Category Archives: Books

Noooo Wire Hangers!!!

“Finding a resolution for problems involving the unknown, the difficult, (is) … gratifying.” 

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 At age 87, Betty Halbreich continues to live a life of fashion and style and has unknowingly affected our culture, society, and trends.

The book immediately throws you into her world as a child, which was completely foreign to me, not only because of the affluence but most importantly the era, 1930s. In the book, there was an assumption of family values, roles, and decorum during that time.  As a child, Betty was living is a world of nursemaids, cooks, quiet wealth, and sophistication.

However, a few pages in, I easily entered her world, and didn’t want to leave. One may think what struggles could this ‘poor’ little rich girl have? Many. Like all of us. Like me, she had a strict strong-willed mother, who you emulate, and constantly and typically ineffectively attempt to please. Like me, she had a hard-working adoring father, defining how a man should treat you; that you deserve the world, and to never settle for less.  Like me, she dealt with the difficulties with breaking away from traditions to assert her independence but its hard when those values are all you know.

Marriage. Motherhood. Love. Heartbreak.  Being valued.  Finding your own worth. Establishing yourself.  It’s hard to understand why things happen, and what’s the next step to take when your legs feel so wobbly from disappointments.  Mrs. Halbreich used fashion, as legendary personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, to turn her tragedies into triumph.  She used her knowledge, care, arch-criticism and incredible enviable sense of style to transform the lives of others, using not only clothing but listening. She had a profound ability of being able to see the forest through the trees, understanding her clients needs through their wants.

FullSizeRender (1)I loved travelling in time from 1930s to today with Mrs. Halbreich.  I read this book at a timely part of my life when I had a big unexpected hit to my career, but like Mrs. Halbreich, its important to renew. Use those old traditions upon which you were raised as a foundation. Redefine and Reinvent yourself.

All in all, I thought this a great Naomi Notable Read!!!  I highly recommend.

Naomi

P.S. the next book I’m reading is “The Asylum: True tales of Madness from a Life in Fashion” by Simon Doonan.

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Wait…so I can be Parisian in Baltimore???

image1Now, be mindful that the first time I left Baltimore was for graduate school in NYC in 2001, and I the only foreign languare I studied was Spanish from 3rd grade until second year of college.   That being said despite some language and somewhat cultural barriers, the authors did a great job of making the book relatable.

My interpretation of a Parisian woman based on this book, would be the same as what is considered an “independent” woman in America, except it appears more generally acceptable in Paris.

I loved the “how to” aspect of this book.  Maybe because I have limited time for myself, so I welcome recipes as well as room lighting and decorating techniques; or   Maybe it’s because I am a simple girl with a secret desire to tap into new cultures, tastes and experiences.

So my Favorite Mid-Month Review Book Quotes (bold) and my thoughts (italics):

  1. Aphorisms“…be aware of your qualities and your faults. Cultivate them in private but don’t obsess.” –> Wait, I obsess as a hobby!!!
  2. Fashion tips: how to have a “24 hr look” –>Difficult to pull off in the schizophrenic weather of Maryland and my occasional laziness…
  3. Ideas about relationships and family:
    1. separate bedrooms…so your spouse misses you…wait, I thought, did ‘I Love Lucy’ have it right??? Just kidding, I’m spoiled, even I’m gone for a few moments, my hubs still acts like its an eternity…
    2. “one must live with the opposite sex, not against them” –> Gosh, so true, sometimes it’s hard to remember you’re a team, maybe I should make us Brent and Naomi team jerseys lol…
    3. “be financially independent so that you only love for love” –>a beautiful thought, very difficult to execute
    4. being “in love with love” … –>I truly feel it helps a marriage last
  4. FAVORITE line: “And what happens in the life of a woman who refuses to give up anything? Disorder-and lots of it” –>Story of my life…Wouldn’t change for the world though!!!!

In conclusion, Parisennes exude this effortless confidence, probably because according to this book, certain ideals are learned early.  They own who they are which makes their persona translatable in any environment.  All in all, I thought this a great Naomi Notable Read!!!  I highly recommend.

Naomi

P.S. the next book I’m reading is “I’ll drink to that: A Life in Style, with a Twist” by Betty Halbreich http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ill-drink-to-that-betty-halbreich/1119133246