Friday, January 23, 2015

Traveling today...come join me!

Hey everyone!

I'm being interviewed today in my new position as Development and Communications Director with Opera House Arts. Come join me on OHA's blog!

Have a wonderful (like 2-or-3-books-read-wonderful) weekend.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Writers for All Seasons

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but it’s quite chilly in these parts – like two sets of pajamas worn simultaneously each night chilly.  

It is absolutely beautiful, looking out the snow covered rooftops and the boats floating over the (I’m sure) frigid water. But actually going outside is the thing of nightmares. Just the thought of it prompts a chill to set in my bones.

Which was perfect for this past weekend. Why, you may ask, do I so appreciate that it feels like I’m breathing in icicles the moment I step out the door?

ALL THE REVISING.

There is nothing like being afraid of frostbite to get me to buckle down and get to work. Sure, I have to wear glittens* as I do, but that just adds to the fun. It's one of the many reasons that winter is my favorite writing season. 

Which got me wondering about other writers and their weather preferences. So, out I went into the swirling snows of the Internet and conducted a very scientific (read: completely informal) survey.

Here are the results:


Winter

Ava Jae
"Few things beat being huddled over my keyboard during a blizzard with a steaming cup of tea beside me."

“My favorite writing season is winter because I feel really guilty when I stay inside and write on gorgeous days (which doesn’t mean I don’t still do it). But when it’s cold out, then it seems like the best thing to do is put on fuzzy socks, drink tea, and disappear into a blanket and worlds I make up.

“I have to say that I love winter the best for writing, because my kids are busy with school, we take long hockey trips where I can plot in the car, and the sun sets earlier, which is great for this night owl! Not to mention the snow keeps us cozied up inside!”


Spring

“My imagination comes out of hibernation in spring and I have my best ideas as the world comes back to life.”

Gail Nall
"Fall is my favorite season, but as far as writing goes, I'd have to pick spring. There's something about the newness of everything in spring, the hope in the air, and the fact that the mosquitoes aren't out yet makes me feel as if I can write anything!"


Summer

“Summer is my favorite writing season by far. Nothing stokes the muse like the sun and a warm breeze through open windows.”


Fall

Molly Lee
"My favorite season to write is in the Fall. I'm a Midwest girl and once the air gets the crisp scent of Fall, my creative juices start flowing at full speed! I've written most of my novels in between the months of October and January for this exact reason."

Fiona McLaren
"My favorite season to write is in Autumn (the Fall), because it's a moment of metamorphosis...the world starting to enter a deep sleep, waiting for the following years' seasons to bloom with something new. The quiet and change, the period of waiting and preparation, all of these help spur my creative muse into life."


Other

Brooks Benjamin
"Mine would have to be spring and fall. Maybe it's the way the weather sort of wiggles back and forth between warm and cold, but something about that time keeps my writing senses all tingly and alert."

Jessica Cluess
“Fall is undoubtedly my favorite season to write. Not because of the wether, since I live in always-sunny Los Angeles, but because Starbucks has great seasonal drinks. I often write in Starbucks. Actually, my favorite season to write is Starbucks.”

Scarlett Cole
"I have a terrible habit of writing books that occur during the opposite season to the one I am in. Writing books set in summer during the winter, and fall books during the spring. My favorite season to write in would be the one that matches the book I'm working on. Otherwise I end up playing Christmas carols in June to set the mood."

Lauren Grimley
"For me, there isn't a magical season. All my books were written during different seasons and all had magical writing moments, most of which occurred late at night. Like reading a good book, I know my creativity is at its peak when it can keep me up past midnight, obliterating all thoughts of the morning's obligations. I guess I never outgrew that rush of staying up past my bedtime, because I feel there's something special, empowering even, about writing down your dreams and fantasies while the rest of the world are sleeping through theirs."


In conclusion, with the same certainly that you can know that somewhere an episode of Law & Order is on, you can be sure that no matter what the time or weather, somewhere someone is writing. 


*Warning: The wearing of glittens while
writing will undoubtedly increase
your number of glitten-related typos.
But they're so cozy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year, New Whole Bucket of Things

Happy 2015 everyone!

I haven't quite wrapped my head around the new year yet. Even knowing that's what this post was going to be about, I still wrote "2014" in that greeting the first time around. It gets me every damn time.

Hope everyone's celebrations were wonderful. I, for one, have been catapulted into all sorts of newness by the beginning of 2015. In the last week, I have moved ten hours further north and started a new job. I am both freezing and excited and half the time can't tell which feeling is prompting the shaking. But since the shaking is happening, regardless of the reason, I figure I might as well just go full out and dance.

To that end, I offer you five of my favorite "new beginning" songs. Some involve saying hello, some goodbye - but they all either make sing along or get my feet tapping, sometimes both.


Children Will Listen (from Into the Woods)

This probably would have made the list even if I hadn't just seen the movie.
Since I have - and have listened to the Broadway soundtrack recently - it's
likely that I will never again not have this song in my head. 

Uncharted (Sara Bareilles)



The Morning Comes (Delta Rae)



The Parting Glass (Irish/Scottish Traditional Song)



The New World (from Songs for a New World)




If you have any to add, let's see them in the comments! I want to know what newness you guys having coming up this year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!



Recently got to see a tree decorated with real candles. Mildly terrifying. Totally beautiful. 

Wishing you a week that can be described the same way, whether you're spending your time celebrating the holidays, gearing up for the new year or a mixture of the two!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Support Great People, Finish Your Holiday Shopping - Accomplish All The Things!


Happy Holidays, all!

If you're anything like me, you had the best intentions of being done with all your shopping by Thanksgiving and keep realizing that there's someone else you need to buy for. So, in the interest of being helpful and giving a big THANK YOU to all the amazing companies and individuals who donated to the RAINN Down Hope Dinner Auction (still a few days left to participate!), I present to you a list of awesome people and places who probably have the perfect gift you're looking for.

How could I not kick this off with a suggestion to buy people books. OF COURSE we should all be buying people books. But when you're trying to decide on that perfect tome this holiday season, start with these phenomenal authors:

And then, for any music lovers out there, there is the great Carole King, who donated a signed CD for the auction. You can't go wrong with getting her music for a loved one.

Know someone who likes spectacular photography? Check out Kerri Socha's work!


Trying to find the perfect gift for a theater lover? The Kennedy Center has got you covered.

Looking for a unique present for the relative who has it all?
Image3D
Mission Cute
MyCaricature.com
PuzzleYou.com
StoryPeople

For the sports enthusiast:
Harlem Globetrotters
New York Jets

Know someone who loves SF/F? Even if the cast & crew of SyFy's Haven hadn't donated two signed DVD sets, I'd be telling you that if you're not watching that show, you should be. If you are watching that show, you know I'm right. Seasons 1-4 are on DVD now.

Know someone who doesn't need any more clutter in their lives? Give them an experience:
The Chew
Live with Kelly & Michael
Six Flags Great Adventure
Spirit Cruises

For those in the New York area:
The Argyle Grill
Berger Bros Digital Photography & Video
Camelot Specialty Limos
Captain Bill's
Castello di Borghese Vineyard & Winery
Design Masters Salon
FatFish
Gemaginations, Ltd.
Great South Bay YMCA
Hotel Indigo East End
Kilwin's
The Lobster Roll
Magic Paws 
Mulberry St.
Ghosts of New York Walking Tours 
Pindar Vineyards
Pugliese Vineyards
Racine Salon & Spa
The Rinx
Riverhead Tanger Outlets
Torta Fina Bakery
United Skates of America
Willy Nilly

Have you found yourself in Portland, Maine? Visit these places!
Gelato Fiasco
Miyake
Vena's Fizz House
Westin Portland Harborview

Know someone who drops their phone with the frequency that I do? (The frequency in question being rather high.) Check out Otter Box.

Finally, if you have anyone on your list, who needs anything at all. I can't imagine you wouldn't be able to find it at TJ Maxx/Marshall's/HomeGoods.

All right, now I need to go get a few more gifts for folks. So, off with you! Finish your holiday shopping! Support those who do good!

And have a lovely afternoon.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

RAINN Down Hope Recap: The Picture Edition

Hello all!

I figured the following awesome pictures merited a special weekend post. I am so honored to have been in the presence of all these people only a week ago. 




















I can say, without doubt, that on any day that seems even a little gloomy, I will be coming back to these pictures to bask, not only in the generosity of these folks, but how happy they look while offering it. 

Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

RAINN Down Hope Recap!

Hello all and a very happy Wednesday to you!

So, as many of you know, this past Saturday was the 2nd Annual RAINN Down Hope Dinner Auction and once again I have been left floored by the goodness of people.

To begin with, the generosity of donations. There were seventy-five baskets and twenty door prizes, making for a total of ninety-five gifts to win. The vast majority of these were donated by local businesses, large companies and a number of individuals looking to do good. (Check in next week for a complete list of donors - it's a great way to get ideas for your holiday shopping!)

And then there were the people. This year we came in at around 130 attendees - many attending for the second year in a row, as well as bringing some new faces. In some ways this is a "you had to be there" situation, as I find it hard to properly describe the feelings of love and camaraderie that permeated that ballroom.

Many of these people have never been directly touched by the crimes the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network works so hard to prevent, but still they came out on an extremely cold and rainy night to give of themselves. They do not need to be personally effected in their every day lives to understand the importance of RAINN and the necessity for survivors of these crimes to have access to the help and support they need.

While I think it's important to stay up to date on what's going on in the world, I find the news difficult to watch. To have twenty-four hours of a constantly updating roll of horrible events is wearing. Reading it can provide it's own challenges, particularly if you choose to read it online, as then you run the risk of getting sucked into the comments section. Rarely does any news article go unscathed by some depressing or infuriating response.

These things can warp your view of reality, can leave you with the feeling that this world is a lost cause. However, thanks to these events, I can say with confidence that such a feeling is a wrong. The bad exists, of course - and is frequently heart-breaking - but as long as I know people who are so willing to support not only loved ones, but people who they've never met and likely never will, I can't help but believe that this world is full of hope.

If I had to take any guesses as to what the secret of living a happy life is, I'd have to say surrounding yourself with good people. People who are willing to put others first and people who you are willing to put before yourself. People who are willing to give of themselves and their time and their resources.

Which brings me to an important point - the fundraiser has surpassed it's goal!! Between the money already reflected on my RAINNmakers page and the few checks I still need to send in, we are at a total of $10,780 raised! Also, there are still nine days left on the campaign, so if you're interested in making a donation, you've got time - just head over here and do your stuff!

I am so insanely grateful right now. And, once again, I find myself in the perfect frame of mind to enter the holiday season and I will do my best to carry the feelings from Saturday night into the new year.

Hope to have some pictures to share from the event soon. Check back in!    

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Almost Time!

Greetings all and a belated very happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrated last week!

Sorry for the brief radio silence. Between the start of the holiday season and preparing for the auction, every day is something akin to me waking up and running through the hallways, arms waving, rambling incoherent bursts of anxiety and excitement. You know, just being the usual calm, cool and collected. 

I had a lot of things to be thankful for this year, but without a doubt my biggest debt of gratitude goes to all those who have supported this month's event - both in person and from a distance. 

Though it is certainly not the first time I've experienced this, it never fails to overwhelm (in a good way) to see so many people going out of their way to offer support, no matter what is going on in their own lives. Knowing so many people who are willing to put others first makes it pretty much impossible to lose hope in this world. 

The dinner auction is this Saturday! *cue arm waving and ramblings* I am so extremely excited for this night. For one, I need to get the auction baskets out of the house. I'm pretty sure the house is beginning to sink into the ground under the weight of everyone's endless generosity. Far more importantly, is that I get to be in the same room as a good percentage of the most wonderful people I've ever had the privilege to know.  

In addition to being able to give our donation to RAINN next week, supporting sexual assault survivors over the holiday and into 2015, the end of the auction will also mark the beginning of having regular writing time once again. So many things to look forward to!

Also, more reading time! I'll definitely be hitting up Jeff Guinn's The Autobiography of Santa Claus again, but I'd love some more holiday reading suggestions. Leave them in the comments!

If you're interested in donating to RAINN through the RAINN Down Hope Event, you can do so at my RAINNmakers page

Also, vote here for RAINN to be Mission Cute's January Nonprofit Partner! If RAINN gets the most votes, then 50% of Mission Cute's January proceeds will go straight to the organization.

Look for an recap of the fundraiser next week!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas Cheats

As my mania is well documented here on the blog, it's not very surprising that I'm already biting at the bit for Christmas movies. I try to keep myself on a strict schedule - no holiday movies or music until Thanksgiving. I do this more for other people than myself...well, it's a little bit for myself, seeing as I'd like to keep my friends.

But once Santa comes riding down the street in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, all bets are off. 

I'm generally able to hold off until the aforementioned acceptable start time, but sometimes the insanity stirs early. Especially when I'm in the process of planning the RAINN Down Hope fundraiser. I don't know that anything puts me in the right frame of mind for the holidays as quickly or completely as dealing with all the generous and kind people involved in the dinner - whether they attendees, donors or supporters. 

Seriously, every email, text or tweet I get makes my heart grow three sizes. At this point, it's about 89,613 times larger than it should be, but them's the breaks. The real issue is that now I want to watch a Christmas movie. 

As there's only a week left until I can do and feel no guilt for rushing the season, I'm going to be breaking in to my cheat movies:

1. The Shop Around the Corner
2. When Harry Met Sally
3. While You Were Sleeping
4. Michael
5. You've Got Mail

All movies with Christmas scenes and themes, that give me the fix I need without actually being Christmas movies. 

Another great outlet for my crazy?



Making up this year's Christmas movie calendar! (I exercised great restraint in putting only one exclamation point there. You're welcome.)

Let me know if you'll be "joining" me for any of the movies. We can tweet-chat during. 

Now, all that's left is the countdown until next Thursday when I officially start to see the world through my Christmas eyes. Spoiler alert: they turn you all into claymation. It's awesome. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fundraiser Update: The November Edition

Happy end of the week, all! The time has come for our monthly donation update. Let me say, the baskets this year are going to be hands down amazing.  Especially now that these lovely folks have been added to those mentioned in September and October.


This is not even mentioning the deluge of auction donations that I’ve received from auction attendees this year. Tickets to sporting events, Broadway plays, restaurant gift certificates, electronics, beautiful baskets full of thoughtful items….this list could go on for a while.  There are baskets for every age group. It’s going to be a perfect way to start any holiday shopping.

Still interested in donating? You’ve got time!

If there’s something you’d like to give as an auction item, just shoot me an email or leave a message in the comments.

If you want to donate directly to RAINN, you can do so at my RAINNmakers page!

Finally, if you’re interested in getting a fun t-shirt, which supports this event and RAINN, there are ONLY FIVE DAYS LEFT in that campaign, so make sure that you get over to T-Fund soon!

As I frequently find myself, I am just plain flabbergasted by the extraordinary generosity of people.  Even having first hand knowledge of how wonderful people are, the swell of support for each of these events still is somewhat astounding. Every day I get more emails of support and there are still more donations coming in. If there was ever anything to put me in the right frame of mind for the coming holidays, it’s getting to interact with all of you as we work to make the world a better, safer place.

So, for the millionth time (which is still nowhere near enough), thank you.


Have a truly wonderful weekend!