My first book, Couple Friends, was just published, and I am also a copywriter, social media strategist, and event correspondent for hire. I love interacting with readers and share about the topics related to my books here, like love, marriage, friendship, identity and happiness.
If I had to narrow it down to one thing my husband does that makes me feel loved more than anything else, it's the day to day reality that he thinks I'm cute no matter what I am doing (well, almost). Yesterday I ran in a 13.1 half-marathon, and of course afterward I was sweaty, hurting, and honestly grumpy, hungry, and wanting a wheelchair--STAT. Through all of that, Gary had a smile on his face that just showed he was proud and thought I was just as great as sliced bread even though I felt like the ugliest thing on the planet! He even wanted to hug and kiss me despite my disheveled and just plain ol' nasty appearance. He is always able to do that--make me feel like he wants only ME no matter what I'm wearing, doing, even if I'm complaining, pigging out, lashing out, in my sweats...Yesterday was just one more reminder that I'm a pretty lucky girl in the marriage department :)
One of the most difficult things about teaching for me is that I feel like I have to "filter" myself--not revealing too much of my personal life, or sharing my political beliefs, or mentioning celebrity gossip (which is one of my vices that I inherited from my mom), and speaking perfect and grammatically at all times and never making any mistakes (which of course I do). I sometimes feel like I am only presenting a perfected version of myself--the most politically correct, more reserved (which I am definitely not), and self that bites her tongue when they say something that's so naive that I want to respond, "Wait 'til your my age and you'll see things differently" which I don't bother because they would just think I am old and wouldn't believe me anyway. But I guess we all present a somewhat constructed version of ourselves at work. What do you think? Do you feel like you are not completely yourself at work?
The Shamrock run is a Savannahian must--even if you don't run in the race, coming down to cheer on friends (or strangers!), listening to the music, and just checking out everyone's crazy Saint Patrick's Day attire as they strive to snatch the $400 1st place prize for best costume. It's always the Friday before Saint Patrick's Day, and it kicks off the week-long festivties, with some bars even offering race participants free or discounted shots and drinks. Oh, and most importantly proceeds go to March of Dimes which focuses on the health and wellness of babies. So put on your running shoes for a good cause and get your green on for a fun event.
Had to double post today because TODAY is the biggest day of my writing career SO FAR!!!!! My first published piece is out in the world today: MUSIC MATTERS: LIVE MUSIC SUMMARY. PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK TO READ AND COMMENT!!! You can even sign up to receive a live feed so you never miss a future article ;) Each week, I will be featuring one band that is performing locally in Savannah, and the publication comes out on Thursdays as a preview of all live music in the area for that weekend. I LOVE writing the articles, doing the research, and interviewing the bands. Doing the feature has also encouraged us to want and go see more live music. Tonight, I'm going out with the girls to celebrate and vote for Savannah's 2011 "Signature Cocktail" competition and then Gary is going to meet us out to watch the band Lubriphonic that I previewed live. It's sure to be a great night, and I truly feel lucky to have this opportunity and to be able to do what I love, WRITE!, and share it with others. THANKS FOR READING!!!! http://savannahnow.com/do/2011-02-24/music-matters-live-music-summary
Oh, and you can buy their cd below if you are into funky, bluesy rock n' roll:
Driving Under the Influence...of Texting. This morning on the way to work, I saw a car pulled over and of course rubber-necked to see if I knew the culprit and just out of plain ol' human curiosity. What did I see? A girl texting as she waited for the cop to come to her window. Now, I have never been a cop, but I can guess that they perceive it as a little rude if you are texting when they are asking for your license and registration. You should be working on your sad/pathetic/remorseful/humble face, not LOLing with your friends or sending a freak-out text to your parents. On top of that, I'm sure the cop can't help but wonder if the girl had been texting while driving, which will make the cop even less sympathetic or understanding. Use your brains, people! So, next time you find yourself pulled over (hopefully never!), keep the phone out of sight and focus on spilling some crocodile tears to get out of your ticket :)
So I usually try to think the best of others...that their intentions are sincere, that people want to basically be happy and want me to be happy, that people aren't manipulative, deceitful, or mean at their core. I know sometimes this comes back to bite me because not everyone is good, truthful, and sincere. But, I would rather have faith in others than going around being cynical and waiting eagerly for someone to make a mistake or send a text that I could take in the wrong way. We chose how we read into others words and actions, and if we think that people have the best intentions, even if they don't, we will be a lot happier, less paranoid, and just plain enjoy life more.
So this weekend, I introduced a few friends to the new-ish Three Muskeeteers Truffle Candy Bars, and they loved it. I'm not a big candy bar eater or buyer usually, but I have always liked Three Muskeeteers, and when I saw this version, I thought I would give it a try. Delicious, light and fluffy, and less rich than the original, it comes in two skinny Twix-like sticks and has less calories and fat than most other choices. Yum!
This weekend, I, along with two of my best friends in the world (which was solidified even more this weekend) survived one of the most mind-boggling, stressful, funny, crazy, awful, and all-around so messed up vacations that it has the makings of a Hangover-ish movie written all over it. Through it all, when things just got too much to take, my husband was there to listen to me (via the phone) vent, analyze, and repeat myself over and over as I blew off steam, all the while calming me down and reminding me that life is truly just too short to allow any unnecessary negativity, drama, or stress to steal away any of this precious time we have here on Earth. Thank you hubby for listening, being supportive, and helping us keep our sanity through one of the most insane weekends of my life. And shout-out to my girls, and their husbands, for also being supportive too.
Three day weekends are so crucial for teachers and students to keep our sanity, and they always come at the perfect time--just when we think we can't take it anymore, a break comes, and we get that mental and emotional escape. People always say that they are jealous of my schedule, but the reality is, these breaks are not just for fun--they truly are essential for us to stay sane. Thank you President's Day!
So if you read my post yesterday, you know that Barry Sheehy came to talk with our students yesterday about Savannah's path to the Civil War and what happened before, during, and after. It was so crazy to see the huge divets in the ground where actual cannons had once been right on our school campus. There's even a graveyard of soliders that fought on our school grounds that had been forgotten, and the writer recently stumbled upon, which inspired him to write this book. Remanants of the Civil War and history are everywhere in Savannah; I never realized that really, that's why Savannah is one of the most visited cities in America--that old beauty parallels the brutality of its past. His last book is aptly called Terrible Beauty, in the series, and how true that is with most things in life. Even though I have never been a war or history buff, the older I get, the more I appreciate these historic relics because I guess they show me that nothing ever truly dies...people and events live on in memories, book, and photographs. Go see something old, majestic, and historic in your part of the world to appreicate all those who've fought for our freedoms and liberties :)
Today is a great day--three of the Savannah Book Festival authors have come to speak with all of our English and History classes--Lenore Hart, promoting her new ingenious book The Raven's Bride from the perspective of the ghost of Poe's real-life young bride; Micheal Malone with his Wizard of Oz-like novel The Four Corners of the Sky; and Barry Sheehy who's discussing his first book in a series of four, Civil War Savannah, with the first volume entitled Savannah, Immortal City. He's even going to walk around and show us Civil War sites on our very own campus in about an hour!!!
My students have been making fun of me as I hang on every word that these author says. I am DEFINITELY going to read each book (even the Civil War book, and I don't even read war reads usually!!!). To see real authors succeeding and doing what they love is so inspiring, I am ready to go home and write a whole novel in one night!
I have totally been on a big Savannah kick lately (weird, since I have lived here for about 6 years and these really strong feelings are really surfacing as of late...perhaps because I have met some really great people in the last year?!?!). But, the older I get, the more I realize that Savannah is truly awesome and pretty much has everything I could ever want--great food, drinks, music, entertainment, festivals, water, beach, history, architecture, athletics (sadly, not any sand volleyball leagues though--I need to remedy that)...PLUS it's a stone's throw from other great spots I like to spend time in like Orlando, Atlanta, Daytona and Ormond Beaches, Hilton Head, North Carolina, Tennessee...Beauty, culture, fun, location...can't really beat it in my book. I actually wrote an article about Savannah today for a freelance contract job...WISH ME LUCK!!!!
So I'm looking for some inspiration on how y'all handle your household chores because yesterday, I literally tried to avoid going home because I just did not want to deal with the dishes, laundry, crumbs on the counter, etc. that had piled up from a busy weekend. I've tried a zillion different ways to divvy up these cringe-inducing tasks, with the most recent being that Monday nights, we clean, clean, clean with that hopefully being our only night of "real" cleaning for the week. BUT...of course that doesn't count the daily "stuff" like the aforementioned dishes/laundry/tidying up. What's the secret? Because I told Gary yesterday I am ready to sell our house and live in a tent, Into the Wild-style.
Last night we went to a Prohibition-themed dinner at a restaurant known for their craft beer selection. A rep from the Victory Brewing Company provided pint glasses, craft beer, and other giveaways throughout the meal, and I now have two more beers that I absolutely love from Victory (I already knew I loved their Golden Monkey and Imperial Stout). If you are new to trying craft beers, start with the Golden Monkey--it has a creamy sweetness (NOT like a cider or fruit beer), then explore some of the other Victory brews as they have something for everyone and the rep last night was awesome and truly passionate about his craft which makes me want to support his brewery even more (any excuse, right?). To top off the evening, they provided a barley wine edition which was definitely an after-dinner drink that you had to sip and savor. I will definitely be purchasing these beers again in the future :)
I'm not REALLY going to talk about oil changes...no, I'm referring to the need for "oil changes" in our relationships. Just like when our car's little light comes on indicating it's time for service (my car's indicator is even shaped like a wrench!), there are holidays "forced" upon us throughout the year so we take the time to show the people in our lives that we love them. Some people try to take the "noble" stand that they are above all things Valentine's Day because they don't need a created holiday to show the ones they love how they feel. Well, actually....ya kind of do. See, Valentine's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter....these events give us reminders that it's about that time to show those we love how we feel because frankly, we can all be forgetful and neglectful as we get wrapped up with our every day lives.
One of my guilty pleasures, the tv show "Better with You," did an episode this week where one of the guys wanted to go all out for his lady, but his father-in-law and brother-in-law tried to stop him. "You'll set the bar to high!" "You'll never be able to keep this up the rest of your lives!" His response? "Why not? Any reason to show my lady that I love her and think she is the greatest thing in my life I am going to take advantage of!" (Obviously, this show must be written by women, but the sentiment is still touching :) ).
So, look at today as an "oil change" and show your loved ones that you care! Happy Valentine's Day!
Grading is no doubt the absolute worst part of teaching. My kids like to joke "well, don't assign us so much work," but the truth is, the assignments are necessary to keep them on task, make sure they are learning what they need to, and getting a chance to be creative, improving their comprehension, better their writing and reading skills...the list goes on. What that means is that right now, I have about 80 ten-page plays to grade (which is actually an assignment I enjoy grading, but it's just SO MANY) then I have about 80 journals to grade (12 entries each student for a total of 960 entries), 80 vocabulary quizzes, 12 rough drafts of a research paper, and 80 vocabulary practice assignments. SIGH....and all I want to do is write, write, write today (Gary and I are working on a book together, and I've got a few other projects I'm working on too....). This brings me back to my superhero post about wishing I had the power to freeze time. Anyway, thanks for letting me vent :) Happy Sunday!
Even if a girl says she doesn't want anything or for you to do anything special...do SOMETHING. And girls, don't say you don't want anything or to do anything when you DO. Here's a couple of love stories to get you in the mood (one true, one fiction): Our Proposal Story Shoeboxes and Pancakes
A few months back, my book club read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This autobiographical story about her poor, mostly homeless, and all-around insane childhood is completely enthralling. We had a great debate about parenting and family dynamics in general. I HIGHLY recommend this book and think that anyone can empathize and be more appreciative of their life in general and childhood specifically after reading this book. Happy Reading!
P.S. I am ALWAYS looking for book suggestions, so please share your favorites...just today someone recommend Look Homeward, Angel which I am going to check out ASAP. Anyone read it yet?
Ormond and Daytona are the perfect mix--if you want a livelier scene, you can go to the drive-on-the-sand Daytona Beach and hit up Main Street that has some great bars like the Irish pub Robbie O'Connell's for pool, craft beer, and darts, or Frank's Front Row for awesome make-you-stand-up-and-dance live bands that are at floor level. Yet, if you want the beach practically to yourself and want to visit some hole-in-the-wall bars, Ormond Beach is the place. You get that combination of fun and relaxation which makes this area, with Ormond and Daytona only about 10 minutes apart, the perfect weekend getaway. Come on Summer!
I have seen my share of concerts, starting with New Kids on the Block (I will NOT be going to their upcoming tour!), Marky Mark, Boys II Men and progressing to The Goo Goo Dolls, John "Cougar" Mellencamp, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz and more recently, Fuel, Billy Corgan's (briefly together) Zwan, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan. This past summer, we saw Dave Matthews Band in concert at West Palm, Florida, and I have to admit, it was the most fun I have ever had at a concert--partly because we were with great friends and tailgated for like 5 hours before we went in, but mostly because THE. CONCERT. WAS. AWESOME. Truly, truly great. I know their are DMB haters, but really, you have to respect the fact that they can flat-out jam and the lyrics can be beautiful, disturbing, confusing, simple, and all-around brilliant.
What's been your top concert(s)? I really, really wanna go to Bonaroo, and go to a Pearl Jam concert (I'm still kicking myself for not going when Pearl Jam was AT Bonaroo).
Is there anything more indulgent and perfect than a good port wine paired with a mini-chocolate lava cake? That's the pairing my friend introduced to a group of girls (including me!) to this weekend. Sure, I knew that chocolate and port go hand-in-hand and have had some form of chocolate with various wines before. But this was sheer perfection. We declared a once-a-month girls' night from now on that will include only desserts and wines (maybe throwing in some cheeses and olives so we don't go into sugar comas). With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it's the perfect excuse to have your own port and lava cake night (perhaps with your sweetie since normally he might think it's "too girlie," or some single girlfriends if you are unattached?). Enjoy!
Saturday was a "girls' night" for most of the night, and it was the first time since before the holidays that we were all able to get together. Some of the guys met up with us later on in the evening, but overall, it was just girls bonding over books, gossiping, discussing current events, complaining about men...overall just the perfect flow of conversation and fun thanks to some great wine (and ending with lots of dancing later that night). A truly wonderful evening. What does this have to do with my marriage? I missed my husband, in a good way. Although I know he would have had fun if he had joined up with us, it was nice to miss him, and the next day, it was that much more fun to hang out with him. I think it's so important to have that time apart because it truly makes me appreciate him and the time we do have together. Same for him--after a night out with just guys, he is always sweeter and more attentive to me the next day. I guess it just boils down to balance.
So this week, my students are writing their own original plays with the emphasis on creativity and teaching some type of lesson because we just finished reading Death of a Salesman. I had one student come up to me and say that he had accidentally erased his entire play, and he was completely distraught. Luckily, I have my students use Google docs for their assignments. Although Google docs has some user flaws, the fact that it has a revision history feature. I clicked on the tab, and viola, we were able to recover the entire play as it was prior to deleting it. The student was astounded, and I have another reason why Google docs is superior to Microsoft Office--on top of the revision history feature, it saves about every ten seconds (literally, without you having to hit save, ever), you have access to all your documents as long as you have internet access, and multiple users can access the same document at the same time to work on simultaneously.
So in my little writing world something exciting happened yesterday-the official Visit Savannah website/online travel guide somehow stumbled upon my article titled "Must Visit Pubs in Savannah, Georgia for St.Patrick's Day" and posted it on their offical facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/VisitSavannahGA?v=wall)!!!!!!!!!!!! They have almost 38,000 followers, and one of these followers is the Savannah Craft Brew Fest Facebook page, who ALSO shared the article and they have about 2,200 people following their page!
I was jumping for joy at this information, and so far, this article has been my "most read." Even cooler? We went out for our friend's birthday last night, and the bartender at O'Connell's (one of the pubs I featured in the article) and a customer were TALKING ABOUT MY ARTICLE, not even knowing that I was standing right there! Talk about a surreal moment--the first time I have ever felt like a true "writer!" The customer was saying that maybe the article would help their business boom a little around St. Patrick's Day. My heart warmed at hearing this because that's my hope--that I can highlight great places in Savannah that truly treat their customers right and deserve business and praise. Needless to say, I had an awesome Friday!!!!
Here is an excerpt for an article I submitted for a freelance job that would guarantee a montly paycheck in exchange for 12 articles a month...cross your fingers and hope that they like it!
The Book Thief is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and year after year, my students, friends, fellow book club members, and family continue to be mesmerized by this truly touching book. The lessons that can be learned, the strength of the young narrator Liesel, and the newfound insight readers will gain regarding the relationship between “beauty and brutality” (Zusak 550) make The Book Thief a must-read.
What's your favorite 5 books? I am always looking for new things to read!
I'm currently working on an article about Orlando...here's a little excerpt:
So when you think Orlando, you think kids, Disney, shopping, eating and Sea World--or at least I always did. Last weekend, I experienced the "real" downtown Orlando; no more City Walk for my nightlife when I'm in town! We stopped at probably 10 bars in two days, and 4 of these are probably the coolest bars I have ever been to. Eyespy has secret rooms and cameras everyone so you can people watch; Latitudes is an absolutely gorgeous, huge rooftop bar with enormous tiki torches and cheap drink specials even though it looks like it's out of a movie; Tanqueray, the underground, speakeasy jazz club that I wanted to stay at all night; and the Lodge, with 80's music blaring and everyone dancing their faces off. I can't wait to go back, and to top it all off, we discovered a winery about 30 minutes outside of Orlando called Lakeridge that has a free tour and tastings, live music outside, and even a grape-stomping Harvest Festival twice a year (which we are definitely going to). All in all, Orlando is my new favorite "go out" spot, and I can't wait to go back!
We watched The Town this weekend, and although I didn't like it as much as I anticipated (solely because I am a romantic and idealist who wanted the happy ending), it was a great flick--action packed, kept me anxious, and I thought Ben Affleck was spot-on. And I love Boston accents. If you have seen it, what did you think? Any other movie recommendations? Here's my top 10 in no particular order (it's soooo hard to pick just ten though!): When Harry Met Sally (told you I was a romantic!) Good Will Hunting (love a troubled genius) Old School (hilarious) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (watch it every Christmas) Inception (too freakin' cool) The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (anything about the way the brain works and I am in) Matrix series (I know, it's kinda cheating to include three for one) Bourne series (ditto)
Nolan's Batmans (can't wait for the third one)
Tie between The Bridges of Madison County, The Program, Harry Potter series, DiCaprio's Romeo and Juliet, and 50 First Dates (making lists is hard :) )
Sugar Daddy's, on 109 Jefferson Street in downtown Savannah Georgia, immensely surprised me last week when I went with a couple of friends. I had the completely wrong impression about the place--I thought it was going to be snobby, expensive, and all-around just not a place my kinda place. Instead, the staff was friendly, the soup of the day, shrimp chowder, melted in our mouths and the duck panini was perfectly cooked and a unique combination of heavenly flavors (I wanted to order another one even though I was full). They also have wine flights (which is my favorite way to try wines at a new spot!) from $9-11 for three small glasses, plenty of specials like happy hour daily and ladies night, and everything was reasonably priced. Every bite or sip was absolutely delicious, and my girlfriends and I said we are definitely going to frequent it more often. Visit http://savannahmenu.com/sugardaddys for more information.