GIVEAWAY! Win an advance copy of The Young Wives Club

As you may know -- since I like to talk about it a lot :P -- my first novel The Young Wives Club is coming out on Valentine's Day. I can't wait for you to meet Laura, Claire, Madison and Gabby. I spent a LOT of time with these girls through the years that they feel like friends to me (this happens to all authors, right? I'm not crazy?)

Anyway, two months feels like forever away, so to keep things moving along, my publisher is giving away 5 advance copies of the book -- right now! If you want to hang out with the girls at the Sea Shack, laugh with them over awkward interactions, cry with them over heartbreak, and get the warm fuzzies in your stomach thinking about first loves, this giveaway is for you!

Head on over to and enter to win. The last day to enter is December 23.

Also, some early reviews are starting to happen. Here are a couple that had me smiling from ear to ear:

Thanks for all your support through this journey! Couldn't have done this without you guys! xoxo

Nerding Out at a Taping of "The Big Bang Theory"

Pumpkin spice, cozy sweaters, and good TV are three of the things I love about fall. And since all of the new shows are finally in full swing, I thought it'd be fun to share our adventure of visiting the set of "The Big Bang Theory" during a recent trip to Los Angeles.

We went to a taping of the CBS sitcom thanks to an amazing hookup from my sister's fabulous mother-in-law who has worked on the series since the beginning -- she's a stand-in and extra, so it's always a fun game to see if we can spot her as we watch the show! (Note: anyone can get tickets to the show through this site, although it can be difficult to score them since it's so popular.)

I've never been to a sitcom taping so didn't really know what to expect. When we got there, a DJ was spinning some music and the show's warm-up guy was already getting the crowd screaming with excitement. Earlier, someone had likened the taping to a party, and that's exactly what it felt like.

Before the cast came out, we watched the never-before-seen previous episode so we'd be caught up with the plot for the one they were taping. Then, the stars were introduced and came out like the rockstars they are (spotlight, fun music, and lots of cheers from the crowd.)

Diving Into a Pool of Sprinkles: A Visit to the Museum of Ice Cream

On our way to the Museum of Ice Cream in New York, my friend Jamie was reiterating how lucky we were to get tickets. "It's like the new Hamilton," she joked. "Hottest ticket in town." For someone who missed the boat on seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda live on stage in 18th century garb and continues to enter the Broadway show's daily lottery much to no avail, I couldn't help but flash a wide grin at the thought of getting to do something that was so coveted.  

The museum is a temporary experience in the Meatpacking District, a pop-up shop of sorts that runs until August 31. The $18 tickets apparently sold out in five days -- all 30,000 of them. Thanks to my eagle eyes on Facebook trending topics, we snagged ours the first day. 

Big News! I Wrote a Book and It's Being Published

I've been waiting to announce this news technically since I was a little girl when I started writing my first book called "Paradise Pink" (inspired by a paint chip color I found while my mom was doing some shopping at Home Depot.) My writing has evolved a lot since the "Paradise Pink" days. I don't even remember the plot of the book, but it was something to do with a girl re-doing her bedroom (so cutting edge, really I mean, it was even before HGTV!) I've had a few other attempts which I call "practice books." But I never submitted them or even actually finished them.

Anyway, I'm burying the lede, as my journalism professor would say. I'm excited to announce that I wrote and finished a novel called The Young Wives Club, and it's actually going to be in book stores next February thanks to the wonderful Emily Bestler at Simon & Schuster and the amazing team at Alloy Entertainment!


When Christopher and I were making the decision to move to Oxford, it wasn't just about his career I wanted to do this for mine, too. I started writing the book over there, and it was such an awesome experience. Even though it takes place in small-town Louisiana, the Oxford landscape was a perfect place to write it. Fun fact: there are a couple of things in the book that randomly were inspired by my cafe experiences and/or the people that I met over there. I can't wait to point those out when the book is out!

Here's the announcement that went out today:

Pretty neat, right?! I'm really proud of this baby and I can't wait you to meet these characters maybe because they're a figment of my imagination, but I'd totally be friends with these girls and hope you'll feel the same way.

Stay tuned for more info on the book! I'll keep you updated here (sign up for emails so you'll never miss a post) and on Twitter. And thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. I couldn't have done it without such a loving community of friends and family. Cheers!


Do You Believe In Magic?

The first magic trick I can remember witnessing was in my grandpa's living room. He swiftly put his hand behind my curly blonde hair and grabbed a shiny quarter from my ear. Eyes wide and jaw dropped, I demanded, "How'd you do that?!" He explained to me it was magic and left it at that. A part of me still really wanted to know the explanation, but another part of me was satisfied with the answer. Magic. It sounded pretty enchanting.

Since then, I've loved magic tricks. So, when I heard about magician Steve Cohen's standing show "Chamber Magic" at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC, I knew we'd have to pay a visit. Christopher's parents came into town this weekend for his birthday, and we thought, what better a way to celebrate?

The evening takes place in one of the grand suites in the luxury hotel. The room--decked out in classic mahogany furniture, lavish gold hues, and a sparkly chandelier--holds about 50 people. The audience dons cocktail attire, and Steve, who's been doing this particular show for 16 years, is wearing a dapper three-piece suit. He makes a point to thank the audience for dressing up.

He explains that he got his start with magic by watching his great uncle do tricks, and that this intimate setting is kind of a tribute to that. He invites those who can't see to the front of the room to watch him do some card tricks--you know, just to make sure he's not trying anything funny. We all watch with focused eyes as he manages to guess one of the cards in an audience member's hand. And he does it every time--without fail, no matter how much the cards have been shuffled by different people. 

A Trip to the TABASCO Factory!

There are some things I would never put together. For example, me and running--that's a no. Also, jalapenos and ice cream. ??? But I had the latter during a recent trip to the TABASCO Factory in Avery Island, Louisiana, and I was surprised how yummy it was!

For just a dollar toll to get onto the island, you can try it for yourself and also see how the hot sauce is made. During our tour, we got to see the factory where the world-famous bottles were being filled, capped, labeled and checked for quality. The shipment we were watching was going to France (au revoir, little bottles!)

Remember those wine barrels we saw in Bordeaux that were used for a couple of years and then sold to whiskey producers? Well, there's a chance they could be used for making TABASCO, too. After the Jack Daniels team is done with their barrels, they're sold to this factory and are used to age a mash of pickled peppers and salt.

Pinterest Test Kitchen: Halloween Party Food Edition

If you're anything like me, you've got a Pinterest board full of cute little holiday-specific appetizers but when it comes down to making them, you'd rather just buy chips and dip and be done with it. Well, it was my turn to host wine club this weekend, and I decided I needed to get my act together and try these cute recipes out. Of course, Pinterest has some wins but it also has some misses as we all know. With my fingers crossed, I tried these recipes out so that you don't have to (or maybe you want to! Some were really easy and fun). Reviews, below -- pictures, above. Enjoy!

1. Candy Corn & White Chocolate Softbatch Cookies 
-- Hard
-- Tasted fine, but they weren't pretty.

When I came across this recipe on Pinterest, I was like, "This is gonna be awesome!" I've never thought about putting candy corn in cookies, so already this blogger was a genius. I followed the directions to the T -- one thing she stresses is that you have to make sure the candy corn is covered by dough when you put it on the baking sheet, otherwise it'll ooze while in the oven. I thought I did that, but when I took it out, it looked like orange, yellow, and white blood was coming out of my precious cookies. I guess that makes it spooky though... I just cut around the gross parts, and the girls seemed to love the cookies. So there's that!