his aunt, quite different from the one the family passed down.
She was beautiful, of that  there seems to be no question..but the "survivor" of the French Resistence story seems to be just that, a story. Born in England and shipped off to France after her mother ran away with a lover, she befriended another English school girl, Gillian. Back in England after school, she was a young woman headed back to France for an abortion. There she met & married an older, impotent aristocrat, but her marriage didn't last. While her husband was off fighting the Germans, his family sent her packing so that they were not attacked for harboring an enemy alien.
Priscilla was indeed interred for a few months, but was released due to pregnancy…she was a good actress. Along came a string of lovers, single & married who were charmed by her beauty and seemingly fragile nature. Shady characters, black marketeers, German name it. She did survive, and showed up in England, on her old pal Gillian's doorstep, having "survived" the occupation. (Gillian ended up discovering the truth and wrote about it, unpublished however)
Shakespeare uncovers the not so noble truth about his aunt in this interesting story.
In his  words:
" At first glance, it was embarrassing to discover what Priscilla got up to. Of course, I wished for my aunt to be heroic. I wanted her to be an exception. But she was not an exception, she was just an ordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances".
There is no doubt that Priscilla was a survivor, and I think you will come to that yourself after reading the book. If you like to read about strong, resilient women, then this one's for you:)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Great New Skin Care Products!

Boy, this winter has been a harsh one. I am so happy to be able to have sampled lots of new skin care products because my skin has been taking a beating with dry, heated air inside and cold, below freezing air outside! 
Here are just a few of the new products I love:

First let me begin with Apothederm's Brightening Cleanser. Patented Smart Peptides target specific areas of concern such as crow's feet & laugh lines. These special peptides act as cellular messengers to stimulate and restore critical skin functions.  
Brightening Cleanser brightens, tones and refines pores as it sloughs off dead skin with malice acid and vitamin C. Loved how clean and smooth my skin felt without feeling dry. What a beautiful canvas for make-up! Shop at

Next , I love this serum by Sublime Beauty,  Ageless Line Smoother. It is a wonderfully luxurious serum that glides on your skin and is quickly absorbed. I used it morning and night for two weeks and  I have noticed a positive difference in my skin. It is made from three key ingredients, Hyacare Filler CL, a topical alternative to dermal fillers... Argireline, a natural botox that relaxes wrinkles... and Matrixyl, a peptide that boosts collagen production. It has plumped those tiny lines and wrinkles in my face, I am so much smoother. Love it.
Shop at and

And lastly, a product for a part of our face that we overlook so much of the time but takes a big hit in winter. ….our lips. Miracle Skin Transformer has come up with a lip balm, 
Lip Rewind infused with antioxidants that condition, smooth and create a barrier against the elements. It also includes a broad spectrum sunscreen which protects against damaging UV rays.  Love the feel of this lip balm,  and love the look… smoother, moisturized and with less visible lines, they look fuller. 
Comes in great colors and is available at,,