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Book Review: How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace by Jordan Christy

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Little black dress with pearls.Summary:
This book is a call to action for intelligent American women to start addressing our current image problem.  Increasingly, women are willing to give away all the self-respect our suffragette fore-mothers fought for in return for their quick 15 minutes of fame or even 15 minutes of attention from that one dude.  Christy calls on women to appreciate the relatively recent freedom we now have as a gender by pursuing knowledge, class, and dignity in lieu of late-night dancing on stripper poles at clubs.  The book serves not only as a call to action, but also as a how to guide, featuring chapters on classy dress for every personality, good friends, dating, body image, and more.

Review:
I admit that I largely bought this book because the women of classic cinema–from Audrey Hepburn to Katherine Hepburn–are my heroes.  They exuded femininity and strength simultaneously.  What’s more attractive than that?  Overall, though, I think this book is a bit behind where I am in my personal growth as a woman, although that doesn’t make the message any less important.

For instance, I really didn’t need Christy to tell me to love and accept my body and eat healthily.  I already do both those things.  On the other hand, I know some women who would really need that chapter, so I certainly didn’t mind it being in the book.  Similarly, I’m a nerd.  I don’t need to be told not to be a Stupid Girl (as those hoo-ha flashing reality tv stars are often called).  I suppose if I was a bit younger or raised a bit differently though I might be intrigued by this book if for no other reason than the idea that class and intelligence are actually more attractive than that kind of behavior.

The two chapters on style were actually quite useful.  Fashion sense that’s practical and attractive simultaneously while reflecting my personality is something I struggle with.  I found the quizzes to help you determine your style and colors that work best for you to be truly enlightening.  Christy offers up sample core items for the various personality types, and I immediately wanted to acquire the ones that suited my own.  It was worth reading the book for the fashion sense alone.

Overall, I appreciate a book calling on women to respect themselves and behave like intelligent human beings.  To pursue the goals and passions or fore-mothers fought so hard for.  I definitely think those who would benefit the most from this book might be the ones least likely to read it–like oh think of the Jersey Shore female cast members.  On the other hand, everyone has moments when they get tired of the partying lifestyle.  Having a book like this out there for them to grasp onto with such an attractive cover to boot is definitely a good thing.  I’d recommend giving it a go if you’re an intelligent woman seeking for encouragement in your pursuit of class and goals or if you’re a partier thinking about changing your lifestyle.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

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Movie Review: Kamikaze Girls (2004) Japan Shimotsuma Monogatari

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Netflix recommended this to me after I gave Battle Royale a 5 star rating.  I’m starting to have a thing for Japanese movies, and after reading the description I knew I had to get it.

Summary:
Highschooler Momoko may live in the countryside, but she’s big city fashion at heart.  Her babydoll, Rococo style frilly dresses, parasols, and bonnets make her stick out like a sore thumb at her school.  Ichigo is a member of a rough, tough girl biker gang.  Their paths cross when Momoko sells some of her dad’s Versace knock-offs to acquire money for more dresses.  A tentative friendship develops, affecting both girls forever.

Review:
The box for Kamikaze Girls claims it’s a Japanese comedy.  Although live-action, it definitely employs some of the zaniness seen in comic Anime films, so if that’s not your style, consider yourself warned.  I enjoy zany humor though, so I appreciated it here.

The acting is great.  The actresses playing Momoko and Ichigo play perfectly off of each other.  Ichigo walks tough and speaks gruff, while Momoko gently reprimands.

Japanese fashion is highlited here, making for excellent eye candy throughout the film.  Ichigo’s clothes are Easternized versions of Western punk fashion.  Momoko’s richly styled frilly dresses definitely hearken back to the 18th century France inspiration.

What really makes the film though is the plot.  This is a movie about friendship between young women, and their friendship doesn’t revolve around talking about men.  They support each other, instead, in making decisions about who they will be.  Instead of it seeming forced that they weren’t talking about men or sex or drugs, it felt completely natural.  They just had more important things in their life right now.  Should Ichigo stay in her growing gang or strike out on her own?  Should Momoko try to break into fashion design?  Can a Rococo girl also ride a scooter?

If you like quirky foreign films and want a solid friendship movie, look no further than Kamikaze Girls.  You won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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