Scenes from Summer …


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So I’m way behind on blogging, aren’t I? I had a really great summer, despite the crazy writing schedule that kept me writing basically every minute of every weekend. But my family kept me happy! We had a great Fourth of … Continue reading

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


My greetings might sound a tad belated, but that’s okay, right? We’re still celebrating! My tree is still up. My Christmas music is still playing in my car. I still have Christmas bags and tissue paper out. We still have lots of Christmas candy sitting around (tempting me), and I still have that “vacation” feeling. My older kids are still home from college. My youngest is still home on break. So as far as I’m concerned, we’re still in the throes of celebration. Merry Christmas!

This picture is from my tree, which — incidentally — I’m SO GLAD you all talked me into putting up despite the house of destruction. I love it! Here’s how it came out:


I didn’t haul out my big box of decorations and unwrap all 100+ personal ornaments, so it might look a tad impersonal, with only balls on it. In fact, maybe it looks a bit like a tree you might see in the JCPenney women’s department or something, doesn’t it? But I’m really glad I put it up! It was pretty, and it lent a festive feeling to the whole house. Plus it would have seemed weird exchanging gifts that we all pulled from the upstairs hallway.

So anyway, the top picture is one of three new ornaments we got this year and that are now hanging amid the red, gold and pink women’s-department ball ornaments. I showed you the first one my mom reconstructed for me. The second one was a “Batman” ornament from my daughter’s friend to my daughter. (Inside joke, I guess.) And this top photo is the third: an adorable “Friendship” ornament given to me by my friend Michelle when we had a Girls Night Out of four friends earlier this month.

I particularly loved it because it really encapsulated the year for me. This year was really a year of friendship for me, with friends new and old. So many new friends I met after launching the book — I appreciate each and every one of you who write me sweet letters about the book, or visit my Facebook page and write me notes there, or who send me emails. I love all of you, and you are exactly why I love to write — I’m writing for you!

And so many old friends, too, made a reappearance this year: I think because our 30th high school reunion was in September, and it encouraged so many of us locals to reconnect before, during and after the reunion. Or many friends I didn’t see at the reunion, but they reached out outside of it and we had lunch or dinner. It was really a “reconnect” year, and made me think so much about childhood friends and what strong ties we all have to our pasts, to our old neighborhoods, to each others’ parents and siblings, to our old teachers, to our shared eras, and so many shared life experiences.

It’s been a very memorable year. And I hope 2015 continues the wonderful feeling of connectedness and friendship!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!


My Favorite New Ornament This Year

Aw, look at this super-cute ornament my mom gave me:


Isn’t it cute?

She glued “The Red Bikini” cover on the top book, and we’re thinking we’ll put “Ten Good Reasons” on the blue spine when I get my new business cards (with the cute small print).

Then … hmmm … it looks like we’ve got a few more spines to fill next year…

I’ll get on that!

Book Club Christmas Brunch 2014

We’ve been having our book club brunch at Debbie D’s house for 15 years now because she always throws a great party! Since I’ve written before about Debbie D’s beautiful tables, I thought I’d add this year’s. Another gorgeous year:

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Instead of chargers she used scrapbook paper with a pretty gold-on-white pattern. (So clever and cute!) And she had such a pretty pop of red with her party favors of cellophane-wrapped homemade cookies.

I also love that wood centerpiece down the table, which she said she made (stained, cut) herself. What a great idea to give everything a little lift and to keep plates and dishes from knocking over candles and such. That might be my DIY for 2015. …

I also have to show off this cute mimosa bar Deb set up in her kitchen for when everyone arrived:

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And this little cutie wasn’t part of the decor, but she sure added some adorableness to the whole Christmas scene. This is book-club-friend Carrie’s little baby, Baby Viv, who has been coming to book club since her birth!


We do our book club brunch as a potluck; Debbie served raisin-bread strata with sausage, while guests added green salad with cranberries and feta; a potato dish; appetizers (including a really yummy green-olive tapanade with cranberries); and so much dessert. It was all so delicious. I brought a lemon loaf and a pumpkin-spice loaf that I’ve been making for me and my youngest son. (He’s declared it “the pumpkin thing I can’t stop eating.”)

Our book club Christmas brunch is such a great celebration, with such a warm and wonderful group of women — one of the season’s highlights for me, for sure!

Celebratin’ and Celebratin’!


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Whew! Last weekend was quite a series of Christmas celebrations! I had my work party on a boat that sailed around Newport Harbor (complete with a dance floor, a casino floor, a delicious buffet dinner, door prizes and more). Then … Continue reading

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