Living Write

Get Ready for the Perfect LBD

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“One is never overdressed or underdressed in a Little Black Dress.”

-Karl Lagerfeld

 

Get ready for an LBD adventure with my new novel series, Little Black Dress, set for release in March, 2018. Check back here soon for pre-order links!

Every woman’s secret weapon is her little black dress, but for fashion model-turned covert agent, Evan Tyler, her weaponized wardrobe makes her absolutely deadly.

Infiltrating the Paris couture scene, Tyler and her team level their sights on Anton Hrevic, a rising star designer who, along with his muse-models, seems intent on espionage and world manipulation. Wearing the high-tech and top secret Little Black Dress, Tyler uses both her God-given and government-granted assets to learn the truth behind Hrevic’s celebrity parties and uncover secrets that could unravel the global economy.

Little Black Dress would appeal to anyone who enjoys the pluck and style of Audrey Hepburn with a James Bond twist.

Living Write

Three Ways to Make Your Little Black Dress Better

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You finally have that perfect Little Black Dress. It fits like a glove, flatters your figure, and goes everywhere. When you put it on, you feel like Audrey Hepburn. You want to put your hair up and fly to Paris. You want to pair it with a chunky, sparkly necklace or leopard print heels. How can it get any better? Here are my suggestions.

  • First, the Basics: Take care of yourself. While black is slimming, and any size is beautiful, healthy always looks best. Eat to fuel yourself. Move your body. Get the sleep you need. Feed your mind.

  • Wear it everywhere. School, work, church, dinner, business meetings, museums, the park. And remember that every time you wear it is special. A Little Black Dress shouldn’t be reserved for a special occasion. It creates the occasions.

  • Use your imagination. Because an LBD is a fashion staple, it becomes a clean canvas, ready for your creativity. Add a scarf, a necklace, a belt. Experiment with fun shoes and handbags. Play with earrings. Change your hairstyle. One of the best things about a Little Black Dress is you can become anyone while wearing one. The question is, who do you want to be today?

Get ready for an LBD adventure with my new novel series, Little Black Dress, set for release in March, 2018. Check back here soon for pre-order links!

Every woman’s secret weapon is her little black dress, but for fashion model-turned covert agent, Evan Tyler, her weaponized wardrobe makes her absolutely deadly.

Infiltrating the Paris couture scene, Tyler and her team level their sights on Anton Hrevic, a rising star designer who, along with his muse-models, seems intent on espionage and world manipulation. Wearing the high-tech and top secret Little Black Dress, Tyler uses both her God-given and government-granted assets to learn the truth behind Hrevic’s celebrity parties and uncover secrets that could unravel the global economy.

Little Black Dress would appeal to anyone who enjoys the pluck and style of Audrey Hepburn with a James Bond twist.

Cinema Toast

Some Movies Just Make Me Feel Old

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I spent my teen years in the 1980s and had a blast. But let’s be honest here—our big hair was out of control.

Last night our family watched a 1985 TV whodunit called Murder with Mirrors, based on an Agatha Christie mystery, starring Helen Hayes as the “dithering” Jane Marple. It was a quaint film, and featured a very aged Bette Davis and a very young Tim Roth.

Liane Langland played one of the main characters, Gina Markham. Ms Langland acted in only a few films, according to IMdB.com, but I couldn’t help but notice her. Her acting wasn’t especially fantastic, but her hair—bright red with thick curls—was huge! Even in the scenes where she wore it pulled up, it was easily the largest single “do” on the set, and that’s saying a lot, considering the fluffed and feathered style worn by John Laughlin, the actor playing her husband.

The cast’s wardrobe also cracked me up. Of course, Ms. Hayes’ and Ms. Davis’ attire was classic and demure, but the younger cast members all wore layers and layers of heavy, boxy sweaters and jackets and scarves. (Except in the soccer/ football scene, in which the young men all wore very short shorts. Yikes!)

I watched the movie intently, trying to solve the mystery along with Miss Marple and Inspector Curry. I did guess the murderer’s identity, but not without all of these distractions. I’m a great fan of Agatha Christie, though not usually her Marple mysteries. They are typically solvable only with a key piece of evidence known only by Miss Jane, and she refuses to reveal this piece until the last second. For this film, the writer decided to leave a few breadcrumbs for the audience, rather than keep it true to the original book.

When the credits began to roll, I was pleased that I had deduced the solution before the end of the film. However, the feeling was tempered with the nostalgia of my youth. It was mostly a “what were we thinking?” kind of romanticism. I’m getting old.

Is this film one of those essential pieces of cinema history that shouldn’t be missed? Nope, unless you enjoy a movie in which a mid-80s sedan drives into a flimsy iron gate and explodes on impact. My kids and I figured that maybe they constructed the gate from C-4 or dynamite. It was the 80s.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

Cinema Toast

Film Noir

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Fade in on a door paneled with obscure glass. Painted across the glass are a name and the words, ‘Private Detective.’ A whiskey-graveled voice begins to recount the strange string of events leading up to that moment. This is the beginning of a great film noir.

This dark genre became the norm in the 1940’s, but since that time, there are fewer and fewer movies of the type. Maybe they’ve become cliché. Maybe producers think they are passé. Speaking for myself, I love and miss them.

There’s something dangerous, and at the same time soothing, about being taken into the confidence of the main character in the middle of a murder investigation. Maybe it’s the fact that, because his voice is telling you what’s happening as the story unwinds, you have the security of knowing that he is neither the killer nor one of the killer’s victims. He’s in control, and by the end of the film, he will be all right, and you will know exactly what happened. In the midst of mystery and darkness, you have a constant comforting voice to guide you.

Humphrey Bogart, Alan Ladd, and Robert Mitchum perfected these shadowy characters with their flawed personalities and less-than-honorable motives. Movies like The Maltese Falcon, This Gun for Hire, and The Big Steal all ooze mystery and suspense. As you watch, you become acutely aware that nobody can be trusted. Everyone is lying, and nothing is what it seems. The damsel in distress is most often a black widow or something of the like. Women like Veronica Lake, Gene Tierney, and Lauren Bacall embodied the role of femme fatale.

Is the genre extinct? I’ve seen a few attempts to recapture the atmosphere of noir. Mostly these elements appear within films that are book adaptations, probably because that’s easier. The format lends itself to narration. The movies have been good, but still lack the truly noir title, because they fail to commit fully to that dark and moody domain. These films get an E for effort, but usually fail in execution.

I’d love to see a Film Noir revival. Who’s with me? I hoped that, with the popularity of the LA Noir video game, someone might make a great new movie. Maybe it’s being done quietly. Maybe I’ll make one myself.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.