Thursday, August 31, 2006

"It's My Wedding Too" -- the new version

As today's thrilling surprise, I received a package from my publisher today -- the newly-designed covers for my novel "It's My Wedding Too." You might remember that my novel featured a bride sticking her tongue out. (People had asked if that was me on the cover, but it's neither my tongue nor my cleavage, so the answer is No.) I have no idea what inspired my publisher to change the cover, but it's a brilliant idea and the illustration is adorable. They're doing a full media blitz for it, and including a teaser chapter from my second novel "It's Not My Wedding (But I'm in Charge)" -- so my baby gets new life! In publishing, this re-wrapping means the book is considered 'new,' so it gets put back on the front tables (instead of hidden on the top shelf...ahem...;) I couldn't be more thrilled, and as I was writing my editor to say a big thank you, the entire plot for my next novel unfolded as I was writing him. It was all right there, just needed an 'unlocking.' So hopefully I will be spending my winter writing about a post-wedding adventure in Hawaii. That's all I'll say for now...

I spent the rest of my day shopping for bridal shower gifts for my brother and his fiancee, looking through costume Web sites, cooking up a teriyaki pork loin and chicken legs with plum sauce and ginger, and researching NFL stats because I'm in Joe's office's Fantasy Football League. As a lifer football fan, I know my game. I've worn a SuperBowl Ring and a Hall of Fame ring, and I once rode in a limo with seven Hall of Famers. (My brother is very disappointed that I didn't bring a few of them home to throw the ball around.) My family spent many years going to Giants games -- our seats are in the end zone right under the scoreboard, so football season is particularly exciting for me. This is my first time in an FF league, and I've been warned that it's all-consuming. But I do research for a living, I love the game, and it's going to be fun to win this thing. My strategy: pick the players with the fun names. Like Pacman Jones. C'mon...tell me that's not inspiring. ;) Just kidding, guys. I have a science to my selections and I'll update you throughout the season.

Doorbell just rang -- the UPS man arrived with a shipment of cookie and brownie samples. For our Halloween party....back in a sec...

Okay, these have just knocked my previous favorite cookie company down to a distant second place. Solomon's Gourmet Cookies,, makes the most amazing chocolate mint brownie I have ever tasted....and chocolate raspberry...and a caramel bar. Someone take these away from me...they're ridiculously good, and that's just dangerous. Love 'em. Thanks for sending, Julie!

What a great day....

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fly the flag

I promised my friend Kris that I would forward her e-mail, but this seems a far more efficient way to spread the word:

On Monday, September 11th, 2006, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States.

Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this fifth anniversary of our country's worst tragedy. We do this in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms. In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. OurAmerican flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

Action Plan: So, here's what we need you to do: Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11. Honestly, Americans should fly the flag year-round, but if you don't, then at least make it a priority on this day.Thank you for your participation. God Bless You and God Bless America !!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pistachio pearls

I'm falling over with amazement at the new colors in pearls. Tahitian black pearls are among the rarest, most valuable pearls available and have the distinction of being the world's only naturally black pearl. They come in a wide range of colors including black, aubergine, eggplant, peacock, silver, purple, pistachio, and more. Among the largest pearls available, Black Tahitian pearls are harvested in French Polynesia from the Pinctada Margaratifera oyster.

For more on these dark pearls, as well as gorgeous pastel-colored pearls and Akoyas, visit my site to see my spotlight vendor for the month, my favorite source for pearl jewelry.

And while we're on the subject of colored pearls, I've also just found out about black *diamonds,* the newest trend in modern wedding band accents (in pave settings or alternating with standard diamonds in channel settings.) The American Gem Society says this is a hot new look, and it has an amazing sparkle to it. This, my prediction is, will be a lasting hit. The newly announced technology of making diamonds out of pet hair (I'm not kidding) will not.

600 pages

There's a great moment in the creation of a book -- the moment you hit Print and the words go from screen to paper for the first time. The printer whirs, and the manuscript is there. For the first time. "What's Your Bridal Style?" is now complete. 20,000 words over limit, but it's complete. We'll get into the painful process of cutting in a few months -- better to have it packed with great information, so that it's like cutting a statue out of a big block of beautiful marble, than to have to stretch and fill. The parts that we cut will be turned into articles that we'll post on our sites, so nothing will go to waste.

With this big project done and out, I'm focusing on "The Bride's Diplomacy Guide" more fully now. I'm shuffling the order of the entries today, and will work from smallest chapter to largest. So that means 'problems with groomsmen' is on tap first.

But first, I'm clicking through some caterers' menus for the Halloween party that Joe and I are throwing here. And I'm going through The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book for a refresher on what I wrote for a Halloween themed shower. This is going to be fun...

Monday, August 21, 2006

A night in New York City

Joe took me to see Vinx perform. I'm floored by the talent, and you have to hear it for yourselves. Check out his CDs on, and visit for where he's appearing next. What a phenomenal voice, and the drum work was amazing. We had seats right up front at a great little blues club in the Village, and Vinx came over and sat down to talk with us. I didn't win the free CD (because I'm not crass enough, apparently -- Vinx handed over the CD to some woman in the front who was making endless suggestive shut her up, I'd guess ;) but he did sign for me, which thrilled me to no end. Joe included one of his songs on a mix CD that was one of his earliest gifts to me, and it was such a treat to catch the live show.

[I have to pause now...I have that mix CD on right now, and a gorgeous version of a Sting song is playing....sigh...]

On Sunday, Joe and I went to look at a house that he's considering buying. It's a pretty house with lots of space and storage, but we took one look at where the bedroom door had been kicked in and an alarm pad was right next to the, no thanks. As Joe put it perfectly, the house has had violence done to it. Not a good vibe. Granted, people buy houses based on far more than a vibe or a history, but it wasn't a good thing to see. I wish that family well and hope the child was protected from that door kicking incident. Joe's search continues, and I'm sure the right place will pop up. For now, we're watching a lot of House Hunting shows on HGTV and TLC -- learning a lot.

In other news, we're entering Butters the hamster into his first competition -- the Hamster Bowl at the local pet store. We expect our boy to just sit there and not move, but he could surprise us. This cracks me up, and we have a crowd coming to support Butters. Everyone wants to see this.

Oh, and I've done some work this weekend too. ;) A few big projects, a massive edit to "What's Your Bridal Style?" -- our veils section went missing on us! -- and sixteen idea proposals for a book series. Fingers, toes and ovaries crossed on that one. It's a breezy, beautiful day, and I'm plowing through some smaller articles and assignments in between doing the question part of "The Bride's Diplomacy Guide." Right now, it's just a list of crappy things that brides and grooms have to deal with -- the solutions come in the next phase. That's where the gold is.

And to close for the day, my suggestion for a great procrastination tool. At, you can create your own ice cream flavor. I pretty much dumped a bunch of cake batter ice cream together with cake batter swirl and chocolate chips and peanut butter cups. Not sure what you'd do with honeycomb (one of the possible ingredients), but hey -- if Ben and Jerry say it works, it works.

Back to work now...and go check out!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Joe defeats the pirate

We saw an unauthorized copy of one of my books on a Web site a few days ago, and Joe put the wheels in motion to get it removed. This book isn't even printed yet, but someone got their hands on an advance copy, an incomplete one at that. Shady little pirate neglected to mention that. So my hero Joe has taken on the good fight in my honor. Sigh...he's looking out for me, which is heartwarming, absolutely heartwarming. And I'd do the same for him....

It's green tea and sinus medicine time. Shutting down my office early and laying down with a good book. I'm starting on 'The Last Days of Dogtown' by Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent, for our book club in September.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Things are cooking

I am ridiculously happy about my new oven being here, and last night I was able to make Joe a fabulous meal. There's nothing better than having the house smell like raspberry honey mustard chicken, and garlic couscous, and spinach...We ate on the deck, and it was a beautiful night. The last of the Toll House cookies are gone -- they were the first thing I made in the oven -- and I won't be buying more for a long time. They're just too good. ;) What a joy to be able to cook for my loved ones again. Microwave meals can only fulfill so much.

In work news, the fall assignments are rolling in, and it's a very happy sense of overwhelm. My friend Pam once said to me, "Don't confuse your blessings and your burdens," and I've always tried to keep that at the forefront of my mind. Brides and grooms planning their weddings, and their parents, would do well to keep that in mind too -- yes, the swirl of activity and to-do's is overwhelming, the emotions high, but a wedding is a blessing and not a burden. It just takes a shift in your perspective, some positive journaling with my Bride's Gratitude Journal ( and a daily reminder not to confuse those blessings and burdens.

Speaking of blessings, I'm happy to suggest to you, a site for those of you who are planning Destination Weddings. Lisa Light is the author of a book on the subject, and her site provides terrific articles on planning, packing your gown, coordinating your guests' travel, and a smart currency converter, among other features. If you're jetting out of town to marry, check out this site.

And also, check out my new bridal beauty article at -- I'll be writing a series of articles on beautiful bridal looks, and I started with a 6-month bridal beauty countdown and an upcoming story on tooth-whitening for a fabulous smile. I welcome your requests and suggestions for future stories....

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Concert under the stars

What an incredible night. The concert was amazing, and the stars were out overhead. This was my birthday gift to Joe, whose month and a half of birthday celebration culminated in this night out to a concert he originally thought he was going to miss due to a family vacation. So I'm thrilled to have gotten him the tickets, and doubly thrilled that the band was able to play. (They had a loss the day before, so I applaud their strength of character to play on). Every now and then, I'd sneak a glance over to see the look of happiness on Joe's face, that flicker of recognition when the first few notes of a favorite song sounded. And on the ride home, with his face illuminated by the dashboard lights, his hand would move on to my hand or my leg, the most comfortable and warm gesture ever.

Today was blissful relaxation, the breather before our busy workweek. He has big things going on, and I'm swamped-busy with work, so a few hours by the pool, a great lunch at his place, that smile when I walk through the door. It's these little things, the smile in the eyes, the amusement when my overloaded purse knocks over a glass on the coffee table. I know how to make an exit. ;)

This relationship, with all its levels of friendship within it, is such a gift. I woke up this morning, and just smiled...

Tonight I'm working on my first sculpture in a long time. I just had a yearning to do something creative in a get-your-hands-dirty kind of way, an entirely different set of muscles than writing. Right now, my brick of terra cotta looks like a brownie with wings, but it's always the second sculpture that's the keeper. This is bliss. My oven works, my hands are red from terra opportunities for creativity and creation are back...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Courtship stories

Here's something fun...for the rehearsal dinner, for the wedding reception, even for family gatherings after the wedding. Create your own mini-book with your photos and the story of your relationship at Guests *love* to read about how you met, where you've traveled, and the wonderful moments of your relationship, so create a fun keepsake to share your joy and excitement.

It's the weekend, finally. Joe and I are going to the movies tonight and then to the Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls concert tomorrow night. With Dad's blood counts coming in remarkably well this week, after being scarily low on Monday, I can relax a little bit and have some good nights out. :)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Blissful about my new e-book!

I am thrilled beyond belief to launch 'The Blissful Bride,' which is a combination e-book and audio files with three different guided meditations -- all to get today's brides, grooms, mothers, and bridal parties to relieve their stress. We're sending all frazzled, overwhelmed bridal people on a Bliss Trip so that they can restore their original engagement bliss, enjoy the process, and use this material to relax in the future (perhaps when it's time to write all those thank you notes!) Our groundbreaking project can be found at, and soon on my Web site. Kerstin also has it on her terrific site,, where you'll find her previous audio CDs and her Bliss-Trip-a-Day e-mail sign-up for beautifully-written, very sensory 'escapes' from daily stress. I'm so blessed to have met Kerstin through my publicist Julie Berry, and we're both filled with joy that we can put something so useful and comforting out there for all to enjoy.

A fun interview

Yesterday I spoke for an hour with a reporter for Women's Health and Fitness about the stresses of being a bridesmaid. Financial, emotional, how to handle a difficult bride, etc. I don't think I've ever laughed so much during an interview. The reporter appreciated my bridesmaid triumph stories, and some of the inside scoop on what so many bridesmaids are writing to ask me.

In December, I'll be a bridesmaid again...for my brother's wedding. I've given them copies of my books, a Wedding Web site, invitation-making software. I haven't heard from the maid of honor yet about any kind of shower, but there is talk of a co-ed party in October at my brother's favorite restaurant, a place that my great-uncles frequented back in their day. Very casual, very laid-back. Everyone asks me if I'm contributing lots of ideas for their wedding -- nah, it's not my place. I'll chime in if I'm asked about anything.

I mentioned the other day that I'd watch the wedding episode of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and beyond the incredibly sad part of his daughter dying on their wedding day (heart-breaking!), it reminded me of our family's 2-week vacation in Hawaii back when I was a teenager. The conch calls, the fire dancers, staying at the Coco Palms where Elvis filmed 'Blue Hawaii,' biking down a volcano, visiting the 7 sacred pools of Hana. I remember how the air smelled like hibiscus when we stepped off the plane...My family has had incredible travels, such great memories of a simpler, better time. Amazing how just seeing a TV show set in Hawaii can bring that all back in such sensory detail...

Monday, August 07, 2006

For a look at lace

I've been asked many times about the different kinds of laces for gowns, veils, trains, gloves, and bouquet handles, and I've finally found a great site where you can see the details. It's . Just click on the link to the left, alongside the fabric glossaries, and you'll come to a terrific listing of lace definitions, and --even better -- great graphics of the designs. Of course, it's always a wise idea to go to any craft or fabric store to see and touch the different kinds of laces, get a feel for price differentials, and see which detailing calls out to you. Lace might remind you of stuffy tea parties and grandmother's curtains, but the new designs and artistry in lace production has brought this embellishment into the 21st century. (Now keep in mind that I'm not endorsing this site for purchase -- it's just a place for you to take a look! :)

The best salad ever

Joe brought over the makings for an amazing salad this weekend -- spinach salad with fresh tomato and mozzarella, with fresh basil and a berry vinaigrette. As he was out cooking the steaks and then tearing up the basil, I thought 'This is phenomenal.' My oven has been broken for 2 months -- for an Italian girl like myself, that's torture not to be able to cook for my loved ones. So the new oven comes in on Wednesday, and I've blocked off Thursday as a full cooking day. Lasagna with alternate layers of sausage and ground beef. Shrimp with chipotle sauce and lime. Meatballs. Everything's been 'off' for the past few weeks since I couldn't cook for Joe and my family. Just two more days...

In the meantime, I finished "What's your Bridal Style?" and started on "The Bride's Diplomacy Guide," worked on two contests for PashWeddings, did a few releases for a phenomenal wedding coordinator in Houston, and re-designed the graphics in my press kit. As I was searching for my Halloween Costume online, I chanced upon a fun placement of my books: I had no idea they were in that chain! My teams are doing an amazing job of placing the books. I'm very, very lucky that my publishers have supported my backlist titles for so long. Usually, you get a month of releases and then you're yesterday's news. But the houses with which I work are very motivated and very creative -- perfect matches.

Tomorrow night is the wedding episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter. I *have* to see that!

Time for my Lean Cuisine lunch with a side of Joe's salad. A perk of not having an oven: I'm down 10 pounds. No Toll House cookies. ;) I'll make one batch on Thusday, for Joe. A promise is a promise...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Audio Version

Kerstin Sjoquist of just sent over the audio files for our wedding de-stressing MP3, to be paired with an e-book, and this is the first time I've heard my words set to music on audio. It's the most amazing thing. I've seen my words in black and white, but to have my suggestion of Red Rock Canyon in Arizona, with the cliffs the color of rubies and the sky a velvety purple included...I'm just floored. We hope to launch this project next week. This one's been over a year in the making, so it's very exciting to see it come together.

Other than that, just plugging away on the book and set to be finished on Friday. We have a few new experts who want in, so I'm awaiting their quotes and suggestions. There's no better feeling than hitting the Print button and seeing the manuscript print out to 600 pages after all of the puzzle pieces have come together.

Outside of work, just waiting for the phone call from my Dad for his transfusion appointment. We've stopped calling it a lube job, and now we're calling it 'the juice.' There's a twisted sense of humor that you have to have when you're dealing with such a stressful thing, and strength sometimes shows up in weird jokes. I've long been taking notes on how others deal with us taking care of him. Some people flee. Others stand strong by us. Others can't be bothered to take into consideration just how much we're all going through. So it reveals the angels in our lives...we've been the recipients of so much kindness and gentle treatment over the past 2 1/2 years, so I'll focus on those people.

On a lighter note, Project Runway did not disappoint last night. I love to see karma in action.

Hoping for the rain to hold off so Joe and I can go to the pool again. We went yesterday and the water was as warm as it is in the Caribbean, with a cool breeze to ward off this 110-degree heat. It was just what I needed, and my thoughtful, gentle man brought me iced coffee just the way I like it.....