Thursday, May 31, 2007

Need to make your maps?

Guests who aren't familiar with the wedding area will appreciate not one but *two* forms of direction. Your site and hotel will usually offer you printed driving direction sheets to enclose in your invitations, but you can add a cute map of the area with icons showing the ceremony site, reception site, the sites of the rehearsal dinner and wedding morning breakfast, and -- here's the fun part -- any other points of interest in the area. Some couples will put the restaurant where they had their first date, or even the park fountain where the groom proposed, coffee shops, convenience stores, bars, and other spots. This is a fun task for the bride and groom to work on together, so visit to create your maps.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A nice start to our wedding plans

At a little under a year until our wedding, we have our site booked, as well as our photographer, florist, deejay and officiant. And my gown is ordered for delivery in 6-9 months. The main foundational things are set, which gives us *lots* of time to focus on the new house before any of the creative details of the wedding begin. So rather than searching online for invitations, Joe and I are happily looking online for hardwood flooring styles. Instead of ordering a cake, we're ordering our furniture. Our house has moved from barely-imaginable concept to a full-color and textured reality. We're building our home piece by piece, starting off with a little champagne toast on the day we close, followed immediately by ripping up the carpets in four rooms. In a few months, we'll dive into the wedding details together....

Fun thing: the UPS man just stopped by with some engagement gifts, and he said he just proposed to his now-fiancee not too long ago. They're touring their sites and making their plans (actually, like us and like most wedding couples today, they started looking before they did the ring thing!) right now, so all best wishes to Kevin and Michelle for a very happy wedding planning process and a beautiful life together!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Weekend of celebrations

From congratulatory phone calls to our family's tradition of going to the town Memorial Day parade to getting our bedroom set (!!!) and my birthday, this was a weekend of celebrations. The ice cream cake -- a wonderful themed one chosen by Joe as a part of *the* most fun birthday ever -- has a nice big dent out of it, and the fridge is full of yummy leftovers. It's a busy week ahead with a dozen or so prepping-for-the-house phone calls and trying to get all my June work done so that I can take time off for move-in, so tonight is a second-wind session of chipping away at that To-Do list. Joe and I spent most of the day at the pool, and it was *hot* out there, so I have a nice iced coffee in hand for a boost over the sun fatigue. I won't be able to sleep tonight until I have a few of these important deadlines hit, so I'm ready for a marathon session. It's a Zen state to get lost in work. Makes the worries of the week go away, like my Dad's upcoming eye surgery. With the hum of the computer and a stack of fresh, clean pieces of paper, it's a particular bliss that only a writer or artist understands.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Plum Sykes, Meg Cabot and me

It turns out that Chick Lit is not dead, after all. It just took a little breather while everyone read The DaVinci Code and The Secret, and now it's back! I'm thrilled to be included in a list of the hot new Chick Lit novels, alongside my novelist author idols Plum Sykes and Meg Cabot. Here's the writeup:

Sharon Naylor: It’s Not My Wedding (But I’m in Charge). Kensington, 2007.As if her life weren’t complicated enough, Mylie Ford, the much underappreciated go-to-gal for wedding planner-to-the-rich Zoe Brandenberg, tries to plan a secret celebrity wedding while dealing with an obsessed paparazzo, demanding clients, and her attraction to a dishy newly divorced personal chef whose 6-year-old daughter hates her on sight. By the same author: It's My Wedding, Too (2005).

I had a lot of fun writing this one, since all the celebrity weddings at the time gave me *so* much inspiration! And the bratty little girl in the novel is based on a real 'cherub' that I once had the misfortune of meeting, while the zonked-out celebrity wedding coordinator is *not* based on anyone I've ever met or worked with. [Just to make that clear ;)] The novel is out now, so if you're looking for something light and funny to read at the beach or poolside...

Monday, May 21, 2007

We shopped til they stopped us

In this age of credit card fraud and identity theft, it's a great thing when the credit companies recognize a big charge and put a freeze on your card until you call in with an authorization....just in case some lowlife is buying appliances on your dime. It's a safety thing so necessary in this society of ours, but it can stop a white-hot shopping day in its tracks. Joe and I started our Big Ticket shopping for the new house, just a few major things we need, and the credit card companies jammed on our brakes for us. Which is's an act of protection, not control. So we went off to lunch and then to the Benjamin Moore dealer to pick out dozens and dozens of paint color sample strips....which was *fun* and highly recommended if you're trying to figure out your wedding colors or future home decor colors!

So after we headed out of there (sped up in our color collection by wanting to get far away from some angry, bitter woman who was berating her parents for not knowing which shade of paint they wanted), we spread out the paint strips on my living room table and started selecting the colors for the rooms we'll paint in our house! We work well together, true partners with equal give-and-take, and we both love the colors we selected. I'm especially thrilled with the blue we chose for the home office....Joe has gorgeous ocean wave prints that are going to look amazing in there! The house is coming together little by little...I spent hours last night pricing hardwood floor materials and installation, learning about the realities of bamboo flooring which all the home decor shows say is the big, hot thing. Turns out, sunlight fades it, and cherrywood is prone to dents...who knew?

I'm having a rough time getting to work much to do for the house, and since I started packing already, I can't seem to stop. ;) But this afternoon is for a succession of articles, and I'm gearing up for a knock-down over one of the injustices faced by all authors -- I may seem 'nice' and 'demure', but I will fight for fairness. So right now, I'm going to get on The Bean (which works like magic) and work out some of this aggression, then settle in to write about the new trends in coed bridal showers, followed by an article for a bigtime magazine where I've just gotten my first assignment -- a dream come true, so of course I'm taking extra care to keep this one within word count. I get 400 words for the assignment, and my draft is at about 850 words right now. So it's time to slice and dice the piece, carving out the statue in the slab of marble.

Before I go, check out the Sylvia Weinstock wedding favors at Godiva: And for inspiration on the Real Deal, cakes masterfully created by Sylvia Weinstock (who once offered to set me up with her nephew a long, long time ago!), visit:

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A brilliant emergency kit for the wedding day

You're going to love this! Instead of gathering up all those little things for your wedding day emergency bag -- like emory boards, a mini sewing kit, etc. -- you can get the new already-assembled and very cute kits at They have kits for you, for your groom, the bridesmaids, and even other non-bridal designs for expectant parents and college students. It's a brilliant idea, beautifully produced (you're going to love the mini briefcase!), and perfect for the wedding day. This one makes the list of My Favorites!

Friday, May 18, 2007

A sweet idea for showers

Finding a great favor for a bridal shower has turned into a search for not only a great item, but a great item that *gives back.* So check out, where 100% of the proceeds go to fight women's cancers. Even better, these chocolate bars have a healthy element: Strong Chick has extra calcium and Survivor Chick has dark chocolate along with white chocolate and raspberry. At the time of this writing, the bars are under $3 apiece.

5th one is IT

It was the fifth gown I tried wedding gown. It's never the one you think it's going to be when there are 8 wedding gowns lined up in the dressing room. I went with my Mom to Tierney's Bridal in Morristown, NJ (, where owner Alyssa Tierney guided me to the perfect gown that dropped my jaw and brought tears to both my and my mother's eyes. I'm not going to describe it or share a picture (since Joe reads this blog!), so I'll tell you a little about the ones that DIDN'T work:

1. Gown #1: You start with the one you like the least on the hanger. Never the one you like the best. So I looked like a cupcake with silver dragees in that one. Next!
2. Gown #2: Here Come the Boobs. Next!
3. Gown #3: This was the one I *thought* would be IT, but it was way too old-fashioned and too romantic with too much lace. It just didn't feel right and didn't elicit any emotional response. So that was a bummer.
4. Gown #4: I loved how it looked on the hanger, but the sample size was way too small and it was way too similar to both my sister's and sister-in-law's gowns. So that was a No.
Alyssa went back to grab some more options, and there it was. Gown number 5. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. And my Mom called me at 10pm last night to say, "I was just thinking about how beautiful you looked in that gown." That's how you know you got the right one...hours later, and you're still thinking about it. And the entire experience at Tierney's was phenomenal -- this is the gown shop all brides in my area need to visit. They are on The Knot's Best Of...list, and owner Alyssa Tierney gave honest feedback about each dress, was an incredible objective resource and had none of that ultra-pushy, ultra-complimentary pressuring that I've seen at other shops. It was like shopping with a friend who cares about you. I couldn't be more impressed.

After the gown shop, Mom and I celebrated with ice cream sodas, and then I called my 12 year-old niece in Tennessee to have her pick out her own junior bridesmaid dress online. THAT was fun! She has such a great little fashion sense and had such terrific suggestions about which color of dress would coordinate best with the bridesmaids dresses....and then she accomplished something that I and my Matron of Honor Jill haven't been able to do for a week: she picked out the perfect bridesmaid dress! While Jill and I have been e-mailing real and fake dress suggestions to each other, my niece dove into the Eden Bridals website and found the perfect style. She's so honored that she got to make the big decisions, and she cracked me up when I showed her my wedding gown photo -- where, admittedly, the model is standing very strangely with one arm up in a Grecian-type pose. My niece took one look at that photo and said "It looks like she's doing 'I'm a Little Teapot!'" So on the wedding day, she and I will get one photo of us both doing that exact same pose.

It was a great day....a really great day...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

We met with our deejay last night

Joe and I met with our amazing deejay for the wedding, and we started building our song playlist. Granted, we were looking at The List of the top 100 most-often-played songs for weddings, so a lot of our personal choices and songs from our particular love story weren't on there. So it's Step 1, and we have a great playlist forming already. We just relaxed on the bed and marked off the 'Yes, No, and NO WAY' song titles. It was a lot of fun to start imagining our guests dancing to these songs, figuring out which songs fit with the formality of our afternoon wedding, and thinking about the fact that we will be dancing our First Dance as Husband and Wife on the very same dance floor where we had our actual first dance as a couple when I was Joe's date at a wedding there over a year ago. That's very cool.

Joe also met with our officiant yesterday -- he's a judge with whom Joe is very close, and it's a great honor to have him perform our ceremony.

Today is my gown shopping trip with my Mom. I'm tearing up a little bit right now, because it's such a blessing to be able to go with her. Not too many years ago, she was on a ventilator and wasn't supposed to make it. Now, she's doing great and we both get the dream come true of going gown shopping together. That in itself is a great wedding gift. And if I find The One today, all the better! I know exactly the style that will be perfect for our afternoon formal wedding, the bodice that looks best on me -- but as I write in all of my wedding books, it's important to be open and to try on styles that you don't initially have in mind. Because that's usually the one that's IT.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wedding season allergies

I'm SO glad I wasn't at an outdoor wedding today. The pollen count was insanely high, and I found out at that tomorrow is going to be worse. Bookmark this website so that you can check on the 4-day allergen forecast for your area, and talk to your doctor about the best course of treatment for you. As an allergy sufferer, I've already spoken to my florist about the best choices of flowers for my bouquet (it's trumpet-shaped flowers all the way) -- and all decor flowers will be from the 'safe list' of blooms so that both Joe and I can enjoy our day without allergy problems. I'll have an article up soon on the safest, non-pollen flowers to use on your wedding day, so keep an eye out for my update in the near future...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sharing a photo

Here is a photo that Joe took in the Butterfly Conservatory -- I've ordered an 8x10 so that we can display it in our home. With the green background, it'll be gorgeous in our kitchen.

I've spent the morning booking the air duct cleaners and plumber, and starting the big process of boxing up all of my books, and now it's time to work on some very fun articles....I sent out a bunch of pitches this weekend after watching "The Pursuit of Happyness," so now I'm all fired up. I also just read my first issue of Blueprint magazine, from Martha Stewart, so I'm swirling with article ideas related to our new home. The big ideas always hit me at night, so I kept getting out of bed last night to write down some notes. Of course in the morning, some of it makes no sense, but some of it is golden.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Announcing my next Book Club selection!

I absolutely LOVE this book! Allison Winn Scotch has written a phenomenal debut novel that's perfect for this time in your life. As you're facing a big life transition in the form of your wedding, you'll find yourself thinking about how you got to be where you are, the people who helped form you along the way, and what you really need to embrace about your life right now. I'm thrilled to announce The Department of Lost and Found as the featured novel for my Bridal Book Club.

The Department of Lost and Found
by: Allison Winn Scotch

In this hopeful, humorous, and astonishingly deft debut, Allison Winn Scotch explores what happens when a young woman thinks she's lost everything that matters—and ends up discovering what's truly important. This is a novel that will leave you taking stock of what's important in your own life … and never letting it go.
It didn't start out as the worst day of Natalie Miller's life. At thirty, she is moving up the political ladder, driven by raw ambition and ruthless determination. As the top aide to New York's powerful female senator, she works hard, stays late, and enjoys every bit of it, even if the bills she's pushing through do little to improve the lives of the senator's constituents. And if her boyfriend isn't the sexiest guy alive, at least he's a warm body to come home to.
Then he announces he's leaving. But that news is barely a blip compared to what Natalie's doctor tells her: She has breast cancer. And she can't cure it by merely being headstrong. Now the life Natalie must change is her own.
All her energy, what little of it she has left, must go into saving herself from a merciless disease. So when she's not lying on the sofa recovering from her treatments and indulging in a curious addiction to The Price Is Right, she realizes it's time to take a hard look at her choices. She begins by tracking down the five loves-of-her-life to assess what went wrong. Along the way, she questions her relationships with her friends, her parents, her colleagues, the one who got away, and, most important, with herself: Why is she so busy moving through life that she never stops to embrace it?
As Natalie sleuths out the answers to these questions, her journey of self-discovery takes her down new paths and to unexplored places. And she learns that sometimes when life is at its most unexpected, it's not what you lose that makes you who you are . . . it's what you find.
Here's the Reading Guide:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wedding costs in your area

No matter where you are in your wedding planning process -- beginning, middle, or end -- it's a great idea to check out to see what the average wedding expenses are in your area. I'm using the site right now to get a feel for prices around here, just so that I'm ultra-prepared for when we talk to our vendors. A lot of wedding stress is having unrealistic expectations, then getting a quote and almost falling over -- and that goes double for parents who have no idea what things cost now. You may find, if you've already booked a few things, that you've beaten the average budget! It's a great resource!

Monday, May 07, 2007

We're engaged!

Joe planned the most romantic and thoughtful proposal! Knowing that butterflies are a very important symbol in my family -- my grandmother was one of 11 siblings, and when the four brothers went off to WWII, the sisters formed 'The Butterfly Club' -- he surprised me by proposing in the Butterfly Conservatory at the Museum of Natural History in New York City! I had *no* idea that the proposal was about to happen...I thought we were in the city to go see a Spiderman attraction, and when we pulled up in front of the museum, it still didn't sink in! Joe said, "I just thought we'd stop in here first." I was so happy to get to see the butterflies that it didn't even occur to me that this could be IT. So we went into the biodome, which is like the Garden of Eden with tropical plants and flowers and hundreds of butterflies of all colors and sizes, and I was looking up in awe. Joe came up behind me and said, "Sharon...?" I turned around, and he was holding the ring. "Will you marry me?" came the question. I immediately started crying and said Yes. In the dreamlike state I was in, I know that the other people in the dome were saying, "They just got engaged," but that part is a blur. All I could focus on was Joe. Not the ring. Joe. My Joe. So we were the newly engaged couple kissing in the biodome, with me in tears. We asked someone to take our picture, so we captured the moment right away. It was amazing, a moment I'll never forget in a place that couldn't be more perfect. And seconds later, a big blue butterfly landed on my head and stayed there. We have a photo of that too, which is so going on display in our office. [And of course, all of my relatives LOVE the butterfly story. Especially my Aunt Millie, one of the seven sisters, who loved that I'm keeping the tradition alive in the family. What a heartwarming conversation today with her!] So with my ring in place, we exited the biodome, and Joe just grabbed me up for a big kiss right there in the middle of the museum, and every one of his kisses has always given me...well, butterflies. So it was beyond perfection.

We went for lunch, and then over to see the Spiderman attraction, and it was a very happy trip home. Every now and then as Joe was driving, he would keep looking at the ring on my finger. And he smiled.

He planned the perfect proposal....

I am the luckiest woman in the world....

As if it couldn't get any better, tonight was his company's softball game, and as I was walking across the field to where he was, I had to compose myself a little bit. Seeing him in his softball uniform, gloves, sunglasses and hat, all I could think was, "Wow...that is one gorgeous man!" So the past 48 hours have been a dream come true and beyond. In one of the great moments of sharing the news with my friends, I was in my supermarket and all of the ladies who work there who have been so wonderful to my family these past 4 years celebrated our good news! And a sweet woman in line behind me complimented the ring and shared the story about how she was married to the best man in the world for 60 years. She wouldn't change a thing, since it was so perfect. She wished us the same kind of happiness.

The joy of marrying such a wonderful man is a blessing beyond belief, and these spontaneous well-wishes from our friends and family (and strangers) just make it all the more special.

I've rambled on enough for now...I stayed away from my blog for the past two days since I'm so deliriously happy as to be almost incoherent! I get to spend my life with Joe...and he brought me to the butterflies.....

Friday, May 04, 2007

You never know how much something means to you...

...until it goes missing. I'm talking about my mail, which the postal system started forwarding to my future address NOW, instead of the June date I gave them. So I'm freaking out, because this is an important mail week for me. I'm expecting some important paperwork. I realize, there are far bigger problems to have. But in the life of an author, the first weeks of May are 'good news weeks' where you skip to the mailbox and the birds are singing and everything's rosy. We live for the first few weeks of May. So I sped over to the new house to ask the current owner to keep an eye out for my mail, then sped over to the post office, then sped over to another building where I got an inside look at the bowels of where they sort the mail. And then it was a pile of paperwork. I have to wait and trust and hope that all my paperwork gets here.

I'll laugh about this in a few days when my mailbox springs open filled with my important papers and my magazines, but today...not so much with the laughing. Three different 'prepare for your move' checklists said to put in your Change of Address form 4-6 weeks in advance...I guess this is part of the process when you're buying your first house. Live and learn.

I'm pretty much shot today, such is the glamorous life of an author ;), so I will take a midday bath and read Philippa Gregory's newest novel. Speaking of books, congratulations to my colleague Janine Latus for making the New York Times bestseller list! Her story is one you won't forget...And in further good news from my colleagues at ASJA, my colleague Sherry Suib Cohen has also made the NYT bestseller list! We're having a good week in ASJA! If you're a writer and want to join a circle of highly experienced, successful authors and magazine writers, visit We all raise the bar for one another, with professional advice and shoulders to cry on at times...I can't imagine existing in the tough world of publishing without that community. Check out the articles on the non-member page to get some inside scoop on the industry before you apply for membership.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My first all-writing day in weeks

The To-Do list is both sides of a yellow legal pad paper, so it's time to get down to business here. I've been flitting around booking our photographer, investigating DJs, and sitting in my car waiting for the plumber to arrive at the new house to give us an estimate on some repairs, and it's so great to start getting through this list of e-mails to return, articles and essays to write, negotiations for new books, and exciting new projects to discuss. I started my day with a giant smile...last night, Joe brought me a dozen pink roses to thank me for dealing with the plumber issues. So my early morning shuffle to the coffeemaker led me right to that vase of roses on my kitchen counter. Sigh...So it's a pure writing day with a clear mind and great work ahead...