Sunday, August 28, 2011


Earlier this week, I stopped in friend Ann Lopatin's Blue Ribbon General Store and thumbed through the pages of The Essentials of Fabulous: Because Whatever Doesn't Work Here Anymore written by Ellen Lubin-Sherman and illustrated by Susan Sugar. Annie told me how Ellen had self-published the book, and how it had been flying off the shelves. I thought that any woman who self-publishes has a lot of chutzpah, so I brought a copy home with me.

Ellen, in a highly-entertaining and down-to-earth writing style, describes how we can upgrade various parts of our lives and do them with more finesse, panache, style, and care for quality and impact. She covers, for example, how we treat people, how we conduct our virtual/online presence, how we write emails. She talks about the importance of writing hand-written notes, being warm and accessible, dressing with flair, treating everyone we encounter with respect, showing a passion for life.

I loved this book so much that I wrote a note to Ellen, who promptly wrote me back. Here is our correspondence, accompanied by the framed letter from Maira Kalman to Ellen which Ellen refers to in her email to me.

My Email to Ellen:

Subject Line: Totally Grooving on Your Book / Interview with Maira

Hi Ellen -

I know I should be writing a thank you for your AWESOME book on gorgeous stationery (which is actually something I would ordinarily do) but I wanted to include my interview with Maira Kalman in the note. (I saw that you liked one of her books, so thought the article would be of interest to you.)

After hearing the story behind your book from my friend Annie L. at Blue Ribbon, I decided to buy a copy. To say that I DEVOURED your book would be an understatement; I read it and savored it during all my subway rides over a 24-hour period.

Growing up, I had a grandma who was born at the turn of the century. She wrote letters to me all the time and sent articles that pertained to my personal interests. From the time I was about six, my family wrote each other "blessings," or letters of appreciation at the end of each year. I still have most of those treasures! I'm the person that my friends know as loving stationery and stamps and sending birthday and anniversary cards. (Congratulating someone for special occasions on Facebook just does not cut it!) So it was wonderful to read the words of someone who also takes a stand about the personal touch.

Loved watching your tv interview (and that sassy yellow jewelry - wow!) and will post something about The Essentials on Creative Times and Facebook.

My interview with Maira is below my signature. She just had a magical exhibit at The Jewish Museum!

Keep up the inspiring work, Ellen, and I hope to meet you in person down the road.

Ellen's Email to Me

Subject Line: whoooooooooooooooooooosh


I am just speechless as not only did I go to the Jewish Museum, I ransacked the gift shop!

Eleanor Traubman, I am just so delighted to hear from you! What a wonderful note and so heartfelt. I'm touched when readers let me know how the book has resonated. When I completed it, I sent it to Maira and inscribed it to her for all the wonderful moments she gave to me and "my" two boys. Of course she wrote back in her inimitable handwriting on Verge de France paper (which I've stockpiled). I framed the note including the envelope. Of course I have everyone of her children's books in my library. I still look at the illustrations.

Then The Principles of Uncertainty. And I knew how to proceed with my book.

Eleanor, you are so fabulous for writing to me. You have given me a whoooosh of excitement for the day ahead.

I wish you well..all good things...they're much deserved...and you are a treasure. Loved your interview with Maira and thrilled to hear she has a "new beau" and I know the loss of Tibor was devastating.

Sending love
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