Thursday, November 20, 2014

The United States 2008 Vice-Presidential Debate - A Fashion Analysis

Just kidding. Basically all I have to say about this is that one time I owned the same dress as one of Sarah Palin's daughters. No, not the pregnant one. The other one, Willow. What did it feel like? It felt like, wow, celebrities are just like us because we all shop at H&M sometimes. It also felt like, wow, that time Joe Biden teared up was really emotionally moving for me. (This was a year of emotional moments from male politicians. I remember watching Rahm Emanuel's commencement speech and choking up a bit when he said not to be reckless with the lives we'd been given.) Mostly I was just surprised that a candidate's family would wear something from H&M and not, say have something specifically made for them.


Now my friend Maura owns it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Callie Gold

As you probably know, one of my first books was actually a sex guide, so I'm very excited to be featuring Callie Gold, romance writer extraordinaire. Callie is an Israeli writer, a lawyer, a mediator, a wife and mom. She says, "I can be a bitch, remnants from my litigation years, but most of the time I’m harmless. I married the best man on this planet. I swear. and our kids are our pride and joy. Sometimes I stare at them with amazement." She writes out of an avid need and reads all of the time. Callie loves mysteries, erotica, and anything that's foreign, different, dark. Her most recent book is Ash's Fire.

Callie Gold

Who are you? I’m Callie Gold, an Israeli wife, mother, divorce mediator, attorney, marriage counselor and relationship coach. My clients are anywhere from young couples with relationship issues, through married couples going through a crisis and up to people who want to divorce. I love them all, and I thank my lucky stars that put me in a position to help people with their relationship. I love to bake bread and my nose is always stuck in a book (well, kindle, those pesky reading glasses...)

Where can you be found online? My website and blog, Callie's World are online at www.calliegold.com. I blogged for a long while about relationships (alas, in Hebrew) and my book, about how to succeed in marriage, was published in Israel in early 2014 -Yay!

I recently finished my first novel in English, it’s called Ash’s Fire and it is an erotic mystery novel. You can purchase it on Amazon, or learn more about it on GoodReads.

So here’s the hot tub talk: My novel is about consuming desire, addictive love, grave suspicions, friendship, loyalty, and the hardships of modern monogamy. And it’s got a ton of sex. Here’s a bit about the story:

Jordan Cohen, is an Israeli woman in her forties, she’s awesome and still hot (I love that woman!). She’s a successful litigator and she’s married to Sam, her best friend, a criminal defense lawyer and her partner in their Tel Aviv firm.

When Sam invokes their old pact that allows them to have affairs, she’s afraid, but she agrees; Sam’s no cheat, and the pact was her idea. But does she want a hot fling of her own? You bet!

She meets the gorgeous Ari Ash, an ex-Israeli, New York-based concert pianist. Ari is tall-dark-and-delicious, and those hands… And his sex games are mind-bending…

Completely unexpectedly (or is it?), Ari becomes her client in a civil suit, and later, a suspect in a grisly, execution-style murder. A terrified Jordan trusts one criminalist with her lover’s life – her husband.

She sticks by her lover as the police investigate, but her loyalty is tested when she discovers one troubling fact after another. Ari has killed before… Jordan is torn. Is her lover a killer? And by now, she has fallen in love with him, hopelessly and completely.

Jordan’s affair becomes known to a cunning Detective who, for his own reasons, threatens her with exposure, and the ruin of her and Sam’s reputation (sleeping with your client who’s a murder suspect? Really?). Imagine the shame…

Jordan needs to save her lover, her husband’s reputation, her marriage, herself. So this is my teaser, and now you have to go, no, run to the book store.

My inspiration: I started writing my novel a little over a year ago, when I realized that I’ve accumulated sex scenes, and that there’s s story in there, somewhere. I didn’t want the usual no-real-plot kind of erotica book (a hot little, barely-legal female meets a troubled zillionaire and they go at it) (Man, do I have to start critiquing, nay, slashing these books). No. I wanted a real story, with lots of twists and turns, populated with real people. Because I love thrillers, I knew what I had to do.

Miraculously, I met this brilliant writer/content editor and he took a look and immediately asked to be appointed midwife of my novel (his word, not mine). That’s when I sat in front of my computer, and spilled. Amazingly, it was that simple. I’m still reeling from how fast the whole thing happened.

Why do you write? Because I can’t not write. I’ve been writing all my life. If I didn’t write, I would most likely explode and my husband would have to repaint the kitchen.

Who inspires you? Real people inspire me. When they say something that touches my heart, when their eyes light up, when they go through crisis and show courage. I will always want to write about that.

Where would you go? Anywhere.

What is your favorite place on earth? Any place that’s new, where everything is possible, every person is fascinating and lovable, and life is filled with possibilities.

Anything else you'd like us to know? Jordan and Sam and Ari will reappear in the second book of my planned trilogy, and they will continue to break the rules. They will have lots of sex even though they are real adults, not 21-year-olds (imagine that…). They will have more sex outside their marriage. They will live in a new monogamy that needs to be reinvented constantly. And Jordan and Sam will have to tackle more crime. At the end of the trilogy Jordan and Sam might invite Ari to move in with them… Who knows what will happen, right?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Carie from Space for the Butterflies

Carie is a wife, mama, knitter, quilter and Jack-of-all-trades trying to make life a pretty place. One of the ways she does this is blogging over at Space for the Butterflies, where she records tales of her family (her sweetheart, H, and their daughters Kitty, born in September 2010 and Elma, born in December 2012, and son, Pip, born just last August), photos of crafty things, her corner of the middle of England, and the catastrophes and successes along the way. Carie loves knitting, sewing, quilting, embroidering, cooking, baking, exploring and trying to live each day to the very best.

Carie from Space for the Butterflies


Who are you? I'm Carie. I'm a wife to my university sweetheart and Mummy to two gorgeous girls and their tiny and very new baby brother who arrived at the end of August. And then I'm me. I think I can describe myself best by saying that I am a creator. I love to make things; to knit or sew or quilt or embroider or bake or cook or just build squishy approximations of small animals out of modelling dough. I take pictures to capture the moments of our wonderful ordinary life together, and I write to tell my stories with whoever chances by to read them.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? Remember, you're in a hot tub with them on a clear cold night, stars twinkling above you. They want all the details. If not, tell the hot-tub-stranger about your writing in such a way that makes them urge you to get an online receptacle for it. Aside from a little guest posting here and there I write at Space for the Butterflies. It is my little corner of the internet, my happy place, my space where I look for the joy in the everyday. I also dabble in Twitter as @CariemayMakes and I'm deeply addicted to Instagram as @Cariemay.

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? When I first started blogging I was newly married, newly connected to the Internet, and had a lot more time for making things - and writing about them. And so I started as a craft blogger, bumbling my way into a whole online community of people who didn't think there was anything strange in wanting to hand knit all of your socks; sharing my successes (occasional), abject failures (more than I should ever really have admitted to) and the things I learnt along the way.

And then Kitty arrived and made me a Mum, followed in relatively quick succession by Elma and Pip and the whole axis of my world shifted. For starters I suddenly had a lot less time in which to make anything, and there are limits to how many times you can write a blog post that reads "this week I knit these six stitches and I'm right on track to finish this baby jacket in time for my great-grandchild to wear it!"

But more than that, oh so much more than that, I fell utterly and completely in love with my children, and realised just how much I love being a mother. I knew I wanted to be a mother, longed to be a mother in fact, but the fierceness with which that love came quite took my breath away (and still does to be honest). It's not to say that everything is all sunshine, sparkling unicorns and rainbows around here; parenting is hard work and there are days when I'm far from my best self, the sort of days that you just need to draw a line under and move on to tomorrow. But what have found is a contentment, a feeling of being exactly who and where and what I'm meant to be.

And with that shift in perspective came the evolution of my writing to where it is right now. I love that freedom and flexibility about blogging; I know that as life changes, so to will what I write about, and probably how I write about it, especially as my children grow older and their stories start to separate from mine.

Why do you write? Despite all of the changes over the last eight years, my blog is still my happy place, and I still write about the things I create; both the good and the bad, but more often than not these days I write about my family.

I write to tell our stories, to preserve the everyday spectacular ordinary against the fragility of a human memory, and to celebrate the highlights, those moments where you can feel the happiness just radiating out of you. I write because I love language; I love to take words and order them into a picture of my view of the world. I write to make sense of the thoughts in my head, to impose an order and a structure that my subconscious sternly resists. I write to retain a part of me that isn't just a wife or a mother, even as we walk through the years where being a wife and mother is probably the most important thing I can be.

I write because I can't not. If I didn't write, I wouldn't be me.

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? It sounds incredibly cheesy to say my husband and my children, but it's true. And also my father, not as a writer but as a photographer. He recorded my sister and my childhood in hundreds of gorgeous photos that captured both our everyday lives and the high days and holidays, and all without being able to take hundreds of digital shots to get that one perfect moment. He is my inspiration to photograph my family; and once I have the pictures I just want to tell the stories to go with them.

But if I think about the authors that I couldn't live without, and let it be known that this is like asking me to pick my favourite child, I'd say Arthur Ransome, Ellis Peters, Dorothy L Sayers, Dorothy Whipple, Robert Goddard, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and, appropriately given I'm most often found reading to the children at the moment, Lynley Dodd, Oliver Jeffers, and Peter Bently. I really could go on for hours, we own far more books than any one house should reasonably accommodate and I'd miss them like old friends if we ever had to be parted.

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I've got two, and I can't decide between them. One would be to a spa, someone warm and sunny but not too hot, where I could sleep and read and eat really good food and write and catch all the elusive thoughts and ideas that whizz around in my brain.

The other, and probably the one I'd choose would be to western Canada and the Pacific North West of the USA. When I was a child we went on the family holiday of a lifetime to Canada, travelling around Vancouver Island and up through the Rockies to Calgary. I love it, and I have such fond and such strong memories it's somewhere I'd love to explore again, and go a bit further afield and dip my toes south of the border. It's also one of the few places that my rather well-travelled husband hasn't been to, and I'd love to share it with him.

What is your favorite place on earth? South Devon. It's where I grew up, and however far away I move it will always be home. I love the wide open stretch of shingle on Start Bay, scrambling down cliffs to the little sandy coves that will only reveal themselves when you get to the bottom, standing at the very tip of the headlands with the wind in your teeth and only the sea stretching out in front of you, the feeling that you can stretch and stretch and stretch and never touch the horizon, and the familiar sweep of the lighthouse beam across the bay at night and the twinkling stars of shipping on the move far out in the Channel.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I'm trying to gather up the courage to submit an idea for an article or two to an actual print magazine. If I write it down that I'm going to do it, that means I have to get on and actually go for it doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Weekend Wanderings - Art Art Art

You probably know I suffer from envy. My friends, this November, it has abounded. I do what I can to not let it overtake me, but if I'm honest my heart aches from it sometimes.

It aches even when I'm at the opera on Halloween, even when an artist I love stops in at the gallery at the same time we do, even when my hair looks fine. Sometimes I ache even on weekends like this one, when everything is perfect.


On Friday night, we saw Gone Girl and then had grilled cheese and beer at South. On Saturday we had brunch and went to the Jewish Museum and two galleries. On Sunday we went to a preview brunch at Christie's and then I skipped my long run and spent the rest of the day being productive.



The weekend was, of course, a perfect weekend.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Writer Wednesday - Jill Burgess

Jill Burgess began blogging at Everything Just So in 2010 in order to cover the exhibit “American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection” at the Brooklyn Museum. (Was it fated that I would find her? Will she be covering "Killer Heels" soon?) Since then, Jill has branched out to include interviews, reviews, opinions, the occasional outfit post, and the “How I Wear My” series she co-write with Adrienne of The Rich Life (on a budget). She also writes articles on costume design for Clothes on Film, Christopher Laverty’s site devoted to costume in movies and TV.

Jill Burgess on the beach at Coney Island

Who are you? My name is Jill Burgess, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I write a blog called Everything Just So.

Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work? If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation? Remember, you're in a hot tub with them on a clear cold night, stars twinkling above you. They want all the details. If not, tell the hot-tub-stranger about your writing in such a way that makes them urge you to get an online receptacle for it. If I had to describe my blog I would say it started out as a place where I would review fashion exhibits in New York City museums but it has now branched out to reviews of clothes, accessories, books, and things I like. I also co-write the series "How I Wear My" with the beautiful and talented Adrienne of The Rich Life (on a budget), a blogger in California. We pick a different theme every month and invite people to send us pictures showing how they wear that item. We celebrate our three year anniversary of the series in November! [Editor's note: this month! Go congratulate them!]

In addition to my blog, I occasionally write articles for the outstanding London-based website Clothes on Film, devoted to costume in film and on TV. I am a big fan of costume designers!

What inspired you to start writing/blogging? When did it happen? I’ve written from the time I was pretty young and for a long time I only wanted to write fiction. But something about both witnessing the events of September 11 in Manhattan and, later, giving birth to my children, started changing my writing. I didn’t want to write—or read—fiction any longer. I didn’t want to read about the sadness or devastation in a character’s life. I wanted to focus on things of beauty in this world. My attention turned more to fashion and costume. In 2010 I started my blog so I could get a press pass to the Brooklyn Museum to see a preview of the exhibit "American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection." This was when the museum was giving their extensive collection of fashion and accessories to the Met. I wanted to be there and I wanted to interview the curator, Jan Glier Reeder. The lovely people at Brooklyn Museum said I could attend the preview as a blogger and I was on my way.

Why do you write? I write to share new things I’ve learned or sometimes to just put ideas out into the blogosphere. I love reading people’s responses to questions I post. For instance, recently I asked readers if they think expensive things are immoral. Another time I asked if you had $5,000 and could choose only one thing to spend it on, would you pick jewelry or travel? Another great question was asking if people thought, as Ava Gardner did, that women should be at least 40 before wearing diamonds. The responses to that were very fun to read!

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you? Thank you for the compliment! When I was younger I would’ve said F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Donna Tartt. I still love their writing but these days what inspires me is anyone striving for excellence and the person doesn’t have to be a writer. I am just as likely to be inspired by hearing about what an athlete goes through to prepare for, say, the Olympics, or Wimbledon, or reading about an entrepreneur who has an idea and turns that idea into a business. I am also constantly inspired by regular people who seem to have boundless energy and can accomplish a ton of things in a day. I strive to be more like them!

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I am currently reading Rainier & Grace: An Intimate Portrait by Jeffrey Robinson and it has a surprising amount of chapters devoted to the history of Monaco, which has been interesting to learn about. Because of that, I’d love to take a trip to Monte-Carlo so I could see Monaco for myself, and if it's all-expenses paid, I want to spend time on a yacht and have an endless supply of champagne, which I hear is the official drink of Monaco!

I would also love to go to England and Scotland and take a tour of castles. I feel an almost mystic connection to that part of the world when I see pictures of it. Is it all that English lit I read in college or is it evidence of a previous life?

Jill Burgess outside Farrell's in Windsor Terrace

What is your favorite place on earth? New York City, without a doubt. There is no end to New York.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I am an avid Olympics figure skating fan and have been since I was very young. If there is Olympic gold on the line I will watch every second of every event. I was beyond thrilled to see the American ice dance team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White win a gold medal this past February. I never thought I’d see the day when an American team would win Olympic gold in ice dancing! I would rank their performance to “Scheherazade” right up there with Torvill and Dean’s 1984 Olympic free dance to “Bolero.” Stunning!