Thursday, May 31, 2012

NPR is doing a feature on All Songs Considered asking people to write about memories of their parent's music so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I remember going to my first official school dance in the 7th grade. There were no decorations or themes. No punch bowls or dates.  It was held in the gym with just dim lights and a DJ.

I was the oldest of three and all I really knew at the time was my parent's music.  It also happened to be the same time I was starting to realize that maybe that wasn't something to be proud of. As in, it wasn’t “cool.”

I had a vague understanding of who Nirvana was, I pretended to mouth along the lyrics to Ace of Base, but what I really knew was Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison.

I was faking my way through my first school dance when the DJ decided to play Brown Eyed Girl.  It was as if a weight had been lifted off of my flannel clad soul.  I knew this song!  I looked around and it seemed like everyone knew this song, and I remember wondering if everyone else had been faking their way through knowing "our" music too.

Before I knew it, I was on the dance floor with my friends "la-te-da-ing" with the rest of them. And although I was in the middle of having one of my first very parent-free moments of adolescence, it was like my parents were right there with me, not trying to embarrass me, just casually letting me know how cool they actually were.

Later in high school I discovered the poetic masterpiece that is Astral Weeks and stole my mom's thread bare Van Morrison concert t-shirt from 1985 to try and be "indie" in suburban New Jersey.  Van very much became my music, but I will always associate him with my parents.  Whether it be twirling around to Into the Mystic in our home movies or as the soundtrack to long car rides,  I'll always remember when we used to sing, 

Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da. 

Just like that.

Please share your memories of your parent's music in the comments or on the All Songs Considered blog and let me know if you do!

Thanks for the music, Mom and Dad!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  I hope everyone had as summery weather as we did in Brooklyn.  I spent the morning writing up blog posts for the week on my balcony (fueled on coffee) and then headed over to friend and fellow librarian Erika's place for a classic Brooklyn BBQ (where the only outdoor space is a balcony with an awesome view of the NYC sky line.)

I also wanted to share with all of you the most amazing portrait that I just received from Rachele at Near Sighted Owl!  I took advantage of a deal she was offering this month for $25 she'll do a digital portrait of you and give you ad space on her blog!  Look how adorable it is, and doesn't it look like me?

I'm especially pleased with the portrait because I feel like it is the first time someone has authentically rendered me through a drawing.  You know how you can make those avatars of yourself in video games or whatever?  Well they NEVER look like me.  I can't wait to use this portrait for so many different things including Well and Cheaply business cards perhaps!  So if you're looking for a cute portrait of yourself for your blog etc.- I highly recommend getting in touch with Rachele.

Hope everyone has a good short week!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

If you were a freshman girl in high school who considered herself "literary" in 1996, chances are you were obsessed with Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet just like I was.  The movie had post-Angela-Chase Claire Danes (looking totally adorbs in angel wings) and quintessential 90s-dreamboat- Leonardo DiCaprio- a name that often made me think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I was a child of the 80s after all) so I affectionately passionately referred to him as Leo.  My boyfriend. And still do.

In 2012,I have not grown out of my love for either of these actors or for Baz Luhrmann.  While I never became a fan of Moulin Rouge or Australia, I saw Strictly Ballroom not that long ago and absolutely loved it.

I remember my high school English teachers rolling their eyes at new version of Romeo and Juliet- insisting that the Zeffrielli film was the real classic (I could't get over how horribly "70s" it felt) and I've often wondered if I saw Claire and Leo for the first time as an adult, if I would have even liked it.  Because after seeing the trailer for The Great Gatsby, I'm suddenly siding with my English teachers and I don't' know what to do.

I want to LOVE this movie.  But already the soundtrack is totally throwing me off.  And while Leo is still so totally my boyfriend and Carey Mulligan is super cool, I'm just not so sure what I think.  Well, actually I know exactly what I think and plan on giving you my analysis (highly scientific) of the trailer right now.  First, if you have't yet, watch it:

Okay, now for my highly analytical opinion.  Firstly, look, I'm not saying I'm against this really, but how is this a real thing.  This is "New York 1922"? Um...really?

Moving on. Obligatory Baz Luhrmann fire works.  Gatsby:

Romeo + Juliet

I like Toby McGuire's voice over and I like Carey Mulligan saying "Gatsby, what Gatsby?" But, and here's where I'm going to sound old, Jay-Z and Kanye? I don't' really get it. It's not really putting me in flapper mood. I am into the second song though- Jack White's cover of U2's Love is Blindness.

Why, hello boyfriend.

Now here's the part that made me mad.  Carey Mulligan says "You always look so cool.  The man in the cool beautiful shirts."  My first reaction was, no way.  Daisy would never had said, "you always look so cool."  So I Googled that line.  Turns out she does say it and it's actually one of the most famous lines in the novel, because it is what she says when Tom Buchanan realizes that she is in love with Gatsby.  However, she does not say it during the scene when Gatsby is showing her his collection of  imported shirts (also an extremely famous scene)- she says it over lunch.  And it is not followed by "the man in the cool beautiful shirts."

So why Baz?  Why use the most famous line in the book- use it in the trailer even, but then totally change it.  I just don't get it!  Is anyone else upset about this? Or do I sound crazy?  Also, as a side note, in the book, Daisy is obviously referring to Gatsby's temperature (even though what's really happening is that she is saying she loves him) not using the slang world "cool." However, in the trailer you get the feeling that she's telling him he looks cool in the modern sense of the word.

Okay, yes, I'll admit it, I wish my hair had looked like this for my wedding.

As all hell starts to break loose, all I can find myself thinking is, a rained soaked Leo is one of the best kinds of Leos. Gatsby:


So things go crazy, we get a cover shout out- which I like

and then LOL Giant bottle of champagne boy!

And that's about it!  So what do you think? I'm obviously going to go see it!  And I want to like it, but we shall see.  Do you think Baz Luhrmann intends to go through the entire cannon of high school required reading?  The Cather in The Rye?  Of Mice and Men? My Antonia? All set to a distractingly modern sound track?  Who knows? 

In the mean time, since December is years away, I think I'm going to have a viewing party of the Robert Redford Gatsby at my house because I've never seen it before!  And I really hope someone will show up with a giant bottle of champagne.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I stood in the corner next to the lotto machines and packs of gum, my arms bending in an awkward position, elbows out and pointed.  The man at the register looked away, trying to give me some privacy.  His skin was the same color as my raincoat and even the very last button on his shirt was buttoned so that his Adam’s apple bulged right above his collar.  It looked uncomfortable and I wondered if his feet hurt.  I managed not to prick my finger with the safety pin before finally fastening the strap of my sundress closed, once and for all (I hoped).

“There,” I said, to the clerk who was still trying to ignore me.  “Thanks.”

I smoothed down my dress with my hands, dropped the package safety pins I had just purchased into the inside pocket of my purse.

And that's all I got before I had to go blow dry my hair and get ready for work!  If you feel inspired to do your own Fiction Friday with the prompt: Write about an item in your purse.  Have the scene start in a drugstore. Please link up in the comments, I'd love to read it!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crabbing with my mom
I decided last year that I would try my hardest not to get sunburned on my chest.  It seems like no matter how often I reapply sunscreen, I always get burned in that area!  Finding a bathing suit to help with this problem wasn't that easy, (a lot of high necked ones are really old lady-ish) but I was able to find a really great cut on Zappos from Michael Kors.

The suits are a little pricey, but my striped one from last year is still in really good shape.  I just ordered the black one today.  Can't wait until it arrives!

This was the first year since I was probably around 7 that I wore a one piece.  I love how they have really come back into style right when I turned 30.  Honestly, I think they're way cuter than bikini's right now- but maybe that's just me. What kind of bathing suit do you like to wear?  If you have the chest burning problem like I do, I highly recommend these suits!

PS- I saw this skin cancer PSA on the subway the other day, and thought it was a real eye opener.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So, I haven't actually talked about the fact that I'm a writer on this blog yet.  And while I like to consider this a "lifestyle blog," which sort of gives me the freedom to write about whatever the hell I want, I also hope for this space to be a writer's blog.  Before I start talking about my writing here though, I have something else I'm afraid to tell you:

The other day, my mom was asking me about my writing in a completely supportive and interested way.  And I just didn't want to talk about it.  Finally, she said, "why are you acting defensive?  Is it the question's I'm asking?"  And I couldn't answer her.  I knew she was right, I knew I was acting defensive and yet, why?

The conversation stuck in my head for a long time, and I was trying to figure out what was going on.  I think that I've come to a place where my relationship with writing -while I'm very passionate about it, is steeped in guilt and shame.  All of this guilt and shame has to do with not being published.  And I think I spend my time telling myself that I don't really feel this way.  And yet, when my mom asks me about my writing I get defensive because if I really let my guard down, I know I'd just start crying.

This is not healthy.  I do not want to be this way.  How can I separate something I feel so passionate about from feeling like a failure?  Guilt, shame and jealousy should not be the emotions that talking about my writing should provoke.  So here's a resolution I'm putting into action now: write for the sake of writing.  Not for the sake of finishing a project but just to write.  And I wonder what will happen.

If you are a writer, I highly recommend following Sarah Selecky on twitter where she believes in this attitude towards writing and gives great writing prompts every day.  I'm even considering trying out her e-course which sounds really fun called story is a state of mind.

I write young adult novels and am currently working on revising my third novel which I am calling I Died For Beauty.  I had an agent who tried to sell my first two novels but we were unable to find a publisher.  Right now I am working on revising my third novel and will then start looking for a new agent/ other publishing options with her help.  I'm taking an advance novel writing class with NYU this summer (it starts June 6th) and am really looking forward to a weekly place to go and work on my current WIP (work in progress).

In the meantime however, I'm going to start Fiction Fridays on this blog to help get over my defensive guilt, shame and jealousy.  These posts will not be from my WIP but small vignettes that will probably go nowhere and be written for the pleasure of writing only.  I'm exciting to share this writing with you all and if you're a writer too, would love to have you participate too and link up in the comments!

Does anyone else have these emotions of shame and guilt when it comes to any type of creative endeavor?  If so, I'd love to hear about it- I hope I'm not the only creative person that feels this way!  How do you feel with these emotions?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Stay tuned for this Friday's first Fiction Friday on Well and Cheaply, and thanks for reading.

PS- All of these quotes on writing are from my pinterest page.  Follow me here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

After posting about outdoor showers earlier today, I got all nostalgic going through honeymoon pictures, so I decided to repost a blog post that I did on my old blog while we were in Kauai.  Can you tell I only have three more weeks until summer vacation?  Enjoy!

Originally Posted July 26, 2010

Since getting up before six am to the sound of roosters crowing is the only option for wake up calls here at Plumeria Moon (and surprisingly I totally love that!)  I thought I'd do some bright and early blogging- real quick cause this place is amazing!  But seriously, I've got to get to the beach soon so I'm going for bullet points, some pictures and then putting on my bathing suit.  But I've got to write something because I'm dying to share this with y'all!

Amazing things to tell you:
  1. Nature is awesome.  Kauai is like one big nature surprise around every corner.  Like just when you thought something couldn't get anymore breath taking in all of the world, you turn a corner and something else takes your breath away.  For example- last night Alex and I watched the sunset on the beach by our cottage.  It was the most amazingly purple sunset I have ever seen.  Then we're heading back and round the bend and BANG- a GIANT full moon is just chilling over the ocean lighting up the clouds around it.  Right above a cliff with crashing waves below, and it was just like congrats nature you've done it again!
  2. Wild chickens and roosters are everywhere and they are so cute.  They remind me of Queenie.
  3. We have an outdoor shower.  Who knew it would be one of my favorite things about our place?
And now some visual stimulation but seriously, as beautiful as these pics are, they don't even do it justice.


When Alex and I were on our honeymoon in Kauai, one of the best parts about our vacation was the outdoor shower.  I know it seems trivial in a way, but taking a shower in the privacy of the secluded outdoors is so amazing.  It's like being bathed in sunshine.  Could you imagine if that was your shower every morning?  The above picture is of our Kauai outdoor shower (we never once used the one in the actual bathroom).  The picture is taken from the balcony above.  Our little cottage was so private and secluded that they didn't even put walls around the outdoor shower.  Just plants and sweet smelling air.  And maybe the occasional gecko.

Anyway, I think about that shower a lot, especially when the weather starts getting warm again, so I thought I would do a little eye candy post on outdoor shower dreaming.  Have you ever experienced an outdoor shower?  Did you like it?  Or do you prefer keeping your showers indoors?
PS- I found these and even more on pinterest!  Follow my outdoor shower board!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A few weeks ago, I participated in the Things I'm Afraid to Tell You link up and started off writing about a memory I had involving a taxi right when Alex was getting out of the hospital, but at the end of the post, realized that what I was really writing about was Alex's accident.

Writing that post was really good for me (thank you creature comforts for giving me the inspiration!) and I have come to refer to other things since then as a "taxi cab moment."

Let me explain.  Ultimately, I freaked out in my story about not being able to hail a cab- kind of an insignificant thing right?  And yet how many times have I done that in my life?  Just the other day I was freaking out about new neighbors moving in.  I know it's normal but it's a change that I don't have control over.  There it is- control.  I'm starting to realize that those seemingly minor freak outs are not actually freak outs about that seemingly minor thing.  They are triggered by not having control in that moment which sends me into an a freak out spiral about not having control about life.

Right now for me, my control freak out spiral always comes back to Alex's accident- the biggest thing in my life that I feel like I have no control over.  And the thing that I've realized works is talking about it- with Alex especially.  The other night when I was having my taxi cab moment about the new neighbors moving in downstairs, I stopped for a second and realized that all of the anxiety I was feeling wasn't really about them at all.  It was just triggering buried anxiety.  So I told Alex and we started talking, and before I knew it we were just talking about the accident.  Really talking about it.  Not talking about surgeries or current pain but just what it's meant for both of us, how it's made us feel on different levels.

The conversation did not miraculously heal Alex or undo the fact that the accident ever happened but it made me feel really good.  I don't feel better.  I'm still not where I want to be, but I feel like I know what to talk about when I'm feeling anxious about something insignificant now, and that's a teeny tiny piece of control that I'm going to hold on to tight and try to remember to use.

I'm curious readers, do you find yourself in taxi cab moments too? How do you deal with gaining back a little sense of control or just letting go completely?  I'd love to hear your tips, tricks and stories about this sort of thing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Since Alex was in Michigan this weekend visiting his grandparents, we decided to have a date night in our neighborhood at Cafe Collette.  It was our first time there.  Isn't it adorbs?

We shared the chicken liver pate appetizer, Alex had the house made fettucini and I had the pan roasted trout paired with two glasses of wine.  It was delish!  I think my favorite part about date nights in our neighborhood is always the long leisurely walk home.  We walked through an in bloom McCarren Park and by the time we got home I felt perfectly satiated.

Long time relationship readers- how often do you make the effort to have date nights with you sweetie?  Ours are pretty random but I'd say we like to do something special at least once or twice a month.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I thought I'd talk about the reason I decided to name this blog Well and Cheaply today.  While reading my cousin's awesome tumblr, I came across the quote from A Movable Feast, one of my favorite books, and the only Hemingway book I've ever been able to finish (I know, calm down).
“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.” 
― Ernest HemingwayA Moveable Feast
And something just stuck.  I thought about those words, "well" and "cheaply," what they mean and how they mirror the way I like to live my life.  Cheap can still mean good quality.  It can mean simple, just like the way Hemingway writes his sentences.

And although my blog's name is after a quote from some would say, the quintessential male writer, I thought I'd use these pictures for my smart girls post of the week, because I love the women in the above photo. Hemingway wrote A Movable Feast while he was living in Paris with his first wife Hadley Richardson.  The other woman in the photo is Duff Twysden who is the model for the character Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises (which I just downloaded on audible and am currently obsessed with.)

Hemingway and Hadley
How do you all feel about Hemingway?  And more importantly, how do you feel about all those smart women who were a part of his life?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Starting on Friday, to celebrate the end of this stressful week, I decided to treat myself to a massage, and then the luxury of the weekend continued from there.  Spurred by the encouragement of my tax return check, I had one of the fanciest weekends of my life and I think the Dowager Countess would have approved!   Saturday was mani-pedi's and brunch with my dear friend Dustin and then dinner at a new restaurant in my neighborhood!

Oh, and then there was one more big luxury item that I'm almost embarrassed about, but will share with you, dear readers because you really need to know about it.  On Saturday morning I decided that I just could not deal with all of the dust and cat hair in my apartment.  My dirty bathroom was making me depressed, and it was so nice out! I knew that to get my apartment up to the cleanliness standards I desired I would have to spend the entire day inside cleaning.  Or would I?

What did I do? I went on craigslist and called the number for this listing: "Gay cleaning guy, meticulous and reliable." Pretty good advertising strategy huh?  Wit in a couple of hours the lovely Yuri was at my apartment getting shit done!  When he started cleaning out our vacuum cleaner filter, I knew that was a good sign that I could leave.  So I jaunted off to mani-pedis and brunch in the city and came home to a SPOTLESS apartment!  As in, I have never cleaned it so well myself!

While I was out and about I felt a little strange and guilty having someone clean my place- even though I was paying him.  But when I came home, the first words out of my mouth were, "why did I wait do long to do this?!"

Having a cleaning person is not going to be a weekly thing for me, but when that dirty despair starts to take over and try and ruin my weekend?  I'd say this happens maybe once a month- I'm calling Yuri and not thinking twice about it.

What about you guys?  Have you ever had a cleaning person before?

Below are pictures of my luxurious day.  I will end this post by saying this- when in doubt, TREAT YO SELVES LADIES!! Everyone ends up winning in the end.

Happy Mother's Day to all of my Mom readers! Treat yo selves!

Friday, May 11, 2012

I could also look at the tumblr where I found it all day too.  Does anyone else have #whatshouldwecallme in their reader right now?

Today was a good day.  Work distracted my brain and kept me busy in a really good way.  I got into an advanced novel writing class at NYU and just registered for it for the summer.  The weather is that perfect sweet and sunny May day.

Alex is going to Michigan this weekend to visit his grandparents.  I was originally going to go with him, but decided I wanted to spend mother's day at home with my mom.  So I have tonight and tomorrow all by myself and I'm really looking forward to it.  Here are my weekend plans:

  • Go to yoga
  • Go to Zumba
  • Get a back massage.  I'm going to try the sketchy looking place in my neighborhood that has good reviews on yelp.
  • Write some blog posts for the week
  • Read my book
  • Work on writing
  • Do some balcony gardening
  • Buy groceries for the week and plan dinners
  • Clean my apartment
  • Move my spring clothes to the front of my closet
  • Get a mani/pedi
  • Quality time with my kitties

I want this to be a weekend of eating healthy, listening to good music and pod casts, reading good books and blogs and getting some good exercise.

What are you all up to?  Any mother's day plans?  Happy mother's day to all my mom readers!

Monday, May 7, 2012


My grandmother passed away on Saturday very suddenly.  My family is still in shock that our healthy grandmother who just went to Zumba class and stayed up late to watch the Yankees game on Friday is no longer with us.  With all of the family that has been coming and going through my parent's house as we greive, it feels so strange that she is not here.  I keep expecting her to drive up in her Buick and give me a big hug to cheer me up.

I keep thinking about the conversation I recorded with her on her 80th birthday which was just this October.  While I'm at home with family in New Jersey, I thought I'd post it because it's really inspirational and sweet.
Although you might not have known my grandmother, I think everyone will enjoy this interview and I encourage you to listen. (Please ignore me laughing too much).  Mama talks about her very first job babysitting for a rich family for the summer on the Jersey shore, her father moving to the United States from Poland and getting involved with bootlegging, having acute appendicitis on the day of her sister's wedding, how she met my grandfather, and she even tells a joke that she was not allowed to hear as a child (because she was the youngest) but secretly listened to anyway and never forgot.

When I asked if she had any advice for her grandchildren this is what she said:
You have to know yourself.  Be yourself, be honest.   If you try to not tell it the way it’s supposed to be told, it always hits you.  You can’t get away with that. Say the truth, you don’t have to worry what you said, you’re telling the truth.  I believe in that.  

I love you Mama.


Thursday, May 3, 2012


I came across Things I'm Afraid to Tell You via Sweet Fine Day, who signed on through Creature Comforts and couldn't help but think, yes! And then, I should do one too.  And then, oh god, but I'm kind of afraid to tell you.

Encouraged by all of the brave participants and links up on Creature Comforts, and wanting to help make the blogging world have more of the writing that I want to read, I've decided to give it a go.

So here's something I'm afraid to tell you:

Sometimes I think about things I have done to complete strangers that were pretty of awful.  When Alex was leaving the hospital almost a year ago today (May 9, 2011) after being run over by a car, it was pouring rain outside.  It was also around 4:00 in the afternoon and New York has this awful and very un-new-york-like thing called a "shift change" with cab drivers.  This means it is absolutely impossible to hail a cab between the hours of 4 and 5 PM. (I hadn't know about shift change at this point in my New York life yet).

So picture Alex in a wheel chair with a crazy erector set type thing literally drilled into his broken bones (it's called an external fixator), in a ton of pain, and just wanting his ten day stay at the hospital to be over.  We weren't even going home, we were staying at our amazing friend's apartment in an elevator building- since Alex could not get up stairs at all.  And picture me, in the pouring rain (seriously it was pouring rain like how it does during funerals in movies!) in front of the hospital with about 5 other people scattered down the street, all trying to hail a cab during shift change (it's also impossible to hail cabs in the rain at any time of day, so basically all odds were against me).

Here's when my memory get's fuzzy, but I think I thought that I hailed a cab after maybe 40 minutes of trying and that someone a few yards in front of me took it.  But it could have been that he had hailed the cab.  The next thing I knew, I was screaming and cursing at a complete stranger.  As the rain kept pouring down, I was yelling obscenities on 3rd avenue and screaming about how my husband had been in a car accident and was trying to leave the hospital.  I was completely full of hatred towards this man that I believed to be stealing a cab from me.  In that moment, I thought that no one else could possibly need a cab more than I did.

He told me that his wife had just had a baby and that they were trying to leave the hospital as well.

Then itdawned on me that the group of us trying to hail cabs scattered down the street were probably all dealing with loved ones in the hospital.  And although this man was there for a happy occasion, he was none the less dealing with the very stressful situation of trying to get his wife and new baby home.

He then offered me the cab.  I couldn't take it.  I mumbled an apology and then speed walked down the block, crying.  Crying in a way that I had been doing a lot during that ten day period.  I felt ashamed over how I was handling all of the stress.

I'm afraid to tell you that it's been a year since Alex's accident and I'm still scared about the way it has changed my life and affected our relationship.  I'm trying to stay positive, but so far nothing has changed for the better.  All of the changes have been fore the worse.  I lost a best friend from this accident who I have not spoken one word to in a year, and a mobile husband.  A husband who got pure joy from riding his bike around the city.  I am afraid to tell you that it has not been easy, but that I also can't really talk about it. I can't tell you about what we argue about or get sad about or worry about because I don't really want to, but also because I know that everyone wants me to tell them that we are okay now.  Because it's not like Alex lost his leg, or is in a wheel chair or had some sort of brain injury.  It's just a limp, right? It's just some relatively manageable pain.  But it's so much more that that.  We are both still working on the emotional injury that this accident brought us every single day. And I'm afraid to tell you that I don't know if I'm ready to accept the fact that life will never go back to the way it was before Alex got run over by a car.

It still hurts.  A lot.

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but sometimes, it is just plain impossible to put a positive slant on a situation.

I'm also afraid to tell you that publishing this blog post was not easy- maybe you already know that- because I care about what you think of me.  But as Jess Constable put it, who sort of started this brave posting trend, "do you want the icing or the cake?" I'd like the cake please, and I hope you do too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I'm on instagram now.  Follow me and I'll follow you back! My username is @soholls as is my twitter name!

One of the perks and curses of working in an elementary school: it's always someone's birthday, and they're always trying to give you a donut to celebrate it.

smart girls

My literary agent has encouraged me to propose editing a young adult anthology.  Inspired by the recent Downton Abbey drama and just the time period in general, I came up with the idea of an anthology of stories based approximately 100 years ago called Smart Girls in Long Skirts: stories of love, loss and longing.

Here's a little snippet from my proposal:

Smart Girls in Long Skirts: Stories of Love, Loss and Longing is a short story anthology about girls.  Girls who have loud laughs, girls who have spunk, girls who know what they want out of their lives and girls who aren't afraid to fall in love.  These are the types of girls that readers will want to call their best friend and yet their world takes place practically 100 years ago.

So to keep my inspiration going and to hopefully get you excited about this topic too, I'm going to start a Smart Girls in Long Skirts series here on Well and Cheaply, with the idea of finding inspiration from my best friend- who just so happened to be alive 100 years ago.

So for my first series post, I give you Anne Shirley.  My very first literary best friend.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Inspired by Sometimes Sweet, I love the simplicity of these life update posts.  So here's what I've currently been up to.

Reading: Shine by Lauren Myracle.  I'm actually listening to this audio book so maybe I should put this in my "listening to"  section, but audio books are reading.  I really believe that.  I have decided that Lauren Myracle should be declared the "new Judy Blume."  She is so good at telling a story and really pushing boundaries in a way that young adults really love and need.  She consistently amazes me.  This book takes place in the south and is about a hate crime that happens against a gay teenage boy.  It happens in a poor town riddled with a meth drug problem since the local factories closed down, and actually has a mystery feel as the main character is determined to find out who attacked her friend Patrick. I love listening to this book because the narrator has the perfect southern accent that really adds to the richness of the setting.  If you are looking for some good YA and were/are a Judy Blume fan- please read this book!

Watching: My new favorite show is BFF and I feel like no one else is watching it!  Here is the premise: The very first episode starts with Jessica receiving FedExed divorce papers.  She immediately gets on a plane from LA where she was living to Brooklyn where her best friend and old roommate still lives.  Although now her best friend Lennon, is living with her boyfriend.  Hilarity ensues.  The main charters are also the writers and it is very smart female oriented comedy- but Alex loves it too.  Think Bridesmaids!  Now go watch it.

Thinking about: The state of my apartment building.  We have lived in a weird half empty building for a year and a half now.  They have just started showing the empty apartments and I think people might even be moving in to some today.  I'm trying not to be nervous about the idea of new neighbors, but I can't help it.  We've had such a quiet lovely building for so long.  Our landlord is also pretty sketchy, so I'm not sure what it's going to be like.  I'm also pretty sure they're going to try and raise our rent.  So right now, everything is the same, but there is a high possibility we might have to move in the near future.

Loving: The fact that I'm blogging again and the break that I took.  It's left me feeling energized and my blogging priorities straight.

Anticipating: A new super on sale bag to arrive in the mail! It's still on sale through the end of the day!  I have really become so much more of an online shopper these days and decided to buy this bag after finding it on this blog.  Looks perfect for summer and I really don't have a summer purse right now.

Listening to: WNYC our NPR station in the city.  There is something so comforting about  filling up the apartment with the sounds of All Things Considered and Market Place while I cook dinner.  It just sounds like home to me.

Eating: I'm really trying to remind myself that eating a bagel for breakfast feels amazing while it's happening but not so amazing an hour later.  Basically it's the equivalent of a sugar crash before even having lunch.  So with that in mind I'm trying to eat a healthy breakfast spread out throughout the morning to keep from feeling starving at lunch time.   Today I had oatmeal, a hard boiled egg, and fruit and yogurt. It was delish!

Feeling thankful for: My mobility.  I recently started taking some Zumba classes (two so far) and am loving the dance party feel of them!  I had the thought just yesterday of feeling thankful for how easy it is for me to exercise without a chronic illness or injury that really messed up my body.  It's so hard for me to commit to exercising and yet when doing it yesterday I felt so thankful that all I have to do is show up.  For others it is a lot harder and I think it is really easy to forget that.