It's hard to believe, but my Creative Partners Project for Storybird – a middle grade novel called SOME PIG IN THE CITY – is winding down. Just two more chapters left, and it's all over! Thank you for following along Josie & Hamlet's adventures over the last year. It's been a wonderful experience, and I love reading each and every comment... Link over to read Chapters 1-13 & updated Author's Notebook entries.
Anyone who knows me knows my love for Stokke – I've used their products every day since my son was born almost three years ago and have only wonderful things to say about their designs, people & company mission. Stokke totally hit the mark with some recent exciting product releases – an updated version of the Stokke Scoot stroller, an all-new Cube Style Kit, and the Limited Edition Stokke Xplory True Black. Besides the bazillion connection & functionality benefits of this stroller (which I've reviewed in detail over the years), this iconic design in this all-new black look is absolutely stunning!
I've barely had time to catch my breath lately, and updating the website has been on backburner. Things are insane, but good! My sister was in town, and we shopped for vintage treasures at Brooklyn Flea and wined & dined at Cafe Cluny and Hudson Clearwater in the West Village (both spots are AMAZING), grabbed beers & beef jerky at Brooklyn Brewery, walked Park Ave on the last day of Summer Streets, and strolled the High Line. My husband and I have been exploring Connecticut on the weekends, and Townes enjoyed his first carnival, complete with a Flying Elephants ride. It's the last whisper of Summer here in New York, and we're getting excited for our little guy's transition into preschool next month. Oh! And I'm entering into Week 3 of CrossFit. It's as hard as I feared, but more fun than I imagined.
Chapter 10 of SOME PIG IN THE CITY posted last week.
Totally obsessed with this right now.
If money were no object....
Am I the last person who hasn't seen this? Dying.
You can usually find me here.
After MONTHS of working on this project, my serialized middle grade novel for Storybird, SOME PIG IN THE CITY, is coming to a close next month. Catch up on Chapters 1-10 and stay tuned for the final chapters – a new one posts every other week – on Storybird. Thanks for following along Hamlet and Josie's adventures!
P.S. Did you know there's an Author's Notebook too?
The YA Muses have decided to take a hiatus from blogging to focus on our writing. You can learn more on our latest (and last...) blog post and check out the redesigned website for resources on writing for teens & children, inspirational ideas, craft tips, and information on ourselves/our work. Here are all the blog posts I wrote for the YA Muses over the last year. Thanks for reading and following!
As if Stokke wasn't already on a roll this month with the announcement of an upgraded Stokke Scoot stroller and brand new Storm Grey color for Tripp Trapp.... the company just revealed an all-new stroller, Stokke Trailz! It's marketed as a versatile All Terrain stroller, which nicely compliments their Connection line-up of Xplory, Crusi, and Scoot. I'm SO excited to see one of these beauties up close very, very soon, and I'll be sure to post pics! In the meantime, check out these gorgeous images from a Stokke photo shoot with Trailz...
I recently discovered Jason Polan's art and I'm in love... His technique, subjects, New York City, the American Museum of Natural History, everything... I couldn't pick just one print to buy for my toddler son's room redo– so I bought these two, Sea Creatures & Dinosaurs. Jason is currently working on a project called 'Every Person in New York' and shares his sketches on Instagram and his blog. Check out more of Jason's work available for purchase at 20x200.
Yesterday we strolled around Central Park and the UES. It was good to get out of our neighborhood.
I probably haven't mentioned it on the blog, but my older sister & her family (5 kids!) live in an RV full-time. They made the switch after her husband retired from the Marine Corps, and they've been enjoying life on the road for over a year now... They home school the older kids and do various internships at farms, etc, around the country, following the weather to warmer temperatures.
Right now they're in Florida, so on recent trips down south, I've had the chance to hang out with them more. Every time I visit the fam at their RV & campsite, I'm reminded of the beauty of simplicity. Their life focus on faith & purpose & family has caused me to think deeper about my/our own, and how I want to raise my son.
Enter Airstream. I think I'm in love. I don't personally know anyone who owns an Airstream (well, my brother has a '58 Silverstream, which looks almost the same, different brand though) but I'm a fan. Not only are Airstreams awesome-looking, the designs are well-made & last generations if well-cared for, and the brand has a solid reputation. While in Florida I visited a dealership twice to get more information on the models + brand and was impressed with what I learned. I even made (asked?) my dad to go to a second dealership to grill them with more questions and get his feedback (gotta love it when Dad swoops in for back-up!).
I'm #4 out of five kids. Growing up, our family vacations were often camping adventures (either tent or with a travel trailer) out in Colorado. Some of those experiences were the best of my childhood – I often share these stories when I speak in schools about adventure travel & how my early love for nature inspired my career choices as a writer.
I love living in New York City. We've been here going on four years now. It's an incredible city – arguably the coolest city on the planet – and I'm grateful for this chapter in my life, even when I'm grumpy about not having a backyard, or how expensive everything is, or how I'm jealous of anyone who has a washer & dryer. I experienced my pregnancy here in New York City, gave birth to my son here, raised him into toddlerhood here, and he starts preschool in the fall (already! where has the time gone?!). But the city can be a bit stifling at times too (for ALL of us), and coupled with my wanderlust, we're often talking about our next adventure beyond these brick walls. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a restless wanderer and road trip warrior, and it feels like Airstream might fit the bill for a mobile vacation home/NYC escape. Thankfully I married an amazing man who loves adventure travel as much as I do!
Will we get one? I'm not sure. We'd like to test one out first. But the idea of getting away from NYC on some weekends to the Great Outdoors is incredibly appealing. Here are a few pics from a 19-foot Airstream I toured... Isn't she a beauty?! I'm ready to hitch her up and hit the road! (Is it hard to hitch one up?? I have no idea!).
I'd actually consider living FT in an RV – at least, for a designated period of time, like six months or a year – But it's not in our cards right now. Wouldn't it be fun to tour the Pacific Northwest for awhile with a travel trailer? Or the Southwest, through Sedona and Tucson? Our first apartment in New York was smaller than my sister's fifth wheel trailer, so I feel like we're already prepped for tiny living :)
Awesome Airstream renovations.
More Airstream models.
Do you think you could live in an RV full-time? And do you know anyone who has an Airstream? I'd love to hear their review!
After 3+ weeks in Florida and misc travel before that, we're thrilled to have our little family unit reunited and back home in New York City :) The last month has been a whirlwind of socializing with our families & friends, tackling work projects & soaking up the summer sunshine. I must admit it's incredibly refreshing to be experiencing breezy 70-degree temperatures again – I'd forgotten how SWELTERY Florida gets in the summer. Bring on the fall & boots & scarves! I'm ready.
The last time I visited Mote Marine Laboratory I was there to research dolphins, sharks & sea turtles and, ironically, with the SOME PIG IN THE CITY illustrator Katy Betz. It was fun to be back there last week with my two year old son... He loved it. His excitement and sense of wonder over all the marine life was thrilling for me to watch.
Last week I met up with SOME PIG IN THE CITY illustrator (and my good friend!) Katy Betz in Sarasota, Florida, for a lunch + creative work date. It was so much fun (and big thanks to my mom for hanging with Townes so I could venture off!). I've been lucky enough to see Katy every couple of months in New York or Florida, but this was the first time we've gotten together in person since our creative collaboration in SOME PIG IN THE CITY.
Katy has the most charming & inspiring art studio in her house, and I got to see the ORIGINALS from her charcoal sketches, which for me was like walking into the Met! I wanted to take them all home with me but I would never do that to Katy ;) She's a Professor of Illustration at Ringling College of Art & Design (amaze) and uses her art for teaching.
Katy and I went to Perq Coffee Bar to work – It's newly-opened spot in Sarasota, so if you're in the area, I definitely recommend it. Real deal coffee + awesome ambiance. Katy knows one of the owners – he was super nice and taught us about some of the unique coffees they carry and special methods of brewing that Perq offers.
Katy was finishing up an illustration for an upcoming chapter, while I wrote Chapter 8 (which posts this weekend – stay tuned! Catch up on the latest chapters here). It's a shame we don't live closer to one another because having the chance to chat/ask questions while we worked was really something special. I'm so blessed to have Katy as the illustrator for SOME PIG IN THE CITY. Her talent & dedication to the project has helped push me to write better on all levels, from character development to the depth of plot.... Katy often asks me questions that challenge me to think about Josie's motivations, or Hamlet's unique personality, or the visual and emotional components of this specific city setting. I hope you're enjoying the story because we're having a lot of fun creating it!
*NEW FEATURE* SOME PIG IN THE CITY now has an Author's Notebook page with behind-the-scenes details on writing/illustrating this middle grade story. Link over!
Have you heard of the award-winning baby/kids bath, Stokke Flexi Bath? It wasn't sold in the USA when my son was a baby, but we started using it recently for a variety of purposes (toy storage, laundry basket & home pedicures to name a few!) and love it. Flexi Bath is lightweight and foldable – super easy for storage & travel. If you need a baby shower present or are adding to your baby registry, Stokke Flexi Bath is awesome and only costs $40 for something that'll last for years and grow with little one. Added bonus? Flexi Bath doubles as a splash pool at the beach! Pics to follow from our day at Pass-a-Grille in St. Petersburg, Florida....
We evacuated Cape Hatteras last Thursday as Hurricane Arthur swept through OBX (thankfully, all seems well in the area in his aftermath) and had a quick 36-hours back home in New York. Did you have a good Fourth of July? The city moved the fireworks to the Eastside this year. Bummer for us. It was a lot more convenient to walk across the street for the big show. So we didn't end up making the trek that evening and just pretended the little snap and pops we saw in OBX counted as Independence Day celebrations.
My son and I flew down to Florida yesterday, and we'll be here for the remainder of the month, spending time with my friends and family while I work remotely. Hopefully we'll have a few nice beach days too.
This afternoon I'm working on Chapter 7 of SOME PIG IN THE CITY. Not the most glamorous view from the Panera Bread patio, but I have lots of work to crank out... Oh! And I cut six inches off my hair. I feel free.
I'm wayyyy behind on blogging, but we're on vacation in the Outer Banks right now and loving every moment of family time! I'll post updates & photos one of these days, but with lots of travel and client projects on the horizon, I'm not quite sure when I can get to it.
I cracked open THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS on the beach and am loving it so far! Have you read this new book by Elizabeth Gilbert?
The Freshman Fifteens, a group of 15 authors publishing debut Young Adult novels in 2015 (some of them are friends of mine!), are teaming with online writing community Wattpad to organize a writing and mentoring contest that opened for entries on June 30. So awesome! Enter!
Fabulous news announced last week: Guinevere de la Mare from Chronicle Books (!!!!) is joining Storybird.
Last week for the Summer Solstice, I took part in the Bikram Yoga in Times Square event for the fourth year. It's my favorite annual NYC event! Photos & videos here. It's free! Add it to your 2015 Calendar of Events, if yoga's your thing.
Also, I saw Aladdin on Broadway a week or two ago – If you're a fan of the movie, it's pretty much identical. The Genie stole the show! And yes, A Whole New World is performed on a magic carpet ride, which is equally cheesy and thrilling.
I tried CrossFit for the first time. I required two bands to complete a pull-up in good form, but the workout was awesome and I was sore for three days. I think I'm going to do the Foundations/Elements classes.
Summer means free outdoor concerts in many NYC-area parks, but we've recently taken to the ones in Riverside Park on the UWS. It's been the perfect weekend activity to meet up with friends, have our kids play together, and eat & drink while listening to music. Info here.
I post more frequent updates on life, travel & work on my Facebook page. Hope everyone is having a lovely Summer! xo