Sudden snow storm!

Excuse me, but isn’t it almost MAY?

Last night, Brooklyn experienced a little surprise snow storm… hopefully the last of the season! I was sad this morning to find that a lot of the flowers that had already started to bloom had been treated to a little dusting of flurries.

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Tomorrow, I’m off to the ear/nose/throat specialist to find out what the heck is wrong with my ear. For the last two weeks it’s been bugging me, and I think my persistent eye strain may be related. What’s super annoying about feeling under the weather right now is that it’s making it much harder to edit Center Stage! even though I’m getting a kick out of re-reading scenes that I barely remember writing!

Anyhow, my romantic interest in Center Stage! is named Elliott, and he’s very, very loosely inspired by singer/songwriter Elliot Smith, who passed away in Los Angeles eleven years ago.

 

Here’s a video for his classic, Angeles, which is a song that never fails to make me homesick when I hear it.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hello, everyone!

I’ve been hunkered down with the flu for the past week, but I wanted to send you guys some Valentine’s Day love from snowy Brooklyn.

Here are some photos of my block from taken this morning after our all-night Franken-thunder-snow storm.

Brooklyn’s so pretty right now it almost makes up for how freezing cold it’s been, how sniffling and sick everyone is, and how tired everyone in the general New York area everyone is of looking at the walls of their apartment.

I’m bundling up today to make it to the post office to ship off some cards and candies for my two most special Valentines: my niece and nephew.

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Halloween in Brooklyn!

I am in some serious denial that it’s the end of October! And yet, there are Caramel Apple Milkyway bars on the shelves at CVS, and my neighbors have outdone themselves this year with spooktastic decorations… it’s definitely Halloween time!

I’ve been insanely busy since the summer finishing the Emma book, finishing the Allison book, and jetting off to LA for work-related stuff. I love Los Angeles, and it’s painful leaving every time I travel there, but lucky all of my time spent strolling around Beverly Hills is inspiring me to keep working on the sequel to The Rock Star’s Daughter. You haven’t heard the last of Taylor Beauforte just yet! I can’t announce release dates just yet, but the Emma book and Allison book will be available on Amazon and iTunes before Christmas.

Here’s a peek at the craziness going on in my neighborhood right now.

A fashionable jack o'lantern Fall flowers

I seriously love this!

I seriously love this!

overboard with spiders Clinton Street

Recipe for a perfect Brooklyn morning

I feel so, so lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time in Brooklyn this summer instead of in my office! Here are just a quick few things that I adore about my borough, and my neighborhood, in particular.

 

Manhattan skyline in the rain1) I live close enough to the Brooklyn Heights promenade that it’s within walking distance. Here’s a snapshot on kind of a gloomy morning, but the New York City skyline always makes me nostalgic and reminds me why I love living here.

Squirrels2. Squirrels are the real kings of Brooklyn. Their cousins, rats, rule the night. But these chubby acorn bandits are everywhere during daylight hours, and they aren’t afraid of anything!

 

Sunshine3. When the sun peeks through the clouds after a rainstorm in Brooklyn, it feels like you’re stepping back in time 100 years. The brownstones are so beautiful, and my neighbors put a lot of effort into decorating their stoops with plants and their window boxes with flowers. So charming!

 

 

 

Spring is finally here!

Flowers in Cobble Hill The park in full bloom Wyckoff Street sunrise

 

It would appear that spring has finally arrived in Brooklyn while I’ve been away! 

I have a lot of surprises to post over the next few weeks related to the Emma book, the Taylor sequel… and whatever happened to Allison Burch, Todd’s sister and Taylor’s former best friend?

Here’s a hint: If you had an amazing set of pipes, who would you choose to be your mentor on The Voice? I know I’d pick Adam Levine (I’d pretty much pick Adam Levine for anything). 

Winter is finally here

Of course the weather turns frigid and snow begins falling on the East Coast right at about the time in winter when I’m at my breaking point with long, dark nights and cloudy days.

But snow days are fun days, at least until the snow gets all dirty and brown and turns into pools of slush on the corner. On Friday as snow fall across the tri-state area all day, I was treated to a “work from home” day and celebrated with a beautiful latte from Cafe Pedlar near my apartment.

Snow in Brooklyn cafepedlar

 

Now, bring on the spring! I have some very sad daffodils in my apartment serving as a reminder to myself that spring is right around the corner, hopefully!

Oh yeah, you’re still in New York!

A well-dressed dog awaits his owner outside ted & honey

A well-dressed dog awaits his owner outside ted & honey

This ATM is held together with tape!

This ATM is held together with tape!

I have lived in New York City long enough now that I remain unphased when presented with something that might be perceived as really odd in a city or town anywhere else in the U.S. For example, there are dogs in my neighborhood whose owners dress them in cashmere sweaters whenever it snows outside. There are ATM’s literally held together with duct tape or electrical tape that people still feel comfortable using despite the obvious security risks (the one in the above photo was actually used by ME, moments before I took this picture, because I urgently needed cash to buy a coffee at Stumptown). In memory of the late, great, and kind of weird Mayor Ed Koch, I wanted to post a little tribute to the persistent strangeness of this city. This place is full of odd surprises whenever you take a step back from your daily routine and look around. It’s what makes New York City the greatest in the world.

My absolute favorite thing to do at this time of year is to walk around my neighborhood and appreciate all of the time and effort my neighbors put into their amazing holiday decorations. Sometimes Brooklyn is a place prone to displays of excess, and the Christmas displays never disappoint.

Santa on a milk crate Santa's inflatable workshop

In case you didn't know, it's Christmas

In case you didn’t know, it’s Christmas

So beautiful!When I was a little girl, for a while we lived on a block in Illinois on which our neighbors had an elaborate Snoopy & Peanuts Christmas display with life-sized wooden cut-outs of characters skating around an ice skating rink. It would take that family an entire Saturday afternoon in early December to set up the decorations, complete with colored lights scaling 15-foot trees and silver garland wrapped around their front doorway. I was in awe of that house, and liked to fantasize that the ice skating scenario on that lawn was real.

I’ll post some more pictures of the night displays from around my neighborhood. They really make this week a special time of year.

 

For these things I am thankful

In no particular order, these are just a few of the many blessings that have made 2012 the best year of my life:

  • my apartment — it’s taken many years of survival in New York City, but I finally have a supercute apartment in a neighborhood I love as a reward for my persistence
  • my dog, Max, who has made it through another year of canine life without any major health crises
  • all of my dear readers, who have given me assurance that I am not completely wasting my time by writing stories about themes in girls’ lives
  • my coworker who sends me funny memes of fat, dancing, angry, and snuggling cats to brighten my days, and my coworkers who venture with me to Starbucks for sanity breaks and inspire me with their work ethic, generosity, and ambition
  • my friend who reads all of my work to give me feedback before I finish manuscripts
  • the good health and support of my family — we are so fortunate to have each other
  • my baby niece and nephew, who are both beautiful and hilarious
  • keratin hair straightening — for real, this has changed my life
  • Mayor Bloomberg taking charge before and after the hurricane — the hurricane was bad, but things could have been so much worse if we didn’t have such a strong leader in New York

And I’m thankful for a million other things, big and small, some frivolous, and some important, including my young friend Eddie’s recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this year, the little squirrels who hang out on my fire escape and greet me each morning, sunny days,  piping hot soy lattes, long naps, Daniel Craig as James Bond (hubba hubba), this season of The Walking Dead, the outgoing neighborhood cat named Biscuit who lets me pet him, democracy in the U.S. and the right to vote, my functioning computer, journalists who risk their lives in dangerous places to bring us the news, and the friendliness of my local deli guys, who make Theraflu for me when I am sick and sneak miniature Ritter Sport chocolates into my bag. I have a beautiful life and I am thankful for a day off from work each year to reflect on how graced my existence is, especially because on this day it is 100% acceptable to eat unlimited quantities of pie. This is my very favorite time of year, guys, and I hope all of you are filling your hearts with love today in preparation for the next few weeks of holiday fun.

What have I been up to lately…

Hi everyone! It’s a very chilly Thursday in New York today. I’ve been really busy trying to get my next manuscripts done before Christmas, but wanted to post a few little fun things about the last few days.

1) My dad (not a rock star) came to visit this weekend and we went to Tea & Sympathy, a tea shop in Manhattan’s West Village, for an authentic English breakfast after checking out the Beatrix Potter illustration exhibit at the Morgan Library.

I had beans on toast. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! Then we went to go see Argo (my second viewing) and it was so good that my dad actually stayed awake for the whole movie. It’s a pretty rare event when my dad doesn’t doze off during the first ten minutes of a movie. Last winter when we saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, he slept from the opening title sequence until the credits were rolling. Anyway, Argo is fantastic and one of my favorite actresses, Clea Duvall, is in it.

2. I bought these killer boots at an insanely cheap price on Gilt.com. I truly cannot resist a bargain.

3. I was interviewed by the very sweet Hannah L. for her classroom assignment about authors. Her questions made me remember just how much I read when I was in middle school, and how much I loved The Babysitters’ Club series by Ann M. Martin.

4. I suffered through and survived a really, really nasty cold. I used this very gross time in my life to read most of World War Z and avoided opening the box containing the Insanity workout featuring Shaun T. that I ordered a few weeks ago in a moment of rare enthusiasm about fitness.

5. I donated a bunch of toothpaste, tooth brushes, bottled protein shakes, and baby wipes to a group in my neighborhood doing a collection for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in awesome Red Hook, Brooklyn, not far from my neighborhood.