Hope you've had an awesome holiday break! I definitely have. My boyfriend Matt and I moved into our new apartment, deep in the heart of the upper east side of Manhattan, and after nearly 2 weeks of packing, moving, unloading, unpacking, cleaning, decorating and setting things up (phew, it makes me tired just thinking about it!), we're officially home, sweet, home. Don't believe me? Take a look at the pics:
Pretty awesome, huh?
Next, you know the superstition that what you do on New Year's Day is the way the rest of your year will go? Well, I'm taking full advantage of the magic of the universe and launching the first two chapters of my latest book, Life's a Witch, on the totally awesome website, Wattpad. Check out my amazing book cover, designed by my incredible friend, Toni Misthos (She's genius and I'm so in love with what she designed!!!). A literary youtube for aspiring and established authors, Wattpad approached me a few months ago and expressed an interest in promoting my books on their site, and of course I jumped at the opportunity! They already have a plethora of talented writers posting their stuff on the site, including Diana Ilinca (soon to be published author...check back here next week for an exclusive interview with her!), so I was thrilled to be working with them and have their full support along the way (check out what the wattpaddies wrote about this blog recently!).
Life's a Witch is a modern retelling of the Salem Witch Trials, with a fun teen twist. And for the first time ever, it's going to be available to all my fans! So, be sure to check out the first two chapters at wattpad.com or better yet, download the app today (come on...you know you wanna!), and then log on every Saturday for a brand new chapter!
And since it's new years, the day we make resolutions that we plan to keep for another 365 days (or two weeks if it includes working out and dieting), why not add, "Read more books" to that list? I promise, it's much more fun than sweating on a treadmill.
Happy new year!
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, she's dying to DELETE all the drama surrounding New Years Eve. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
If there's anything I hate more than people, it's New Year’s Eve. Or more appropriately named, "Amateur Night." What could possibly be more fun than running around in zero-degree weather trying to get a cab to some “swanky” party filled with people…well, you know where this is going.
So, in ode to my least favorite holiday…here’s my list of 10 things that must be DELETED from NYE:
Party horns. I’m already another year older and closer to losing my hearing due to blasting my headphones on the subway so I don’t hear your stupid conversations…so I don’t need you blowing out what’s left of my eardrums with your stupid noise-makers. That’s not going to make me happy, happy. It’s just going to make me deaf, deaf…DELETE.
Party hats. They look stupid and they cut off the circulation in my face…DELETE.
Times Square. I would rather be stoned to death than venture to this part of Manhattan on this night. So totally overrated…DELETE.
Kissing at midnight. Whoever started this tradition needs to be shot. The last thing I need to witness at the turn of the New Year is some happy couple smoochy-smooching, solidifying the fact that I’m still single and alone. Kill me now—or preferably, them...DELETE.
Auld Lang Syne. Newsflash...no one knows the words to this song…DELETE.
Drunk dudes. I may be single but I’m not desperate. Screaming “I love you for real” is not going to convince me to go home with you. Well, maybe...NOT. DELETE.
Cocktail dresses. Though the results are phenomenal, squeezing into sausage casing for the evening does not make for a good time. I’d rather be in my flannel pajamas, eating Indian food and watching a rom-com or a marathon of "Friends" episodes. And you wonder why I’m still single...DELETE.
Another year older. WTF! This madness needs to stop. Well, I guess that's what Botox is for...DELETE.
Staying up until midnight. I don't know about you, but I need my beauty sleep…DELETE.
So friend’s it’s been real. See you next year! And be sure to include your own DELETES in the comments below!
After Matt read my blog about the 10 things you should NEVER say to your boyfriend after moving in with him, he decided to reverse the roles and give a few tips of his own. So, according to Matt, here are 10 things you should NEVER say to your girlfriend after moving in with her...
1. "Oh look, sweetie, you have a little buddah belly. Don't worry, we have a gym in our building now."
2. "I was thinking of growing a beard..."
3. "Since we're splitting the cable bill, I guess we can finally get the NFL package."
4. "Where am I supposed to put my porn?"
5. "At least I'll save money on food since you'll be cooking for me all the time."
6. "You're going to get rid of your cats, right?"
7. "This means I don't need to propose for a few more years, right?"
8. "Our neighbors are lingerie models and I invited them over for dinner."
9. "Does this mean I have to meet your parents?"
10. "Do you really need 40 pairs of shoes?"
In honor of my moving in with my boyfriend Matt yesterday, here's a list of the 10 things you SHOULDN'T say to your boyfriend the day you move in together:
1. "Thank GOD I don't have to shave anymore!"
2. "So, when are you going to get me a ring?"
3. "I was scared to tell you this before, but...."
4. "You only need ONE drawer for your stuff, right?"
5. "I guess this means I can't bring my other boyfriend over anymore, huh?"
6. "This is a Sports-Free Zone."
7. "I thought cooking dinner would be your job from now on."
8. "You ever hear of this thing called a biological clock? Well, I think mine just got new batteries."
9. "We should get a cat together and name him Fluffy McPufferton."
10. "I was thinking of pink walls, pink throw pillows and a Hello Kitty bedspread for the bedroom."
This past Saturday I lost a friend of mine.
Natalia was a beautiful girl. Always smiling whenever I saw her and was the perfect height for hugs (with me). She was sweet and thoughtful and had a cadence to her voice that was unique and soothing. I looked forward to seeing her on a weekly basis and so did the rest of our friends.
Once, when I was having a particularly bad day, she sat there with me, cracking jokes and talking me through it until I felt better. She had a way of making the people she was talking to, feel like they were important.
It's always a great loss when someone you care about, passes. And maybe it's our first instinct to think we should have done more for them while they were alive. But I can't help but worry that she didn't know how much she meant to me and others. Did I do enough to let her know that in life? The last time I saw her, I said "Hello" and asked how she was doing. She seemed distracted, but I let her continue on her way.
Now, I know enough to understand that I'm not powerful enough to change what's meant to be, but I can make sure that I do a better job of letting those around me know I care about them in the future. That I stop and ask people how they're doing and really listen to their answers instead of thinking only about myself and what's going on in my life. Realize that the problems I have today are luxury problems compared to the stuff that others might be going through.
Natalia was a wonderful person and profoundly touched my life in the short time I knew her. She will be sorely missed and thoroughly loved.
From what I understand, most authors don't have a say in what their book covers look like. And while they might take the author's opinions into account, the final results are really up to the publishers.
That's why I've found myself in such a unique position right now, of having to brainstorm my own book cover. And it's a lot harder than you'd think.
Since I'll be publishing my latest project, Life's a Witch, on the website wattpad.com in January, I'm going to need a book cover to go along with it. Something to reflect the general tone, while still being intriguing and playful. My main character is gorgeous and smart, but also very witty, and although there's some heavy stuff that goes on in the storyline, it's also funny and light at times. And trying to come up with one piece of art that sums that all up in a glance? Not an easy feat.
Luckily, one of my best friends and co-workers, Toni, has signed up to be the brains behind the operation! As the art director of our magazine, her design skills are to die for, and there's no one else I'd rather have bring her masterful vision to this project.
When Toni first agreed to take this on, we sat down and discussed what we both liked about the book covers that were on bookshelves today.
And I hate to say it (out loud), but I do judge a book by its cover.
I know, I'm breaking, like, the cardinal rule of book reading....but I receive about 50 books a month and can usually only get to about two to three in that time (hey, it would be more, but I have a full-time job, write books in my spare time, and still need to fit in sleep, fun and couple-time!), so I have to have a selection process to narrow down the list. So, yes, I take five seconds (sometimes 10) to look at the cover of a book before deciding whether it's worth looking at the description on the back.
So, I totally get how important the cover is to capturing an audience....which makes the process of designing it that much harder. But Toni and I know the direction we're headed in and if I was going to trust anyone to come up with something amazing, it would be her. Now, all we have to do is find the perfect picture....
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, her complaints are of those she works with from 9-5. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
My therapist says to let it all out (Yes, I have a therapist. Are you really that surprised? Just imagine what this weekly rant would be like if I didn’t.), so I’ll get to the point and let it all out.
In my industry, I work with a lot of "creative types.” The kind who feel they have to “make their mark,” or as I like to call it, “rub there stank” all over every project. Recently I had an exchange with one of these overbearing "artistic gurus” (his term not mine…I’m sure you can see where this is going). We partnered up on a project and I set forth on my journey to accommodate his “needs.”
Unfortunately the only “needs” that were being met, was his “need” to control every aspect of the process (I realize my excessive use of quotation marks. This is the direct result of being mentally accosted by this crazy co-worker.). Was he mental? He must have been, because his behavior wasn't appropriate by any means, and frankly it just warranted the creation of a new class of DELETE.
DELETE due to insanity.
Here are just a few worthy examples of his complete and utter insanity (and in turn, his reason for DELETION):
He comes over to your desk to download and dump crap on you just because he doesn't have anything better to do…DELETE. Apparently you didn't know that I’m very busy and important.
He wastes your time (note above)…DELETE.
He talks to you while you're trying to ignore him...In other words, his mouth is moving, but he can’t seem to see that you're not listening. FYI, I have my headphones on for a reason, douche. DELETE.
He exhibits neurotic behavior of any kind…DELETE.
He's controlling in any way…DELETE.
He only wears the color blue...is that some crazy reflection of your mood, groucho? DELETE.
He whines to others in person or in an e-mail. You're a freaking adult, so stop acting like you’re two…DELETE.
His passive-aggressive BS. Tell it like it is pal…DELETE.
On another note...did I forget to I mention that I went out on a date with the guy in question? Now it all makes sense. Guess I’ll have something to talk about in therapy next week!
The only reason I survived the loooooooong flight to and from L.A. was because I had a book with me that was both fun and flirty, celeb-studded and light. With the Los Angeles Hollywood scene as the backdrop for the book, it was the perfect thing to read right before my glittery trip to tinsletown.
Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (the totally unfiltered masterminds behind the blog gofugyourself.com) have come out with a debut novel that gives readers an inside look into the lives of celebrities from an outsiders perspective.
16-year-old Molly Dix loves her ordinary life in suburban Indiana, so when her single mother passes away, she is shocked to discover that her biological father is Brick Berlin, world famous movie star and red carpet regular.
Equally intrigued and terrified by her Hollywood lineage, Molly moves to Southern California and plunges head-first into the deep end of Beverly Hills celebrity life. Just as Molly thinks her new life and family couldn't get any stranger, she meets Brooke Berlin, her gorgeous and spoiled half-sister whom welcomes Molly to la-la land with a healthy dose of passive-aggressive "sisterly love."
Though the book isn't anything that hasn't already been done before, it was a fun read, perfect when you need some fluff to help you escape from the stress of life. Heather and Jessica create two very different characters in Brooke and Molly—both endearing and intriguing—and leave you wondering which celebs they're based after.
Spoiled is being released in June 2011....just in time to hit the beach while kicking back with your own copy!
This past weekend, I was in LA for a photo shoot we were doing for the magazine. Our cover girls? Heather Morris (plays Brittany on "Glee") and Kendall Jenner (younger sister of the famed Kardashians).
To say the weekend was exciting is an understatement. And I have the pictures to prove it. I can't give away too much scoop, because I have to save it all for the mag, but I can tell you that I got to meet Bruce Jenner (he's very tall); Kendall is super nice, ridiculously gorgeous (the girl can't take a bad picture!), towered over me and is seriously in LOVE with cheerleading; And Heather is just as funny and loveable in person as she is on the show, is a sick dancer and knew nothing about the rumors of her being the next Buffy (When I told her about the gossip, she looked genuinely shocked).
But without further ado, please enjoy some of these pics from the shoot!
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, she's delving even deeper into the mind (and behavior) of the opposite sex. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
In light of my dating debacles from last week, I started to give some serious consideration to douchebag behavior, and how it's become a running theme in my life. Is it me? I feel like a host to a viral infection. Lately it’s been like Night of the Living Douchebags around this joint.
I'd be doing a disservice to women everywhere if I didn’t share my experience and insight into spotting a douchebag...Hopefully you'll be able to save yourself before it's too late. So, line up those crosshairs and get ready to fire…DELETE to the douche.
Here are a few things to watch out for…and keep in mind that these are (sadly) all actual occurrences:
He just has to mention the clothing label he's wearing—like I care…DELETE.
He asks if you play tennis, because he's so highbrow and sophisticated…DELETE.
He asks how much money you make. Wait, isn't that supposed to be what I ask him? DELETE.
He uses big words to sound more intellectual…DELETE.
He uses you for a place to stay while he's in town to pick up chicks…DELETE.
He brags about what area of town he lives in as casual conversation…for example, why don’t you come over to my apartment in (insert area…most likely a well-regarded part of town, however, their apartment is really the size of a postage stamp)…DELETE.
He's already slept with one of your coworkers… DELETE.
He brags about certain periodicals that he reads…DELETE.
He doesn't follow up or follow through when he says he will. If you say you're going to call on Tuesday, then you should. Thursday doesn’t count, doucheballs…DELETE.
He has an entire wall of photos dedicated to just himself. Hello, Mr. Ego…party of one, your table's ready! DELETE.
I’m currently writing this blog from thousands of feet up in the air. At 6 am. On my cute, little HP laptop. And the guy next to me is leaning over into my seat in his sleep...um, hello? It's called personal space for a reason! Anyway, I’m on my way to LA for what is sure to be a very exciting photo shoot. This weekend, my co-workers (shout-outs to Morgan, Jess & Kathy who are currently sitting across the aisle from me...and none of which have a stranger leaning his head on their shoulders, I might add....) and I will be shooting Heather Morris (Brittany on “Glee”) and Kendall Jenner (one of the sisters of the Kardashians) for our cover, and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for months.
I have to admit, I’ve had a total girl-crush on Heather Morris ever since she said her first funny line on the show, with that deadpan stare and monotone voice of hers. Thank God Ryan Murphy saw the gold they had with her as a castmember and began to give her more of a storyline, because I can’t seem to get enough of the ditzy Cheerio. And I’ve only heard great things about her in the media, so I can’t help but feel like we’re going to get along really well.
And Kendall Jenner? Well, although I’m not a fan of most reality TV, I am obsessed with “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and have watched the second-to-youngest Jenner grow from a teeny-bopper into a self-assured, poised young woman. The thing I find most interesting about her is that she’s currently a cheerleader at her high school, all while filming the show and jump-starting her modeling career. But also, there’s not much information out there about her. We see a ton of Khloe, Kourtney and Kim, but how much do we really know about Kendall? Well, hopefully I’m about to find out.
Now, to be honest, I’m pretty nervous about the day. Not because we’re not prepared (we’ve got everything covered on that end), but because even though they’re people just like you and me (as my old friend, Barry used to say, “They all put their pants on one leg at a time.”), they lead extraordinary lives. And I’m looking forward to catching a glimpse of what it’s like to be in their world. Now, if only I can manage to play it cool while I’m around them (I know I’ll be jumping up and down inside), and not let out my inner super-fan, things will turn out just fine. We’ll be updating our Facebook page and tweeting about the shoot all day tomorrow, so be sure to check back!
They say that the only thing separating writers from non-writers is actually sitting down at the computer (or if you're old-school, a typewriter or paper and pen) and getting something down on paper. If you're not actually writing, how can you call yourself a writer, right?
So, if you're an aspiring writer—be it novels, poetry, short stories, comic books, etc—the #1 most important thing you're going to need to do is come up with some sort of a writing schedule. Now, I don't know about you, but my life can get busy. I leave my apartment between 7:30-8 am and don't usually get home until 9 pm. Since my days aren't filled with limitless free time, I actually have to schedule in time to write, much like the way you'd fit in a yoga class or that hour of "Glee" you watch.
To do this, you'll need to figure out when you work best. I, personally, can't function all that well in the morning (can you tell I've been writing these in the AM lately?), and my creative juices are flowing best at night, so writing at night for about an hour (usually 10:30-11:30 pm) is what works best for me. No two writers are alike though, and you must figure out when is going to work best for you and your process. Just make sure that whatever time you choose, you'll be able to write at this time on a daily basis.
Next, and this is the important part, you have to actually stick to the schedule! This means, sitting your butt down in the chair, on the floor, or lying down on the couch (this is my choice of writing space) at your designated time every day and actually writing something. Even if what you write isn't a masterpiece, the point is to get into the habit of doing it....you can always go back later and revise and rewrite. The important thing is to get something down on paper.
It might help to give yourself daily goals, such as not stopping until you've written 2 pages a day or sitting down at your computer and writing for an hour before taking a break. Some writers even reward themselves with treats (coffee, chocolate, bathroom breaks) once they've written a certain amount. Whatever you have to do to get yourself to write, go for it!
Just think of it this way: if you write 1 page a day for a month, you'll have 30 pages by the time you're done! 2 pages/day=60 pages/month! 3 pages/day=90 pages/month! At this rate, you'll be an author in no time!
Last year, I read a book that blew my mind. Sisters Red took the old fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood and gave it a modern twist, and the result was something magical and action-packed. It was by far one of the best books I'd read in a long time and I instantly developed an author crush on the book's scribe, Jackson Pearce (Check out an interview I did with her about Sisters Red here).
Well, Jackson's back with another fairy tale adventure, this time taking on the story of Hansel and Gretel. Considered a companion novel to Sisters Red, her new book Sweetly did not disappoint.
Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.
Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.
Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
Though Sweetly had a completely different feel and voice than Sisters Red (and considerably less action), I enjoyed it immensely. Gretchen is both believable and endearing and it's easy to identify with her loss and fear. And Jackson does a beautiful job of building the relationships between the characters. My only gripe came when I found out who/what the witch really was...it just didn't seem to fit the story. Even so, the book was wonderfully written and should definitely top everyone's Must-Read list for 2011. Sweetly will be released in August 2011!
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, she's tackling the wild world of dating. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
Launching into the world of dating is no easy feat. And in reality, my life is more like an episode of "Punked" than "Sex in the City." I think I'd rather stay in, curled up in my bed, watching a marathon of "30 Rock" and stuffing my face with pizza, than have to endure another first date. All the BS conversation, asking questions about things you really don’t give two shits about. The bottom line is, I just want to know if I can spend more than an hour with you without multiple eye-rolls.
But once you get past that first date, establish somewhat of a rapport and start doing the dating rituals...that's when things can get a little sticky. How do you know when things are working, when they’re not and when you need to cut your losses and hit DELETE?
Here are a few things that should tip you off that your potential beau is more DELETE-worthy than DATE-worthy:
If they tell you how many girls they've slept with in the past 3 weeks…DELETE.
If they say they like looking at your photos on Facebook...every few hours…DELETE.
If they brag about having "seasonal" girlfriends…DELETE.
If they collect action figures of any kind...DELETE.
If they want to meet your parents after the first date…DELETE.
If they have an IV filled with booze…DELETE.If they don’t want you to meet their friends…DELETE.
If they still live with their parents…DELETE.Thumb rings. Stole this one from "30 Rock"…thank you Liz Lemon. DELETE.
If they expect you to cook them dinner on your first date…Martha Stewart doesn’t bleepin live here…DELETE.If they remotely remind you of a cast member from the "Jersey Shore"…DELETE.
If they talk baby talk...Mama-Wama doesn't likey the Baby-Waby tawk…DELETE.
And this is just a short list. I’m sure I’ll have to revisit and revise as the weeks pass. Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger and the pizza eventually will start to take it’s toll. But in the meantime, my finger is armed, ready and might I add just a bit trigger-happy to hit DELETE.
Recently, an old high school classmate was kind enough to mention my blog on her blog about writing. It was a really great post, all about what it means to be a writer. She poses the question: if you love to write and you've done it in the past, but haven't finished a novel and have let your writing slide for a while, can you still consider yourself a writer?
Well, in my opinion, if you write, you're a writer. If it makes your heart ache and the need to tell a story sits in the back of your mind whenever you're away from your computer, you're a writer. If writing is your passion, you're a writer.
What was flattering about Melissa's post was that she says that it was my challenge on this blog for others to start writing their own books that gave her the extra push she needed to get back into writing. What a special thing to have someone say...I've always hoped that my writing would inspire people to do something: learn something new, think about things in a different way, follow their dreams, create something amazing. Reading Melissa's blog made me think that maybe my blog actually does impact others. Thanks, Melissa, and congrats on getting started!
So yesterday, I took a pretty big step in my adulthood...I signed an apartment lease with my boyfriend, Matt.
Yes, we've found our new Home Sweet Home!
Yesterday, we headed out to see a slew of apartments (Five in total) and found the one we wanted on the fourth try. It's perfect. One bedroom in a luxury building. Huge living room and bedroom, tons of closets (even a walk-in!), good bathroom and a california kitchen with a dishwasher (not every apartment in NY has this), with lots of counter space to cook!
The building also has a fitness center, tenants lounge (with a pool table and ping pong table), a rooftop garden, outdoor space, and complimentary shuttle service to and from the subway! They also have maid services available and dry cleaning for additional fees. It's pretty awesome.
Our move-in date is December 23rd. Merry Christmas to us!