The Kick Ass Women Series

Lessons on the Art of Living from Four Kick Ass Women

From Coco Chanel to Julia Child, this series focuses on some of my favorite 20th century icons, and the devastatingly kick ass way they live their lives. But this quote says it better than I ever could. Enjoy!

This series is important fun, it’s champagne and cake if they were also good for you, a dose of history and much-needed perspective from your funniest and most trustworthy friend.

Michelle WildgenTin House Magazine
Book Cover: Julia Child Rules

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Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life


Many of us have dog-eared copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in our kitchens or fondly remember watching episodes of The French Chef, but what was behind the enormous appeal of this ungainly, unlikely woman, who became a superstar in midlife and changed our approach to food and cooking forever? Julia Child Rules dissects the life of the sunny, unpretentious chef, author, cooking show star, and bon vivant, with an eye towards learning how we, too, can savor life.

With her characteristic wit and flair, Karen Karbo takes us for a spin through Julias life: from her idyllic childhood in California to her confusing young adulthood in New York; her years working for the OSS in Sri Lanka; her world class love affairs with Paris and Paul Child; and her decades as Americas beloved French chef. Karbo weaves in her own personal experiences and stops for important life lessons along the way: how to live by your whims, make the world your oyster, live happily married, work hard, and enjoy a life of full immersion. It celebrates Julias indomitable spirit and irrepressible joy, giving readers a taste of what it means to master the art of living.

Praise for Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life

In Julia Child Rules, Karen Karbo has written that rare bird of a book: one that manages on every page to be as enlightening as it is entertaining, as smart as it is funny. In prose as clean and sharp as your best kitchen knife, Karbo gives us a portrait of the incomparable Julia Child that’s intimate, inspiring, and unlike anything I’ve ever read about Child before. I want to make wallpaper out of this original and beautiful book just so I can have Karbo’s unparalleled wit and wisdom always on hand.

Cheryl Strayedauthor of the New York Times bestseller Wild

If you love Julia Child (and who doesn’t?), then you will love Karen Karbo’s smart and entertaining book. Karbo’s take on Ms. Child’s life is like being invited to a lively dinner party where ideas and experiences are related with great verve and wisdom. Read this book and discover why Julia does indeed rule! Bon appétit.

Whitney Ottoauthor of the New York Times bestseller How to Make an American Quilt

Child’s life has been dissected many times, but Karbo adds a personal layer to the narrative… The author holds Child up as an example of a woman comfortable in her own skin, intent on creating good food and finding a passion in life….A lighthearted trek through a food icon’s life, studded with satisfying tips for modern living.

Book Cover: How Georgia Became O'keeffe

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How Georgia Became O’Keeffe


Most people associate Georgia O’Keeffe with New Mexico, painted cow skulls, and her flower paintings. She was revered for so long – born in 1887, died at age ninety-eight in 1986 – that we forget how young, restless, passionate, searching, striking, even fearful she once was—a dazzling, mysterious female force in bohemian New York City during its heyday.

In this distinctive book, Karen Karbo cracks open the O’Keeffe icon in her characteristic style, making one of the greatest women painters in American history vital and relevant for yet another generation. She chronicles O’Keeffe’s early life, her desire to be an artist, and the key moment when art became her form of self-expression. She also explores O’Keeffe’s passionate love affair with master photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who took a series of 500 black-and-white photographs of O’Keeffe during the early years of their marriage.

How Georgia Became O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living delves into the long, extraordinary life of the renowned American painter, exploring a range of universal themes – from how to discover and nurture your individuality to what it means to be in a committed relationship while maintaining your independence, from finding your own style to developing the ability to take risks. Each chapter is built around an aspect of living that concerns women today of all ages: how to find your own path; work with passion and conviction; express yourself; be in a relationship without sacrificing your sense of self; and do it all with an effortless, unique style.

As with Karbo’s previous books, How Georgia Became O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living is not a traditional biography, but rather a compelling, contemporary reassessment of the life of O’Keeffe with an eye toward understanding what we can learn from her way of being in the world.

Praise for How Georgia Became O’Keeffe

Karen Karbo's fresh and revealing take on the epic life of Georgia O'Keeffe is both effortlessly entertaining and profoundly inspirational. As vivid and original as an O'Keeffe flower, How Georgia Became O'Keeffe offers a quirky, modern view of one of America's most iconic women.

Sheila Wellerauthor ofGirls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--And the Journey of a Generation.

Karen Karbo, the author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel ponders what it is about O’Keeffe that speaks to us so deeply and what went on inside the artist to allow her to defy society’s conventions and be so ‘resolutely herself’ in the service of an abiding passion. This intimate, quirky, and sassy essay makes its iconic subject into an accessible, relevant figure with whom readers can identify.

Publisher’s Weekly

Karen Karbo has done what no biographer, social critic or fan has yet been able to do. She’s burrowed past the genius and the legend and the clichés and arrived at the heart of Georgia-philia. The lessons she imparts remind us that true independence, like true eccentricity, true beauty and, of course, true love, cannot be faked. They remind us that owning your life requires owning your soul and, beyond that, you don’t really need much else. I want to give this book to every young woman I know who’s setting out on her own in the world – not to mention the rest of us, who could always use a refresher course on this stuff.

Meghan Daumauthor of Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House
Book Cover: The gospel According to coco chanel

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The Gospel According To Coco Chanel


Delving into the long, extraordinary life of renowned French fashion designer Coco Chanel, Karen Karbo has written a new kind of book, exploring Chanels philosophy on a range of universal themes from style to passion, from money and success to femininity and living life on your own terms.

Praise for The Gospel According To Coco Chanel

Reading Karbo is like listening to a dear friend talk about the legendary designer over brunch. . . This is a fun, insightful look at the genius behind the little black dress.

The Los Angeles Times

Karbo delivers a mini-biography, with perceptive and amusing commentary… The fashion is merely fascinating, a means to an end. The life lessons? For a woman trying to find a safe haven in America, this book delivers more wisdom – and wit – per page than Dr. Phil will dispense in a lifetime.

Anyone with a good sense of humor should hugely enjoy, or should I say enjoie, Karen Karbo’s funny and stylish take on Coco Chanel. Like a little black dress, this handy life guide will take you from day into evening. K.K. on C.C.: oui, oui!

Henry Alfordauthor of How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They are Still on This Earth)
Book Cover: How to Hepburn

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How to Hepburn: Lessons On Living From Kate the Great


How to Hepburn, Karen Karbos sleek, contemporary reassessment of one of Americas greatest icons, takes us on a spin through the great Kates long, eventful life, with an aim toward seeing what we can glean from the First Lady of Cinema. One part How Proust Can Change Your Life and one part Why Sinatra Matters, How to Hepburn teases some unexpected lessons from the life of a woman whose freewheeling, pants-wearing determination redefined the image of the independent woman while eventually endearing her to the world.

This witty, provocative gem is full of no-nonsense Hepburn-style commentary on subjects such as: making denial work for you; the importance of being brash, facing fear, and always having an aviator in your life; learning why and how to lie; the benefits of discretion; making the most of a dysfunctional relationship; and the power of forgiving your parents. Thrilling fans of the notoriously independent actress, award-winner Karen Karbo presents a gusty guidebook to harnessing your inner Hepburn, and living life on your own terms.

Praise for How to Hepburn: Lessons On Living From Kate the Great

These days, women in Hollywood and everywhere else are following [Hepburn’s] fiercely independent lead – and Redbook contributing editor Karen Karbo is no exception. Her sassy new book, “How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great” explains what we can learn from the iconic leading lady, who makes most of today’s heavy-hitting celebrities look pretty lightweight.


…captures Hollywood mores and largely succeeds as an homage to ‘Miss Hepburn’.

New York Times Book Review

Women wanting the most out of life need only look to Katherine Hepburn for guidance, says Karen Karbo, author of “How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living From Kate the Great,” out in May from Bloomsbury. “[She] handily redefined femininity, forced the world to ponder the meaning of marriage and gave generations of women fresh options for surviving middle age and beyond,” Karbo says.

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