Archive for the ‘
Celebrity Books ’ Category
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
I have to get in a cab ASAP or else I’m going to miss the awesome Kathryn Budig, yogi and writer extrodinaire at the Yoga Journal Conference. Yesterday she was handstanding and singing really happy songs at the same time. She not only inspires me to take my yoga up a notch, she also writes awesome recipes like this one about green smoothies. I’m going to write up some tips and tricks for moms from lots of yogis I’ve met there next week. Stay tuned!
The Yoga Journal conference in Florida (theres one in New York in April) is a yogis paradise. And yesterday, someone even gave me a free pair of red yoga pants. This is totally win-win.
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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013
You need Pilates! Wait, maybe that’s me I’m talking about. Anyway, Pilates celebrity expert Brooke Siler just came out with a hiptastic new book that will get you moving and toning in no time. I’ll just cut to the chase: The Women’s Health Big Book of Pilates is awesome. It has great moves and pretty pictures. Just flipping through it makes me feel automatically healthier. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Brooke Siler told me about her latest project. And check out her workout move photo at the end.
KK: How can a new mom (assuming she’s physically ready) make time to work out?
BS: Creating a Pilates home practice is a great way for a new mom to get started and since most Pilates matwork is done low to the ground, there are plenty of ways to stay close to baby during the routine. And since Pilates is about sound body mechanics, its principles can be practiced throughout the day simply by becoming aware of how you are sitting, standing, walking, etc.
KK: Can you suggest a new mom sequence or Pilates move to get started?
BS: Pelvic Lift! See below.
KK: How much time will it take every day to get back into a routine?
BS: Allowing yourself 20 to 30 minutes a day to get down on the mat and just move well is a great habit to get into. If you can change your thinking from “ugh, I have to workout” to “it feels great to move my body” a lot of the negative exercise connotation can be tossed out. In the end, the positions and habits developed in taking care of baby (carrying baby on one hip, poor posture during breast-feeding, increased bouts of sitting, etc) can all take a rough toll on your body. By allowing yourself time to undo the damage of these habits you can create a routine of self-care that might just last a lifetime.
KK: Why is Pilates so good for moms who’ve recently had babies?
BK: Besides the benefits of Pilates being non-impact and ab-centric, my teacher Romana liked to say that Pilates was about fighting gravity because we are always drawing our musculature “In and Up”. Pregnancy and birth are very gravity-heavy events in that everything is moving downward in order to accommodate the process. By employing Pilates moves and methodology new moms can work to bring everything back up to where they belong.
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Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
American Horror Story: Asylum scared me so badly last season that I couldn’t even go into my dark basement (still can’t). And forget walking the dogs at night–they had to fend for themselves because I was afraid Bloody Face was outside plotting to murder me.
No matter how chicken I am, I can’t wait to watch the new season one week from today. It’s mostly because I will follow Jessica Lange anywhere–from her role in King Kong to her new foray into children’s book publishing. In AHS: Coven, she’ll play the glamorous witch Fiona Goode. But I have a feeling Fiona might be really, really bad.
Beautiful Jessica Lange, of course, is best known for her award-winning acting. But she’s also an avid photographer who loves the technique of old-fashioned hand tinting. Add her hand-tinted photos to a partly-true story, and she has produced a uniquely satisfying children’s book called It’s About a Little Bird. This book sat in my pile to review, and I loved it even before I noticed the byline that reads, “Story and pictures by Jessica Lange.” The artwork and story are bright, fresh and different. And all of them are handmade by Jessica–nothing is digital! Even my 7-year-old twins fell hard for this book–the girls, the grandma, the farm and the bird. They ask for it every night.
I love to read It’s About a Little Bird and introduce them to Jessica Lange. I tell them how I got to interview her on the phone recently. Jessica Lange talked to me about her sweet (and not scary) new book. See what she had to say about it–and AHS–below.
KK: How did this book come about?
JL: ”I’ve done photography for quite a while. Really it was just for myself, but it became more than that. From that, I became very interested in the old colored postcards, the hand-tinted photographs. I started hand tinting my black and white photographs and created a story around some of these images. It was meant as just a little family thing. But it spiraled out of control, and now it’s a book. This is a story I made up for my granddaughters.”
KK: In the story, two little sisters, Adah and Ilse, stay at their grandmother Mem’s farm. Of course, they explore everything and then ask Mem to tell them about a birdcage they found. It turns out that Mem once lived in Rome and had a special canary named Uccellino. This bird went with her everywhere and sang gorgeous songs. One day, when Mem had to return to the U.S., she couldn’t bear to go without her bird. So she snuck Uccellino onto the plane in her pocket. The two landed safely and lived happily ever after. I hear some of this is true!
JL: “There is an element of make believe, but a lot of it is true. The whole thing with the little bird happened. It’s true where I got the bird, how I got it back and about the birdcage… Putting together a book is brand new territory for me. I don’t know how it’s going to be perceived. It’s good to do things that mix it up a little bit.”
KK: Yes! You definitely mix it up each season on American Horror Story. Can you give us any hints on what will happen next?
JL: “It takes place in New Orleans which has a very rich element to add to the story. It deals with witchcraft and broader themes, too. I think he’s (Ryan Murphy) thinking in terms of using witches as metaphors for any minority that is persecuted. There are things that go back to the Salem witch trials. This season, sometimes I’m wondering, ‘What the hell are we all doing?’ I think it should be interesting. And it will be scary. It’s always scary.”
So get your fill of Jessica Lange this week–check out her enchanting and emotional new book and then watch her scene-stealing acting on FX next Wednesday, October 9, at 10 p.m. EST.
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AHS, American Horror Story, American Horror Story: Asylum, American Horror Story: Coven, hand-tinting, It's About a Little Bird, Jessica Lange, photographs, Uccellino | Categories:
Best Sellers, Celebrity Books, Children's Books, Fiction, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Picture Books, Popular Books, Q&A With Authors
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Ex-Commando Neil Sinclair recently wrote a great new guidebook for dads with the apt title, Commando Dad: Basic Training. When Prince William was expecting His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge (why didn’t I think up a name like that for my progeny?), he was seen reading this no-nonsense military manual. It’s obviously a very masculine book–but with a super sweet message. Sinclair believes all dads should be hands-on. Ten-hut.
Author Sinclair explains what’s so special about Commando Dad in a guest post for Parents below:
“I live by the maxim that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Every job I have ever done – Royal Engineer Commando, teacher, Security Guard at the UK Mission to the UN, stay-at-home dad and childminder – I have always given 100 percent. When I first became a new dad 11 years ago, it was a daunting experience. I’d been with my wife every step of the way. We went to classes, and we read books. But that prepared us for the birth and not for the whole life that came afterward. Suddenly, I had a physically and emotionally exhausted wife and a new baby that could only communicate with me by crying. I felt a huge responsibility and wanted to step up, but I also felt as if I was being sidelined: The childcare books, when they did mention me, assigned me to the role of rubbing my wife’s back and telling her how well she did. I knew I had more to offer than that.
So I fell back on my Commando training: my ability to adapt, improvise and overcome. As I got to grips with the basics I did what came naturally – I applied military precision to the task. I got essential kit and supplies; I got organized; and I got us all into a routine. And this approach helped me to create a well-ordered and happy family unit and laid the foundations for the manual I would later write for new dads, Commando Dad: Basic Training.
That’s not to say it was easy. It was never easy, and it still isn’t. But often, the things that are really worth doing aren’t easy. I love being a hands-on dad. I love spending time with the troopers, and I take a huge amount of pride in my unit and how far I’ve come as a dad in the past 11 years.
When I first became a stay-at-home dad, people presumed it was a temporary arrangement until I got a job, not a conscious decision my wife and I had made. Although society’s perception of dads has improved over the last decade, we still don’t always get the easiest of rides. Often the only time you hear about dads and childcare is in a negative way: Dads aren’t spending enough time with the kids, aren’t helping with childcare, don’t instinctively pick up the basics, etc. But from my experience –being a dad, running a club for dads and speaking to new dads on the Commando Dad forums – there’s a lot of dads out there that do want to be more involved, but they don’t know how. And too often, they’re made to feel like it won’t come naturally – after all there is no such term as ‘paternal instinct’.
My advice to new dads is to have the confidence to be hands-on from Day One. There is no ‘one’ way of doing things – as long as you love and care for your trooper, you’re doing it right. Don’t believe the hype. The only thing we dads can’t physically do is breastfeed. No dad who has ever held his baby for the first time can deny the powerful flood of emotions to love and protect – that’s parental instinct right there. Seek out other new dads – in the real world or online – and create a network to both support you through the trying times and share your inevitable successes. Commando Dad:Basic Training can give you straightforward, accessible advice on all of the practical skills you’ll need but you’ll have to supplement that information with a lot of hands on experience.
So have the confidence to step up, dads. You’re simply too important not too. To your baby trooper you are somewhere between hero, role model and protector – and you owe it to yourself and to them to be the best dad you can be. Right now.”
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Thursday, May 30th, 2013
Benno and Leo Batali have grown up eating their dad, Mario’s, fine food. It’s no surprise that these two kids know their way around a kitchen and have already co-written their first food tome, The Batali Brothers Cookbook. I’m sharing it with my first grade twins who love to eat and to help. They can easily make the boys’ recipes such as Cinnamon Swirl French Toast (see the whole thing below), Sloppy Sloppy Joe’s and Blue Cheese Pocket Burgers. Mario steps in for the second half of the book to add signature family dishes like Lamb Shanks with Leeks and Grapes and Apple Fritters.
See what Benno and Leo had to say about having Mario Batali for a dad below. Scroll down a litter further for a recipe you can do with your kids tomorrow morning.
KK: How old were you when your parents let you start cooking in the kitchen? What was/were the very first dish you prepared?
BB: We’ve always cooked withour dad.
KK: A lot of moms (like me!) are hesitant to let their kids start cooking. Why is it important to stop worrying and get our children started? I know mine really want to.
BB: Once you allow kids in the kitchen, then it’s always part of the game. Our living room is our kitchen and our kitchen is our living room. It’s only natural that we help out with the cooking. Keep the knives out of reach, but otherwise, it’s goot to get them involved.
KK: If you had to choose, what’s your absolute favorite recipe in your new book?
BB: Pocket Burgers. Hands down. It’s a simple adaptation of a classic recipe. We change what’s in the pocket depending on what we find at the farmer’s market.
KK: So tell us, what’s it like having a famous chef for a father?
BB: It’s cook that Jimmy Fallon’s been to our house for Super Bowl Sunday.
Cinnamon Swirl French Toast
This is our favorite breakfast dish to eat on the weekend because it reminds us that we should be relaxing and doing what we want. When we were younger we used to eat it every weekend, but now we only have it on special occasions, so it is a real treat for us. Makes 10 slices of French toast
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 slices cinnamon bread
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more as needed
Maple syrup and butter, for serving
1. In a bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract and nutmeg.
2. Set a cast-iron or nonstick sauté pan over medium heat.
3. Put a couple of slices of bread in the mix. Coat each side of the bread and let it sit for half a minute to soak up the egg.
4. Put 1 tablespoon of the butter in the pan and let it melt. Put the bread into the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked to your liking.
5. Cook the rest of the bread the same way, adding butter to the pan each time.
6. Serve hot, with maple syrup and butter.
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Benno Batali, cinnamon swirl French toast, cooking with kids, Leo Batali, Mario Batali, pocket burger, sloppy joes, The Batali Brothers Cookbook | Categories:
Celebrity Books, Cookbooks, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Popular Books, Q&A With Authors