Real Proposal Stories: Yes, Romance Is Alive and Well

heart handsI used to write articles for a wedding web site in which I interviewed couples about their wedding proposals. I really loved that job. It was so fun to hear all their stories – to hear their excitement, to listen to the parts that were most important to them. Most of the couples were in their mid- to late 20s, although some were in their 30s.

The thing that struck me most — especially now that I’m writing romance novels — is how outrageously sweet and emotional men can be. So many people criticize romance novels as being unrealistic and excessively romantic, but if you heard these REAL stories – about men making elaborate gestures, pointing out ladybugs, breaking down in tears when they propose to the women they love – you’d realize that romance novels aren’t really as far off from real life as you think. …

Some of my faves:

  • One young man set up a “beach fishing date” for his intended. He picked her up, swung by to get a pizza for them to share, then took her to a local beach to wander the empty sands on a cool December afternoon. When he found the perfect spot, he laid out the blanket and began putting together his fishing pole. Continue reading

My Path To Some Great Reading This Week

005See this cute little winding sidewalk? This leads directly to my book store, about half a mile down. I love walking along here in the evenings after dinner. Sometimes the kids come with me, and sometimes I go alone (during those “mommy-needs-to-get-the-hell-out-of-the-house moments). The book store is ripe for hours of browsing, and an extra oh-my-God-could-this-get-any-better bonus is that there’s an ice cream shop a few doors down. Egads. Dangerous.

First Recommendation
Anyway, I walked up there the other night and picked up Much Ado About You by Eloisa James. I’d never read an Eloisa James book before, but @JoannaDangelo passed along an interesting article on Twitter about James here from USA Today, and it made me very curious. Apparently, James is a Harvard/Oxford/Yale grad and the daughter of poet Robert Bly and short-story writer Carol Bly. That was enough to get me intrigued, and I put her on my TBR list.

Before I walked to the store, though, I asked on Twitter which James book I should start with. (Another awesome thing about Twitter — if you follow and are followed by a bunch of reader-types, they always have GREAT quick book recommendations!) Anyway, Twitter folk recommended “Much Ado,” since it launches the series about the Essex sisters (historical Regency England). I started the book as soon as I got home from the book store and was smitten! Can’t wait to get further into it!

Second Recommendation
Another great recommendation I got this week is from my friend Swiss Michelle who told me about DailyLit here. DailyLit offers quick reads that come directly to you on e-mail. You can download them for various fees, but this month the site is offering Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s Hell-Heaven for free! Yippee! I love Lahiri’s writing, and it’s been quite fun to read just a 5-minute segment per day. I’m only on my third segment in three days, and I’m already loving this story. If you love to read but feel you don’t have time, DailyLit might be just the thing for you — You can enjoy some beautiful prose before you even finish your morning coffee!

Wanted to share those great recommendations with you! Happy reading!

Does Learning to Cook Equal Good Health?

Hi, all!

I’m blogging over at Health Bistro today on “Do You Have to Learn to Cook to be Healthy?

I’m sharing stories involving Valencia Libby (between you and me, for those of you who know her — she’s the one who lived with me for the summer at UCLA) and my poor roommate Debbie R. with the garlic-salt incident. …

Come on over and share your own “learning to cook” stories! And I’d love to know what you think about the premise that we really need to know how to cook to lead healthy lives. …

The Best Part of Birthdays

b-dayI had a fabulous birthday weekend.

First, I spent the whole, long 4th of July weekend writing at a terrific little “beach getaway” with my sister-in-law, nephew, and my hubby and kids. Then I took a few additional days off and just enjoyed the time to officially welcome summer.

The best part of birthdays, though, is always what cute things my kids do. The teens are older, now, and not as silly (although I have many fond memories of seranades with 4th grade violin-playing, “concerts” performed by grade-schoolers, and breakfast in bed run by a “restaurant” of people under 4 feet tall).

But Nate is still of an age where he wants to put together “special” table decorations and make the day really memorable. He will run out into the front yard to find hibiscus or daisies and put them in little vases (usually a drinking cup from the cupboard). This picture was from a previous birthday when he set the coffee table up like a restaurant, complete with a comforter as a tablecloth.

Here were my favorite things from this year:

  • Having Nate turn around when we were on Balboa Pier (and I was a victim of some fierce winds off the pier, with my hair “twist” falling down and my bangs blowing all over the place) and saying, “You look really pretty, Mom, with your hair all [*made a motion all around his head.*]” Continue reading
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