Love is All Around Us


Today is the “official” day of love.  It’s the day when you break out the chocolate covered candy (mmmm) and the bouquet of red roses (and from the storms we’ve been having in NYC, any flowers in bloom are welcomed right now!).  It’s when you spend the entire day telling the people you love how much they mean to you; whether it’s your parents, your sibling, your children, significant other, your husband or your best friend.  It’s a day filled with red colored everything and mushy sentimental phrases.  It’s the day I binge on romantic movies and sing love songs at the top of my lungs while driving in the car.

So in honor of this day, I wanted to proclaim my “not so secret” love affair with books.  It’s a long standing relationship, one that started very early in my life and one that continues as strongly today as an author.   I love everything about books.  In hard cover format, I love the smell of the pages and the sound of it as I turn it.  In electronic format, I love the sleek look of each chapter as I download it onto my device.  I love the amazingly beautiful covers.   I love the stories and the characters.  I love the words and the descriptions.  And most of all, I love the journey each book takes me on.  I’ve been all around the world without ever leaving my home.  I’ve met people that I would never have had the opportunity to know.  I’ve learned about different professions and different cultures.  I’ve been to exotic beaches and snowy mountain ranges.  I’ve seen families torn apart and reunited.  I’ve seen relationships mend and strong women find their voice.  I’ve suffered the lows and celebrated the highs.  And most importantly, especially on this day of all days, I’ve watched as two people find each other and fall in love.

So in honor of St. Valentine’s Day and all the love that it brings, here are a few of my favorite romantic books (in no particular order):

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

One Day by David Nichols

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Emma by Jane Austen

Undomesticated Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Plain Fame by Sarah Price

Happy Love Day!


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Halloween Hangover

It’s been a week since Halloween.  A week since I picked up my kids from school, had them change into their cute princess and warrior costumes and walked them around our neighborhood.  A week ago, I held their little hands as we crossed streets and I waited patiently for them to knock on doors and collect candy.  We stayed out until dark and we came home to the warmth of our kitchen where we sifted through Snicker bars, lollipops and Almond Joy (my personal favorite).  On Halloween night, I love the holiday and everything it stands for.  A week later, not so much.

You see, a week has passed and I’m still trying to recover from Halloween Hangover.  What is Halloween Hangover, you may ask? Well, let’s just say, it’s my words for candy binging.  You see, when my sweet little angels filled their bags up with chocolate treats on October 31st and brought them home to be placed into a large bowl on our dining room table, it was the beginning of the end for me.  I’d like to think of myself as a strong person, but like Superman and Kryptonite, I can’t fight the power of the candy.

It taunts me all day long.  As I head to the refrigerator to get a drink, I see it from the corner of my eye.  As I make dinner for my family, I can hear that bowl calling me to take just one more candy bar.  “What would be the harm?” the bowl reasons.  “Just one more Jolly Rancher to get me through the day,” I rationalize.  Every year, it’s the same.  Every year, I swear that this Halloween will be different.  But every morning for a week after our trick or treating expedition, I wake up from the haze of candy binging and shuffle into the dining room to sneak a Twizzler or two from the bowl until it empties of its content and I can finally put it away until the following October.  I then spend the rest of November suffering the aftermath of Halloween hangover, too terrified to step on my bathroom scale and confirm the damage I have done to my waist line.  Instead, I slide into my large and comfy, forgiving sweater, the one that hides the extra pounds so well and I vow to myself: “Never again!”

But it’s useless, I know.  It’s a promise I won’t be able to keep.

Would you?


Love and Chocolate

With Valentine’s Day just a month away, I am bracing myself for the cherry red heart shape decorations invading the stores and the guilt-inducing TV commercials you couldn’t miss even if you wanted to. Yes, you will feel guilty if you don’t buy your significant other an expensive piece of diamond jewelry, a designer hand bag or something from the latest fashion catalog (Are you listening, dear husband of mine?) Yet it’s such a conflicting holiday. For most people, you either love it or hate it-there is no middle of the road, it seems. Me? I absolutely, 100%, without a single doubt in my mind love it and it’s not because I have someone special. Nope, none of that. In fact, I’ve loved it for most of my teen years, even during my awkward stages of braces and acne. I have loved it for most of my twenties when I was dating plenty and trying to find myself in the process. And I loved it during my thirties and up when I’ve settled into married life with a family. Why?

One simple word: chocolate!

Chocolate in heart shaped boxes, chocolate in the shape of a rose on a wired stem, chocolate held by an adorable teddy bear. I love chocolate and it loves me back (except when I get on the scale in the morning after a bender). It’s the most delicious thing I have ever tasted in my life. It melts on my tongue and excites my taste buds like nothing else ever has. It’s sooo rich and sweet! And it never lets me down. It never judges me either, even as I search for it during a late night or wee hours snack raid, bundled up in my flannel pajamas, fuzzy slippers on, trying to quietly feel myself about the kitchen without turning the lights on for fear of being caught in the act by a family member.

And February 14th is the only time of the year I can indulge in my passion for chocolate without feeling guilty! I can eat it openly and proudly without cowering under my bed blankets. I do not have to look over my shoulder as I unwrap the chocolate bar I have hidden way in the back of the pantry shelf, behind that box of mac’n cheese. I don’t have to worry about being caught red-handed, mid-bite, a mouthful of evidence … in hand. I need not try to quickly wipe my mouth and fingers clean of any incriminating chocolate markings.

So this year, I have decided to send myself a Valentine Day gift and it will be a box filled with something dark, sweet and good to eat. Can you guess what that is?