Drinking and Thinking in Miami…

98FAC436-4EC9-44D7-A2CE-49E99230FEFEIf you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen this picture of me drinking mimosas in the clouds. Eating cheesecake while watching a movie AND reading a book. I didn’t post about the three tequila and OJs on the way back from Miami that led to me scarfing an airport cheeseburger that RUINED me the next day, but that happened, too. My first (and probably only because I used a non-transferable free flight voucher) flying first class experience was everything I hoped it would be. Flawless, boozy, and well-fed.

IMG_4620My high school BFF and I live on opposite coasts. Every few years we pick a city, meet there, and catch up. Miami wasn’t so much about Miami as it was breathing the same air and having relaxed, low-stakes conversations with someone who knows the family that made ME and the family *I* made. We’ve been there with each other through teenage drama, college drama, marital drama, baby drama, MORE teenage drama, and parent…well, drama seems disrespectful, but those of you with aging parents will know what I mean.

Sure, we enjoyed the beach, the Cuban food, the art-deco. We walked through beautiful neighborhood in search of Books and Books, an indie bookstore that did NOT have a romance section. I asked. Romance was mixed in with other titles. I didn’t get tooooo snarky about it, but I was disappointed. However, they did have The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, which I recommended, and my friend bought. I got Crazy, Rich Asians, recommended by my friend. Then we had lunch at the attached cafe, which was lovely.

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A South Beach Cuban sandwich!

Walking back to the hotel, we navigated to Whole Foods and stocked up for a post happy hour hotel picnic. (Yes, I do know how lucky I am to have a friend who knows me so well, she told me I wasn’t allowed to go to happy hour until I did my physical therapy exercises.)

Basically, we shuttled from the beach, to our gorgeous corner king hotel room with a wraparound balcony and a shower ROOM, to the hotel pool, to the hotel bar, to bed. I’m on east coat time, so I got up in the morning to write and watch the sunrise. She’s on west coast time, so she stayed up after I conked out and had her own quiet time. IMG_4548The closest we got to partying in South Beach was walking Ocean Avenue at night and soaking in the vibe, and that was close enough for me. There was much cocktailing, but my friend is a better drinker than I am. She put us on a schedule. For once, I listened.

My friend brings a new perspective to my life. So does getting AWAY from my usual routine. I came home with great book recommendations, a money management app recommendation, and a sense that we were both on the right paths, for the most part. Always room for growing.

I’d been looking forward to that trip for SO LONG. And now it’s over, and it’s time to do Thanksgiving and Christmas in the bakery. I could be depressed that I don’t have a soul-filling trip in my immediate future, but while I was filling the well in my soul, I realized something simple:

Fill your well before it’s empty. Fill it often. Keep it full.

Fill it with a nap. (Oh my gosh, a NAP.) A new book. A trip to the library. Nurturing a friend. Staying in touch. Stopping work before you HAVE to because you fall over.

The well is yours. The soul is yours. What do you need to feel cosseted? I challenge you to think of  something luxurious that your don’t *think* you have time to do. (Because time is harder to come by than money in these months. We spend the money on credit. There is no credit card for time. OMG, can you imagine what would happen if there were?!)

What small soul-filling thing would you do for yourself if you had time, but won’t because you can’t justify the luxury of time spent on yourself in your busy, crazy life? Tell me in the comments. Let’s share well-filling ideas!

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I’ll go first: I filled my well this week in a thirty-minute gap between dropping off one kid and picking up another with a great library book and an excellent tequila cocktail. (It was called Pear Pressure. Are you feeling it? What are you going to do about it?!)

My latest LOVE! (Planners, Personalities, and BIG ideas)

Hi there!

When I think about writing a new blog, there’s always this little person in the back of my mind (It’s not just a voice. It’s a whole person, rolling her eyes.) telling me no one cares about that topic. So I go on with my life without writing the blog because my life is crazy busy and super interesting (even if only to me). Of course, there’s another person (This one has her hands on her hips and is sighing and shaking her head SO SADLY.) who thinks I should blog at LEAST twice a week to build my author brand so I don’t disappear while I’m writing this monster of a book that eats my heart every day. So I go on with my life without writing the blog because that person is nuts and there are too many good books to read to spend that much time writing.

But I like to SHARE, so when I have something I think you guys might love, I blog.

So…one great thing that has made my life love-lier IS:

My Me & My Big Ideas planner. No. Really.

I’m not a planner. I’m not. (I wasn’t.) I’m not crafty. At. All. And I couldn’t understand why all my author friends were talking about stickers and posting pictures of their planners. It seemed so silly. My author friends are smart. And have super busy lives, and…stickers? Whaaaaaaat?

But then (in January) I somehow came across a Me & My Big Ideas Planner on the internet, and people, they have videos of each planner, so you can look through them and see all the inspiring quotes. Inspiring quotes are something I can really get behind. Because WORDS! My particular favorite in this planner is “No grit. No pearl.” But I also like the one about balance. Of course.

I really want to finish this book.

So I got to thinking, “What if I got a cool planner and put all the stuff I usually write on post-it notes each DAY, and kept track of my life in ONE place? And then what if I figured out a reasonable way to really focus and prioritize and delight in my writing projects with the whole YEAR in sight and not just one DAY scribbled on a post-it that ends up mashed and lost in a pocket somewhere? What if? What if I were somehow ACCOUNTABLE?”

The eye-roller told me I’ve bought planners before and I will waste money AND fail.

HOWEVER, I’m bigger than the eye-roller, and I’ve learned a little something about my personality type, thanks to that little trip to Palm Springs with my high school BFF last year. (Thanks, Erin!) I’m an obliger. Which means I find it easy to keep promises to others…but not to myself. (Find YOUR personality type here! There’s an article and a video with links to Gretchen Rubin’s site where you can take a quiz. See if it helps you reach your GOALS. It’s given me a lot to think about this year.)

So I found a way to make this planner thing work for my obliging self…by dragging my friend Jessica Topper into it. She’s not a planner, either, and frankly, she’s a little stuck on her book, like me. She said no, because non-planner people are resistant. But I was enthusiastic, and eventually she was as seduced and intoxicated by the idea of making things happen as I was. Plus, I made it an early birthday present, so she had nothing to lose. LOL. (See, there’s persuasion and then there’s bullying. I’m an Aries. It’s a fine line. But so is she, so it’s all good. I got her the same one I got myself because you should give other people things you want for yourself, right?) We decided to meet on convenient Sundays and plan/dream/brainstorm and keep our big ideas present in our lives instead of hidden on post-it notes jammed in forgotten pockets.

And I think it’s working! I have a long running list of things I check off or transfer from week to week. I write down the appointments and work things that usually hover in the back of my mind making me uncomfortable and I get them done. On the creative side, I can’t avoid the fact that I want to get the book done because there are all these cute little stickers cheering me on. It’s so easy for me to prioritize the work and family goals and ignore my creative goals (because they’re only important to me). Planning is helping me do ALL the things, and meeting my creative goals is DELIGHTING me, and talking to Jess makes the things HAPPEN. Don’t tell anyone, (especially the eye-roller) but I’ve planned to finish the monster book THIS MONTH.)

It’s Jess’s birthday today and mine on Saturday, so we are celebrating, planning, writing, having lunch, and going to yoga. Banner day! So happy birthday to us and to all the other April babies out there! Do you use a planner? Does it make you HAPPY? Which one?

Going, going…gray?

So I’m writing this book. You know, the one I’ve been writing for-ever. I’m also planning a bat mitzvah (fast approaching in 2 1/2 weeks!), and I’m teaching at night. So it probably isn’t the best time to decide to get serious about self-publishing, but it does follow my pattern of keeping myself buried in projects. As my husband pointed out a few years ago when I was complaining about being so busy and stress-y, “You like it like that.”

My first multigrain loaf. A little flat. Needed more salt. But pretty!
My first multigrain loaf. A little flat. Needed more salt. But pretty!

So instead of being all tired about it, I’m embracing the chaos that comes with being a linear thinker in the middle of four big projects (at least). I am thinking, “Look at all the stuff I’m getting done!” instead of my former, “OMG I have so much to do.” I am not skipping yoga. I am remembering to eat. I am taking my vitamins. My sourdough bread-baking is going well. In a moment of holy shit epiphany the other day, I realized I do yoga, bake artisan sourdough bread, and my hair is turning silver. I’m becoming the woman I always wanted to be.

Jessica Topper. Truth: Before I met her, I used to stare at her hair. I think it is the color of courage, and I want it.

I won’t lie. The hair is giving me a bit of pause. I’m not ready to be gray, even though my beautiful mother has been silver as long as I’ve known her, even though my gorgeous friend Jessica Topper rocks her salt and pepper locks, even though I stop women with great gray hair and tell them how amazing they look. (When I can do it and only seem slightly strange, that is.) I just…I can’t…and yet, I am. I don’t understand why I’m so conflicted about my hair. It’s HAIR. I’m not vain. I clean up well, but I spent most of my time peacefully au naturel. Sometimes I forget to look in the mirror before I leave the house to run errands.

I have to assume I’m afraid of taking the step from siren to matron. I don’t like it what that says about me or how it makes me feel, but I can’t deny it. Is this how the old-people-don’t-have-sex myth got started? Because of gray hair? Or, horror of all horrors, gray pubic hair? I don’t doubt my husband’s devotion to me, but I do fear he won’t find me as attractive if I continue down the silver path. His preference for my brown hair has been stated. So has his deep and abiding love and his respect for my choice. It’s my call…

Me and my mommy!
Me and my mommy!

This was supposed to be a post about the book and conflict avoidance. Right now I’m re-writing a scene where the heroine realizes the hero has done something pretty damn unforgivable to her. As written, her internal dialogue goes something like this, “I should be mad at him, but I’m just sad and sorry for him.”

No, girl. You should be mad at him. Really mad. Kick his ass mad. Or at least throw him out of your kitchen mad.

I have no idea what that has do do with my hair, but I’ll re-write the scene. Right after I call my mother.

Anybody out there have emotions on the subject? I know I’ve brought it up on Twitter before and gotten some great responses. This hair hesitation has been going on with me for a long time! As always, commenters will be entered into my seasonal/quarterly/solstice/equinox giveaway of a gift certificate to The Ripped Bodice. (International winner would have to make do with Amazon) 🙂