Review | Burlesque and the Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese

It’s been a busy few weeks! Since my last post about dating a younger man I’ve attended my best friend’s wedding, travelled to Kelowna, BC, spent a few days in Seattle and (thanks to travel & sleep deprivation) tried unsuccessfully to get over the cold I picked up along the way. But, enough about me!

Today I have something really cool to share with you. Earlier this summer, the lovely people at Burlesque Toy Shop sent me a copy of this gorgeous copy table book, Burlesque and the Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese.

DigitalizarAs many of you already know, I’m a huge bookworm. However, despite being a sex and relationship writer by trade, my collection of “sexy” books is relatively small. I have a few things I’ve had to pick up for work, a few how-to sex guides that have been sent to me via the blog and one unread copy of 50 Shades of Grey that has been collecting dust. I decided that it’s time to change that! One of the things that I love about Burlesque Toy Shop is that they have an entire section of their website called “Library” which is devoted to erotic fiction, sex-positive non-fiction & guides and gorgeous coffee table books like the one above – all of which is music this bibliophile’s ears.

A fan of old Hollywood glamour and all things retro & sexy, Burlesque is something that’s always intrigued me. Maybe it’s my background in theatre & performance or the fact that I love how burlesque performance celebrates a wide range of female body types, however when it came to choosing a book to add to my sexy library, Burlesque and the Art of the Teese  seemed like a natural choice. Burlesque combines some of my favourite things: performance, lingerie, dressing up & sexual expression. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a girl crush on Dita Von Teese. We’re both petite women with very dark hair and light skin, and like me she has a background in ballet. So, you could say I identify with her look & her story.

Let’s take a look inside her book!

Dita 1

Simply put, Burlesque and the Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese is a glamourous, sexy, colourful romp from beginning to the end.

Playing dress up has always been my favourite game. Like me, Dita grew up fascinated by black & white movies and old school Hollywood glamour – something that’s clearly evident in the photos contained in this book. Burlesque and the Art of the Teese is chock full of vivid, colourful, gorgeous photographs of Dita in her various incarnations. As Dita explains on the dust jacket, “I live out my most glamourous fantasies by bringing nostalgic imagery.” I can definitely relate to this statement because this is exactly how I feel when I put on a great piece of lingerie or decide to don a retro Playboy bunny costume. From glittery burlesque costumes adorned with sequins and feathers, and retro lingerie, to glamourous evening wear – this book basically reads like a wet dream of what I wish was in my boudoir wardrobe. A campy, sexy lion tamer costume? Gimme!

Dita 2

Dita 5

The beautiful photographs are interspersed with stories about Dita’s life & career with beauty and styling tips. I particularly like this piece of beauty advice: “There is no such thing as a plain woman. Every woman has a attractive points, so accentuate your best assets”

Dita 7

Annnnd, this book is actually a “2 for 1” type deal. Half way through, if you flip the book around, you get to experience the other half (“Fetish and the Art of the Tease“) which is devoted to Dita’s fetish inspired looks. Dita Von Teese made her start in the entertainment business as a fetish model, so it only seems natural that she’d include these photos as well. The photos in Fetish and the Art of the Tease are definitely a little bit more edgy and racy. Dita even gives some wardrobe tips…

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Recommended Reading | Loose Diamonds by Amy Ephron

A few weeks ago the nice people at Harper Collins sent me a copy of Amy Ephron’s latest book Loose Diamonds: …and Other Things I’ve Lost (and Found) Along the Way 

I’m really lucky that good books have this way of finding me at exactly the right time. Loose Diamonds is no exception. I really loved this book. The weather in BC has been warm, sunny and summery & I have spent a couple mornings over the past week either out on my Mom’s balcony or cuddled up on the couch in the sun-filled living room pouring over this book.

In Loose Diamonds, Amy Ephron weaves together the most insightful, profound, and just plain funny stories of her life to form a tapestry of a woman’s experiences from childhood through young adulthood, marriage, divorce (and remarriage), and everything in between. I like my personal essays witty and insightful. With Loose Diamonds Ephron delivers: each story is told with perception, wit, candor and humor in a pared down writing style that never veers towards cheesy. I liken Ephron’s essays to those bags of bite sized brownies you can buy in the grocery store. They’re these delicious little bites of joy. You tell yourself “I’ll just have one more!” but before you know if you’ve eaten the whole bag. However, unlike the brownies, Ephron’s writing doesn’t come with a side-order of remorse and increased thigh girth. At worst you’ll end up with a mild reading hangover from consuming these stories late into the night, or people giving you funny looks when you giggle out loud at lines like this:

“I have a theory that single women who buy champagne by the case rarely end well. Disclaimer: I’ve been known to make generalizations based on a case study of four”

Since I started blogging three years ago I’ve become obsessed with reading memoirs and personal essays written by smart, funny, women. Recent reads have included everyone from Tina Fey, Sloane Crosley and Mindy Kaling to Zadie Smith. If the essay makes me want to reach out and hug the author and beg them “Can we be friends?!” then I consider it a good essay. Ephron’s writing is the stuff that creepy fan-girl declarations of friendship are made of.

As I mentioned the other day, the one year anniversary of my break-up is approaching and I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection & assessing my own collection of “loose diamonds” (things I’ve lost and found along the way.) There’s something very comforting about reading stories by women who have experienced life and have managed to maintain their sense of humour. Ephron’s stories reminded me that amidst the highs & lows of life, you can always find a little bit of sparkle if you look for it.

It could just be that I’m obsessed with all things vintage (including doll figurines), but can we just take a moment to acknowledge how cute the book cover is?!

By the way, this isn’t a sponsored post. I just thought I would share the book with you guys since I really enjoyed it and thought some of you might too!

PS. Thank you Almie Rose for introducing me to this book & Amy’s writing.

xox

S.

The Girl’s Guide to Depravity + a Giveaway

A few weeks before I went to Vegas I was sent a copy of Girl’s Guide to Depravity: How to Get Laid Without Getting Screwed by Heather Rutman. I’ve been dying to dig in to it and last night I was finally able to sit down and read it cover to cover.

About the book: 

Girl’s Guide to Depravity is a tongue-in-cheek handbook for the modern woman who’s ready to take back control, have a little fun, and do it without getting hurt. Like a down-and-dirty conversation with a depraved friend, this essential guide cuts out all the touchy feely bullshit and urges you to do something bad if it feels good.” 

Heather Rutman is a formerly single (but now settled) woman who spent over a decade dating more than her share of the dicks and douchebags in Hollywood.  Over the years, she was forced to develop her own philosophy on how to deal with them and Girl’s Guide to Depravity was born. Now that she doesn’t need the rules anymore Heather is passing them on to the next generation of depraved girls, who are looking to get laid without getting screwed.

Based on the blog and the Cinemax series of the same name, the entertaining, sometimes shocking, no hold barred book includes 55 rules, how-to’s, charts, quizzes and lots of hilarious, depraved tales about dating & mating in LA.

What to expect: 

DEPRAVITY. Straight up. This book definitely lives up to it’s name. Follow the author and her friends as they drink endless “Xantinis” (Xanax washed down with a martini), pop Ritalin, stalk their crushes and have a lot of sex. I imagine if Chelsea Handler
had a literary threesome with Hank Moody and Barney Stinson, the result of this bourbon soaked union would be the Girl’s Guide to Depravity.

Keep in mind that the tips in Girl’s Guide to Depravity: How to Get Laid Without Getting Screwed will get you laid no-matter-what….and that means some of them are well, a little crazy (see rule #6 : “Where there’s a pill, there’s a way” and #16 “It’s not stalking if he says where he’s going to be“). If you’re actually going to follow all of the advice in this book, I suggest checking your shame and your conscience at the door with your panties.

You should also expect lots of F-bombs, lots of idiosyncratic lingo (ie. “Cuddle Rapist: Noun. A person who forcibly cuddles another without consent.”), lots of abbreviations  (sometimes to the point of annoyance ie. ‘Gasm instead of Orgasm, ‘Gine instead Vagina etc.) and lots and lots of sex.

The Pros: This book is definitely highly entertaining and had me LOL-ing on several occasions. Many of the scenarios are completely over-the-top and there were many moments where I was like, “Did I really just read that?”

In a world where we are bombarded with magazine articles like, “How to get him to notice you” & “How to tell if he likes you”, and endless books and services designed to help us find true love, it’s kind of refreshing to read a book that completely throws the old “man pursues woman” formula out the window, and instead encourages women just go after what they want…especially, if all they want is a really good lay.

Although Rutman’s writing is often raunchy, I love that it’s completely unapologetic. While working as a TV producer and writer for NBC,  ABC Family, Lifetime, VH1 and Sony, Rutman has managed to write a blog that’s been turned into a book which has been turned into a TV show. In other words, she’s managed to do what a lot of us bloggers dream of doing which is pretty, freaking, cool.

The Cons: There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book that says “If you’re looking for some touchy-feely respect yourself and your body bullshit, call your mother” and it also warns, “Be fully aware that recreating some of the actions you’re about to read about may lead you to be a) punched in the vagina b) banned from the bar c) thrown in rehab d) arrested, or e) all of the above” (see rule #6 that talks about slipping Viagra into a man’s drink to get him in the mood) The book is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. And, as I’ve learned from writing a tongue-in-cheek blog, some people just don’t get tongue-in-cheek. If you don’t enjoy this kind of humor you might just find this book offensive. With chapters like “If You Don’t Know His Girlfriend, She’s Not Your Problem” the book does contain some questionable advice, hilarious but still questionable – the kind of advice that is best taken with a grain of salt and maybe a shot of vodka.

If you would like to win your very own copy of Girl’s Guide to Depravity, I have an extra copy to give away to a reader!

To win:

1) Like Skinny Dip on Facebook.

2) Leave a comment to this entry once you’ve done this & let me know why you’d like to win.

(If you already like Skinny Dip on FB, awesome!)

I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday June 18th. Good Luck! xox

And on that note, I’m off to watch episodes of A Girl’s Guide to Depravity in big, greedy helpings. 

The Art of Pickle Pleasing

It’s the moments when I catch myself saying things like “Sorry, I can’t come out tonight. I have to read an instructional manual on penises for tomorrow” that I realize my life is completely absurd.

Thanks to the lovely Katrina of Ohhh Canada who sent me a copy of Dr. Sadie Alison’s book “Tickle His Pickle: Your Hands-On Guide to Penis Pleasing”, I spent the majority of Monday evening reading about penises. Now I’m ready to share my thoughts with you guys.

Something you should know about me is that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. If I can’t do something well, I tend to avoid doing it at all (for example, any sport involving a ball, stick or any degree of hand-eye coordination I avoid like the plague). When I was younger, I was this way when it came to blow-jobs. I hated giving them because I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who has felt like this at one time or another.

I never thought of picking up a book to learn more about the subject, instead I turned to my group of gay boyfriends for advice. Want to learn how to give really good head? Ask a gay guy!  It might just change your sex life. Now whenever a guy has asks me “OMG, where did you learn to do that?!?” I reply confidently, “A drag queen named Suzie

Don’t have a group of sassy gay friends who like to get drunk and over-share? No problem! This is where the book “Tickle His Pickle” comes in. Dr. Allison says that her book is designed to answer any dangling penis questions you may have such as the big one: “What does he really want me to do with it?!”

At first I was a bit apprehensive about this book. Could I really read a whole book devoted to learning how to better pleasure men?  I was pleasantly surprised that the book wasn’t all about him. Dr. Allison says one of her goals with the book is to help empower women to enjoy sex because they want to please themselves and not just their guy. I can totally get with that. When you feel confident in the bedroom and are in charge of your own pleasure, it’s empowering.

Along with techniques on how to give great blow jobs and hand-jobs  ( You’ll be introduced to “moves”  with memorable names like “The V-Spotter”, “The Knob Polisher” and my favorite “The Upside Down Sausage Wrap”), the book also includes tips on how to better communicate with your partner, build intimacy and practice safer sex. This book is definitely targeted at beginners however, even if you already feel pretty confident with your penis pleasuring skills you might still learn a few things (I did.)

Now for the things that made me cringe: The drawings (the book is full of cheesy cartoon diagrams that kind of remind me of the illustrations in my grade 8 Math textbook except with SO MUCH PENIS EVERYWHERE), some of the language (I shuddered – and not in a good way – every time Dr Allison used the words “love juice” ) and lastly a few tidbits of her advice (to keep things sexy with your partner, the Dr suggests “leaving a pair of your perfumed underwear inside your man’s briefcase before he goes to work for the day” – because nothing says “I love you” like forcing your partner to untangle his iPad from your leopard print thong while in the middle of an important board meeting.)

Sure, some of these details are a bit cheesy however, I think they are meant to keep the book light and accessible. The tone of the book is conversational (like one girlfriend talking to another) and at 140 pages, you won’t need to go digging through it to find the information you need. Overall, I think this book is a good starting point for anyone who wants to “raise their Penis IQ”. If you’re interested, you can purchase the book from the Ohhh Canada website for the very very reasonable price of $12.99.

*Thank you Ohhh Canada for providing a copy of the book for review! As always, all opinions are my own.

What are some of your favorite books about sex and/or relationships?

Vive La Revolution

Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have occurred between my Mom and I while we sit at our kitchen table. We have a nice living room but we really only use it for watching TV. The kitchen table is where everything goes down in our house. It’s where we show our love through food, have our morning coffee, talk about life, laugh, cry. It’s the same story whenever I go to my grandma’s house. The kitchen table is where it’s at. I haven’t figured out if this is a Eastern European thing or just a “my family thing.” Last week one of my kitchen table conversations with my Mom turned to my recent (albeit reluctant) foray into self-help books. I was trying to explain to my Mom the concept behind the book He’s Just Not That Into that I wrote about recently. I explained that the book teaches you how to value you yourself, not waste time on guys who aren’t really into you and to let the good ones come to you.

I absolutely adore this photo.

 {found via Pinterest}

“I don’t know Simone. It doesn’t sound very modern. It sounds like the men still have all the power. Like, they are allowed to just go ahead and do whatever they want and all the responsibility for dating falls on the women to let them know that they are jerks” my Mom responded.

“I know it probably sounds that way Mom but think about it: If more women made a commitment to stop accepting sub-par treatment from the people they date and men realized that they could no longer get laid as easily, the game would change. Basically it comes down to basic economics. If the market changes and you don’t adapt you get left in the dust.”

(As you can tell I’ve been watching too many episodes of House of Lies – which I love BTW)

“Oh and Mom, this doesn’t just apply to men. There’s women out who treat men like crap too.”

“Ok, I see your point”

“Besides, as much as we like to think we can control other people’s actions, we can’t. We can only control how we react to them.”

“That’s true”

“I’m learning stuff Mom”

“I know. I raised a smart cookie”

(and yes, I learned that last bit in therapy. THERAPY RULES!)

My final thoughts on He’s Just Not that Into You

I initially thought this book was going to be silly but it got me thinking. We are all entitled to awesome relationships that make us happy. Imagine what would happen if we all made a commitment to stop wasting the pretty, to respect and demand respect from the people around us and only accept the best treatment:  I think we’d start a love revolution. My suggestion:

Let’s start a love revolution this weekend. Who’s onboard?!

Happy Weekend! xox

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