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The Style Page reviews Idiot’s Guides: Everyday Makeup Secrets

Idiot's Guides: Everyday Makeup SecretsIdiot’s Guides: Everyday Makeup Secrets by Daniel Klingler

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Idiot’s Guides: Everyday Makeup Secrets devotes too much space on faking the perfect face shape (oval, with evenly proportioned features) and perfect eye shape (almond) through highlighting and contouring. It also recommends eyebrow shapes for different face shapes: I would think that the best approach is to follow the natural shape of the brow bone.

The best parts of Idiot’s Guide: Everyday Makeup Secrets are the call-out boxes, which feature many interesting hacks.

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The Style Page reviews The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Blue Castle The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was into Anne of Green Gables, even before the 1985 TV series starring Megan Follows. I was 17, and a copy of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was lying around the house, a Christmas gift from my mother’s friend. I read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and liked it. Mom suggested that I read Anne of Green Gables. I loved it. In 1980, soon after I graduated from college, I went on my “pilgrimage” to Prince Edward Island.

I discovered The Blue Castle through Susan L.M. Goldberg on PJ Media. She wrote: if you’ve never, you must read The Blue Castle now—quickly! I’ll wait. As a fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery‘s books, I had to read The Blue Castle.

Valancy Stirling fits the archetype of the lonely, sad person living in a home where others are cold to her (think Cinderella or Harry Potter). A medical diagnosis gives her one year to live. She casts off her inhibitions, scandalizes her family, and lives life to the fullest. She even proposes marriage! Then multiple revelations upend her life in a day (I won’t disclose them – read the book). The Blue Castle has a “happily ever after” ending.

I’ve decided that a cynic is a disillusioned romantic. In reading The Blue Castle, I can momentarily believe in romance again.

PS Read the introduction by Collett Tracey after you read The Blue Castle. It contains spoilers.

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Could vegetarianism negatively impact mood? from Science of Us

According to this article, preliminary studies have found a link between a meatless diet and mental problems like depression, anxiety, and self-harm. A nutrient-deficient plant-based diet might create problems that contribute to psychological disorders.

I quit eating red meat several years ago, mostly for health reasons. After reading an article about the benefits of vegetarianism for spiritual development (!), I quick eating poultry. I seldom eat eggs, but I still include dairy in my diet. On rare occasions, I eat fish.

Depression, anxiety, and fearfulness have ruled my life for as long as I can remember. I wonder if a mostly vegetarian diet has made things worse. Blood tests have revealed that I had severe deficiencies of Vitamins B12 and D in my diet. So much for spiritual development! (When I told my nephew why I had given up poultry, he said that that was ridiculous).

I don’t plan to give up my diet, but I’ll add nutritional supplements to my diet.

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The book The Vegetarian reminds me of Margaret Arwood’s proto-feminist The Edible Woman, in which the engaged-to-be-married heroine loses her appetite for food, to the point that she can only eat noodles. After she breaks off her engagement in dramatic fashion, she suddenly becomes ravenously hungry.

“If you’re going to be a vegetarian, you have to be more thoughtful about what you eat.”

Source: ‘The Vegetarian’ and the Puzzling Link Between Diet and Mood — Science of Us

White Heat: Britain in the 1960s

White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging SixtiesWhite Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties by Dominic Sandbrook

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I was a kid, really a kid, in the 1960s, I was fascinated by British fashion (notably Mary Quant and the mini-skirt) and the British music invasion. That’s why I wanted to read White Heat.

But White Heat is so much more than the swinging sixties. It covers political history throughout the Wilson years, in-fighting among those in Wilson’s cabinet, and economic crises, including devaluation of the pound and deflation. It relates the beginning of Protestant-Catholic conflict in Northern Ireland. It covers other social upheaval, such as corralling people into tower blocks.

While White Heat covers the swinging sixties in detail, it notes that the swinging sixties influenced few people and puts it into the larger context of life in the UK. Would you believe that the soundtrack for The Sound of Music outsold The Beatles’ albums? British society and tastes still remained fairly conservative by the end of the sixties.

Dominick Sandbrook also wrote Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles, about the preceding years of recent British history. He has also written books about the UK in the seventies: I look forward to additional coverage of The Troubles. All are books that I plan to read.

If you would like to focus on the swinging sixties, then I recommend Ready, Steady, Go!: The Smashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London by Shawn Levy.

Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel

Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International SupermodelAlek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel by Alek Wek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had some time to spend before a meeting in DC, and decided to take a walk. It was then that I happened upon the clearance rack that was outside the World Bank bookstore. In the clearance rank, I found the book Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel. At $3.00, the book was a steal.

The fashion angle is what drew me to Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel initially. Alek Wek is a trailblazing model. Before her, there had been many models of color, but most of them had “acceptable” features, that is, European-like features, but with darker skin. Alek Wek is said to have an “African” look; however, she rightly notes that there is no typical African look. Appallingly, as you key in “Alek Wek” in Google, one of the top results is “Alek Wek is ugly.”

My fascination and curiosity about world cultures are what drew me into the book. Alek Wek is from southern Sudan, and is an ethnic Dinka. She relates many customs of her Dinka culture. The cow is central to Dinka culture: in this way, I was reminded how central the cow is to villagers in India.

As an aside, she talks about what happens to the clothes that we dump into collection boxes.

The civil war between Arabs in northern Sudan and blacks in southern Sudan goes back decades, but never had the high visibility of the human rights catastrophe in Darfur. Alek Wek and her family fled their town to find shelter in a village where distant relatives lived, but had to trek to another village after learning through bush telegraph that fighting had spread to their original destination. She later bluffed her way to Khartoum, and from Khartoum, she went to London, where she was discovered in a London park.

In the second half of the book, Alek Wek discusses her career as a model. Her big breakthrough was making the cover of Elle, and she talks about the fight to put her on the cover. In the last quarter of the book, she talks about using her fame to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis in southern Sudan. The book concludes with an emotional homecoming to Sudan.

Alek Wek comes across as a well-grounded person, and this can be attributed to the influence of her father and her resourceful mother.

I hope that I haven’t shared too much of Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel to dissuade you from reading the book. On the other hand, I hope that I’ve whetted your interest in reading the book.

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Positively 4th Street #MusicMonday

Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña by David Hajdu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Positively 4th Street

A better for Positively 4th Street might be Positively 4th Street: The Lives, Loves and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña. It chronicles Bob Dylan and Joan Baez’s romance and the causes of its dissolution.

More interesting, however, are the life, loves and times of Richard Fariña, who tragically died in a motorcycle accident, on the day of the 21th birthday party he threw for his wife Mimi Baez Fariña (Joan’s younger sister).   Why there isn’t a cult surrounding Richard Fariña, I don’t know. I came away wanting to know more, read Richard’s one novel Been Down So Long It Looks Up to Me, and discover the recordings by Richard and Mimi Farina.

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Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Vatican certifies miracle ascribed to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, who should be elevated to sainthood next year.

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha
Source: normlev.net via Julie on Pinterest

Does this mean that Leonard Cohen will have to rewrite his novel Beautiful Losers 🙂
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