Monday, July 31, 2006

Wedding superstitions

Wedding superstitions have been around forever, and I just read through some new ones at where I answer questions on the forum. I thought I'd heard everything, but 'have a housecat eat food out of your left shoe' and 'it's good luck to find a spider in your wedding dress' were new to me. It's both good and bad luck to wear pearls, and whatever you do, don't rip your dress on the morning of the wedding.

I just finished a ton of Monday business and am procrastinating before I get into the new book. This one is 'The Bride's Diplomacy Guide,' and as I'm fleshing out the sections, it's hitting me that so many of the problems brides face with others boils down to one thing. The offender's mindset: "Your happiness is costing ME something, so I'm going to cause problems, roll my eyes, sabotage your plans, and insult your partner -- all to deflate your joy, so that I'm not miserable and scared of the future all by myself." I wonder if they'll let me put that on the book's cover? And with that insight into the bottom of the problem whenever a happy couple gets trouble from others, the diplomacy can do its work. This one is going to be tremendous fun to write.

Joe's home. The world has color again. We just got some tiki torches for the back deck and barbecued chicken to pair with turkey sausage, peppers and onions, and salad. Spent yesterday at the pool and we're planning an end-of-summer trip to the beach. I hear there are some dolphins I need to see.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Big things cooking

I wish I could talk about them now, but until the ink is dry, I say nothing.

Butters the hamster is sitting in his exercise ball right here next to my desk. He's done some laps around the room and is waiting for his blueberry. He keeps looking for Joe, who is down the shore with his family this week, and I have to say I keep looking for Joe too. We've never been apart this long before. I was supposed to join them, but I've got a summer stomach bug and sinus thing, so it's all work now so I can be all play when Joe returns. I miss him so much.

Until I get my giant hug, I'm working on "What's Your Bridal Style?" with Casey Cooper, putting the finishing touches on the gown chapter and I've just noticed that we don't have a resources section for the back of the book. So we're not going to be uncorking any wine to celebrate the final manuscript this week. So close!

That's it for today. It's cough drop time. In good news: my Dad's white cell counts have improved, says his oncologist. So I'll make that a celebratory cough drop.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Just a few more edits...

...and I can put the big bridal gift feature to bed. On my calls list for this one -- Godiva, Kate Spade and Vera Wang. After that, it's the toasts article for Ritz Carlton Weddings and the showers article for NJ Bride. While Joe's away on a trip, I'll be working morning til night -- my goal is to get all twelve articles done before I head down to meet him at the shore next weekend.

The big news is that I'll be a columnist at a beauty Web site, taking about skincare, makeup, hair and other beauty topics for the wedding day. I'll announce that formally once we 'nail' down the first article topics, but I'm very excited to be the site's wedding expert. Julie brought this opportunity to me, so it's only a matter of time before I'm trying the sea kelp body wrap and white chocolate pedicures. I'm imagining luxurious spa treatments, and am laughing right now because I'm sure my first assignment will be eyebrow waxing or something along those lines.

Other than that, just flipping through Modern Bride right now. Gotta keep on top of what the big bridal mags are doing these days...sitting on my couch are four or five bridal mags ready to be flipped through during today's predicted thunderstorms.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stuck in the waterslide

Well, not actually stuck in an Augustus Gloop sort of way, but I think my cute little bathing suit skirtlet slowed me down a little. Next time I'll wear something a little more aquadynamic. ;)

The hot weekend weather brought Joe and I to the town pool, which -- beyond its aesthetics and summery getaway quality, as well as its opportunity for Joe and I to relax and swim together (a snapshot moment of mine) -- is excellent for people watching. As a novelist-in-part, I'm always observing and listening for speech patterns, overhearing great snippets of conversations, noticing the little brushstrokes of scenery that most people miss. Authors are notorious observers of life and people -- some sit in coffee shops, others see more at baseball and football games than the play on the field. So I have great stuff for my future novels. I've already brought some of the town pool's Discovery Channel-esque dynamics into my upcoming novel (as yet unnamed, since I won't let them call it THE WEDDING PLANNER): the desperate bikini-wearing housewives in full makeup and diamond jewelry strutting around in high heels and posing by the water's edge, competing for the attention of whatever man is nearby, and none too picky about it. I *love* that little scene. There are fewer desperate housewives this year, I believe, although I've been going to the pool in the evenings with Joe, rather than the afternoon hours when it's 'feedin' time' for the housewives whose husbands are at work in the city.

Joe and I also played with our new toy. Adesso Albums ( has a fabulous guest book with slots for guests' Polaroid pictures, so I got Joe a pre-birthday gift of a Polaroid camera and slot book. We've started our 'Book of Us,' and you should have seen the big smile on Joe's face as we styled the shots and waited for the images to develop. A great kiss shot stays, and one of my high-concept shots hit the circular file. Joe thinks like a writer, very visual, and he sees the same small details that an artist would. Every day I find out new little things about him, most recently that he has done some sculpting. While my snapshots do not include the scene from "Ghost," I'm looking forward to either doing some sculpting work with him or maybe making him a little something for his birthday. I've been aching for some new artistic work in my life...and whenever I get clay in my hands, it brings me back to a moment long ago when an agressive art teacher ripped the head off my first attempt at a sculpture, and I defiantly put it back on and submitted it for grade. I was a tough little kid when it came to my art. I had thick skin even as an eight year-old. Without that quality, I couldn't do this job. So that art teacher was perhaps one of the most important influences in my career.

Joe and I took a ride to see a house. He's hunting for property, and I LOVED just hopping in the car to cruise past a listed house with a wraparound porch. It would have been fantastic if that house wasn't jammed-crowded by other houses on all sides, but at least it's a sign that there are good ones out there. I can feel how much he wants this, and he gets this heart-melting look of determination on his face when he's dedicated to a goal.

In work world, I'll be writing for Ritz Carlton Weddings magazine, with copies put in every hotel room worldwide. How incredible is that? My work will be in every exotic city, in every luxury property, on every island...let me check my contract to see if there's a 'come visit the magazine' clause ;) Vacation's just a few days's been years since I vacationed at the shore. I can't wait to wake up early and walk by the ocean, smell that salt air, hear the waves and the seagulls, pick up pearlized shells, feel the cold wet sand between my toes. Having just read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift From the Sea," I'm feeling especially poetic about being near the water.

Back to work...two articles due by Thursday and down to one chapter to go on "What's Your Bridal Style?" I've left gowns for last, as it's the biggest section.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Closing in on 100%

We're so close to finishing "What's Your Bridal Style?" and it's thrilling. Casey Cooper, my co-author, just sent over the most beautiful material in description of ceremony settings. We're filling this book with lots of sensory details, and this section is just gorgeous. Right now, I'm working simultaneously on the invitations section and the menu section -- to counter the effects of writing about delicious foods, including the new trend in pierogie bars, I'm skipping over to paper and fonts. Not as tempting. ;)

Since Dad is in the hospital for his regular blood transfusion, I'm keeping my mind on work. The doc just e-mailed with a good report, so it's a little easier to focus.

Tonight is a Somerset Patriots game with Joe, which I'm really looking forward to. It's a theme night where everyone is supposed to dress up in pirate gear. Now where did I put that fake parrot for my shoulder? Just kidding.

So until gametime, it's going to be all writing and phone relays to all my father's relatives -- I'm the communications guru. I'd rather be at the hospital, there to fetch Jello, but Dad wants everyone to maintain their schedules. It's tough to clear the mind enough to write well...but every now and then I do find myself in the zone, where time flies and the writing is rich and layered. I'll take it...

Monday, July 10, 2006

And life gets back to normal...

I've essentially taken 10 days off of work to spend time with my niece and nephew, and anyone who knows me can probably imagine that I am buried under a massive To-Do list right now. It's perfectly fine, because I wouldn't trade in a minute with these kids, or with Joe -- who got some quality time this week as well.

Let me start off with tonight. As I clawed my way through a pile of delayed e-mail responses and an article re-write, chapters to edit, a manuscript to edit, interviews with experts and my responses for another author's book on cool jobs, Joe called and asked me to the town pool. It's a little oasis, with that sweet coconut smell of sunscreen, the sound of the waterslides that when I close my eyes sound like a waterfall, the familiar sound of the announcements, adult swim, and the water sparkling all gold and copper and pink as the sun sets. Joe and I just relaxed and held hands, enjoyed the breeze, and it was like being transported to an island. Yes, it's just a community pool, but this is a pretty darn good one.

Highlights from the week with the kids: Aunt Shashie (that's me) gave them $100 each to get whatever they wanted, so it was all about the video games and a clothes shopping excursion for my niece. The first thing she did when she came to my place is try on my 'cool shoes' and her feet are bigger than mine. She's 11, and granted I have absurdly small feet. But to see her little feet hanging out of my shoes...that can only mean one thing. Gotta take her shoe shopping. So I taught her about those little stocking footies to put on before shoe tryons, and she found her very first pair of heels, 1-inchers in brown leather with a buckle. The sales clerk behind the counter overheard us talking about how they were her first pair of heels, and he gave them to her for half off.

We also took the kids to the hibachi place, which they loved, and to a comic book store with Joe, which they also loved. My nephew, throughout the week, kept asking "Are we going to Joe's house now?" Adorable.

Like any good auntie, the rules went out the window and the kids had late sleeptimes. So as they watched the cartoon network (there's something along the lines of Bobobobobo), I wrote two chapters for the new book. My niece looked over an e-mail of questions from a reporter and suggested some answers. My little future writer.

In a nutshell, it was a terrific week where the kids were the mini-adults and some of the adults were the kids, as expected. I was happy to see my parents have such a blast, which they needed after this tough 2 1/2 years. The house was brighter with the kids in it.

And Joe was just great with the kids, so thoughtful, bringing the hamster over for a visit, getting them comic books and ice cream, and showing me not just how great he is with kids but his deeper values. My life is frothy rich with blessings and beautiful people. And fun work phone calls -- just landed one of my dream assignments for Ritz Carlton magazine, and for NJ Bride (where I started off as an intern back in college. This is my first feature for them, and it only took 30 books to get in the door ;)

I'm quite exhausted and with work done for the evening, it's time to tend to the droopy houseplants and everything else I've neglected during the 10 day free-for-all.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4th of July

My niece and nephew have been in town for a few days, so work comes in a distant second...or third. The highlights: hours of playing with Star Wars figures -- Darth Vader leading a conga line tops my list -- watching Zathura, and especially last night when I gave the kids some comic books. They were completely absorbed by them, so I'll add 'go to the comic book store' to the itinerary for this week. Joe came by with Butters last night (and flowers for me, and tee shirts for the kids from the Somerset Patriots game)...sigh... It was amazing to have so crummy a 4th of July last year, and this year I have my munchkins here, and my amazing man bringing me pink roses and smelling so great. I couldn't be more blissed out.

That reminds me of a story about Croatia....but that's for another time.

The kids are sleeping peacefully now, so I'm up to get a little bit of work done before the day begins....