Once fall/winter roll around I get more and more into cooking. As a vegetarian (not to mention THE PICKIEST VEGETARIAN YOU WILL EVER MEET), I have more limitations than most, and am hard to impress. This mac and cheese recipe is one of my favorites, and always comes out SO GOOD. It’s also not too hard.

look how pretty!



and here’s the recipe if you’re interested. It’s from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

Mac and Cheese recipe

Ina’s definitely one of those people you either love or hate

but even if she grates my cheese sometimes, I try to just take her with a grain of salt (ha. ha.) and this recipe is too good to pass up.

I used storebought breadcrumbs b/c aint nobody got time for that homemade b.s….but it still comes out great!

What’s your favorite fall/winter recipe??

Best and Worst Halloweens (But Mostly Worst)

Even as a kid, I didn’t adore Halloween. It was just always one of those things where expectations were so high it had no choice but to fall majorly flat.

If you’re a Friends fan, you’ll know what I mean when I say that the way I feel about Halloween is how Chandler feels about Thanksgiving.

I’ve honestly never had a good one. Or at least one that met or exceeded expectations. But still, there were some fun moments.

Below is concrete evidence I have always hated Halloween. I am in the blue dress and tiara right in the middle, looking bored out of my mind.


This next one was possibly my favorite Halloween, except for the fact that all the horrible kids called me Vanessa (Ursula in disguise) b/c of my brown hair, but I still loved the costume, and the fact that I got to wear a little makeup. Oh and you also get two random bonus pics b/c I scanned them all together years ago and am too lazy to crop. That’s me and my brother horseback riding, and me having breakfast with the White Rabbit in Disney World (I was, apparently, very shy/excited to meet him.



For this particular Halloween, while every other normal child was planning their costumes for at least a month, I was over in some corner, not caring. So last minute I tied two pillows to my person with a robe tie and called myself a pillow. Exhibit A:



What was your best or favorite Halloween costume???

How Are You Your Character?

I love when an author infuses some little personal trait(s) into their characters.

Here’s a list of my own personal traits I put in my main characters in AT FIRST BLUSH.


She loves makeup and I love it too (although she wears it a lot more often than I do) and the back of my hand always has stripes of eye shadow swatches on it like hers. We’re also both vegetarians and eggplant parm lovers.

Cynth (Lacey’s best friend): she interns for The Good Evening Show with Blake Kingston and I interned for Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon. Also, she’s insanely overly dramatic and I can be dramatic. Although I don’t cut my hair every time something doesn’t go my way the way she does.

Tyler (Lacey’s love interest): He is STUBBORN. And so am I.

He has a thing for super old and classic TV sitcoms and I love super old and classic sitcoms. He also believes the world would be a better place without egg salad. I’m cool with egg salad, but I feel this way about numerous foods, including but not limited to: Cheerios, tuna casserole, and onions.

Kendall (makeup artist and Lacey’s supervisor at On Trend magazine): We’re both really pragmatic and can see big pictures really clearly. Kendall knows what’s best for Lacey and she does an awesome job at subtly scheming so Lacey will open her eyes and see what’s good for her. I too am good at scheming to get my way.

what traits of your own have you given your characters?

3 Lightbulb Moments

There are 3 noteworthy lightbulb moments I’ve had on my writing/publishing journey so far.

1. Said works best.

It seemed too good to be true, and unbelievably repetitive, but it’s a thing, people!

Giving your characters dialogue tags that end in: murmured, screamed, cried, bellowed, questioned, cooed, declared, groaned, wailed, implored, whined, inquired, mumbled, complained,…etc…

It’s telling. Obviously once in a while it’s fine, and I’ve read plenty of awesome books where the author deviated from “said” every now and again, but 8 out of 10 times, “said” works best.  This Article is a great resource.

2. Industry people are all really nice and helpful.

I never thought otherwise, to be honest, but I always imagined they were all really OFFICIAL. POWERFUL. and INTIMIDATING. And I was SO NERVOUS the first time I spoke to my now-agent on the phone. Like heart-pounding-so-hard-I-thought-she-could-hear-it-through-the-phone nervous. Everyone I’ve encountered on my journey has been incredibly kind, and down-to-earth, and they all just want to bring great books to life and help deliver those books to the masses. They’re not out to hurt anyone, and they don’t thrive on crushing people’s dreams.

3. Grammar doesn’t have to be perfect in dialogue writing.

YAY. Writing dialogue is my favorite, and not having to obsess over perfect grammar makes me love it even more. It’s one less thing to think about during endless revisions, right?

What are some of your lightbulb moments on your writing journey??