Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Best-Ever Halloween Costumes

As Halloween approaches, I am reminded of the various costumes I've created throughout my adult life. Winnie the Poo, Raggedy Ann (my then husband was Andy), a 10 lb. sack of potatoes. The bag of potatoes was creative enough to win me an office costume prize. Then there was the Crayola Crayon.

My girlfriend Chris and I went on a Mets Fan Appreciation cruise in 1986 right after they won the world series. There were just two players -- Lenny Dykstra, my idol, and Bobby Ojeda, along with former Met Tommy Agee, managers Bill Robinson (may he rest in peace) and Mel Stottlemyer, and radio announcer Gary Thorne.

Weeks before the cruise, Chris had been saying, 'you know, they have masquerade contests on these cruises', and I must have said a dozen times, 'no way, I'm not doing it, if you have your heart set on that, then I won't go at all.' But then our first day on the ship, we met these two guys who gave us an idea for a costume. We loved the idea and were going to make four of them, to thank the guys for the idea. They disappeared and we never saw them again so it ended up being just the two of us. But the idea was brilliant.

We were Crayola Crayons. Working with really basic tools such as garbage bags, crepe paper, a black Sharpie and a butter knife because they were all out of scissors, we turned ourselves in two red and yellow crayola crayons, then found ourselves a piece of cardboard and designed it to look like a box of 64. Not only did we enter the masquerade contest, we won! It's a great memory. We won some great prizes, too. A bottle of champaigne, which we promptly opened with two guys we met, a beautiful dish with the ship's logo, a few other things.

But one of my all-time favorites is 'super editor'. A few years ago, one of my friends from work had a Halloween party at which the theme was superheros. You could make up your own, as long as you fit the theme. I was stumped. I didn't want to be any of the conventional superheros. They were too, well, conventional. So finally I said, self, who are you? What would represent you? And I said back, well, I'm an editor, so how about super editor?

I wore a red shirt with black leggings and a red cone on my head to represent the point of the editor's infamous red pen. On my tee shirt was the proofreader's mark for deletion a line with a curly cue in the middle. The caption over the symbol said, 'I delete crime'. Then I created a staff with the curly cue on it and I would aim at bad guys at the party and say, "I delete you!" I walked around all night doing that. It was so much fun!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Billy Gilman Launches The Choice

Billy Gilman is one of my favorite country singers, but his appreciation from me just got kicked up a notch after discovering the video of The Choice on his website.

A person who gives his heart as much as his voice, it was Billy's idea to bring together 19 leading country music arts to sing for international shoe charity Soles4Souls. Their goal: to donate 500,000 pairs of shoes.

As noted in the video, there are more 500 million people in the world who do not own a single pair of shoes. 300 million of them are children. Billy is working Soles4Souls to put much needed shoes on the feet of people who deserve them.

God bless all of these artists who donated their time to sing the song, and it's a great song! Check it out, you'll love it. One download equals one pair of shoes. Download the song today and help a worthy cause!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One More Thing ...

I actually just found out the history of the 29 day giving challenge! It originated as an African ritual. That's it! That's all I know!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

The 29 Day Giving Challenge

A couple of months ago, I received a book in the mail from my friend Suzanne in Virginia. The book was "29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life," by Cami Walker. The book is about the 29 day challenge. The challenge works like this: For 29 straight days, you give a gift. You give it freely, and without any desire for reward. You don't skip a day. If you do skip a day, you start over. I don't know what the significance was of exactly 29 days. I don't think Cami, the book's author, ever really found out from her meditational and spiritual guide who told her she had to do this.

Suzanne had just finished the book and took the challenge. Giving me the book was one of her 29 gifts. She said, "you have to read this book, it will definitely change your life." I took her advice and began reading it immediately.

It didn't take me long to realize that I both wanted and needed to take the 29 giving challenge. I started the next morning, and began writing down the things I freely did for others every day. I found that I had no difficulty coming up with gifts for others, as I was doing anywhere from 3 to 4 things for others every day. I  am heavily involved in volunteering in my church and, at the time, I had a lot going on, and I included all of those things I did for the church. I also included things I did for my family, such as favors for my husband or my mother-in-law. Lastly, I included things like phone calls to girlfriends I hadn't spoken to in a long time, to let them know I was thinking about them.

The 29 days ended and I felt really good about myself. I went on with my life thinking, I need to tell people about this. What happened next I need to shout from the rooftops.

I have been a freelance writer and editor for nine years. But over the past year, the market has considerably deflated in price. I have had tons of work, just not a lot of income. At the same time, I felt like nine years was enough. My mom passed away and, after dealing with her being sick for seven months and then dying, I came home from Arizona feeling like a desperately needed a change in my life.

I wanted to get out of the house. I wanted to work among people again. I wanted to wear pretty office clothes. I wanted to travel for business. I started looking for a full time job.The market was incredibly difficult. In my field, there were at least 500 people going for every job. If I wasn't among the top 10 resumes they opened, that was it. They stopped there. I was growing more disheartened by the moment.

Then I read the book and did the challenge and my professional life completely turned around. Out of nowhere, I received a call from a client I hadn't heard from in two years. The client had an assignment for me, and it wasn't a low-paying one, it was a going-market-rate project, so good money. That same week, I got a call from another client I hadn't heard from in two years. They also had an assignment for me, and it was top dollar as well. Then the icing in the cake. I got a full time job working for a client.

It hadn't dawned on me when I was giving that it was going to come back to me tenfold, even though they said it would. I am so amazed by this. I am just now finishing up the last few pages of the book and can't wait to mail it off to another friend whom I've already told about the book.

I'm so grateful for my good fortune that I've decided to do the 29 day challenge again, starting with the day I mail off the book. I want to give thanks for all that has been given to me.

If you are interested in the 29 day giving challenge, go to And by all means, treat yourself to the book at I am certain you will not regret it.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sign Up for Hands for Life!

Saturday, August 25 • 8:00am - 6:00pm
The City of Stamford is hoping to set a World Record by training more than 10,000 people in hands only CPR. The 15 minute free training will take place in the Field House at Chelsea Piers Connecticut. The event runs from 8:00am to 6:00pm on Saturday, August 25. Come out and become a lifesaver.
For more information go to

I'm signed up. Will you join me?

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mickey Mantle's Autograph

I'm working with the TV on in the background and the show is Everybody Loves Raymond. Ray's wife Deborah is trying to get rid of an old baseball that Mickey Mantle supposedly signed when Raymond was 10. It reminded me of when I was 5. We lived across the street from Courtland Park on Courtland Avenue in Stamford. I went across the street one day by myself to play. Back in those days you could do that. I was pushing myself on the merry-go-round, sitting on the end with one leg on and the one leg off doing the pushing when two teenage boys came by and asked if I wanted them to push. I said sure.

I don't remember how the conversation started, but one of the boys tried to tell me he was Mickey Mantle. I didn't believe him but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Plus, at that time, I was just learning the old adage, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

I was too young to do math and had no idea that Mickey Mantle was born in 1931 and that would have made that teenage boy about 33 years old. Of course, today, if that happened, I would pull out my iPhone, go to Wikipedia, and in about 30 seconds be able to tell the boy, "you sure don't look 33!"

After a while, I was getting ready to go home and he said, "okay, well if you don't want my autograph." I really didn't believe him -- even at 5 I could see the BS meter going off the chart -- but I thought, what's the harm in taking it just in case? So I picked up a gum wrapper off the ground and turned it over to the white back side, which he signed. I don't think I could even read his handwriting but there was a part of me that was excited. There was a small possibility, right? 

I kept it for awhile, then my mother probably threw it out and I forgot all about it until I saw this episode. Meanwhile, back at the show, Ray's father breaks the news that the baseball he cherished for the last 15 years was not signed by Mickey Mantle. That he signed it himself for the fun of it. Ray was crushed and I felt a slight affinity to Raymond at that moment as I remembered my somewhat prized gum wrapper.

Well, I look at it this way. I don't have an expensive piece of Mickey Mantle memorabilia, but I do have a childhood memory. And that's good enough for me.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I've been quoted in "Fabulous 15"

I just received a Google Alert telling me I've been quoted in this article on the top 15 digital influencers.
To read the article and find out who the top 15 digital influencers are, click below!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

You Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens You

This was originally published in the Norwalk United Methodist Church May 2012 newsletter.

I remember one day not long after Adrian and I were first married. He brought home a small handmade wooden sign he had bought in a boutique and hung it up in the bathroom. I instantly didn’t like it. The sign was green. I hate green. Also, the bathroom was purple, so the colors clashed.

I wanted to tell him that I didn’t want it there -- that I didn’t want it anywhere, but then I read the sign. It was Phillippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” My first thought was, ‘hmmm.’ Maybe Adrian didn’t choose that spot, maybe God chose that spot. In fact, maybe Adrian didn’t even choose the sign. Maybe, just maybe, his bringing it home was God’s doing and it was again God who led Adrian to the exact spot on which he put it up. It was certainly in a high visibility location where both of us would read it every day, so I thought, who am I to argue with God? I left it there, not saying a word, figuring God had his reasons.

This month, Adrian and I will be celebrating our sixth anniversary, but the sign is no longer in the bathroom. For several months now, it has been sitting on my desk, just to the left of my computer. I look at it several times a day, and it has increasing significance for me now.

When I look to my right, I see a picture of my departed mom and I am reminded of the sign to my left. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I look at how the concert team met every Tuesday night, week after week for 8 weeks working hard to pull together an awesome event and I remember the sign. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I think about how the freelance market has slowed down and how hard I am working for much less money than I have ever made and I think of the sign. I think about how hard Adrian works on his feet all day and then comes home and volunteers his time cooking for ministries like NUMC’s Manna house, and I think about the sign. 

You would think, at this point, that I wouldn’t need to see the sign at all. That I would simply have it engrained in my mind and believe. But I am, after all, human. I need constant reassurance and nudging from God that I have inside me what it takes to achieve the things I need to achieve and to overcome the things I need to overcome. Now, I can’t imagine not seeing the sign. If it disappeared, I would feel like a piece of me is missing. I wouldn’t be able to start my day.

In tough times like these, sometimes we all need a little reminding, a little nudge, and so for all of you, I want to share our sign. Cut it out. Hang it up. And read it every day, or as often as you need to. And remember, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Phillippians 4:13

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Typo Alert on SolarFocus

Oops, big typo here in really big type. This came from "World first" should be "World's first." If you're looking for an online editor, I'm available ...

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jobs a Plenty in Alberta, Canada

Recently, I have had the opportunity to (separately) interview two people, an insurance agent and a lawyer, both based in Alberta, Canada, for articles, and both said the same thing. The oil and gas industry in western Canada (around the Calgary area) is booming, and they have more jobs in the area than they have people to fill them. This means that they need everything from engineers to lawyers to restaurant wait staff to fill demand.

Alberta is a province in Canada that Wikipedia says has 3.6 million people. It is on Mountain Time, and sits directly above the left or western side of Montana. The capital city is Edmonton, but the largest city is Calgary.

If you wanted to move there, you would have to have a preference for colder weather. Today, the temperature is 35 degrees. By comparison, it is currently 47 in New York.

One job site I found for the area is The Calgary Herald is the local newspaper.

With things still in recessionary mode down here in the U.S., it's nice to know that there is growth somewhere.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Absolutely Love This Idea!

According to an article on, John Locke, a New York City architect involved in the “Department of Urban Betterment” project, borrowed this idea from the UK and Los Angeles, where someone got the idea to try to turn obsolete phone booths (does everybody really have a cell?) into something useful -- a library. Some might call this a double entendre, or even a double negative, since books are following cell phones in going digital. However, there are still plenty of people out there who like to hold a book, turn its pages and browse its pictures, and what a great way to share books with other people: putting a mini-library on a street corner! Read this full article at, then pick up a book and start reading!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Check Your Grammar Here

Just found a great resource for having quick grammar questions answered: Grammar Girl. This is a terrific place for a refresher. We all speak -- and now write -- so conversationally that sometimes it's good to go back to the basics for a minute and remember our elementary school lessons.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Americans' Work in Haiti Continues

Here is a story of a mission family who is still at work in Haiti. They are called the Taubl family. You might remember them from the second season of America's Got Talent. They made it to the Las Vegas round. The father, John, is a minister, and the family is a singing group, using their money for missionary work. I am on their mailing list and here is a recent email I received from the mother, Carol Taubl:

Sam returned from Haiti this past Wednesday for a three week time of refreshing and rest. His work is going well. He is spending a great deal of his morning time in 'the transition house' at the orphanage where he works (Child Hope International), helping the older children learn a skill so that they can transition into the adult society there in Port au Prince. His afternoons are spent teaching private lessons on cello, violin and guitar. He also helps out in the local feeding programs when needed and is leading worship at the local church. His passion for the people of Haiti is inspiring for us all.
Our family will be returning to Haiti April 15-25, once again to teach and to perform, this time in the Central Plateau region. Our goal is to purchase as many stringed instruments as possible to bring with us and leave with the children there. The instruments that we left in February of last year are being used by many children who share them and practice in shifts so that as many as possible are touched by the music. It is amazing how a small gift can impact so many. Thank you to all who contributed to make that possible. (Video from our first here)
We will be performing a concert this coming Saturday, March 24, 7pm, at Trinity Church in Woodbridge, CT (33 Center Road). It will be an evening of wonderful music, with a few very special guest artists as well. Please make your plans to attend, and share this info with any that you think might be interested. We would love to see you there. Admission is free - donations for Haiti gratefully accepted.

If you're heart moves you, take a ride to Woodbridge, CT this Saturday. If that is too far for you, you may just want to go to their website and make a donation.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 22nd is World Water Day. Do You Know What Your Water Footprint Is?

March 22nd is World Water Day and Recyclebank -- an organization that gives rewards points for doing environmentally friendly things such as reducing your water usage and buying products that aren't made with harsh chemicals -- has a great video that talks about how we can all reduce our water footprint. Check it out, and while you're there, join Recyclebank and start earning points toward great rewards!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What Books I'm Reading

This is kind of a loaded question because at any given time I have four books going and three lying in wait.

THE BOOK I'M ALMOST DONE WITH: Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish. This is the story of four women who honor their friend by spreading her ashes all over the country. My mom would have loved this! The women are a little whiny but I'm enjoying living vicariously through them in every place they visit, which so far includes Santa Fe, the Florida Keys and NYC.

THE PLEASANTLY SURPRISING BOOK: Enter The Zone by Barry Sears, Ph.D. He's not only the creator of the Zone Diet. Did you know he also invented the IV drip for cancer drugs and the AIDS drug AZT? Wow, I'm impressed and now clinging to his every word.

THE BOOK THAT GOES ON FOREVER: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I'm a hundred pages into it and you can't even tell. The book is 1,400 pages long. This is actually quite interesting.

AND FINALLY, THE BOOK I WONDER IF I'LL EVER GET TO: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Picked it up off of a doctor's office coffee table thinking I would burn through it really quickly and return it for the next person. It's been six months and I'm on page 66. I put it on the back burner so I could read the other books. I guess I'll finish it some day.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Taking Twitter to the 2.0 Level

I just read a great article about how to take Twitter to the next level. I realized after reading the article (which hasn't been published yet so I can't show it to you until it is) that simply following "people" is not enough. If we really want to get the most out of Twitter, we must follow "conversations". I'm excited to start doing this and to report back to you about my learnings. Stay tuned!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Delaware Has Most LEED Certifications

The U.S. Green Building Council recently released its list of the top 10 states with the most LEED certifications per capita (i.e., per person living in the state). The one on top? It's not even a state -- it's Washington, DC!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Seattle's Seadrunar is Hiring People in Rehab

What a great concept. Seadrunar Recycling, in Seattle, is a recycling center that hires people in rehab, and then donates all its profits to the Seattle Drug & Narcotic Center.

This is a great way to get people who have hit rock bottom back on the straight and narrow and give them their confidence and feeling of self worth back.

We should be doing this in every major city!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Great Tutorial for Learning Software

I just discovered a great website for learning software programs -- It has easy-to-watch videos that are about 5 minutes each and the teacher uses very conversational language.

The site is a mix of both free and paid content, with the free content being used to entice people to sign up. Monthly subscriptions are very affordable -- just $25.00 or $250.00 for the year.

You can learn everything from HTML to InDesign to AutoCad and Android. This is a great resource!

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Backstory on the Word "Backstory"

When an actor becomes famous, or A list, where they came from and what kind of upbringing they had becomes intriguing and interesting and the audience enjoys knowing this information. The media calls this their "backstory," or the story before the story.

These are becoming extremly popular of late, and the word backstory is being bantied around like a new Baskin Robbins ice cream flavor that everyone just discovered. The word backstory has even spread beyond humans to cover inanimate objects or events, such as "The backstory on Valentine's Day" or "the backstory behind the invention of the cell phone."

Assuming this word only came into being a few short years ago, I looked it up in Merriam-Webster. It turns out, according to MB, that the first known use of the term goes all the way back to 1984. The AP Stylebook, which most writers access today as a guideline for ensuring they are using the correct spelling and grammar, had no record of the word backstory.

Wikipedia, on the other hand, provided a more detailed but similar definition to MB, and while no one seems to be able to say who first said the word, Wikipedia notes that use of a backstory as a storytelling technique goes all the way back to the days of Aristotle.

Well there you have it. The backstory on backstory.

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peanut Oil? Really?

Had a great talk with a pharmacist recently who told me that Dunkin Donuts is frying their donuts in peanut oil and not telling anyone. My local storefront does have a sign posted that says "may contain nuts," but that's not the same thing. I sent an email to DD headquarters, but haven't gotten a response. Just checked out their web page and there's no place to write on the wall.

The pharmacist also said that some fast food chains are starting to do the same because it's cheaper and makes the food taste better.

So I guess those of us who are allergic to nuts need to starting asking in the places we normally wouldn't ask.

On a more positive note, Bachman air popped popcorn is made in a "nut free facility".

Please check out my novel, In Fashion's Web on Amazon.