One Year, One Essay

The essay I published on The Huffington Post last week, A Season of Darkness and Light, is the only piece of writing I published in 2014, with the exception of a piece I wrote in 2013 for that was published in January.

My father’s suicide is an issue I have always wanted to touch on in my writing, but never quite knew how. While I’ve never met anyone who writes for the money, it was the prospect of winning the large cash prize in Glamour magazine’s essay contest that prompted me to start untangling 19 years of grief and shape it into something publishable. I submitted a 2,000 word disjointed mess in early 2014 and filed it away for a while.

In addition to being a paid contributor to a print magazine, another writing dream of mine is to write Young Adult fiction. It’s one of my favorite genres to read. This summer I decided to actually, finally try to write fiction in an NYU class called Getting Into the Writing Habit. During the class, we tried different prompts and exercises to come up with material. Despite my professor’s encouragement, I’m not positive that fiction is for me. I found it really difficult. There are so many decisions to make when creating a fictional world, and it seems daunting. I felt blocked by all of the clutter that was still in my mind from working on my essay and my feelings about my dad.

In the fall, I signed up for a course with a private writing professor whom I admire. She asked each student to bring in an essay, so I dusted off the Glamour contest essay, reworked it, and read it out loud. I started crying in the middle of the second page, so another student took over. Then she started crying as well. It was a mess, but I got useful feedback.

I rewrote the essay over and over and cried a bunch more along the way. I submitted it to The New York Times. After a week, during the Christmas party at work, they emailed me back, passing on it. I pitched a few more places and didn’t hear back, so at last I published the essay on The Huffington Post.

Getting paid would have been nice, but what I wanted most was to have the essay completed and published so other people who have lost someone could read it and know that it’s ok not to feel like sunshine and rainbows throughout the holiday season. So even though the essay is only around 800 words, I feel like I accomplished something big. I can finally file it away and move on.


Pink Friday: Miley Cyrus x MAC #VIVAGLAM Coming January 22, 2015

Yesterday I stumbled upon a tweet by Miley Cyrus announcing her partnership with MAC Viva Glam for 2015.

Touche on the caption, Miley.

my lipgloss b poppin 💋 #vivaglam

A post shared by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

All proceeds from the sale of her lipstick and lipglass will go to the MAC AIDS fund. I’m especially excited about the hot pink color. I bought the Nicki Minaj Viva Glam lipstick but not the Rihanna, because it didn’t really work with my skin tone. The lipstick is $16 and the lipglass is $15, so purchasing it is an inexpensive way to help those living with HIV and AIDS.

Also, bonus savings tip: MAC has a “back to MAC” recycling program that lets you turn in six empty containers for a new lipstick, lipglass or eyeshadow. I believe Viva Glam is excluded from this promotion, but it’s a great way to refresh your makeup wardrobe on the cheap.

See the slideshow of photos over at Refinery29.


Event: Sophie Kinsella Celebrates Shopaholic to the Stars at Red Door Spa

Shopaholic to the Stars
Shopaholic to the Stars

On Monday night, author Sophie Kinsella celebrated the release of her new novel in the Shopaholic series, SHOPAHOLIC TO THE STARS! I’ve been a huge fan of the series for years – and so is my mom!

Our Elizabeth Arden red lips.
Our Elizabeth Arden red lips.

We enjoyed mini-makeovers by Elizabeth Arden makeup artists. My mom got a new red lipstick and I got a new eyebrow powder. We also got mini oxygen facials and had snacks, Skinnygirl wine and cupcakes. And check out this Lanvin bag-shaped cake! Who else is excited to read about Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood)?

Let them eat Lanvin.


Book Review: Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman

If you follow me on Goodreads, you know that I’m a big fan of YA. The Voracious Reader bookstore graciously lent me a copy of BACKLASH by Sarah Darer Littman, which deals with cyberbullying and the resulting fallout.

I tore through Sarah Darer Littman’s last book, WANT TO GO PRIVATE? and I’m happy to report that BACKLASH delivered the same level of page-turning suspense. The book is told from four perspectives, or two sets of siblings: Lara, her younger sister Sydney, Lara’s former friend Bree, and Bree’s younger brother Liam.

The book opens with Lara’s suicide attempt after a boy named Christian breaks up with her online, explains the events that lead up to the attempt two months prior, and takes the readers through the resulting fallout and the families trying to rebuild their lives. What I liked about this book was that I got a strong sense of each character’s motivation for behaving the way he/she did — even the parents. The events in the book are partly inspired by real events, so the book could have gone the direction of a Lifetime movie, but it didn’t. Instead, each character gets his/her chance to explain to the reader how he/she feels. The result is a thoughtful look at the impact that our actions, online and off, can have on others. This book asks an important question: does someone who bullies someone else deserve to be bullied in return?

BACKLASH will be out in March 2015.