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God Winks and Signs from The Universe

Note: This blog post was first published on June 16, 2009.  I have re-posted it in celebration of Jamie Cat Callan's new book, Ooh La La! French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day:


Some people call them God Winks after the similarly titled book by Squire Rushnell. I call them Signs from The Universe because I like to imagine God (or whatever you call your higher power) as a force as big as The Universe. I think the more you look for those signs of coincidence, fate, serendipity, or destiny, the more you find them. And I find them a lot. Or, when I don't find them, The Universe wallops me over the head with them. Here's a recent example:

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post entitled Secrets of a French Femme Fatale. In the post I mentioned several books that promise to reveal how we can dress like French women, eat like French women, act like French women, and seduce like French women. One of those books was French Women Don't Sleep Alone. I did not know the author; nor had I read her book. I had simply cited it as one of several titles that promised to reveal that "je ne sais quoi" that French women seem to possess in spades. Much to my surprise, not long after publishing that blog entry, I received an email from the author of French Women Don't Sleep Alone, Jamie Cat Callan. It said: "Hello there - I'm actually writing to you because you mentioned my book "French Women Don't Sleep Alone" on your blog and I wanted to thank you. Also, I was wondering if I could be of some help - (here she proposes a top secret plan that shall be revealed later). In any case, I love your blog and I adore the photos of you with the cake hat! xo Jamie"

Now first, let me say that I was over-the-moon excited and flattered to receive such an email! I couldn't believe that a published author had actually read my blog, liked it, and contacted me about working together. How cool is that? Cool is exactly how I tried to play it. I replied to Jamie, saying that I was interested in the prospect of working together, but I would have to review her book first. Jamie graciously agreed to send me a copy for review. What can I say? If you read this blog, then you know that I'm a slut for books!

I received the book, started reading it, and then went on a weekend trip to New York City. While I was there, I begged for an appointment with my friend, eyebrow guru and make-up artist to the stars, Ramy Gafni.  I used to be a regular RAMY client when I lived in Manhattan. Now, I order his make-up online and try to plead my way onto his schedule whenever I'm in New York. His make-up and skin care line is fabulous, and his brow work is life altering! Every time I see him, I beg him to bring his product line down South. As per my usual routine, while he was working on me, I started working on him: "I'll help publicize it, Ramy, I will! Last year when Karen Quinn came to Wilmington, we got newspaper and radio coverage; I'm sure we can do the same for you."

"Well, if South 'n France does events with authors", replied Ramy, "I should put you in touch with my client, Jamie Cat Callan. She wrote a book called French Women Don't Sleep Alone." Now, what are the chances of that? This is New York City, after all. A town of millions. For once, I was speechless. When I returned home, I was suitably recovered. I promptly wrote an overzealous email to Jamie to tell her about the coincidence, which I interpreted as a sign that we must work together. When I didn't hear back from her right away, I thought I'd probably scared her off with my over-enthusiastic outpouring which could easily have been interpreted as just plain crazy.

But wait - it gets better. A couple of weeks later, I sent a note to my friend, author Joanne Tombrakos. I had just subscribed to Joanne's blog, One Woman's Eye, and I wanted to tell her how much I was enjoying it. Joanne responded with this reply: "Thank you, sweetie! I have been following your blog as well and am really enjoying it!! I am also thinking you should connect with a friend of mine, or at least read her new book, French Women Don't Sleep Alone. Maybe there is something French you two could do??? Her name is Jamie Cat Callan."

Well, darlings, as far as I was concerned that wasn't God winking at me, that was God hitting me over the head with a two-by-four! I got the message loud and clear: Jamie and I need to know one another. We need to do something fun and French-y together. So, I did what I always do. I called up Jamie and pleaded my case, "You must come to Wilmington; you must come stay with me; you must properly introduce your book to all of us G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised in the South for my sweet northern readers)!: Stay tuned for what happens next...

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