Machel's Ranch

Paperback books and the institution of marriage

I’m a book fanatic. Some people are proud of their iPad. I’m proud of my pile of books sitting in a basket next to my bed. I have a photo on the cover of my phone that reads, “Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book.” My husband keeps telling me that at some point books will all be online and there will be no need to go to a bookstore. Huh?
My forehead crinkles with a look that is sure to send me in for the latest Botox injection, except then I remember I don’t believe in botulism being anywhere within the confines of my skin. I try to explain to him with my eyebrows arched to avoid the inevitable onslaught of wrinkles the importance of actually feeling the book in your hand. I plead my case. You know the texture, the beautiful cover and all of those wonderful words in-between. There is something to be said regarding the way a book just feels in your hands. I tell him I know I will never experience that by focusing on some small digital screen to read my favorite author’s latest novel. We end the conversation with his words of reassuring facts, “Like it or not, that’s where the future his headed.”
Well. That’s a sure way to exhume my wonderful mood for the weekend. I stare out my bedroom window trying to imagine the future without paper-filled books. Then I wonder, “Could I live in a world without books?” The thought of that makes my stomach churn. There is something to be said about lounging in bed with your favorite book as the world carries on outside without you, which leads me to a must-share novel for summer for you to read.
“Recipes for the Perfect Marriage,” by Morag Prunty (also goes by Kate Kerrigan). The novel is set in New York City and is about 39-year-old food critic Tressa Nolan. You find out that Tressa is recently married and is beginning to wonder, “Who is the man sleeping next to me in my bed?” You find out through the first person narrative that the main character is quickly having second thoughts and wonders what possessed her into this union of marriage? Was it age? Desperation, or could it be that she is actually in love?
The parallel story in the novel is the love story of her grandmother, whose marriage Tressa thinks is perfect. As you read the current love story set in New York and the flashback love story of Tressa’s grandparents, you as the reader will discover what true love is really all about. Through the author’s examples of trials and problems in each relationship, Morag Prunty deftly depicts why marriage is still a wonderful institution in the millennium. With much wit and enthusiasm, Morag tells one of the best love stories I have read in awhile. Now in my top 10 books, it is a must-read for every woman on the planet that still believes in those two lovely words, “I do.”
Maybe marriage and books are becoming a thing from the past. But take it from an old fashioned romantic: Keep reading paperback books and believe in the possibility that technology can’t take the place of everything this life has to offer, including a real body lying next to you in bed.  
Around Town 
On July 8, I was invited to the Nicole Miller/Mister B Fashion Show held at Mille Fleurs by Denise Hug. How wonderful to receive the invite. The event included a sit-down luncheon, while models wore the latest women’s and men’s apparel in Southern California. The newest jewelry designer to move into Rancho Santa Fe was also there, Martin Katz. I captured two lovely photos that day of Denise Hug with Corky Miser, owner of Corky’s Pest Control. He just happens to good friends with Bertrand Hug, Denise’s husband. Also featured here is Julien Hug with Maggie Bobileff. Julien was one of the male models in the fashion show. Thank you, Denise for the invitation. I wish I could have stayed for the entire event, but paper duties never end.
On July 17, I was thrilled to attend Karian Forsyth’s birthday party with my husband, which was hosted by her husband Tom Forsyth. The valets parked the car, and the cocktail waitress brought the wine and the appetizers to all of the guests sipping wine under the stars. Denise Hug and Bertrand Hug, Jennifer Bell and singer Sacha Boutros were some of the guests on the private guest list.
I wore a baby doll-Goldie Hawn looking dress, which reminded me of that show “Laugh-In” from the 1960s. My husband had bought a pair of beautiful stiletto heels that made me at least 6-feet-two-inches tall that night. Luckily, I didn’t trip that evening like I have been known to do on occasion. Featured here in the photo are two friends of Karian’s from Los Angeles, Johnny and Dawn. They made the special trip just for their good friend Karian. Karian was wearing svelte black velvety dress with a sexy zipper in the back. Tom was a wonderful host and the evening was just splendid. I always love going to their parties!
 On July 19, many things happened. First, I interviewed well-known author Doris Lee McCoy regarding her new book, “The Magic of Gross National Happiness.” I have met Doris in person. She truly has the face of an angel. Sweet and sincere, her positivity glows from within. “Did you know happiness can be measured?” This is the opening line on her website. I wanted to get to the bottom of what exactly that means. Doris explained to me that she went to the Himalayas to do extensive research on a small village, Bhutan, to see how exactly it was possible that they could be ranked No. 8 in the world in happiness when the average villager only made less than $1,200 a year. With 76 percent of the village surrounded in trees, Doris thought this factor also contributed to their natural happiness factor. Also, the village itself is concerned more for the well-being of its residents than just what’s in their bank account (if they have bank accounts in Bhutan!). Doris found the “simplicity” to their way of life contributed significantly to their well-being. Featured here is author Doris Lee McCoy with Bhutan Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. If you would like to buy one of her books, visit to find out more about her fascinating discoveries. She will be having a book signing soon in Rancho Santa Fe. Go to her website to find out more details.
Later that afternoon, I attended the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary meeting with Krista Lafferty. Who knew, but the legendary Chubby Checker was the featured speaker for that day? Wow. I was so excited. Mr. Checker was in town to help Irene with her charity event later that evening at the Valenti estate. Everyone was sitting on the edge of their chair as Mr. Checker reminisced about his career. He informed the packed room how his mother had a prophetic dream regarding his music career and how Dick Clark coined “Chubby as Chubby Checker” and that’s how he received his name. After the meeting, I snapped a few photos of this legendary rock star, and he asked me to jump in for one of the pictures. As you can see, I look like a giddy schoolgirl that knew she was in the company of greatness. Thanks so much for the great photo Chubby, Irene and Patrick. I felt so lucky all day.
 That evening, one of my best friends Meredith MacDonald came over to watch ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” She had heard that I had been baking, so she asked me to make her a cake for that evening. But of course, anything for my friends. Featured here is Meredith holding the cake from that evening. If you are wondering, it was a butter cream spice cake with a secret ingredient that cuts out many carbs and cholesterol. I will soon be selling these goodies on the weekends at my husband’s Lemon Twist, which is located near the Crosby in Rancho Santa Fe. I will fill you in later on that wonderful new detail developing in my life.
Summer Hat Feature
Deana Carter looks elegant in her Opening Day hat, which she modeled for me for this photograph. I ran into Deana and her husband John at some of the after party festivities in the Ranch. Thanks Deana for letting me feature you for this week summer hat feature.