The bakeries and coffee shops in my new neighborhood look straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. We all know the plot. It goes something like: Big city girl is dumped right before the holidays, leaves her stressful corporate job, and hops on a plane to visit her grandmother in a snowy small town. Upon arrival girl stumbles into well-decorated bakery to ask for directions to Grandma’s because cell service (always shoddy) or phone (always breaks on plane). Bakery store owner is interested . . .
This past month I officially relocated back to the South! As most of you know, I wrote the first draft of Waiting at Hayden’s in Charleston, South Carolina during a gap year in college and moved here solely because I was a diehard Nicholas Sparks’ fan. (If you haven't checked out how being a diehard fan landed me in the hospital be sure to read that entertaining story here.) After that year, I went back and finished school at Santa Clara and have lived in California ever since. I’m a big . . .
When I decided I wanted to bring seven scenes from Waiting at Hayden’s to life so readers could watch all the key moments in the book unfold, one of the first things I did was reach out to Portland based acting coach, Karen Lavoie, to see if she had any students she could put me in touch with. Five of Karen’s students starred in the video clips found in the story: Rachel Dewees, Crystal Smart, Elijah Price, Meredith Esquivel, Sylvia Gercke, and Karen herself even made an appearance. Not only . . .
The book lover on your list can be one of the trickiest people to shop for—up there with that relative you haven’t talked to in years or that person you just started dating. While the obvious gift—a novel—might be the first thing that comes to mind, when someone reads several books a week odds are high she might have the book you’re thinking of gifting. So, I’ve compiled a list of reading accessories that the book lover on your list will love receiving in addition to book recommendations . . .
Growing up, my family did something festive every day in December to celebrate the holidays. My mom pinned a homemade advent calendar up on the wall in the living room and each day there was a Christmas activity for all of us to do. Most days the activities were simple like pulling out all the Christmas movies from the attic and watching one, or starting a Christmas puzzle, or taking a family trip to Zoo Lights in downtown Portland. But some days my parents went all out. One year I remember we . . .
In my house I avoid the kitchen the way most people avoid their nice, fancy dining rooms with expensive china; the light is rarely on and if the floor were carpeted, you would only see footprints near the cabinet where I keep my cheese plate boards and cocktail shaker. I’m not sure if I can’t cook, I just really don’t have a huge desire to. I’d much rather spend my evenings writing, reading, or out enjoying a meal at someone else’s fine establishment. So, Thanksgiving is always a bit daunting . . .