Fashion Friday: Me Before You

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Pamela Dorman Books (Viking), 2012
369 pages, 3 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: Lou Clark works in a tea shop and loves her job. Her boyfriend, however, she’s not so sure about. When the tea shop closes down, she’s forced to look find work as a caregiver. Little does she know that her sarcastic-pain-in-the-ass patient, Will Traynor, will mean more to her than any man she’s ever known.

This is a classic romance plot line, but with a paraplegic hero. Will Traynor lost everything because of his accident: his job, his girlfriend, his will to live. But Lou brings a spark to his life that neither of them could have foreseen with her wild ideas of how to get him out of the house. How does she get a job taking care of a paraplegic without any medical experience? Lord knows.

I really enjoyed this book on a surface level: it was a heart wrenching novel that made me laugh and cry. BUT (the resounding “but”) Lou was extremely immature and annoying throughout the book. She is 26 lives with her parents, has a boyfriend who’s an idiot, works whatever job so she can help pay bills, fights with her sister over clothes, her room, you name it. Seriously, their screaming fights were so ridiculous that I couldn’t believe these were grown women.

I was able to overlook this though because I liked Will so much. However, in the end, he disappointed me as well. All in all this was an entertaining read and definitely a tear-jerker.

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little caregiver, everyone likes to comment on your wild style, especially your love interest. One thing people fail to notice is how the way you dress strategically covers all of your skin. This mini skirt is full of fun, distracting colors, and you pair it with sheer black tights. Paint your nails this funky purple, which is both fun and melodramatic, just like you.

This long sleeved black shirt covers your arms and chest from prying eyes. The only eyes you don’t mind prying are Will’s (and maybe your boyfriend’s). Throw this pink raincoat over your ensemble, it will keep you dry through England’s rainy season. These boots/socks will keep you warm and dry as you push Will’s wheel chair through mud, grass, and other rough patches (physical or metaphysical).

This heart necklace is a reminder that life is fleeting and upredictable and it should be filled with love.

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The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

Natalie Ramm:

A great review of a book that I’m definitely putting on my list!

Originally posted on medicineforthesoul:

I love a book that keeps you guessing and has twists and turns until the very end. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair was both.

the-truth-about-the-harry-quebert-affair-by-j-L-nJTRB6

Marcus Goldman, a young writer, has unexpected success with his first novel. He moves out of his home in New Jersey into a fancy apartment in NYC. He parties with celebrities, is recognized on the streets, and celebrated for his success. After he basks in the glory of his celebrity a bit too long, he realizes he may not be able to live up to expectations and his multi-book deal.

He’s getting pressure from all sides. And his writers block is all-consuming. He reaches out to his mentor and friend, Harry Quebert. Harry invites him up to coastal New England, in the small town of Somerset, NH. Harry found his inspiration in this tiny town, maybe it could be all Marcus needs.

Somerset not…

View original 347 more words

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Fashion Friday: Furthur Out Than You Thought

Fashion Friday: Furthur Out Than You Thought

Further Out Than You Thought by Michaela Carter
William Morrow Paperbacks, 2014
304 pages, 3 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: “Further Out Than You Thought is a taut and erotically charged literary debut, set against the chaos of the 1992 L.A. riots, about twenty-five-year-old poet Gwendolyn Griffin works as a stripper to put herself through graduate school [and support] her perpetually stoned boyfriend Leo.

When the city explodes in violence after the Rodney King verdict, the chaos becomes a catalyst for change. Gwen, discovering she is pregnant, is confronted by troubling questions. Can Leo become a good, dependable father? Can she leave the club life behind, or will the city’s spell prove too seductive?” – Goodreads.com

At first, I really enjoyed how descriptive and poetic the language was in Further Out Than You Thought. Despite the sordid content, the narrator manages to make her life as a stripper sound almost beautiful. However, as the book progressed, I found myself beginning to scan the parts where she “waxes poetic,” which are frequent.

I also was glad that the author didn’t shy away from sex scenes. However, she seems completely obsessed with Gwen’s life as a stripper and throughout the book describes it in great detail, but always with the qualification that she is also a student. So while the author inundates us with sexual content, we are supposed to remember that Gwen’s POV matters because she’s not just a stripper.

In addition, I thought there would be a little bit more of a history lesson on the L.A. riots of the 90s, but was disappointed. Though there is one black character that is well developed, we don’t hear explicitly how he feels about the riots. And the white characters don’t ask him! This seems like a great missed opportunity to me.

I enjoyed reading this book, because it made taboo things like transgender and bisexuality seem like the most normal thing in the world. And I feel like that should be more common. However, I wish it had done the same for race because the book uses the race riots as the background.

ABOUT THE OUTFIT: Student-poet by day, stripper by night. Your conflicting personalities, Gwen and Stevie, have conflicting ideas on what you should wear. Your girlish alter-ego loves her Mary Janes, and you’ve found some that are versatile enough to wear on the street and the stage.

Pair them with these skin tight jeans that are getting tighter everyday. This billowing sleeveless shirt will hide your swelling breasts and belly for a little while, and maybe that’s all the time you need.

Underneath, this lacy number makes you feel sexy and empowered like dancing in front of strange men does. The black eyeliner allows you to take on a whole new nighttime look, especially when using it AND the lip/cheek stain.

Your signature sent is something citrus-y, which reminds you of your long lost mother. “Stay with me” Leo says to you, but you know it doesn’t make sense. For now, you’ll handcuff him and drag him to Mexico to avoid the riots. But eventually, you’ll have to let him go.

About Michaela Carter

Michaela Carter is award-winning poet and writer. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona, studied Theater at UCLA and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. Her poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, won the Poetry Society of America Los Angeles New Poets Contest, and appeared in numerous journals. Recently she co-founded the Peregrine Book Company, an independent bookstore in Prescott, Arizona, where she works as a book buyer and storyteller. She lives in Prescott with her partner and two inscrutable children, and teaches creative writing at Yavapai College. This is her first novel.

Find out more about Michaela at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Michaela’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, August 5th: Turn the Page

Wednesday, August 6th: Love at First Book

Thursday, August 7th: More Than Just Magic

Friday, August 8th: BooksAreTheNewBlack

Monday, August 11th: The Written World

Wednesday, August 13th: A Bookish Affair

Thursday, August 14th: Bibliotica

Friday, August 15th: Books and Bindings

Monday, August 18th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, August 19th: Conceptual Reception

Wednesday, August 20th: cupcake’s book cupboard

Thursday, August 21st: Books on the Table

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Fashion Friday: Americanah

Fashion Friday: Americanah

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Knopf, May 2013
477 pages, 5 stars

About the Book: As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.Goodreads.com

This novel is an extremely insightful and nuanced view of race in America and of how that affects relationships of all kinds. Told mostly from a Nigerian woman’s perspective (that of Ifemelu, but also Adichie herself), the story dissects race relations from an outsider’s point of view—paying attention to how African-Americans are treated differently by white people than Africans, and also how African-Americans treat Africans and vice versa.

The love story aspect of Americanah is very true to life. You all probably know how much I love romance novels, which often don’t have the weight of reality. But Obinze and Ifemelu have an intense relationship that spans decades and yet also incorporates years of silence, hurt feelings, other relationships (a marriage even), which makes it that much more real and that much more beautiful.

I’ve heard that there may be a movie made from this book, and I will be first in line!

Fashion Friday: My dear Ifem, welcome to the East Coast. The summers aren’t nearly as hot as in Nigeria, but because of the frigid winters your tolerance for heat has lessened. This cotton maxi dress will keep you cool and hug all the right curves.

These African turquoise earrings remind you of home, which inevitably reminds you of Obinze and the lazy afternoons when he became Ceiling. This deep red lipstick is a much better match for your skin than what is advertised as “great for all skin tones” (meaning shades of white) in mainstream magazines.

After a horrible incident with perming your hair, you decide to go completely natural—to the dismay of hairstylists, friends, and family. Coconut oil is a great natural hair moisturizer, though you may use many others, this is one of your favorites. You buy organic because of Blaine, your intellectual American boyfriend, who loves eating kale and quinoa and shopping at farmers markets. Before bed you cover your hair with this patterned, silk scarf to prevent breakage and to lock in moisture.

Slip these sandals on and enjoy the summer because you know you are not here to stay.

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Fashion Friday: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Fashion Friday: We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Harper Perennial, 2006
400 pages, 4 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: We Need to Talk About Kevin is a novel of letters written by a woman to her estranged spouse. Eva writes about how she met Franklin, how they fell in love, and how he started to pressure her into having a family. Eva didn’t want to be a mother, and when her son was born she felt like there was something off about him (the book doesn’t say that she suffers from maternal mental illness, but it seems likely). Franklin was blind to Kevin’s strange behaviors because he was so excited to have a son. So when Kevin murders seven classmates, a school teacher, and cafeteria worker, Eva has to try to make sense of the tragedy and come to terms with her role in it.

This book is well written, but a little too academic in parts. I have a hard time understanding authors who think “more is more” when it comes to writing. Anyway, the story is incredible. I felt very connected to the main character even though there were times that I thought she was horrible. She’s contradictory and passionate (maybe about the wrong things), and Kevin uses all of this against her to make her feel small and stupid.

We Need to Talk About Kevin is a fascinating look at the other side of a tragedy—how a mass murderer’s actions affect his family and how his family contributed (or failed to stop) to his actions.

FASHION FRIDAY: Since you no longer have your travel writing company, you have no use for those stuffy business suits. So, throw on these jean shorts and sandals for your visit to the penitentiary. Kevin will not be glad to see you, but that’s not why you go. You go for answers that he won’t or doesn’t know how to give.

You wear these sunglasses around town so people won’t recognize you as the mother of a mass murderer. You constantly feel blamed for Kevin’s behavior, this tank top declares what you really think. You aren’t a bitch, you were made to do something you didn’t want to and because of it you have a low tolerance for BS.

This necklace, the arrow and crossbow, are a brand that you carry around since Kevin methodically killed nine people. Even if someone doesn’t recognize you, the second they hear your name, they know you are THE mother.

When you’re home alone and miss your husband, slip into one of his over-sized plaid shirts and warm yourself with the memory of his pure Americanness—something still so strange to you, yet alluring.

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Fashion Friday: The Girl in the Road

The Girl in the Road

The Girl in the Road by natalieeramm featuring a snake ring

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne
Crown Publishing (May 2014)
336 pages, 3 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: Meena, a young woman living in a futuristic Mumbai, wakes up with five snake bites on her chest. She doesn’t know how or why, but she must flee India and return to Ethiopia, the place of her birth. Having long heard about The Trail-an energy-harvesting bridge that spans the Arabian Sea-she embarks on foot on this forbidden bridge, with its own subculture and rules. What awaits her in Ethiopia is unclear; she’s hoping the journey will illuminate it for her.

Mariama, a girl from a different time, is on a quest of her own. After witnessing her mother’s rape, she joins up with a caravan of strangers heading across Saharan Africa. She meets Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. Yemaya tells Mariama of Ethiopia, where revolution is brewing and life will be better. Mariama hopes against hope that it offers much more than Yemaya ever promised.

As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama’s fates will entwine in ways that are profoundly moving and shocking to the core.Goodreads.com

I really enjoyed The Girl in the Road! One thing I loved about it is that it’s not your typical heterosexual romance gone wrong story. Also, the writer has some creative ideas for the future of reproductive health. My main problem with the book was that it was a Netgalley copy and the formatting made it difficult to read. I think if I had real Kindle version, I would have enjoyed it a lot more and given it more stars.

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little Trail-blazer, squeeze into these black pants, which look wet like you’ve been swimming, or perhaps falling off the Trail. Pair them with these black lace up boots. You’ll be camouflage at night when you travel, which is a good thing because what you’re doing is very illegal.

This white t-shirt keeps you cool during the scorching daylight hours and covers up those snake bites that dot your chest, which are a constant reminder of your lover in Mumbai. Your heart is still with her lifeless body, and this elbow patched sweater shows that to the world because you don’t voice emotion well/ever.

This snakeskin bag (which I don’t actually like, but it matches the cover so perfectly!) holds your floating pod and all the necessary items for when you have to sink into the ocean to avoid storms and other people. In that pod you might as well be in your own world. In fact, on the trail you are in your own world.

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FASHION FRIDAY: Incendiary Girls

FASHION FRIDAY: Incendiary Girls

FASHION FRIDAY: Incendiary Girls by natalieeramm featuring beige pants
Slim shirt / Le breve belted jacket, $25 / Patrizia Pepe beige pants, $180 / Frye tan knee high boots / Alexander McQueen hinged bangle, $255 / Oasis leopard print scarve, $25

The Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer
Little A, 2014
192 pages, 3 stars

About the Book: “Incendiary Girls” explores our baser instincts with vivid imagination and humor. In these stories, our bodies become strange and unfamiliar terrain, a medium for transformation. In ?Fundamental Laws of Nature, ? a doctor considers her legacy, both good and bad, when she discovers that her mother has been reincarnated as a thoroughbred mare. In the title story, a mischievous angel chronicles the remarkable life of a girl just beyond death’s reach. –Goodreads.com

This book of short stories was very different and entertaining, but a lot of the same literary themes were used in the stories. I understand coherency of a short story collection, but not to the point that it gets tiresome. I think of all of the stories I liked the one about the girl and her camel boyfriend best (along with the angel of death story), which is why it was the main inspiration for this Fashion Friday!

Fashion Friday: My dear little human, squeeze into these camel colored riding pants. They make you nostalgic for the boyfriend who spit and shit on your floors. Pull these black leather boots on to complete the I-just-jumped-off-a-horse look because you did. You’re convinced that your dead mother has been reincarnated as a mare and you will tame her if it’s the last thing you do.

Button this hot pink shirt up all the way, perhaps it will hide your distress over the lump you recently found. This animal print scarf is a bougie accent that pulls together your look, like the animal themes in the collection.

Your white coat is for when you’re saving lives as one kind of doctor or another. And this cuff with skulls is for when you’re shadowing a young girl throughout her life just waiting to snatch the breath from her.

Scheer (c) Myra Klarman_for galleysAbout Kodi Scheer

Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan.  For her work as a writer-in-residence at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, she was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service.  Her stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Iowa review, and other publications.

Kodi Scher’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, April 8th:  Bibliophiliac

Wednesday, April 9th:  Bound by Words

Thursday, April 10th:  Book Snob

Friday, April 11th:  50 Books Project

Monday, April 14th:  The Things You Can Read

Tuesday, April 15th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, April 16th:  Booksie’s Blog

Thursday, April 17th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, April 18th:  Books are the New Black

Monday, April 21st:  What She Read

Tuesday, April 22nd:  Bookish Ardour

Wednesday, April 23rd:  No More Grumpy Bookseller

Thursday, April 24th:  Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, April 28th:  Guiltless Reading

Wednesday, April 30th:  The Written World

Thursday, May 1st:  The Scarlet Letter

Tuesday, May 6th:  Savvy Verse and Wit

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Fashion Friday Fail

Here are two books that I’ve either tried and failed to make into Fashion Friday posts, or just had no hope in the first place. Because it’s Friday and things aren’t always perfect (especially not in fashion), here are a couple Fashion Friday Fails for your viewing pleasure…

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
Quirk Books (2013)
288 pages, 3.5 stars

Princesses Behaving Badly offers minibiographies of all these princesses and dozens more. It’s a fascinating read for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story. –Goodreads.com

I’m not a huge history buff or even a big non-fiction reader, but I enjoyed this book for some obvious reasons (feminism), and other reasons like the sheer amount of information this book squeezes into its 288 pages. Many people could have made a book like this hundreds more pages, and yet I appreciate your brevity McRobbie.

Each chapter takes us to a different point in history where a woman is doing something she isn’t supposed to (those pesky females), and in between each chapter is a collection of extremely short stories about women whose history is less easy to come by. All of the stories are extremely interesting and I like McRobbie’s modern day feminist voice peaking through every now and then. I wish her writing had been a little more story-like, but I think I wish that about all non-fiction.

Check out my attempt to create a fashion friday for this book. It didn’t go so well…

Princesses Behaving Badly

Princesses Behaving Badly by natalieeramm featuring see through tops

GirlsLIkeUsGirls Like Us
Rachel Lloyd
Harper (2011)
277 pages, 4 stars

A deeply moving story by a survivor of the commercial sex industry who has devoted her career to activism and helping other young girls escape “the life”Goodreads.com

As you can probably surmise, this book is really depressing. However, it’s eye-opening and a very necessary book for people to read. It changed the way I think about the commercial sex industry (not that I had a ton of thoughts on it to begin with) and the women in it. Lloyd’s big take-away in this book is that women and girls in the commercial sex industry are not only being exploited, but are conditioned from an early age to accept and think they deserve abuse/to work in the industry. A 12-year-old girl is not a sex-worker. She is a commercially sexually exploited youth—a mouthful, I know.

Nonetheless, people tend to blame the victim, especially if the victim is a woman (or girl) of color. I think this is particularly interesting and distressing, because women of color (specifically black women in the US) are more sexualized than white women and thus bear the brunt of a much slut-shaming and victim-blaming. Add on top of that the discrimination in the legal system against people of color and there’s just a ton of shit for these women to wade through.

The one thing about this book that I thought could have been dialed back was the sensationalism. The stories Lloyd tells are horrific and rightfully so, but I didn’t see the utility in having so MANY personal stories of abuse. That could also just be my weak stomach. FYI this isn’t really for those with a weak stomach. This was a fascinating read on sexual politics and race relations in the US, but the cover just didn’t cut it for a fashion Friday. Can you imagine? The nineties is one decade no one wants to make a comeback!

Items in above photo:

AX Paris short lace dress
$67 – axparis.com

Vero Moda see through top
$18 – veromoda.com

Zalando green short skirt
$45 – zalando.co.uk

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FASHION FRIDAY: The Here and Now

FASHION FRIDAY: The Here and Now

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Delacorte Press, April 2014
288 pages, 3 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.  —Goodreads.com

This was an extremely quick read. Not only is it short, but the story is fast passed and sucks you in easily. My issues with this book really come from the ending, so if you haven’t read it, please beware of SPOILERS. I had some issues with how time traveling works in the book. How did Prenna’s dad get all that stuff in the locker? When she traveled she couldn’t take anything with her (not even clothes).

Also, Ethan’s emphasis and insistence on sex was annoying. I get it he’s a teenage boy, but he supposedly really likes her, right? So why is there so much pressure from him for a physical relationship? Why doesn’t he respect her reservations? And her desire for him doesn’t seem the same–it would have made sense if she too was like OMG I can’t keep my hands off this boy. But her connection to him is more cerebral, which plays into the stereotypes of teen boys and girls.

Overall I enjoyed this book because it was engrossing and quick. But I didn’t think it was as great as her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books.

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little time traveler, the trip was rough and left you bruised and scratched. Don these dirty denim jeans which will make you feel like you’re from 2010. Pair them with these pink tennis shoes. They are exactly what you need for running from the “rules” and those who enforce them.

When you traveled something happened to your eyesight and so you wear these cute glasses. Sometimes you wonder if they are actually a surveillance mechanism—because your therapist has this creepy way of checking up on you after your conversations with your bestie.

This tank keeps you cool in the toasty summers that you know will only get hotter as the years progress. Global warming was one of the huge factors in the dismal future you come from, so you’re all about broadcasting education about climate change.

These little heart studs show your love for the stud (*wink wink*) Ethan. There’s just something about him that you love, maybe it’s his brains or his brawn or just fate? You’re not entirely sure. This watch helps you keep track of time, there’s only so much before the pivotal point where the world changes for better or for worse. And you must be there to ensure the better.

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Fashion Friday: THE OTHER TYPIST

THE OTHER TYPIST

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Penguin Books (2014)
354 pages, 4 stars

ABOUT THE BOOK: New York City, 1924: Rose Baker is an orphaned young woman working for her bread as a typist in a police precinct on the lower East Side. Every day Rose transcribes the confessions of the gangsters and murderers that pass through the precinct. While she may disapprove of the details, she prides herself on typing up the goriest of crimes without batting an eyelid.

But when the captivating Odalie begins work at the precinct Rose finds herself falling under the new typist’s spell. As do her bosses, the buttoned up Lieutenant Detective and the fatherly Sergeant. As the two girls’ friendship blossoms and they flit between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night, and their work at the precinct by day, it is not long before Rose’s fascination for her new colleague turns to obsession. But just who is the real Odalie, and how far will Rose go to find out? Goodreads.com

The Other Typist is an incredible, creepy story that sucks you in immediately. Rose is not by any means a loveable character. She’s an anti-feminist old-world prim prude (enough adjectives for you?). Odalie is the opposite of Rose and you wonder why on earth they are friends the entire time they are going to speakeasies and flashy parties like it’s The Great Gatsby. SPOILERS POSSIBLY: The entire book is foreboding and made me uneasy, because Rose is narrating from a mental hospital. And then good lord the ending! It’s so good. I really enjoyed how the author plays with Rose’s unreliability. The last paragraph was a total mindfuck. I’m still processing. For those of you who have read it, did Rose kill Teddy? I was under the impression that Odalie did it until that last paragraph.

FASHION FRIDAY: My dear little wall flower (Rose), you are plain as day typing away at your desk. These loafers are practical, cute, and just a little old lady. They are perfect for doing Odalie’s errands and running from the police during raids.

Prohibition is in full swing, but Odalie has you wearing the classic cat-eye liner and lipstick. You’re sneaking into the speakeasy wearing this beaded flapper dress. Careful not to drink too many champagne cocktails or the Lieutenant Detective might put the moves on you.

Slip this coat over your dress, the hem is too short for your liking (you old Victorian), but the coat will lend you some modesty at least in the street. Finally, slip these diamond bracelets on, one on each wrist. When you hold your hands together it looks like you’re wearing the most beautiful handcuffs. Little do you know, you’ll soon be wearing the real thing.

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