ATB Quarantine Book List

Friday, May 22, 2020

With all of us stuck in quarantine, there's no better way to escape the stressors of this difficult time than getting lost in a good book. Whether its riveting, heart-racing thrillers, memorable memoirs, or incredible stories, spending a few hours reading seems to melt away any anxiety I may be experiencing at that time. This unexpected time shut in is a bit of a blessing in disguise as it's provided so much extra distraction-free time to dive into my ever-growing list of tomes I've been compiling since the past year. With a mix of old titles and new, here are some lovely books to explore during your days in.

A wonderfully written jaw-dropping thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, The Woman in the Window feels very Hitchcoakian with a tense beat that keeps you excited till the very end. This story centers around Anna Fox, an agoraphobic who is bound to her beautiful New York City home. Without the option of venturing beyond her front door, she fills her days watching old mystery films and drinking a little too much. Her only thread to the outside word is peeking into her neighbors homes through the windows. Now a little spying is not a crime until she witnesses the murder of the woman across the street. But the real question is, did this heinous crime actually happen? This murder becomes the very incident that begins her painful unraveling but with classic thrillers constantly on  loop, a detrimental diet of alcohol and an intense case of paranoia, what did Anna actually see that night?

2. The Silent Patient | Alex Michaelides
There's always a story behind a murder, but what happen's when the killer isn't saying a word?
Alicia Berenson has a seemingly perfect life, a fabulous career (famous painter), married to a successful (fashion designer) man and residing in a dreamy property in one of London's most prime neighborhoods. With such a picture-esque existence, the calm waters are soon to become muddy, or rather bloody. One late evening, Alicia's husband returns home after a fashion shoot and welcomes his arrival by shooting him 5-times in the face. She falls into a stark silence immediately after, never speaking a word of the crime or its motive. Her refusal to speak of this horrific crime draws the curiosity of the both the public and experts alike which leaves her hid away for protection. Alicia is kept in a forensic unit in a secure London facility where a criminal psychotherapsit finally gets the long-awaited opportunity to speak to her. Will his effort get her talking and  finally reveal the gritty details to this gruesome mystery?

3. Pretty Things | Janelle Brown
A juicy thriller for the modern age, this story details the intertwined lives of two women who are complete opposites of one another and are brought together by one epic scam. Nina, a grifter, holds a useless fancy liberal arts degree and turns to a life of crime with her boyfriend by her side. Her expert con artist skills are handed down from her mother and leads her down a risky path of stealing from the rich in L.A. to survive. However, her on-the-run criminal lifestyle comes to halt when her mother becomes ill. In an effort to help her, she devises a grand scam, her most dangerous yet, even if it means putting her own life on the line.

Unlike Nina, Vanessa is the picture of privilege, an heiress-turned-Instagram Influencer, her seemingly ideal and envious lifestyle is portrayed perfectly on the digital platform. Behind the fancy facade, Vanessa is anything but picture-perfect and is suffering her own personal tragedy. She escapes to her family's luxe mountain estate, an extravagant mansion which holds a dark set of secrets of its own, some of which involve both Vanessa and Nina's unknown past. It's here that begins the intermingling of their stories and with so many brilliant twists and details, you'll be left wondering who was the real con artist.

4. Rules of Civility | Amor Towles
As a NYC girl, I love a beautiful story set in my incredible city. Much like a moving film set in New York City, the city itself becomes a character in this book. Rules of Civility follows the story of Kate Kontent, a young woman in post-Depression era New York who finds her simple city life suddenly upgraded in every sense. Weaving in and out of a glamorous social culture of the elite in this era while remaining authentic to her true self, this vividly descriptive and stunningly written journey grabs the reader and has you falling in and out of love with the complex characters in her life.

5. A Gentleman in Moscow | Amor Towles
A densely detailed and wonderfully woven story of a Count who is sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life in one of the grandest hotels in 1922 Russia. Nestled across the street from the Kremlin, Metropol, the hotel where Count Alexander Rostov has taken residence in its attic room becomes the setting of the various interesting encounters within its walls. There Rostov learns the lessons of existence and purpose from the bold characters around the lofty hotel while witnessing the dramatic developments of the state just outside his window - a lovely transporting novel you won't want to end.

6. Save Me The Plums | Ruth Reichl
One of the most buzzed about memoirs of 2019, my book list would not be complete without Ruth Reichl's exciting memoir, Save Me the Plums. This exciting memoir details Reichl's incredible journey from food critic to editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and how she transformed the once sleepy magazine into a contemporary and innovative publication. It's a fascinating peek inside the golden age of magazine making with plenty of charm, captivating storytelling and of course, delectable recipes.

Perfecting the At-Home Manicure with Côte

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

With all of us limited to our homes during this uncertain and tricky time, simple beauty treatments, like manicures, can give us a sense of normalcy and relief from the added stress. Manicures are an ideal at-home beauty task as it requires a few tools and polishes you may already have in your beauty arsenals.

For some, an at-home manicure may seem like an intimidating effort better left to the professionals. Luckily, Mary Lennon and Leah Yari, the founders of clean polish brand côte, have shared their top tips on achieving the perfect nails right from your own home. Mary and Leah's expert, no-fuss tricks  will soon have any nail novice polishing their tips like a true professional.

Côte founders Mary Lennon and Leah Yari 

Grab your favorite bottle of polish and read on to get your nails in tip-top shape:

Prime Space
1. To create your own at home spa oasis, Mary and Leah encourage finding a tidy, airy space where you can neatly set your nail tools and items. This is not a time to rush but rather a moment to enjoy a bit of personal pampering. It's all about recreating a clean and spa-like setting in your unique space.

Clean Nails
2. For a proper professional polish application, clean nails are must. Use a cotton ball or round and remove any bits of old polish or dirt. They recommend a non-acetone remover as it is less harsh on natural nail. To ensure a completely clean nail plate, "follow up with a quick wipe of rubbing alcohol," says Mary and Leah.

Prime Before Color
3. Before we jump to color, priming the nails with a base polish is essential. The founders emphasize the benefits explaining "the base coat is important if you want your color to last". Before color polish, a single, thin layer of basecoat is all you need on each nail.

4. Once the basecoat has dried, it's time for color. While some polishes feature brushes that are more accommodating to the nature shape of nails, Mary and Leah's expert technique helps achieve a professional application every time. They recommend beginning with a single swipe down the middle of the nail, continuing with a follow up swipe along the sides of the nail, coating the surface fully.

Waiting Game 
5. As highlighted at the start, now is not the time to rush. Waiting a solid 5 minutes before applying the second coat of color polish will help not only ensure a complete drying of the initial coat but "avoids pressure dings later," says Mary and Leah.

Non-Dominate Hands
6. With one hand down, we've all run into troubles when polishing with the non-dominate hand. Its all about polishing smart. "Make sure you anchor your hand against something like the table," says Mary and Leah. Securing your hand against something sturdy not only helps a shaky application but helps give you greater command of the brush.

Finishing Touch
7. After waiting for final coat to dry, seal the color with a top coat. While many opt for a glossy, try a fun alternative. "Consider a matte finish just to mix it up," says Mary and Leah.

Images courtesy of côte

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