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I reviewed a sweet little summer read over at BlogHer — Karen White’s The Beach Trees. Below is a snippet, but you can head over to the full post for the real scoop on the book!

Culture shock doesn’t always require a passport, proven in Karen White’s latest book, The Beach Trees. There’s no other way to describe Julie Holt’s initial reaction to everything she experiences on her first trip to the Gulf Coast, visiting the hurricane-ravaged landscape and heartbroken family her best friend, Monica left behind but described in detail, both with words and paintings, until her untimely death.

Julie, a lifelong New Englander living in New York, attempts to put tragedy — her sister’s childhood disappearance 17 years ago and her best friend’s recent death — in her rearview mirror as she drives south to River Song, the beach house Monica left her in Biloxi, armed only with the keys to the home, which was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, and Monica’s 5-year-old boy, Beau. For the first time in her life, she has no plan, but, she soon learns that Biloxi, New Orleans, and Monica’s estranged family have plans for her.

(Seriously, go over and read the full review. Go on, now!)

The rumors you’ve heard are true. (Which probably isn’t a surprise, since I’m the one who started them.) I wear glasses now. It’s like being full-time fancy, I guess, except that I’m just wearing glasses all the time* instead of, I don’t know, whatever it is you might do if you’re full-time fancy. Eat bon bons? Drink wine you didn’t get on sale for $6.99? You tell me.

You like them, right? (And by them, I mean me, naturally.)

Anyway, this is kind of a big deal for me, and I’m talking about how it happened, what I think about it (and also which other glasses I think are super cute) over at BlogHer Style. You should probably read it. And then tell me you like my glasses, unless you want your glasses shoved in a very uncomfortable place. And I don’t mean the back of a Volkswagen.

(*Obviously, when I say “all the time,” I mean a good portion of the time, when it’s convenient and I remember and I haven’t misplaced them somewhere in the house. If I ever get to a point where I need to wear them for running or something, I’ll be looking into contacts, thankyouverymuch. I’m not a running in glasses kind of girl. Unless they’re sunglasses and, you know, it’s sunny out.)

So, tomorrow eeeearrrrly (ok, not that early for normal people, but early for folks like me who always get up at 7:30 or 8 and don’t like to use an alarm), I’ll be on my way to New York City for BlogHer ’10. This is my second time going, so theoretically, I totally know what I’m doing. The empty suitcase on my bed tells me I’m a bit less of an expert than I think I am.

Anyway, I know a lot of amazing people will be there, and I’d totally like to meet you! So, here’s a fairly recent picture of me. I’ll probably look just like this — I’ll wear my hair in a braid a couple of times, it’s likely I’ll be a little sweaty, and I’m totally bringing that shirt. So, if you see me, please come say hi!

For those of you who I’ll be meeting for the first time (and maybe also rooming with — hi, Roxanna!), here are a few things about me. Because, well, I can always talk about me. I’m kind of an expert on the topic.

  1. I’m not much of a hugger. If I know you well (IRL or online), have had a bit to drink, or have just experienced something emotional, I might be comfortable hugging you. But if I don’t hug you, don’t be offended. It’s just not my thing.
  2. I love to dance. Seriously, if you want someone out on the dance floor with you, as long as I’m not in some deep conversation or just refilled a super-spillable martini glass, I’m your girl.
  3. Let’s eat. I don’t eat meat (though I do eat seafood), but I love love love to eat. In fact, I totally want to squeeze in this food tour. Any takers? In particular, I love Mexican and pizza, but I also really enjoy sushi and Thai food, and I rarely say no to Indian food. And I’m totally looking forward to good New York bagels.
  4. I don’t want to share my drink. And not just because I’m a boozehound. If you ask for a sip of my water/margarita/absinthe, please don’t think I’m an ass if I a) say no or b) say yes and then tell you to go ahead and finish it. I have a thing about drinking after people, especially if there’s lipstick or gloss or OH MY GOD I’M ACTUALLY SHAKING FROM PICTURING THIS GROOOOSSSSSSSS. So, yeah, it’s definitely not you. It’s very much me. Sorry about that.
  5. I’m not quite comfortable in the city. I’m seriously, completely excited to go to New York, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive. Walking a few blocks to the subway to get somewhere is probably totally normal for you, but it’s a little scary for me. Please don’t poke fun.
  6. I might not know who you are. But I don’t expect anybody to know who I am in person, either. If I know you from the internet, I probably have a picture of you in my head. It might look like your Twitter avatar, it might look like a picture from your blog, or it might look like Wilma Flintstone for no reason whatsoever. But whether I recognize you or not, I swear I am excited to meet you.
  7. I might burp. I don’t mean to, but sometimes, it just happens. I apologize in advance.
  8. Things I like: Chardonnay, vodka tonic, cute animal pictures (who doesn’t?), funny stories. I also really like TV — I absolutely love Chuck, but other current favorites are Burn Notice, White Collar (yes, I’m into the spy thing these days), Psych, Law & Order (any and all), Glee, House Hunters International (I mean, regular House Hunters is okay, but watching that after International is kind of like going back to straight, black coffee after you’ve had delicious french vanilla coffee with a bit of cream, you know?). And I would love to know what books you’re reading, although I haven’t read too many recently.

So, will I see you there?

You might be under the impression that, at last weekend’s conference, all I did was eat and drink and laugh. And while that truly comprised a huge portion of the weekend, I was actually really busy. I swear!

Watch out, women drivers

On Thursday, I attended the Ford What Women Want event, where we learned a lot about Ford’s efforts toward sustainability. I’ll write more on this at GreenDaily, but I have to say I was amazed and impressed. They’re working to reduce emissions and waste from start of production until well after the car is in our hands, and they’re using incredible new technology to create new fabrics that get rid of the need for nasty chemicals and plastics. Awesome.

(Plus, they let us drive around some phat cars — one had a refrigerator inside. Can anyone say tailgate? Actually, no, they can’t, because everyone else was a mom and excited about the juice box possibilities …)

With Jessica in front of the car that HAD A FRIDGE. I want.

With Jessica in front of the car that HAD A FRIDGE. I want.

A Hair Affair

After cruising around with Ford, I headed out to a little boutique called Sparrow, where some lovely women were gettin’ their hair did (plus, the salon was serving champers and cheese — score!). It was an amazing salon, and I have no doubt that, if I lived in the area, that’s exactly where I would go. It’s a beautiful old barbershop, and it’s updated enough to be modern, but retains enough of the original to be oh-so-classy.

Bottoms Up

I wouldn’t have minded spending more time at Sparrow longer if it weren’t for the fact that there was a cocktail party that night, and holy moly, I met so many people that I actually ran out of business cards (not entirely, just out of the ones I’d taken for that evening). This was the first of the incredibly late nights, ending with a cheesy enchilada at, uh, 2:30am? But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been moving the next morning without it.

Susan and Cat -- two of my favorite people, and not just on the Internet.

Susan and Cat -- two of my favorite people, and not just on the Internet.

YTBA, represent!

Due to my predilection for cheesy goodness (see above: cheesy enchilada in the wee hours of the morning), I don’t have the flattest tummy. So, when I was asked to be a Yummie Tummie Brand Ambassador at BlogHer, I didn’t hesitate to do a cartwheel and spell out HELL YES with my pom poms. I already had the strappy tank, but at BlogHer, I tried out the boyfriend tank. It’s shapewear, but it’s comfy, and it’s actually okay for people to see the top and bottom, so it’s perfect for layering. And for hiding an enchilada belly. (Oh, and because I did SUCH a great job as a YTBA, you’re totally eligible for a 30% discount if you order by August 8 and use BLOGHER30 as your code. You’re welcome.)

Suave and Degree Party at The Wit

You know how, when you were a kid and you imagined a cocktail party, you had a distinct image in your mind? This party was exactly my image. Stylish couches, amazing views, fun music, a fireplace, delicious food, wine and cocktails. Oh, and the company wasn’t so shabby, either.

Susan, Whoorl, Metalia, me, and Chris getting ready to take shots. Yes, really.

Susan, Whoorl, Metalia, me, and Chris getting ready to take shots. Yes, really.

But seriously, this was low-key done right. The time flew and we all had an amazing time. Perfection.

Yep, those are glowsticks. When aren't they a perfect accessory?

MamaPop Sparklecorn Extravaganza

Yep, those are glowsticks. When aren’t they a perfect accessory?

If two out of those three words don’t make sense to you, don’t sweat it. Just know this — those MamaPop folks? They know how to throw a party. The music was great, particularly the excellent selection of Beastie Boys, and the dance floor was hopping. When it was over, a bunch of us ended up in my hotel room for 3am pizza. Good lord, no wonder I need the Yummie Tummie.

BowlHer, CheeseburgHer, I’m a BoozHer

Saturday night had several more events. A cocktail party at the hotel (natch), then BowlHer, a party at which they handed out hot pink boas at the door, so I immediately knew it was my kind of place. Unfortunatley, said boas turned out to be wicked itchy, and only beer was free, not wine, so we didn’t stay as long as we might have.

Another party, the CheeseburgHer party, was happening back at the hotel, and you know, when you first go to college and you go to that house party that’s all whoa? Yep, this was a bit of a flashback to that. It was packed, and hot, and there were cheeseburgers abounding. I made a loop through and headed down to the lobby bar.

The evening, and hence the weekend, ended quietly. Surprising, considering the insanity that had gone on every other night. We all made our good-byes at a reasonable time and there were no crazy late night snacks. I did, however, find I was a little tipsier than I thought when I tried to finish packing my suitcase. That’s a job best done stone sober.

Tomorrow morning, I’m off again to Chicago, this time for a Tropicana event (have you entered to win a fruit and juice basket from them yet?). I don’t anticipate the weekend being quite so wild, but I’m hoping to have just as much fun with it.

(Alternate title: OMG OMG OMG I get to leave the house!!!!)

Over the next couple of weeks, my job has me traveling. I KNOW — the hermit will actually leave her office. Hope you were sitting down for that.

First things first: I’m going to BlogHer in Chicago, and seriously, people, I could NOT be more excited. I get to meet — IN PERSON — some of my favorite internet coworkers. There will be drinks and parties and probably even some hugs. Hugs that I’m already okay with.

I really, really hope you were sitting down for that.

Aside from the schmoozing and the chatting and the trading of makeup and talking about shoes, I’ll be doing some learning. The first bit of that will come courtesy of Ford, as I’m attending their What Women Want Vehicle Tech and Event. So, I’m coming to you — what do you want in a vehicle? I know what’s important to me — a vehicle needs to fit all of my stuff, plus two dogs. But, it needs to get reasonably good gas mileage and — most importantly — it has to look cool.

Now, let’s move ahead to the following weekend, when I’ll be heading back to Chi-town for another conference. This one is sponsored by Tropicana, and is much, much smaller. I’ll be accompanied by my friend, Fitz, and we’ll be learning about food, fitness, and sustainability. One of the things that I’ve had a hard time with regarding Tropicana is that I feel like juice is just empty calories — if I’m gonna drink my calories, I’d better at least be getting buzzed, you know? But they have some cool recipes using juice (which sneaks lots of great nutrients into your food).

But I want to find out what you want to know. Are you worried about any part of the juice-making process? Are you looking for a different product? What makes you choose one brand over another, and what would change your mind?

Talk to me, folks. I promise I’ll try to make it worth your while — stay tuned!

Just in case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t waste spend a large portion of their day reading all my blogs, I thought I would throw in another one: Beauty Hacks! My first post just went live, and I’d loooove some friendly comments.

I’ll only be there once or twice a month, but you have the ability to get involved and post your own goodies — go check it out!

So, I know I haven’t really been around much lately, and I’m really, really sorry. I’d like to say I’ve been swamped, and I have been, kinda, doing things like rebuilding and rehanging a fence door (which is HAAAAARD), and laying pavers for a patio (probably hard, but J did most of it while I was out), and hanging curtains and mirrors and pictures and AAAHHH. Where was I?

The Fourth of July weekend got me behind with work, and there’s no better feeling than starting the month off behind, you know, so I’ve been struggling to catch back up. I’ll do it, and it’ll be cool, but for the first time, I’ve had that feeling of, “Sheesh, this job is TOUGH.” Until now, it’s been all,  “La, di da, I’m getting up today and WRITING and it’s LOVELY and la, di da, di da …” Guess the honeymoon’s over.

But, along those lines, I have a new job to add to my resume! I am a content editor for Beauty Hacks, which is a new division of BlogHer, and it’s fabulous. My post will be the first one (assuming everything is working), and it’s going live tomorrow (Tuesday), so, if you have a minute, check it out and leave nice comments!

But, I’ll give you one guess as to where I HAVEN’T been much — the gym. I have such a hard time keeping multiple important things a priority. Now, who wants to motivate me?