Thursday, July 29, 2010 3 comments

What's your favorite bookstore?

by Brittany Geragotelis

Growing up, I used to love going to the mall. But it wasn't Hot Topic or Rave that drew me was Waldenbooks. I spent what was my life savings (at the time) on books that I'd buy by the dozens, every time I had the opportunity to go to the mall. I loved how bright and clean it was in the bookstore. I especially loved taking a book down off its shelf and popping a squat right there in the isle and thumbing through my newest treasure. I liked that the books I wanted were so easy to find, because everything had its place. And I liked seeing what books they had on display in the YA section. My favorite author at the time was Christopher Pike—he was the only author who could make my terrified and sad, all in the same book.

My friend Kate and I were walking uptown after work yesterday and were having a pretty intense conversation about this very topic. She shared with me that there's a little independent bookstore back in her hometown in Texas that she and her family grew up going to. At her bookstore, patrons get to attend small book signings where they received individual attention from literary greats. There were rocking chairs spread out throughout the store and Kate loved the fact that the patrons knew the owners and vice versa. For her, this bookstore was a safe haven, a place her family experienced wonderful things.

My point is that everyone seems to have a favorite bookstore, along their own special memories and feelings about them. So, on this topic of bookstores, I recently read this feature on the Huffington Post ranking the Top 10 bookstores in the world. From old theaters to former cathedrals, these bookstores really are cooler than anything you'd find in a book.

Here are two of my favorites:

photos from Huffington Post

The Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal

Poplar Kid's Republic, Beijing

What's your favorite bookstore? What do you love about it? Better yet, which of these bookstores would you want to visit? Leave your comments below!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 1 comments

House of Horrors—Would YOU Live There?

by Brittany Geragotelis

photo credit: Pocket Star
I recently read this article about how the house that inspired the book, The Amittyville Horror by Jay Anson, is up for sale. Now, it's not the same house that appeared in the movie version (that one's in Toms River, NJ), but this Long Island home was the site of some pretty gruesome stuff. Thirty-five years ago, a man named Ronald DeFeo Jr. killed his family (six people in all), and after that, future residents of the house claimed there was some paranormal activity going on. Oh, and if you were wondering, the property only costs a measly 1.15 million...go ahead, make a bid. I dare you.

This got me thinking—I'm a big fan of ghost stories and fully believe that stuff like that exists. I've planned and taken several road trips to haunted places just hoping to see something. So, when I first read this story, I was like, "How cool would it be to own the Amittyville Horror house!"

But then I really started thinking about it. Would I really want to live in a place where so many people were brutally murdered? Even if you took away the idea of the house being haunted, wouldn't the vibes in that place be horrible? Would you really want to test fate? So, in the end, I'm not sure if the coolness of the place outweighs the bad mojo you could find there.

What would you do? Would you ever knowingly buy a place like the Amittyville House?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 0 comments

Check me out!

by Brittany Geragotelis

I told you in an earlier post that a young boy named Matthew (pictured left), who started a sports fan site called, contacted me recently and requested an interview. With me. That's right...he's all about sports and he wanted to interview me. Because I report about cheerleading. So what if Matthew's younger sister (who subscribes to American Cheerleader) was more excited to talk to me than he was. The point is...someone out there is interested in what I have to say as a magazine editor.

How cool is that?

Anyway, I had so much fun talking to Matthew and his sister, and now part of the interview is up on his website! I can't help it...I feel like such a celeb!

Monday, July 26, 2010 1 comments

Are you a Jessica or an Elizabeth?

by Brittany Geragotelis

photo credits: Bantam Books
I don't know about you, but Sweet Valley High was one of the first book series that I truly fell in love with growing up. There was something a little bit taboo and totally unique and special about this set of pretty blond twins who looked exactly alike, but couldn't have been more different in personality.

photo credit: Buena Vista
Home Entertainment
Jessica Wakefield was the popular, outgoing party girl who was as adventurous as she was fiery. Elizabeth was the quiet, shy, intelligent dreamer, who loved to bury herself in a good book and surrounded herself with her loyal friends and devoted (and dreamy) boyfriend. Before there was Team Edward and Team Jacob, there was Team Jessica and Team Elizabeth. Which twin were you? Me, I was definitely an Elizabeth.

photo credit: St. Martin's Griffin
Well, SVH scribe, Francine Pascal, is about to break the mold again...and as a longtime fan, I can't wait to read what she's penning next. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later is set to hit bookshelves in 2011. Lots has changed in 10 years (for both the twins and for me!): apparently Jessica and Elizabeth don't live in Sweet Valley anymore. In fact, one isn't even speaking to the other! If that's not enough to draw you back to your high school days, how about a little drama—adult style. If you don't believe me, take a look at the first chapter in the new series. Seriously, check it out. But be careful, you will be left wanting more! Oh, and word has it Diablo Cody is first in line to write the screenplay for the movie...I can't decide if that's good or bad. What do you think?

Sunday, July 25, 2010 0 comments

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

by Brittany Geragotelis

I know what you're thinking: She's only just NOW reading that book? But there are seriously so many books and so little time. Yes, that's my excuse.

photo credit: Vintage
After two of my good friends read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and both suggested I check it out, I knew the time had come. So, a few weeks ago, I picked it up and allowed myself to get sucked into the story.

Harriet Vanger, scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families, disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

The book itself was very well written--which is good, since the first 250 pages were a bit slow. But once the story kicked into high gear, it was truly enjoyable, yet slightly predictable. I really enjoyed the main characters, Mikael and Lisbeth, who both had very distinct personalities and quirks. Both are flawed and damaged, but together, they make a good team.

My only note is that those who are easily upset by violence toward women (in fiction; I can't imagine any normal person wouldn't be upset by violence toward women in real life) might not want to read this book. But besides the violence (and there's plenty of it), I thought the book was entertaining. Not anything that changed my life, but definitely worth reading (all 644 pages of it!).

Did any of you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? What did you think?

Saturday, July 24, 2010 1 comments

A Cool Video and book giveaways!

by Brittany Geragotelis

Hey all! So, this came out a few weeks ago, but I was just watching it again (because I insisted that my boyfriend watch it. Then I insisted he help me make a music video of my own, since his background is in film, he's already produced two feature-lengths and his job requires him to make and get people to watch various YouTube videos. Makes sense that he'd want to help me, too, right?) and figured if by some off chance you hadn't already seen it, you should.

Anyway, there are two reasons why I LOVE this video. The first is that it was made by the author of one of my favorite books of the year, Sisters Red. Jackson Pearce is talented, creative and an inspiring author (Don't believe me, check out my interview with her here), so I'm pretty sure I'd love anything she produced. But the second reason I love this is because she remade a music video as a way to combat writer's block. And man, can the girl move!

Love. It.

How awesome was that? You know what else is awesome? The fact that I'm doing a book giveaway! I have a bunch of ARCs of cool, upcoming books that I'd love to pass on to you! So, here's what we're going to do. Leave your name in the comments below (above, wherever), along with the appropriate points you've earned. Your name will go into a hat according to how many points you've got (in other words, your odds of winning go up, the more points you have), and winners will be chosen at random.

If you're a new follower
If you're already a follower=+2
For referring someone to the giveaway=+3
For being the person referred=+2
Add me to your blog roll=+2
Tweeting this giveaway=+1
For posting about this giveaway on your blog=+3
For posting about this giveaway on your Facebook page=+3

Thursday, July 22, 2010 0 comments

The other side of an interview...

by Brittany Geragotelis

So, the coolest thing happened the other day when I logged on to Facebook. I had a message from the parent of a young boy who started a website called Teens On Sports. The kid, Matthew, is a middle school student who loves sports. He either wants to be a writer, editor or agent, and he's started a site to combine his two favorite interests. On his site, Matthew's published dozens of interviews he's done with a variety of athletes and other important people in the sports industry.

You can imagine my surprise when Matthew requested an interview with me. Apparently, he wanted to talk to me for 5-10 minutes on the phone and ask me a few questions about what it's like being a journalist.

I was flattered to say the least, but I was also confused as to how the kid had found me in the first place. Yes, I am a journalist...but it's for American Cheerleader magazine (Not exactly Sports Illustrated). And although I fully consider cheerleading to be one of the most physically demanding and athletically challenging sports out there, I don't think the general public shares my view. So, I basically asked, "Why me?" And then it all came together. Matthew has a sister who gets American Cheerleader!

The interview was set up for yesterday at 5:30pm (my time) and I sneaked out of the photo shoot we were at for our next issue, to give Matthew a call. The young man was totally professional and handled himself like a seasoned reporter (his sister was on the line, as well, and even threw a few questions my way!). He asked me why I chose to write for magazines, what I liked about American Cheerleader, who was my favorite interview so far, what my favorite subject was in school and who my heroes were growing up. I have to admit, it was a lot harder being on the other side of the interview than I thought.

All in all, the call went well and I hope they got what they were looking for in the interview. The feature will be on Matthew's website later this week or next, and I'll be sure to let you know when it's up. Now I'm hoping this is just a hint of what's to come...only next time it'll be me doing interviews for my recently published book!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 1 comments

I was rejected by Megan Fox

by Brittany Geragotelis

OK, so I wasn't rejected by her necessarily...I was actually rejected by her publicist. And she was really nice about it.

At the magazine, I have the totally awesome job of interviewing celebs. Dakota Fanning. Miley Cyrus. Ashley Greene. Ashley Benson. Ashley Tisdale. I've interviewed them all. It doesn't matter who it is, I still get starstruck, but I think I manage to at least act like it's not that big a deal. Well, until I get off the phone and gush for a half hour about how cool they are to my co-workers, and how we should be BFF's because we really would get along in "real life." I'm serious.

The hardest part about the celebrity interview though is actually getting the interview in the first place. You'd think that publicists would want to line up interviews for their clients. Wrong. They want to get the right interviews for their clients, for the right projects. And believe it or not, any publicity is not necessarily good publicity in their eyes. See, publicists don't want to over-saturate the public with a star, because we might get sick of them, and then they'll be so yesterday. So, publicists are actually pretty particular about who and what media outlets their clients talk to.

Another thing? Most of the time, it's not even the celebrity who's turning down the interview. It's the publicist. But then again, that's sort of their job, right? To make the decisions that will shape the perception of star to the public. I've learned that apparently, there are a lot of agents out there who think that it's a bad idea to have their clients talk about their past as a cheerleader. Forget about the fact that they might have LOVED being a cheerleader and have fond memories of putting on a uniform and yelling from the sidelines. Nope, that wouldn't put forth the right image. But talking about their sex lives and addictions....well, that's OK.

Most of the time I get a curt "no," without an explanation. Today, I was told, "We're going to have to pass for now, but will keep you guys in mind for future movie releases." This was actually a very nice response to my interview request. It makes me think that Megan might be super swamped right now (she did just get married, didn't she?), and there's also the fact that she doesn't have a movie out right now to publicize.

And the important thing is that her very nice publicist didn't say no--forever. It was just no for right now.

So, the hope is still alive that I might someday get on the phone and chat with the Transformers girl. Until then, I'll file all my interview questions for her away....What would you ask Megan if you had the chance? Who would be your dream interview?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 1 comments

Paying for Damages

by Brittany Geragotelis

courtesy of FX

I have to admit that I was saddened that the show, Damages was taken off the air, because one of my very good friends, Zach Booth, played Glenn Close's son on the show...and I love watching him work his craft (he's not so bad on the eyes, either). I know he enjoyed the role and the phenomenal cast, so the cancellation of the show was disappointing for him (not to mention his fans).

courtesy of Zach Booth
Well, lucky us, DirecTV sees the show for what it Emmy goldmine. The network has picked up the show for another 20 episodes (2 more seasons). Here's hoping that Zach plays a more prominent role on the new network next season!

Monday, July 19, 2010 2 comments

8 Reasons Dakota Fanning is Awesome

by Brittany Geragotelis

All photos courtesy of Marie Claire
A couple of years ago I had the profound pleasure of interviewing Miss Dakota Fanning for the magazine. I had exactly 10 minutes to talk with her according to her publicist...that day, I talked quicker than I'd ever talked in my life, in order to get as many questions in as I could. Even after such a short amount of time, I could tell that Dakota was a cool character. And by the looks of this Marie Claire cover and spread, she's like wine...she only gets better with age.

Here are my top 8 reasons that Dakota's awesome!

1. Student by day, actress by night. She goes to regular school and is treated no differently than her classmates despite her hollywood status. And it was her decision to go to regular school instead of being homeschooled. She's said that it was important for her to have normal teenage experiences.
2. She's beyond her years...but in a good way. When I spoke with her, she carried herself like someone twice her age. She was well-spoken, confident and was conscious of everything she said. And although she's clearly more mature than her 17 years of age, she's not itching to grow up faster than she has to. In other words, you won't see her dancing drunkenly on any bars anytime soon.
3. She makes smart career choices. Check out a few of her past projects: I Am Sam, Uptown Girls, The Cat in the Hat, Man on Fire, Hide and Seek, War of the Worlds, Charlotte's Web, Hounddog, The Secret Life of Bees, Coraline, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and The Runaways.
4. She went through her awkward years with grace. She began acting at the age of 8, and as she got older, she lost teeth, had pimples, developed curves and attempted to discover her own style. And yet, you never really heard her complain about it. I'm not saying that she never felt awkward during this time, but she's certainly come out on the pretty side and minus any eating disorders, plastic surgery or drug and alcohol abuse problems.
5. She's a cheerleader! Yep. Dakota stars in hit movies and somehow still finds time to cheer on her high school squad. Though she'll leave to do projects, she always comes back to her team and cheers alongside them on the sidelines. The girl sure knows what's important to her.
6. She's freaking cute! I mean, seriously. Just look at her. Go ahead, look....I'll wait.
7. She doesn't mind pushing the boundaries. She shot a rape scene when she was 12 years old for the movie Hounddog. When people became outraged that Dakota's parents had allowed her to shoot such an adult scene, she told them that it wasn't really happening and that "it's called acting." She recently had her first onscreen kiss in the movie Runaways...with Kristin Stewart!
8. She's pretty badass. Her character in the Twilight saga hasn't had a ton of screen time yet, but Dakota has nearly stolen every scene she's been in. I'd love to see this girl really bare her fangs.

Sunday, July 18, 2010 5 comments

Things the psychic told me.

by Brittany Geragotelis

I'm now home sweet home (except for the fact that I found out that my air conditioning unit is leaking water into the apartment below me and until I can get an air conditioning repair guy in here to fix it and possibly install a new one, I'm stuck without cool air in this muggy heat), and back from my trip to NOLA (which stands for New Orleans if you're a little slow on the uptake like me). And as I mentioned in an earlier blog, while I was in NOLA, I had the opportunity to meet with a psychic.

Well, two to be exact, but the first one was a guy who managed to convince Tammy and I to stop with a two-for-one reading. He was big and sweaty and kept saying, "See, I said it before you did. I said it," as he tried to say certain words at the same time as us. The Psychic-Lite did guess that I was a writer and said I needed to check out Ballentine books in regards to publishers. Of course, these things were certainly interesting, but he got too many things wrong for me to believe that he was seeing/feeling a little more of the universe than the rest of us.

But the second psychic...I can't help but feel like he was more of the real deal. His name was Phillip and he was a reader at Marie Laveau's House of VooDoo. As soon as I sat down across from the super-fem Moby look-alike and he took my hand, I felt this crazy connection with him. Like an energy was flowing between the two of us, or a low current of electricity coursing through my hand.

Phillip started by just holding my hand and telling me things about myself: I wear glasses (I do, but I wasn't at the time), I need to drink more water (which I do), I don't like change (Duh), etc. But the first real thing he asked me was, "How is the creative writing coming?" Uh, weird. I told him I was in a standstill, trying to find another agent and sell my books. He then said that in regards to occupations, I was either a journalist or a teacher. I admitted that I work for a magazine.

He told me that I was "going to be in this industry for a while, but in the next couple of years you're going to start writing for an online site that has something to do with travel, which is weird, because you don't really like to travel, do you? It might not actually require you to travel, but you will be writing about it." Double weird. I do hate to travel. It makes me anxious.

Then he asked me what I'd decided about children. I told him that I hadn't really decided, but was leaning more on the side of no. He told me that if I chose to have a kid, it would be a boy, but if I didn't do it in the next four years, it would be too late. And if I decided not to have kids, I would be fine with that decision.

He said that I own real estate and that I won't be giving it up anytime soon. This was a bit of a bummer, since I've been feeling very much lately that I'd like to move out of the city. He said some other things about my personal life, but I think I'd like to keep them to myself to see if they come to fruition without the help/influence of saying it out loud (or on this blog).

Then he asked me if I had any questions. A lot of women would ask "when am I going to get married?", "when will I meet the one?", "is my lover being faithful?"...but me, I asked about my writing. It's the thing in my life that I love but am also most unsure of. As in, it's my passion, but I've been trying to get published now for 8 years and I feel like it's going nowhere. After every rejection, I ask myself "do I give up or do I keep going?" So, of course, this was what came out of my mouth that day with Phillip.

Without hesitation he said, "Yes. You will be published. It will happen within the next 2 years. You've been working hard on various projects over the last 4 years and it will pay off. Don't worry about it, it's going to happen."

So, there you go. This is what the psychic told me. Do I fully believe everything he said to me during that session is true? Maybe not. But if anything, I choose to believe in the things I hope will happen. I'll experience success. I'll be happy in love. I won't have regrets. I will be published. After all, what bad does it do to put those positive vibes out there in the universe? In the meantime, I've written down all of Phillips' predictions/readings and I intend to see if they end up panning out.

Has anyone else had an experience with a psychic, good or bad? Do you think psychics have special powers that the rest of us don't or that they're just phony future fakers? Leave your comments above!

Friday, July 16, 2010 1 comments

Mish-mash of writing world news

by Brittany Geragotelis

Here's what's going on in the writing world:

*Poor Judy Blume has more to worry about than just banned books. The infamous YA writer's grandson has been arrested for allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl in Blume's home.

*Kate White, the uber powerful editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine is also a murder mystery writer. Check out what the magazine mogul had to say about book writing.

*Successful author, James Patterson, has become the first author to sell 1 million e-books.

*Something Borrowed author, Emily Giffin, is psyched to see her novel made into a movie starring some of today's hottest stars!

*Stieg Larsson's may be gone, but his writing lives on. Apparently the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo author was nearly finished with the 4th book in the series when he passed away.

*Author of The Secret is getting ready to share The Power with us.

*This author offered her book online for free, and ended up snagging a book deal!

*Wonder who you write like? This cool site that will let you know if you write like Stephen King or Dan Brown.

*JK Rowling's being sued by a dead guy.

Getting crazy in New Orleans...

by Brittany Geragotelis

Okay, so I'm not really getting crazy, but I am here in New Orleans right now. I'm in town for a business trip and figured that while I was here, I'd try to soak up as much of the Louisiana culture as possible. And because exploring just isn't as much fun alone, I invited one of my BFF's (Tammy) to come along with me (I asked Matt, too, but he's holding down the fort back home). So, when I was done doing a few things for work, Tammy and I headed out to sight-see around the French Quarter.

First, we went to this famous restaurant down here named Muriel's. Besides offering a gluten-free menu, the place itself was beautiful. After sitting down and ordering, we found out that the building had a rich history, including that the place was haunted! Apparently, one of the original house owners had lost the house gambling and before he had to hand it over to the winner, he committed suicide in one of the upstairs room (talk about drama queen!). Now, people see the owner throughout the restaurant and they've even created a seance room made of velvet and is red from floor to ceiling. More pics of this to come later.

Then, we walked around and window shopped...but not for clothes. The funny thing about this area is that voodoo shops are more popular than Starbucks down here! Because voodoo is such a huge part of the culture in New Orleans, Tammy and I jumped on board, stopped in some stores, going to the voodoo museum and visiting the shop of a high voodoo priestess to schedule a cleansing. Though we only made appointments today, Tammy and I are both excited to head back there in the next few days.

After that, we headed over to Cafe Du Monde, the original french coffee stand in this area, for some coffee and beignets (fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar). Of course, being that the French treat is full of gluten, I didn't get a chance to take a taste, but Tammy did and she said it was awesome!

We headed home in the evening, to take showers, change and do a little work before heading back out for dinner. This time we sat down for a luxurious meal at Nola, Emeril's first restaurant EVER. Our waiter was super nice (and according to Tammy, really cute!), and the food was incredible. Speaking of, I have been blown away by the food here. Everything has so much's truly incredible. And Nola was no exception: I had the pork chops!

When we'd filled our bellies, we walked it off on famous Bourbon Street...where you always see people throwing beads to girls during Mardi Gras. I've gotta say, I was surprised at what I saw there! First off, people can drink in the streets there, there's smoking in the bars, everybody's just walking around like it's a carnaval and there's plenty of depravity going on. Tammy and I wandered into one bar where a group of guys were singing all of the best 80s songs: Living on a Prayer, Jesse's Girl, Don't Stop Believing, etc. So we sat there for a half hour and just belted out the tunes at the top of our lungs. It was a blast.

It was such a full day, but one that I'll remember for years to come. Has anyone else been to New Orleans? Anything we should see while we're here?

Thursday, July 15, 2010 2 comments


by Brittany Geragotelis

Words cannot express how I feel after watching this, so I'll just use abbreviations...WTF?

I can't decide if this is really cool or really creepy. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 0 comments

Pretty Little Liars...

by Brittany Geragotelis

photo credit: Harper Teen
Has anyone else been watching the new ABC Family show, "Pretty Little Liars?" I have and I'm totally hooked! "PLL" is based on the book by the same name, written by author Sara Shepard. I read the novel when it first came out and enjoyed the mystery behind it all. When I heard they were making it into a show, I wasn't sure how they were going to pull it off to be honest. Very few teen-focused mystery shows make it past the first season (R.I.P. "Glory Days"). And when I found out that it would be airing on ABC Family, I was doubly surprised. It seemed the family-friendly teenage mouse network was branching out into some seriously delicious drama in the form of murder, jealousy, violence, adult content, affairs, girl-on-girl action and inappropriate student/teacher relationships (Note: the student totally doesn't need the extra credit).

photo credit: ABCFamily/PLL
Anyways, back on track. I'm officially obsessed with this show. Okay, so it's a little bit cheesy, but it's also just dark and twisted enough to make me tune in every week (and by tune in, I mean DVR it until I have a chance to watch it on the weekends). "PLL" is "Desperate Housewives" meets "Gossip Girl." Two shows I enjoyed, BTW. The storyline goes like this: Four former BFF's reunite a year after the fifth member of their group disappears, because they all begin to receive messages from the devilish friend. Oh, and did I mention that she's dead-texting? Yeah, creepy, huh?

The show's a classic whodunit with a modern twist, and the cast is fun and young and pretty. "PLL" stars relative newcomers Shay Mitchell and Troian Avery Bellisario, and "Charmed" alum, Holly Marie Combs. Another of the main characters is played by the sassy, sexy, star Ashley Benson. I'm a bit of a fan of Ashley...but I'm a little biased. I met her on the set of Bring It On: In It to Win It and she was really cool. She was even our 2007 cover girl for American Cheerleader. Ashley was nice, friendly, not at all snobby...just a fun girl (A bit of trivia: Ashley's BIO: IITWI co-star, Cassie Scerbo, is also a part of the ABC Family family...she stars in the show "Make It or Break It"). It's great to see that Ashley's moving on to such great things. (Check out my pic with her here, on the set of our AC photo shoot in '07.)

photo credit: ABCFamily/PLL
But I think the standout actress in the show is Lucy Hale. You may remember her from her stint on the CW show, "Privileged," where she played a smart, beautiful rich girl. Well, in "PLL," Lucy plays a smart, beautiful, slightly edgy not-so-rich girl who's trying to make sense of what's become of her life since her friend went missing. I don't know much about this actress, but she's sort of mesmerizing. Her acting is totally real, she's gorgeous (She totally reminds me of Winnie from "The Wonder Years") and even though the thought of a student and teacher making out should make me wanna gag, well, have you seen her kissing buddy? Yum!

photo credit: ABCFamily/PLL
Anyways, if you haven't caught the show yet, I'd strongly suggest you set your DVR to tape a few episodes and give it a try. It's a guilty pleasure...but given how hard we all work on a daily basis, wouldn't you say we deserve a little down-and-dirty fun?

Monday, July 12, 2010 3 comments

Greetings from Arizona

by Brittany Geragotelis

So sorry for the internet silence these past few days (five to be exact), but I was in Arizona and had no web access. Matt and I took off on Thursday afternoon for the west coast because my nephew was being baptized and our whole family was meeting up to celebrate the occasion.

The weekend itself was really nice. We stayed in a really nice hotel called the Conquistador. It was actually a resort with a golf course, spa and several pools...there was even a waterslide! In short, the place was gorgeous! And in between doing family stuff, we were all able to spend some time relaxing by the pool.

Besides the fact that this was the first time our whole family (I have two younger sisters) had been together since my 28-year-old sister, Amy, got married three years ago, I was meeting my nephew, Cash Ryan, for the first time. Now, I know everyone says that their nephew or niece is the cutest thing ever, but Cash really is. Cutest. Thing. Ever. When he smiles (which he does A LOT), it just melts your heart. He's six months old and a pretty easy-going baby. He rarely cries and laughs when you talk to him. Anyway, the baptism was nice (and also interesting, to be honest; I didn't realize churches still performed exorcisms...way to go organized religion) and we all had a chance to get dressed up and spend the day together.

While we were there, I also got the chance to meet my 21-year-old sister Jacey's boyfriend, Micah, who has one of the best senses of humor I've ever seen (can you see a sense of humor?). Really funny...and very sweet to my sis, which is what matters most to me.

But the baptism wasn't the only thing we were was also both my parent's birthdays! So all of us girls (along with our special man friends) took my parents out to dinner one of the nights and surprised them with a Nintendo Wii. They had no idea we were getting them one and I think they really enjoyed the night. We even had the waiters sing to them!

All in all, it was a great weekend, and I was exhausted by the time I got back home...thus the reason you didn't get a blog yesterday. Now, I'm home for three days before heading off to New Orleans for work (and play). But more on that in a future blog...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 2 comments

I'd like to introduce you to Handi

by Brittany Geragotelis

I've been trying to convince my best friend, Tammy, to get a cat ever since we met. Animals love her and she's really great with them. Whenever she comes over to my apartment, she sprawls out on my floor and Murray climbs up onto her head and grooms her. Cohen just sticks his butt in her face.

The point is, she's great with animals, and I've always known she would LOVE having a cat around, but for whatever reason (ahem—not wanting to turn into a crazy cat lady—ahem), she hasn't been ready to take one on...until now.

A few weeks ago, our other good friend, Kate, told us that one of her co-workers had a kitty she needed to get rid of. The cat was somewhere between 1 to 3 years old and very sweet, but the other 7 cats living at that particular house in Brooklyn were picking on him and the owners felt it best to give him to someone else. See, one day, the owners found the kitty underneath a grill; He was tired and had a broken leg. So, the family took him to the vet, got him fixed up, the docs put a pin in his broken leg so it would heal and then took him home to heal. And because his leg was healing, the kitty got used to hopping around on three legs...and continued to do so, even when he was better. And this prompted the other cats to pick on him (man, this story's bringing back some not-so-fond memories of high school), which led to the owners needing to find him a new home.

And here enters Tammy. Superhero Cat Saver! She went and picked up the pretty, gray, cuddly cat yesterday. And in honor of his injuries and ultimately how he ended up going home with her, she named him HandiCat. Handi for short. Less than two days after being introduced to his new home, Handi is LOVING his new owner. And though she'll kill you if you call her the cat lady, I know Tammy loves having him around, too!

Welcome to the family, Handi!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 1 comments

It's weird...but kinda cool.

by Brittany Geragotelis

When we were at the beach last week, I got into the habit of waking up pretty early (like around 8ish; Hey, for a vacation, that's early). One of the mornings, I woke up (early), made some coffee (decaf) and went out to sit on the back deck (I liked to sit and listen to the waves in the morning) as I proceeded to try and wake up.

Only this time, I went out there, to find Matt's 8-year-old cousin, Maya, out on the deck, even more excited and energetic as usual. She was bouncing around and didn't even wait for me to ask her what was up before she spilled. "There's a wedding on the beach!" Sure enough, I looked out and saw an altar set up down by the water and about a dozen or so chairs lined up in front of it.

We were all so excited at the prospect of bearing witness to a couple's union--without having to get all dressed up to do it. It was exciting and sweet and for the next 30 minutes, I was glued to my patio chair as I sipped my coffee and watched guests start to arrive. By this time, Maya had lost interest and disappeared upstairs to find something else to hold her attention, so I was left there on my own to witness the blessed event.

As I waited, I tried to guess what the gown would look like. Would it be a big poofy affair, like a princess sort of look...or would the bride go the sundress route and wear something that could get sandy and wet? Maybe something modern...or a more traditional gown?

Finally, a crowd began to form as people headed down to the beach, including a few girls that were wearing the same sundresses, which led me to believe they were the bridesmaids. Everyone hugged hello and I watched as the officiant, dressed in a long, white, regal-looking robe made his way to the altar. I blinked as everyone turned to face where the bride would walk down the isle.

There was no dress. There were shorts. White shorts, actually, and a matching white button-up shirt.

And two brides.

The two women walked down the sandy isle together, arm in arm and their friends and family surrounded them as they approached the man who was going to marry them. As they reached the altar, the man threw off his robe to reveal white shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.

In four words? It was (freaking) awesome!

I wish I hadn't been so far away that way I could have heard them, but man was everyone in that group happy when the vows were made and those two people were able to make those promises to each other. It was beautiful.

A little bit after the ceremony ended and the guests fled the beach, Maya appeared on the porch and I told her that it was two women who'd been married that morning. She looked confused for a minute and then said, "Two women?" I said, "Yep." Then, totally deadpan, she said to me, "That's weird...but also kinda cool." I asked her why it was weird and all she said was, "I don't know. But it's kinda cool, too." Then she skipped off to tell everyone about the wedding she'd seen on the beach.

Monday, July 5, 2010 6 comments

Summer Reading List

by Brittany Geragotelis

When I was growing up, I was a book nerd. I spent all my life savings (up until the age of 15) on books. I had every single Christopher Pike book at one point (He was my favorite author. Come to think of it, I'd still love to meet him). I could sit down with a book for hours and just read. Getting lost in a book was my favorite thing to do. And surprise, still is today.

photo credit: Dairy Queen
One of my best memories of summertime is of having a summer reading list. There was no schoolwork to get in the way of my pleasure reading and I had days on end to just plow through book after book. Our local Dairy Queen used to do this program where they encouraged summer reading. For every 10 books you read, you got a free ice cream. Your parents had to sign off on the books you read of course, and it was sort of an honor system thing, since we didn't have to write a book report or anything to prove that we'd actually read the books that were on the list (I doubt this would fly now).

Needless to say, I PLOWED through those free ice creams. At one point, I was averaging at least a book a day. I was Dairy Queen's biggest nightmare.

I miss those summers...making a pile of the books I wanted to read and picking them up one at a time. Now, as an adult, I just don't have as much time to read. I have a full-time job; I have other commitments I have to handle on a daily basis; I write books; I keep up this blog; There are so many TV shows and movies to watch. It's not as easy to shut out the real world for a day of reading.

But I'd like to get back to that.

So, I took a look at all the books that are on my shelf, just waiting to be read, and have vowed to have them read by September 1st. Here they are:

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
3. Watership Down by Richard Adams (This is a re-read, but it's been so long since I read it, it'll be like the first time all over again)
4. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
5. Secrets of the Monarch by Alison Dubois
6. We are their Heaven by Alison Dubois
7. A Match Made in High School byKristin Walker
8. Getting the Girl by Susan Juby
9. Uncharted TerriTori by Tori Spelling
10. Practical Intuition by Laura Day

photo credit: Pinkberry
And I think that I'm going to treat myself to pinkberry after every book—just because. Who said I had to wait until I finished reading 10 of them to get a yummy reward? Don't we all deserve a little snack with our storytime?

Sunday, July 4, 2010 4 comments

Could I be turning into a vampire?

by Brittany Geragotelis

Just got home today from vacation and although I'm not happy to be away from the beach, I don't exactly hate that I'm back home. Mostly because I'm here with my kitties, who are SO happy to see me! Just take a look at these pics...

Murray and Cohen causing trouble.

Murray saying hello.

Cohen giving me the evil eye.

Anyway, yesterday was my last day in Maryland and it was seriously a blast. In the morning, Matt and I went to get our hair cut, then we worked out (him running outside; me, doing the elliptical as I watched "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"--Oh, the drama!). After that, we shopped. And I'm talking, serious shopping. But how could we not? The deals were insane because we were at the outlet malls and it's 4th of July weekend. I think I came back with a whole new wardrobe.

Anyways, once we got home, we packed up a picnic dinner of sandwiches, chips, coleslaw and strawberries and jumped into the car with Matt and his parents. We headed to a nearby grassy hill to listen to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and watch some crazy fireworks. It was a beautiful night. A pleasant 80 degrees or so in the shade, and we listened to some great tunes as the sun went down. There had to be at least 5,000 people there, and the atmosphere was electric. Check out Matt here, with some of the crowd in the background!

While we were sitting there on our big blanket, eating our yummy picnic meal, I felt something wet hit my shoulder. And to my horror, I looked over and saw a big glop of poop on my arm. I quickly realized it wasn't just any old bird poop: it was BAT poop! As soon as the sun went down, the bats came out to play. And I had been poo-bombed by the mother-daddy of the fanged creatures!

This got me thinking: what if Twilight and "True Blood" had it all wrong. What if the secret human-to-vampire-change secret is in the poo, not in the blood? Maybe that's what all the vamps want you to believe, so they can more easily change humans to vamps. Hey, it's not totally far-fetched, right?

Suddenly I'm ravenous all the time, wearing sunglasses to block out the light and I'm a total night person. All vampire-like behavior, right?

So what if my hunger might actually be because I've been eating like a glutton all week on vacation and my appetite's grown in the process. And yeah, I may be wearing sunglasses now because I bought two new pairs at the beach. As for being a night person...I've sort of always preferred nighttime over daytime.

But still, I could've been infected, right? Now, I've just got to find my other vampish peeps and we can stir up some trouble....

Friday, July 2, 2010 4 comments

It's a sad, sad day

by Brittany Geragotelis

We're leaving the beach in an hour and I have to admit, I'm a little depressed. I'm sitting here, crying a little into the cake that I'm eating for breakfast (not really though, because that would be a waste of perfectly good cake!). Waking up each day, pulling on a swimsuit and heading down to the beach for some sun-soaking (don't worry, I wear 80 SPF! I practice safe sun.) and reading my magazines....there's seriously nothing like it. I really think my quality of life would be so much better if I lived near the beach--or at least just not in busy, busy NYC.

I'm so sad to leave, I don't think I can even summon up a blog today. So, instead, I'll just leave you with this picture. It pretty much sums up how I'm feeling right now. This is Matt's dog, Tyler. She's not happy to be leaving either...

Thursday, July 1, 2010 0 comments

Vacation Breakdown

by Brittany Geragotelis

I only have one more day left at the beach before we head back to Baltimore and then NY. My time here has been sublime (albeit too fast) and has been full of a lot of relaxing, eating and having fun. Here's a rundown of what my vacation's been like:

Days down at the beach: 5
Hours (on average) spent soaking up rays: 15
Bottles of sunscreen used while here: 2
Naps: 3
Articles written for work: 2
Buckets of fries eaten: 3
Magazines read: 6
Days I've exercised: 1
Episodes of "Ghost Whisperer" watched: 7
Money spent: $93
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshakes slurped: 5
Days dieting since down here: 0
Trips to Dunkin' Donuts: 3
Kids I've played with: 4
Days waking up past 10AM: 1
Movies watched: 1
Blogs written: 4
Bad days at the beach: 0

Okay, gotta head back down to the beach for my last-ditch tan efforts...see you all back in NY!