Friday, September 29, 2006

Looking at rings all day

I'm researching an article on the newest, hottest cuts in diamonds, and I've seen some gorgeous things today. I'm not sure if it was the Tacori site or the Jeff Cooper site -- I need coffee right now -- but one of them showed a display diamond that had so much fire and brilliance, it took my breath away. I had to watch the video again. So I have 45 pages of information for a 600-word piece (that's about 3 pages double-spaced for the finished product). As is my process, I'll get on the exercise bike for a half hour, mull it over, and the final edit will just come to me. I'll know exactly which parts to keep and which to carve away...kind of the same way they create a diamond cut.

And here's something fun for you to check out. Go to for info on how to book a celebrity act to come play at your wedding. Joe and I heard Vinx talking about someone paying $X to get him and his original band to fly in for their wedding, and a celebrity wedding coordinator colleague of mine mentioned her work to get the Black Eyed Peas for a wedding she was working on. Can you imagine how fun that would be? Clink, clink, clink..."And now, to perform his latest as you make your way through the buffet line...Sting!"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Special offer: my wedding books as gifts

I just received a note from a groom who special-ordered an autographed copy of my "Mother of the Groom" book to present to his mother at the engagement party, and his thank you was so touching, so heart-warming, that I've decided to offer this service for all of my books. Here is a preview of the announcement that will soon be posted on my Web site. Consider it your VIP advance-notice jump on the competition:

Order your copies of SIGNED wedding books directly from me. I've heard from so many couples who gave their mothers my Mother of the Groom book and The Mother of the Bride Book, signed by me with personal messages to their mothers, that I decided to open this offer up to ALL of my books.

Invite your bridesmaids to be a part of your lineup with "The Bridesmaid Handbook"
Give a copy of "The Bride's Gratitude Journal" to your other engaged friends, or get one for yourself as a way to keep your focus on what's going well
Give a copy of "The Groom's Guide" to your groom
Give a copy of "The Essential Guide to Wedding Etiquette" or "The Ultimate Wedding Registry Workbook" or "Your Special Wedding Vows" to the wedding couple

Visit my Web site for a look at all 28 of my available wedding books, and place your order for my December title "Renewing Your Wedding Vows" if you know anyone (like your parents) who would like to reaffirm their vows in front of family and friends.

Just e-mail me at with your request ('Signed book' in the subject line, please), and I'll get your books to you within 3-5 days. Special introductory offer until February 14, 2007: all books $3 off, and shipping is FREE. Each $3 will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Every 5th purchase order will win a free copy of an additional book.

Keep in mind that I have a limited number of books to offer, so I may be sold out on some titles. Right now, there's a run on "The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book" and my comedic novel "It's My Wedding Too."

Feel free to forward this announcement to your friends, as this is purely for friends and fans of my work. It won't be open to the general public for another week.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Any writer who does this full-time can tell you that you always have to rev your engines. So we all go to various sources of inspiration. For me, it's Barbara DeMarco Barrett's book Pen on Fire, or Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. I just ordered a few new books written by writers for writers, and I'm particular intrigued by a quote I absorbed from one of them already: "Writers are like hunters, and so are entrepreneurs." It's partially true -- some days feel like I'm sitting in a tree in an expansive wooded area, with no one around, just waiting...and waiting. Minus the orange jacket. But is writing like hunting? If you sit in a tree and wait, the opportunity has to come to you. And you have to be quiet. Nah, writing is not like's like going to cocktail party or a networking event. You show up excited, dressed to impress, and you survey the room, working each circle of guests, more of a person than a businessperson to be really successful. You bring a humor and human quality to your interactions, and it flows naturally. You just put yourself in the right place at the right time. And you keep on showing up. 90% of success is just showing up, right? Authority and accomplishment are best served subtly. Who wants to hang out at the party with the person who's blowing his or her own horn so hard that veins are throbbing in his or her forehead? So 90% of success is showing up at the computer, writing through a bad mood or a distracted thought pattern, doing the work to have some substance to your style. Then showing up in the right places to connect with those who can help you make things happen. Many people think that writing is a solitary, lonely job, but it's so not. It's all about connection. Sure, you spend many hours or days alone, so lost in your words that hours fly by, and I suppose that some writers do this job because they like to be alone. But writing is about connection. If you are seen and felt as a person by the decision-makers, you're golden.

Hmm....that book I ordered isn't even here yet, and it's already revved my engines. Not bad. Today I delve into the world of colored diamonds. Artifically and naturally. We've all seen the pink diamonds worn by celebrities, and I've seen a champagne colored diamond that was gorgeous. Black diamonds are the new big thing, and I can't wait to talk to the folks at the Natural Colored Diamond Association about the colors that are out there. Visit for more information when their site is updated, and for the latest trend reports and educational guides they offer.

Time for interviews, and I'm sure I'll also be writing to my friend Jill for humorous plays on words about 'writing being like hunting.' Another key to being a successful writer: surround yourself with talented writers, artists and creative people. They rev the engines too, usually by making you laugh.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The trouble with Butters

You all know Butters the hamster from his big race a few weeks ago. Well, Butters is having some tests done on a little lump he has, so he had another big adventure to the vet's office. He was an instant hit at the office, everyone loves him of course, and now he's getting to know his medicine dropper. Aside from the reality that I'm now doling out medicines to two human parents and two pets, I'm still upright, and work goes on. Since I know what great souls you all have, please consider doing something for your local animal shelter rather than sending Butters anything. From his edible house to a bucket full of treats and two parents who love him, our little guy is blessed. Bring some toys or snacks to a nearby shelter in Butters' name if you do wish to show your support.

Tired from the day of vet visits, Joe and I went to a baseball game last night. It was a gorgeous evening, and we joined his mother and brother for third-row seats to a game where they had competitions in each inning. A fan's name was chosen to win $10,000 if the Patriots accomplished something in particular that inning. But of course it had to be something obscenely and probably statistically impossible -- "Gigi Blue, you win $10,000 if the guy on the team with the highest IQ hits a bird in mid-flight with a pop-up that's caught by the outfielder with a birthmark on his thigh while the third basemen loses a contact lens!" The whole thing is a riot, and my Joe gave me the full baseball game experience with a hot dog and root beer, fries, then hot chocolate and funnel cake. Baseball fans, get yourselves to minor league games -- they're terrific fun.

And hey, some stuff about weddings! I went with my mother today to Dressed to the Nines in Morristown, NJ, the store where my sister found her wedding gown, so that Mom could find a Mother of the Groom dress for December. Our salesperson needed one less shot of Red Bull, but Mom found a beautiful dress in gunmetal gray/blue with the perfect cut at the waist and vertical gemstone accents, fluttery sleeves and a flattering bolero jacket. I almost fell over when she stepped out of the dressing room. She looked amazing. I'm doing it less often, but I still flash back to her in the ICU on a respirator, in a hospital gown with one sock on and one sock off. I know, I know...stop thinking about it. But the contrast was really something. Today, there was my Mom in a gown any MoG would love to wear. As she was changing, I ventured around the bridal salon and checked out not the gowns but the tiaras and headpieces, and then I snuck around the corner to see the seamstresses hand-sewing a hem on a gorgeous strapless gown. That's the scene I love, the behind the glitz work and expertise, the concentration, the intense smell of coffee and their confidence that they can drink coffee anywhere near these $5K gowns. I love the inside look.

Today's exciting assignment -- for New Jersey Bride, I'm doing pieces on the newest shapes and colors in diamonds, and I'm doing a feature on a few upscale bridal showers that took place recently. And for Southern Bride, a piece on using family heirlooms in your wedding. So my Friday night will consist of writing, a fire in the fireplace, a roast beef sandwich on onion bread with Vidalias and horseradish dressing, and a brownie. While in my pajamas. If I get these done, I continue with the chapter on 'Problems With Kids' in TBDG, getting into the 'how do you ensure that adorable little Abby doesn't turn into a screaming banshee as she's walking down the aisle?'

Ooh, I forgot the best part of my week. I pretty much was running on fumes the other day, with lots of exhaustion, worries and a good chunk of anger going on, and my Joe called to ask if he could just stop by to give me a hug. He showed up with lots and lots of daisies, my favorites. I didn't want that hug to end. It's like he can embrace the frustration right out of me. He's such a sweetheart, and such a comfort as I handle some pretty rough stuff in cancer world. A hug, some flowers, a baseball game, and working with me on the best Fantasty Football Team EVER -- he's my joy. Oh, we won last week and we're projected to win this week too. This is a lot of fun.

Okay, I have to get some work done, and line up appearances at bridal showcases this fall, and I've been invited to my colleague Lisa Light's book party in the city next week ( for those of you getting away from it all). And I'm out of cyan ink for my printer. So my big Friday night starts now. ;)

Big hugs to the Angels of my week: Butters' vet, and the owners of in LBI. I'm seriously thinking about buying the inn, cooking for guests, and using the top floor suite as my writing studio. A block and a half to the ocean. Can you imagine?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Well, well, well...

Hmmmm....interesting....How fun to see a mega-store steal a bunch of my ideas for their bridal section. Blatant theft, word for word. My team is on it. I should have known that someone who would wear a pink and orange tie to a meeting was not to be trusted.

In better news, The Bride's Diplomacy Guide is coming out wonderfully! I'm laughing over what I *wish* I could advise, but that's a humor book that could be a future project someday. Right now, I'm talking with Collectors Press about possibly doing something. I love, love, love their 50s retro line as terrific wedding and shower favors, so check them out at

Back to work now...I'm knocking off early to take Peanut to the vet for her diabetes test. Butters goes to the vet to get his hand and face checked out on Thursday. I'm literally at some kind of medical center every day, and the vet's is way, way better than those I've been to for my parents. Dad starts a new chemo soon -- this is the Great Hope one we've been waiting for since last November. I do a lot of research and advocacy on the LLS Web site,, and we've been hearing great things about this treatment. Dad's doing better now -- my thanks to everyone who has sent letters of support, prayers and good wishes. Everyone's kindness really does so much to keep us all going strong for him.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Til death do us part

Joe just sent me a video clip of a teenaged cancer patient, terminally ill, whose wish was to have the wedding of her dreams with the love of her life. I had tears in my eyes as I watched the clip, and I so wish I knew about this early enough to send her whatever she needed, whatever I could do to add something she wanted for her day. The Make-a-Wish foundation took care of all that. They are a top notch group. The writeup on another site was poignant and eloquent about the depth of 'til death do us part' in their wedding vows. So few couples really think about the meaning of that.

It reminds me of an interview I gave last year, where the reporter asked me if I had ever heard of any couples wanting to leave out 'til death do us part,' and since I've heard EVERYTHING from Star Trek vows to promises that read like pre-nups about who gets the kids if one of them gains more than thirty pounds, my answer was yes. I had heard that, and I told the reporter that the anecdotes I'd heard in my 15 years of writing on weddings usually involved those who were cynical, had weird senses of humor, or had just had a death in the family and didn't want to use the word 'death.' Sure enough, I come back from my morning walk a few days later to find a stream of insult mail in my In-box...the reporter had posted that I said 'til death do us part' was going out of style. The BBC called minutes later for an interview, and I explained the out-of- context situation. No story there. Click. I forwarded the e-mails to the reporter and asked her parent company to change the insinuations in the story, which they did. But the story had circled the globe a few times. Was I angry? Well, reading hate mail doesn't make my day...especially since those people didn't know me, nor my dedication to the institution of marriage, to meaning your vows, to preparing for the future not just the wedding. But then I *liked* it. People were passionate about the traditional vows. Anyone saying differently made them mad, and that was terrific to see. 'Til death do us part' will never be bounced from the traditional vow service. Sure, couples who want to stay away from the D-word might say 'til the end of time,' but it means the same thing. Dedication. Commitment. Forever. And few things illustrate this more than a terminally ill teenager who's bravely facing the end of her life, could have asked for anything, and asked to marry the love of her life...and death will be what parts them. So best wishes to Nicole and to her husband. As Oprah says, "When you lose someone, you gain an angel you know." The whole world just got to meet this angel here on earth, and her message is clear. Love is all there is.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It would take me days... describe all the amazing, wonderful things that happened this weekend. Joe planned the most amazing getaway for us at a bed and breakfast on Long Beach Island in NJ. He takes my breath away by how he remembers all the little things that I just mention in passing, and how he has absolutely perfect timing with each of them. When we arrived at our charming little B&B, we settled in to our room with a four post bed, fireplace, and quite a history (according the room journal, in which previous visitors wrote about their experiences -- marriage proposals in that room). And when I turned around, he had a big pink Victoria's Secret box on the bed. It was the classic persimmon colored halter top lingerie I almost bought at the mall, but the line was too long. He said he had been worried about my having gone out to buy it before our trip -- a little Gift of the Magi Goes Silky thing going on -- but that was the first of many times I had tears in my eyes from this man's pureness of heart and complete fearlessness at showing me love. And it goes way beyond a Victoria's Secret box. From him, the way his hand just automatically searches for mine as we're walking, how he knows I'd love to see the sunset, how he took me to a scenic lookout because I love the way the ocean smells, he brought me to a gazebo because I said weeks ago that I wanted to have a kiss there. He remembers...because he cares. And it's so easy to open up to him, to show love in my own little ways. We're two good people who found each other, who can read each other...and we laugh so much, it's side-splitting. We had all the down-the-shore meals you have to have when you're there [it's in the contract: seafood, pizza, ice cream, and fudge] and our romantic dinner the first night was dreamy. The flannel-wearing sommelier at the liquor store led us to some EYE-talian wines (that cracks me up!) so we were able to toast our relationship before bed.

We walked along the beach, tried to get the kite up in the air, and I promised my niece that I would do a cartwheel for her. While Joe's back was turned, I discovered just how far from my cheerleading days I'd slid. It was sloppy, but it was a cartwheel. Check. We then shopped for our friends' and relatives' Christmas presents, spent hours on the beach during the sunny afternoon that opened before us like magic, and spent super-fun time at the arcade, where we shot zombies and terrorists, played Skeeball, and played basketball, all to earn enough points for an airplane glider toy. For 7 billion more points, there was an engagement ring in the display case, so we had a lot of fun joking about that. But more fun joking about the Joe Montana-signed helmet. We played like kids, hugged like fifth-date smitten kittens, and found humor in everything we saw and heard. That's how you know you're right for each other. Even when a bummer is thrown into your lap, you take turns assuring, and you bring the positive out of it. And pretty soon, you're shooting zombies, eating fudge, and jumping up and down like a spastic child because the innkeepers made Monkey Bread (which was in nearly every journal entry in our room.) On that Sunday morning, the innkeepers had set us a table in the garden, where we ate our monkey bread, fruit, and an egg bake that was phenomenal. The cat came out to join us, it was a beautiful morning, and we went for a walk on the beach afterwards. Oh, earlier in the weekend, we chanced upon a wedding ceremony taking place on the beach, and it always makes me smile to pass one of those. I wonder, just a little, if they were able to use any of my books. So for this couple's wedding video, they have us walking by on the beach in the distance. So I represented both myself and Joe's UNC tee shirt I was wearing.

Gosh, I could go on forever about how Joe made this weekend amazing -- from the laughs to the winery visit on the way home, to how he points out the beautiful clouds in the sky because he knows I love that too, to how cute he looks when he's sleeping. This morning, I looked across the pillows in those first groggy moments of awakeness and saw those green eyes, that smile, those long lashes and thought, "Wow...I am the luckiest woman on the planet."

So we got home, and pushed back the dark fog of business awaiting at home, a tough choice I have to make with an assignment, work stress and other baloney. We enjoyed our getaway so much. Because Joe made it so. I could have fun anywhere with him. And this weekend, I got snapshots I never even thought to imagine... how often I find myself saying that. This man is amazing. And he's excellent at shooting zombies.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A room with a view

Tomorrow, Joe and I are going on a much-needed vacation. He found the most beautiful bed and breakfast down the shore, with a four-post bed, fireplace, wraparound porch, and a view of the ocean from our room. I can't even begin to express how great it's going to be for us to get away from it all, just breathe in that ocean air, enjoy the delightful company of strangers by the living room fireplace downstairs. I'm sure we'll go for a bike ride and catch the sunset colors over the ocean. I had to stop myself from throwing some work into my suitcase -- no way, nothing from here goes to there. This is our time...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mother of the Bride

It seems that mothers of the bride are back in the game! For a while there, MoB's were nudged out of the picture by bride-and-groom planning teams. The independence of the couple meant that moms were no longer Wedding Planner #2 (or #1 in some egos), so we saw a lot of Moms being relegated to favor-making and icing cupcakes. Who dreams about THAT? Given that etiquette still holds that mothers shouldn't host showers, Moms were pretty much out in the cold. But now, they're back. In a big way. They're bringing their skills and contacts to the table. They're spending as much time looking for their gowns and accessories as the bride does. They're saving the day left and right, advising on family traditions, giving the right spelling of relatives' names, discovering the perfect locations, suggesting the perfect caterers. Welcome back, Moms! From idea specialist to support system to mediator and diplomacy expert, a mother's work is never done. My book "The Mother of the Bride Book" has details on every step of wedding planning partnering for the mothers, and if there's one thing I wish I had added, it's FUNNY stories from MoBs and the brides. In the back of the book, I have horror stories -- like the mother who stormed out of the reception because her view of the main table was blocked, the mother who tripped the father's new girlfriend, and various soap opera-ish diva dramas. My readers love these stories, of course, but I've heard so many great anecdotes of brides and their moms bonding, laughing, building great memories now that partnering on the wedding plans is something moms and daughters are doing again. As one mom put it: "I've been dreaming of her wedding day since the moment I gave birth to her." When you have that kind of longtime dream, you deserve more than icing cupcakes. Hmmmm....I have a great idea for a new contest. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th

The weather today is exactly the same as it was that day, the morning going exactly as it did that day. Cars passing my house have flags on them. Businesses have their flags out. People are smiling at one another, in silent understanding that all our hearts are a little heavier today. I live in a town that is a commuter town to New York City. Our community lost a number of residents in the attacks, and the churches and synagogues have all opened their doors early to those of us who wish to pray for the victims, their families, the troops overseas, our leaders. In a little while, I'll go place some flowers by a tribute stone in's as close as I can get to hugging someone who's hurting.

In my last post, I wrote about thank you note etiquette that made me shudder. What makes me shudder today is heartless people, those who have no feeling for others, who wish to inflict harm, to divide, and worse -- to instill fear in the heart. Today, we're seeing tons of images of that harm, the fear. Cameras train on those who are crying. But I see all around me, and I hope it's seen all across the country, that a much greater percentage of people have those flags on their cars, are smiling, rise up again and again from every terrible thing that a dark soul can do to them.

Okay, time for some lighter stuff. Much lighter stuff. The weight of a hamster. Many of you have written about how Butters, the hamster that Joe and I won at a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraiser, fared in the Hamster Ball Derby. Our little guy did way better than we thought he would...while we expected that he'd just sit there and look around, he ran for a little distance and then turned around to get back to Joe. He had a little adventure. We're proud parents. Our Butters did great in our eyes.

Now, I'm headed off to the memorial stone and then to church. I just want to be in that quiet for a little while before I get to work.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Some things make me shudder

I hear about a LOT of bad etiquette in wedding world, but this one takes the cake...

In an etiquette column, someone wrote in about a couple who added to the back of their program a note reading 'in lieu of sending you thank you notes for your gifts, we'll donate that money to charity.' Have you fallen off your chair like I did?

I'm all for finding ways to have your wedding give back to charity, but not sending thank you notes is despicable. It's the essence of greed, cloaked in an illusion that the couple are so benevolent as to donate to charity. So I applaud my colleague's response in that column and hope you all will never even consider skipping the thank you note process. Expressing gratitude for all you have been given is a gift and a must. I'm going to keep the rest of my thoughts on this to myself, because if that dam bursts...

[My thanks to Jill in PA for bringing this column to my attention]

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

After the holiday weekend

Things always take off after the holiday weekend, and I absolutely love it. It's not even lunchtime, and I've been asked to appear at a big bridal show in St. Louis in January, speak on a panel at the American Society of Journalists and Authors' conference in New York City in April, contribute to a New York Times article and a piece for Rhode Island Bride magazine, and I'm waiting for a call about a huge article for Consumers Digest. I just pitched eight stories to Hallmark Magazine -- which is one of my dream assignments for this year -- and sent a little something over to Martha Stewart Weddings. I literally sprang out of bed this morning knowing that editors are back in their offices and readying their winter and spring issues. Oh, and we also coordinated a send to The View for a possible wedding segment.

While I have a little breathing room here, let me fill in on my weekend. Joe and I celebrated our anniversary at Copeland, a gorgeous restaurant at the Westin in Morristown. We'd gone shopping at the Short Hills mall earlier in the day, and I found the perfect sapphire blue satin camisole to wear with a black skirt and my favorite stilettos. Our original dinner destination was blocked off by thousands of cars -- a classic car show and 50s doo wop concert series was going on at the hotel, and we couldn't get anywhere near the parking lot. So we turned around and wound up someplace even better -- isn't that always the way? When what you think you're doing gets blocked, you get something far superior. The waiter brought us a Happy Anniversary bowl of sorbets, which was amazing. The perfect evening. I'm so lucky.

We took in the last day at the town pool and rested up for The Draft. Joe included me in his Fantasy Football league, which was tremendous fun for the first hour and a half. After that, it seemed like work. But we have a great lineup, so we'll see how the season plays out. Right now, I'm just cleaning up the fortune cookie remnants and duck sauce packets that are all over my computer station. No prophetic fortune cookie this time. My fortune was sitting right next to me last night.

Gotta agent's on the phone with follow-up on a book pitch. I love days like this...