Archives for May 2011

New York City

This week was Book Expo America in New York City. The drive down was dark, grey and rainy. I feared that our week in the city was going to be ruined. I mean seriously, does this look promising? However, I was interviewed by the lovely Tricia Romano for this Daily Beast piece during the beautiful ride.

But luckily we arrived in the city to beautifully clear skies and warm weather. We immediately gravitated towards Times Square which has really become my go-to first stop whenever I arrive in the city. We always eat at Tony’s DiNapoli because the food is delicious…although this time we were a little disappointed to find that they didn’t have Chicken Saltimbocca on the menu…but the fettucini alfredo was stellar!

One of the first celebrity sightings I had at the show was Kathie Lee Gifford…and she happened to be hugging Dr. Ruth! It was like a two-for-one! Dr. Ruth is tiny and Kathie Lee is gorgeous. Kathie Lee was there promoting her new children’s book The Legend of Messy M’Cheany.

After grabbing a copy of Elin Hilderbrand’s upcoming summer release SILVER GIRL, my sister Megan and I were delighted to find they were handing out free Corona’s for all of the weary show goers. (Side note: Megan was there promoting her upcoming anthology, DEAR BULLY, for HarperTeen.)

And of course, you can’t go to New York without visiting a deli…and the Carnegie Deli is the most famous of them all! The portion sizes were enormous and the food was out of this world. Truly a New York institution and one that lives up to all the hype.

It was a fantastic trip and BEA was as eventful and entertaining as always. There are some great books coming out this fall and I will keep you posted on all of them.

Goodbye New York…and that sweater that I LOVED from Ann Taylor’s LOFT that I got a mustard stain on from dinner on our last night. I will miss you both.


Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day, we took my mom to one of her favorite coastal spots. We walked around, shopped, had an amazing dinner and grabbed some ice cream for desert. About halfway through our shopping it started to pour and I suddenly understood the phrase, “It’s raining sideways” because it really did seem like the rain was coming down sideways. We waited it out in a tiny antique store and then, before we knew it the sun was back out and we continued on our way.

It was a perfect day and I’m so glad I got to spend it with my mom!


Flowers of Spring!

Mickey Mouse, a Shopping Princess and Mark Wahlberg

The Mickey Mouse Phone

Friday consisted of cleaning out my parent’s garage and stumbling upon this little GEM! This Mickey Mouse phone was the first phone I remember. It was the “central family phone” located smack dab in the middle of our family room for my entire childhood. I didn’t think there was anything strange or abnormal about having a Mickey Mouse phone. Looking back, I realize that my friends always seemed excited to get to use my phone when calling their parents for rides home. I never realized it was at all unusual. I think I kind of love my parents for this even more!

Then I had a little adventure on my walk with my mom. (By the way, my mom and I are becoming obsessed with walking and have done it for eight consecutive days!) Today we just happened to be walking by a house that sits just along the waters’ edge. We had heard that there was going to be filming going on this week, but we didn’t really know the extent of it. So I was more than thrilled to stop, steps from my parents house, and find Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane and Joel McHale all arriving “on set” to film the movie TED. Very, very exciting! And certainly kicked our walk up a bit in terms of interesting things found on a walk. It certainly beat out the robin we saw the day before.

And finally, if you were wondering what it’s like to be a princess (er, Duchess?) well, it doesn’t seem that different from you and me. It looks like the Duchess of Cambridge is grocery shopping just days after the wedding of the century. I don’t know about you, but it kind of make me like her even more!

Once Upon A Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg

Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg

Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg


From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of Home SafeandThe Last Time I Saw You comes a beautiful and moving novel about a man and woman, long divorced, who rediscover the power of love and family in the midst of an unthinkable crisis.

Even on their wedding day, John and Irene sensed that they were about to make a mistake. Years later, divorced, dating other people, and living in different parts of the country, they seem to have nothing in common—nothing except the most important person in each of their lives: Sadie, their spirited eighteen-year-old  daughter. Feeling smothered by Irene and distanced from John, Sadie is growing more and more attached to her new boyfriend, Ron.
When tragedy strikes, Irene and John come together to support the daughter they love so dearly. What takes longer is to remember how they really feel about each other.

Elizabeth Berg has once again created characters who embody the many shades of the human spirit. Reading Berg’s fiction allows us to reflect on our deepest emotions, and her gifts as a writer make Once Upon a Time, There Was You a wonderful novel about the power of love, the unshakeable bonds of family, and the beauty of second chances.

With humor, empathy, honesty and a voice that rings truer than your own, Elizabeth Berg captures the way women think and explores issues that affect everyone’s life in her latest novel, ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS YOU. In this novel we are introduced to John and Irene Marsh, a long-divorced couple living in separate states and their 18-year-old daughter Sadie. When tragedy strikes, John and Irene are brought back together and forced to explore what went wrong.

ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS YOU has all the trademarks of a classic Berg novel but with a slight veer off course into a heart-pounding suspense when Sadie faces a terrifying event. As Irene and John come to grips with the frightening occurrences, they each examine the dissolution of their marriage, their relationship together and their roles as parents to the precocious and strong-willed Sadie.

I loved both John and Irene more for their flaws, and the attention to the details of their flaws, than anything else. Like real families, I could see parts of both of them in their daughter, Sadie. Typically, in a novel, I want things to be happening all the time, surprises around every corner, major action to keep me flipping the pages. But with Berg’s novels, I find myself wanting to spend days inside the minds of her characters. I want to know their worries, fears, frustrations and insecurities. I want to linger in their idiosyncrasies, and try to understand what makes them tick and why. Because what I learn and discover about her characters through the pages of a novel often leads to my own learning and discovering of little idiosyncrasies about myself. It’s comforting to know that we are all very similar when it comes down to the small details – and the small details are what make life interesting. I loved the emotional exploration in ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS YOU. I loved the thoughts and worries and fears of this family because they were so real and authentic. The only thing I didn’t like was seeing the story come to an end. As always, I can’t wait for the next Elizabeth Berg novel!

One of my favorite passages from the novel comes when Irene is filling out a profile for an online dating site. You can read her posting below:

I believe in defacing books. I think one’s personal library should be full of books with broken spines and meaningful passages underlined, with pages marked by chocolate or coffee or grease stains. If there are comments or questions in the margins, even better. I am otherwise a very neat person, as I believe that external chaos leads to internal chaos. Discuss. I believe in going to cafes in the afternoon and enjoying pastry on a porcelain plate, even if it ruins your dinner. This is a bit of an affectation, I suppose, as I only began doing it after I visited Paris and saw all of them doing it. “Them” being the French, of course, and who among us does not trust the French when it comes to food and fashion?

I believe in bringing home rocks from every place I visited and loved, becuase I think rocks hold with them an essence of place, and that you cna feel this essence – and therefore the place – if you hodl the rock tightly in your hand. Naturally you must have patiences, as well as an open mind and heart, and, like many spiritual things, it works better if your eyes are closed.

No. She deletes this last paragraph, then continues.

I believe in keeping my eyes closed at the dentist’s and imagining Tahiti even though I have never been there. But I have seen pictures, and every time I go to the dentist I imagine me in those pictures with the blue, blue sea and the waves coming in. (As a kid I had a dentist who gave every patient a card for a free Dairy Queen cone after each visit. Devil or angel? I still can’t decide.) I will never be thin again and I am interested in meeting a man who is just fine with that. Not that I’m fat. But I am average, and average is not thin. Average to zaftig. I guess would be more precise, and I still have very good legs if you care about that sort of thing, which I do. I believe in holding hands in the movie show when all the lights are low, and if you know and like that song, we’re already off to a good start. I kind of hate writing these things, as I’m sure you can tell, but I understand and accept the need for them.

Definitely read ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS YOU, I promise it will stay with you long after you finish the last page.


A Funny Thing Happened…

After yesterday’s post about The Book of Awesome and some time spent scrolling through the website that started it all, 1000 Awesome Things, I started doing something really strange. I started actively trying to think of awesome things. It wasn’t only in the period following my discovery of Neil’s book and website. It was all day long. Every where I went, everything I did, I kept trying to find awesome things, things that I would classify as bright spots in a regular, run-of-the-mill day. I found a bunch of things.

-finding good food in your refrigerator that you didn’t know was there, thus leading to an awesome lunch.

-going for a great walk (outside!) and not worrying about how many calories were being burned, the exact elevation of my heart rate and the specific duration of the exercise.

-getting all your work done before 2pm and realizing there actually are benefits to being your own boss. (see above: going for a great walk)

-realizing EXACTLY what you want to have for dinner and having the energy (and enthusiasm) to go to the grocery store and pick it up yourself.

-thinking you missed a great tv show and then realizing it hasn’t aired yet!

-knowing you have a great tv show to look forward to that night.

-getting an invitation in the mail to a place you don’t really feel like going and then realizing it falls on a day you are actually going to be out of town.

-reading the first page of a book and knowing you are going to love the whole thing, beginning to end.

-realizing that the things you stress about aren’t that big a deal and there is no such thing as a right or wrong decision.

-having a sudden sense that things really will be alright.

-figuring out how to do something on  your computer that will actually make your life easier…or at least help you do things faster.

-getting everything on your to-do list DONE.

-resurrecting something from your childhood…and knowing that every time you look at it, it will make you smile.

Some Real Daily Moxie

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

It’s funny the way something can completely change from first perception to something completely different when you give it a stronger understanding. This morning I was watching The Today Show and there was an author on talking about his book, THE BOOK OF AWESOME. Really? I thought. An entire book (actually two, he was on to promote his second book THE BOOK OF (EVEN MORE) AWESOME) about little things that we all encounter every day? Seriously?

I turned off the tv and reluctantly started trudging through my day. Then out of pure curiosity, I went to Neil’s website, 1000 Awesome Things.  And you know what? I kind of started liking what I was reading. His posts were short, straight to the point and contained some really cool things about life that we tend to take for granted. There really are awesome things happening around us all the time! I continued reading and learned that Neil has certainly had his share of UN-awesome things happen; his marriage ending, the death of a friend, and just having an unhappy life. He started his blog (which isn’t flashy or complicated, just straightforward and honest) to write about things that he thought were “awesome” and he even included things one wouldn’t really think of as awesome, like crying, but found a way to look at it as something worthwhile.

Such a simple idea but truly something we all overlook and ignore on a daily basis. Think of all the amazing things that happen every day. But what do we focus on? The negatives. Particularly the negatives in our own lives. My job is tiring me out. I haven’t cleaned my apartment in a week. Bills need to be paid. Will I ever feel like I am caught up on anything? Will I always feel like I am making the wrong decisions? Stress, anxiety, inner turmoil. We torment ourselves with the negative. We beat on ourselves repeatedly. Why? Yes, there are big things in life that make us happy. A marriage. The birth of a baby. Big holidays. Vacations. But these don’t happen every day. What does happen every day? Your niece sings to you the song she will be performing in her school recital, but does it in a chair facing in the opposite direction because she can’t get through it without laughing. A bird builds a nest right outside your office window and you get to witness every painstaking part of the process. The sun comes out when you expected rain all day. These are the things that make life worthwhile. These are the things that get you through the tough times. When my aunt died, I was absolutely destroyed. But as my mother and I sat in stunned silence on the moving van that was sitting in our driveway, filled with all of my aunts belongings, something extraordinary happened. Two birds landed on the fence next to us. We looked over and both noticed these two beautiful birds and I said to my mom, “I think it’s a sign that she’s with us.” …And then one bird hopped on top of the other and started doing something that was certainly not PG. And  my mom and I laughed so hard. And that was awesome indeed.