Sunday, April 29, 2007

Trying on rings with Joe

Have you ever had so much joy that you can't even put it into words? I'm a Word Girl, so when that know it's great. I'll try to describe the day we had yesterday, but there's nothing I could say to convey just how wonderful it was.

After a morning of a dentist appointment for Joe, and our plumber cancelling on us after we waited for hours, Joe suggested that we go to the jewelers to try on engagement rings. I had shown him the setting I wanted on the Hearts on Fire webpage (, so he found the nearest retailer, and we drove out to them. Let me just tell you...if you live *anywhere* near Short Hills, NJ, make your first and only stop Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelry ( The store is gorgeous, the selection divine, and Kenny, Patricia, and Pete at the store made the entire experience completely magical. I tried on a few versions of 'my ring,' discovered that I am *not* a size 6 but am smaller (weight loss in the fingers too? Excellent!), and we agreed on the perfect ring. It sparkled so much it hurt our eyes, especially when we were allowed to take it outside to see it in the sun. With the choice made, the store brought out the most amazing champagne I have *ever* had in my life, Kenny proposed a toast to us, and it was truly an amazing experience that I could never even have imagined. When they wrapped the box, I was in tears when I saw that they had attached a tiny faux monarch butterfly -- which is a very important symbol in my family, one that reminds me of my grandmother and her sisters. So the waterworks started...first and foremost, because this is all with Joe. He could give me a ring made of twine and I would love it. Joe tried on a few wedding bands, and I love his choices. We'll definitely head back there to buy our bands. So when the shopping trip was done, after a round of hugs with everyone (even the doorman!), Joe and I stepped out into the sunlight with our new purchase, and -- get this -- were showered with tiny white flower petals falling from the trees. How perfect and amazing is that?

Friday, April 27, 2007

The fire inspector called...

Part of buying a new home is the inevitable chaos of trying to get all the little things arranged. For our new house, to make a loooong story short, we have to check into the fire codes about doors in the house and our stove range hood. I'll spare you the details, but the issue in question means that I've had to call about 20 different departments and agencies to get two little questions answered. I keep believing that this cloud of chaos is temporary, that we'll get through the aggravation of it all and emerge from moving day to have that Dunkin Donuts coffee on the stairs and feel a huge sense of happiness and relief. I'm channeling my anger over some pretty unfair dealings by paring down, getting rid of old files, filling up boxes with pre-packing things like all my handbags and my winter shoes and jackets...just to feel like I have some sense of progress going on. I ordered my new letterhead and just found out that I can take my phone number with me (yay!). I understand that it's natural and expected to have swings from panic to elation when you're buying a new home, and we are through the worst of here's hoping that the next few weeks bring us all easy solutions and one-phone-call answers. I'm an optimist. This new house is a blessing, and a wise philosopher said, "Don't confuse your blessings with your burdens." Sure, it'll take a platter of nachos or a Haagen Dazs bar to quell the crappy stuff sometimes, but it's going to be an amazing, positive change in our lives. We just have to get there...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Announcing my newest spotlight company -- Hearts on Fire

I'm thrilled to announce that my newest spotlight company on my website is Hearts on Fire (, the makers of the world's most perfectly-cut diamonds and exquisite designs for your rings. The graphic above is an image that we will be using in one of my upcoming books, just to give you a taste of what you'll find on their site. Check out their Dream Diamond, which is a stunner, and get your detailed answers from their Diamond Wizard on the site, as well as at
And keep an eye out for my newest wedding style section on my website,, where you'll find special sections to accompany my upcoming book "What's Your Bridal Style?", co-written with Casey Cooper of Botanicals in Chicago. We're going to have detailed articles on determining your ring style, your tabletop style, your decor style, your flower style and more.
Amazing new things going on this spring, including a new call-in feature for my Wedding Podcast Network talk show 'Here Come the Moms' with my co-host Holli Ehrlich, the launch of my handbags line, and an announcement of a new wedding registry program for all of you home improvement couples in NJ....

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Joe asked my for hand

I am on Cloud 10. Joe has asked my parents for my hand in marriage. I'm in such bliss, I hardly know what to do with myself.

My parents knew it was coming, so unbenownst to us, Mom went out and got a platter of sandwiches, a cheesecake, and the kind of lemon seltzer that Joe likes. So that's what was waiting for us a little later in the day...

We started our morning with breakfast in the park, and we stopped off to get Joe's artist friend's limited edition artwork framed for our new home. As we waited for a couple to decide between frames for a truly mindboggling piece of art (I'll say no more), I was in a panic that my Dad was going to fall asleep before we got there. But we arrived in time, and we sat down to eat. Joe gave no hint of being nervous, and I wish I could say that I was hiding my excitement well. At one point, I gave him the 'go!' look, and he just smiled. So we chatted over lunch for a while, and then Joe said he has grown very fond of me, and well, since I started planning the wedding already, would my parents agree to letting him take me off their hands. It was the perfect thing to say, very much his sense of humor, and my parents loved it. I was just looking at my parents' faces -- they were just overjoyed....and if there's anything my parents deserve after 4 years of cancer treatments it's to be overjoyed. They absolutely love Joe, and it's like my entire family is getting a great gift. Even Peanut the dog refrained from begging at the table and just laid down by Joe's feet. So it was a celebration, and one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that surpasses your dreams. Whatever happens in the next year with my Dad's health, I'll always know that we shared that moment, with him looking so pleased and so proud, so welcoming of Joe. And my mom adores Joe like a son, for the happiness he has brought me and especially for a moment of great kindness during my brother's wedding. So this was the blissful moment I have been hoping for, and Joe made it extra-special. Sorry to gush here, but I won the lottery when I found him.

So as I'm floating, I can now share the news that even though we haven't gotten to the ring yet, we have our ceremony and reception site booked, our Save the Dates ready to roll, our photographer booked, and a celebrity performer for our reception ready for that one phone call to say it's a go. Stay tuned on that one, because it's huge. Magazine editors want to cover the wedding, but we'll have to discuss the breadth of that since our day will be our day. We'll be honored to be spotlit in my favorite magazines, but we have to discuss the details. Right now, we're both in new home chaos, with finding movers and pacing our path through that. I spent hours tonight on the site trying out wall colors for our office, our kitchen and our bathrooms -- so visit that site for amazing color samples for your wedding as well as for your home. The interactive tool there is the best thing ever.

So there you have it...we're almost officially official with the engagement, and I can finally talk about it now that the respect of asking both of my parents has been delivered. I am going to be Joe's wife. It's a greater honor than anything I've ever accomplished in my career, even better than hugging Oprah after I taped her show. Sorry, O, but this is a bigger dream come true. And it all gets even better from here. I'm so looking forward to sharing the planning with Joe and his family -- his mom doesn't have daughters, so I'd love to share the flowers and the gown shop with her -- and of course my Mom and I will work on the wedding as well.

This was the best day...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

'Here Come the Moms' podcast is up!

The newest segment of 'Here Come the Moms' is live at In this show, we discuss the best first steps to establishing your wedding-plannning team, and we answer a question from a listener in Ireland on how to bond parents who live far apart. If you have any questions you'd like us to tackle on upcoming shows, just send us an e-mail!

For fashion-forward brides and bridesmaids

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk with fashion It-girl Tory Burch ( about her new line of ballet slippers as well as her gorgeous fall collection, and it hit me that today's brides and bridesmaids would rather bring high fashion into the wedding day and wedding gifts than any silver picture frames. Tory is the definition of today's classic chic, and I *love* it that her lines are inspired by famous female icons. This spring, it was a mix of Grace Kelly and Edie Sedgwick, and this fall it's a Catherine Deneuve in a deliciously wearable way. So check out Tory's site and do some shopping, and see her fall line on I'm doing a celebrity profile on her for Park Place magazine, so you'll have to wait for that one to hear about her fashion philosophy, inspiration, and how she does it all as mom to three and step-mom to three (yes, just like the Brady bunch). Her site says she can go from boardroom to ballroom in a style second, and that's definitely someone to look at for style inspiration! Also on, the newest editors' picks for your wedding weekend fashion plans.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Congratulations Tom and Michele!

Yesterday, I got a knock on my door, and there was my friend Tom with photos of his newborn baby girl! Tom and his wife Michele are my dear friends who used to live next-door to me, and their longtime efforts to have a baby finally brought them to this day. The baby is gorgeous, Mom is doing well, and Tom was over the moon. I remember the funny story of the day we met: it was the day before I moved into my place, and I had a segment shoot for Lifetime Television in my pre-furniture apartment. Michele met me while the camera crew was bringing in the lights, production assistants were all over the place...she had no idea what was going on. Later, when I met Tom, we discovered that we went to the same high school, and my sister dated his older brother. So we were quite a happy crew here...shoveling snow together at night, having fondue parties, celebrating New Year's and St. Patrick's Day. I miss having them here, but I'm thrilled beyond belief for their baby blessing and their new life.

Friday, April 13, 2007


With each step we take towards closing on our house, the more I'm thinking about how dreamy it's going to be to work with Joe on painting the rooms, putting down flooring and tile, even picking out the new fireproof door for the garage. We've strolled through Lowes and Home Depot checking out options, and I confess I've looked at him from the end of an aisle and had to suppress a giant smile as he looked at a new handheld drill and bits. This is one gorgeous man, and I'm so lucky to share this whole thing with him. So here I am, taking an afternoon tea break, picturing him with a little paint smear on his cheek, those amazing shoulders and arms reaching up to paint a wall...we'll have the radio on in the background, and I've even decided that I need to be wearing little overall shorts as my 'working on the house' uniform. I'll run out to Dunkin Donuts and bring him back a coffee, and we'll sit on the stairs looking around in wonder at Our Place with goofy smiles on our faces. And not from the paint fumes. Sure, there's a lot of crap to go through first with closing costs and lead paint testing...but the challenges make the outcome even better.

We both have working weekends planned. I'm writing all the rewards for my book 300 ROMANTIC WAGERS, and I'm also submitting the questions list for Book Club on where the ladies are *loving* my novel It's My Wedding Too. If you don't have your copy yet, and you'd like to join us for a laugh-filled discussion, there's still time. We'll be talking about the book two weeks from now. So come join us....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No writing today

Have you ever spent the entire day at the bank, trying to fix a mistake they made and deal with all the red tape...during tax week? I'm exhausted, and I'm not working today. If I don't have a clear mind, my work doesn't come out great. So I did some resource research for my new book on romantic wagers, but the text just isn't going to come out it's green tea with lemon time, and I'll curl up with a good book. I'm ending the day with good news (at last!) -- my Bridesmaid Handbook showed up somewhere in the media today and sales are soaring. And my dear friend Linda sent in some donations for my Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser. So regardless of the bank fiasco, I'm callin' it a good day. :)

Monday, April 09, 2007

THE ring to get your bridesmaids -- Oprah says so...

I flipped out when I saw this's on Oprah's hot list, the lineup of celebrities wearing this one is unreal, it's GORGEOUS...and it's under $300. Brides are picking this up as the perfect, indulgent gift for their much-loved bridesmaids and mothers, Check it out, and click on celebrities to see whose company your ladies will be in... Read the description carefully, since the AH could stand for 'available and happy' for your single bridesmaids, or 'attached and happy' for your non-singles.

This past week has been amazing...Joe and I went for the inspection on our new house, and I'm amazed at how thorough our inspector was. It takes so much of the worry out when you know you're in good hands. But we really got to see much more detail about the house itself...taking measurements, planning our furniture layout...and that ceiling fan has to go! Right now, our office has orange shag carpeting and dark brown wood paneled walls -- it's like Mike Brady's office! But it soon will have new flooring and new walls, our matching desks and executive chairs, and the InStyle Weddings cover and article that Joe had framed for me. While most people dream about what their kitchen is going to look like, I'm dreaming about the office ;) Oh, okay, the kitchen too. Although I kinda like the 1970s butterfly wallpaper in the kitchen (kidding, honey!).

My niece and nephew were up from Tennessee for the Easter weekend, Dad got out of the hospital in time to enjoy the amazing meal my Mom and I prepared, we did my uncle Augie's traditional egg war (smacking the ends of dyed eggs together to see which one cracks -- which is *really* funny when you think about the irony of it), the kids did an egg hunt, and we played for hours with the Smurf collection from our childhood. The kids finally got to meet Tigger the hamster, and Joe finished off the weekend in style with a popcorn and Spiderman 2 movie night. The kids never want to leave. I don't blame them. It's all fun at Aunt Shashie's ;) And Joe's wonderful family sent home some lovely flowers and chocolates for me since I missed their family celebration...I'm overwhelmed with how blessed I am to get a great man and be welcomed into his great family like this. And a message to Aunt Chris...the bunny buns are delicious! Thank you!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Photo displays at your wedding

It's long been a tradition to display family photos at a wedding, and now you can give your digital (or scanned) photos a new look -- a comic book illustrated version, the Andy Warhol four color block squares, colored pencil effect, watercolor effect, and more -- at Could be a great idea for parents' and bridal party gifts as well...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Escape into a novel

When the wedding stress gets to you and people are driving you crazy, you might think about packing up the car and taking off for a weekend. But there's an easier escape: dive into a great book. Laugh with my novel IT'S MY WEDDING TOO (you'll love how the bride handles her battling mothers of the bride and groom) or travel back in time to the intrigues of the royal court with any of Phillippa Gregory's books. I highly recommend The Other Boleyn Sister if you've having problems with a jealous or micro-managing sister ;) Reading has always been an escape for me, so I encourage you to make time for a little fictional escape. You can get my novel, reviewed on the site as 'hysterical!', at