Inspiration 8.31.14

Happy Labor Day Weekend! I had a lovely week working with some fantastic kids in the city. I love Manhattan in summer. People still are scurrying back and forth to the next important thing, but they linger in the sunshine, or peer over stands of fruit and secondhand books, and let their children stop to pet the pampered dogs paddling behind their owners.
I spent the weekend so far catching up with friends. Being part of the Boomerang Generation, (at least for a little longer) it’s nice to rekindle some of my friendships from high school and see how everyone’s life is.
I hope you’re having a lackadaisical Labor Day, too! Enjoy the week’s links:


Have an lazy, languid, luxurious Labor Day weekend!

Love always,


The Characters of our Lives

Shakespeare wrote a few times, that life resembles a play being performed on stage. In As You Like It, a monologue begins with,

“All the world’s a stage, 
and all the men and women merely players: 
they have their exits and their entrances; 
and one man in his time plays many parts, 
his acts being seven ages.” 

As I go through life, I find this to be extraordinarily true in many regards. One of them pertaining to the people who join us in our own play. There are many cliched ways to say people come in and out of your life.

Some leave, because their own curtain call beckons, taking them to the other side, which we won’t see for a while yet. Some are yanked into the wings. Some storm offstage on their own, with nary an explanation to you. And you must pick up the pieces. The show must go on.

A new act in a new setting might bring a whole motley of new characters. And some you know may transform. Maybe they turn into lovers, or best friends, or maybe they betray you, and break your heart in the end.

In Macbeth, Shakespeare writes another brilliant passage,

“…Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more…”

It’s inexplicable really, to us, why sometimes the players in our lives disappear, and are suddenly missing in the next scene. Maybe we pushed them out ourselves. Or maybe they vanished on their own. And maybe they’re waiting, just offstage, for the right moment to come back.

I have a habit, of losing friends, every few years. Sometimes it’s my fault. Sometimes it’s theirs. And oftentimes, it’s nobody’s fault, just the mysterious machinations of life.

We grow apart, and our character arcs take us in different directions.
We fight, or life contrives conflicts that are beyond our control.
Sometimes, we’re just left to wonder.

But later on, in an act that takes place years later, we can look back and find the patterns. The clues, the foreshadowing, that led up to those changes that seemed so inexplicable. If we’re lucky, those people are still in the wings, waiting for their cue that we need them again. But sometimes, they’ve gone, off to star in another play. And that’s okay.

We change. Our characters develop. That’s how this is supposed to go.

All we can hope is that maybe Shakespeare was wrong. Maybe our plays aren’t just a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Maybe there’s a reason to the chaos. I miss the people who were such central figures to my life’s play, who helped my character grow and navigate the stormy upheavals of my younger years. And maybe we’ll reunite one day, full of wit and wisdom so rare to find in Shakespearean characters (you have to admit, he does enjoy writing fools).

Or maybe our part of the story is done, and that’s okay too.

The curtain rises. The next act is on.


Love always,

Inspiration 8.24.14

Wait, where did summer go? Is it really, truly, nearly September? Luckily this weekend, I’m seeing summer off with a bang out at my friend’s summer house. It’s a yearly tradition at this point for all of us to gather out there. I think it’s so important to have these sorts of traditions, especially now as we are all disappearing into the vacuum of adulthood.
Though, I doubt we’re that grown up. I think most of us are just marvelous pretenders. And isn’t that true for the majority of people? At least, I hope so.
Here are your weekend links for some mindless browsing!

• What do you think of this Goodreads list of Most Difficult Novels? Accurate? Scary? Inspiring?

• How the “Orange is the New Black” came to be casted – a fascinating read for anyone into the groundbreaking show

• I think most of us need this Nerd Fitness guide for the start of autumn: How to Become a Morning Person!

• Zucchini noodles are perfect for those gluten-free or following a low-carb lifestyle. And they’re green!

• Wow… I loved this story about what it was like to work at a super rich girls’ sleep-away camp

• I’m tentatively excited to hear there will be new adaptations of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Hopefully these tips will make sure the films do them justice (hint hint, no sparkles!)

• And a sweet story about how one granddaughter helped her grandma rebel against the nursing home


Have an illustrious weekend!

Love always,

My Gluttonous Wishlist

There are things you take for granted before you have a food allergy. Like, being able to eat anything and everything without your stomach mutinying your body. Saying hell yes to the coworker’s birthday cupcakes. Trying those little samples at the mall.

Then food allergies change your life. There’s things I’ll never do now. Being able to join the Peace Corps. Being able to travel to far flung countries, point to oddly colored and pungent foods from random street vendors and give your all-accommodating digestive system a real adventure.

Back when gluten and I were still pals.

A food allergy, though. That’s Gandalf standing right at your sphincter, wielding his staff and yelling “YOU SHALL NOT PASS”.

Suddenly, you’re like your friend – the one who rattles off his allergies like they’re the weather report. You’re like that kid you saw in elementary school, the one the lunch ladies would have the special tray ready for. And some foods can be made allergen-free. But not every food, and sometimes the attempted concoction just makes you even sadder.

Luckily, being allergic to gluten isn’t going to kill me the second it touches my grain-hating body. There also happens to be a vaccine in the works. The gluten-free craze could be over as quickly as it started.

I don’t know if I would take it – I’m so used to the gluten-free life, and new medications can be a tad iffy. But if the universe was to give me a reprieve from celiac (and calories) for one day, I have a ready to go list of the foods that I would gorge upon. I just imagine a heavenly culinary angel telling me to start doing one of those old Supermarket Races, where I sprint up and down the aisles, stuffing my face with wheat.

1. Crusty Italian bread
This was a staple in my Italian-American upbringing. It came in a long, white paper bag. I used to scoop out the fluffy white inside and leave the crust behind when I was little.

2. Pizza from Silvio’s in Thornwood, New York
You can’t beat New York pizza and Silvio’s is my ambrosia of the pizza world. A crust papery thin, red sauce, and just the perfectly prerequisite amount of greasy cheese… Yum. I’ll trade in my lactose intolerance for this opportunity too, thanks.

3. Snyder’s Honey Mustard Pretzels
I don’t know why. But I want them. Unf.

4. Quaker’s Oatmeal Squares
Real talk. In high school, I once ate an entire box of these. I don’t know what it is, but those rough, oat-y squares are strangely addictive. Other contenders in the world of cereal are Special K, Life, and Cap’n Crunch.

5. Cinnamon Raisin Bagel
Of course, only from a New York bagel shop.

6. Thanksgiving Stuffing.
Oh, also Jiffy cornbread muffins. Oh gosh, is it November yet?

7. Whoppers
A lot of people hate these malty, chalky candies. I LOVE THEM. But malt comes from barley, and barley’s all buddy-buddy with gluten. It’s like a fun little club, Barley, Rye, and Wheat. Sometimes they let Oats come and chill with them too, so they can plot new ways to wreak havoc on my internal organs. Also, Kit Kat bars. I hate Kit Kat bars, but now that I can’t have them, I want them,

8. Munchkins
Why not continue the unhealthy trend? Getting Dunkins coffee is just sad when all those donuts are staring at you from their waxed paper shelves. I sometimes buy one and force a gluten-eating friend to eat it so I may vicariously enjoy it.

9. Naan
If you’ve never had this Indian flatbread, then you haven’t lived.

10. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Oh, now I’ve made myself super sad. I want to go stab one of those tubes and roll up those little triangles, and have them turn into magic in the oven. One day, little doughboy, you and I shall meet again…

My brother, who also is GF, said his first choice would also be pizza, but ruminating on this is too depressing for him. So I’ll turn it to whoever’s reading this – do any of you have a food allergy? What would you eat if you didn’t have it?

Love Always,

Inspiration 8.17.14

Oops! Sorry for the late post today. As an apology, I’m including three extra links today!

Last weekend, I celebrated the six month mark for BiblioSmiles! Our fantastic editor Danielle, as well as some of our writers, like Andrew, Alyson, and Kim, had a lovely time mixing some Fitzgeralds to get us going! I’m so happy to have found this fantastic community. And to have had the chance to check out Danielle’s new city digs – I’m super proud of her for everything she’s done recently.

In other news, the incredible interns at my job had their last week, since they have to return to college. They are all inspiring, creative people, and I’m so lucky to have had the chance to work with them. I wish them nothing but success, though I doubt they need my wishes for that!

As usual, here are some links for you weekend browsing.

The lovely Jen is doing the Classics Club Challenge and asked what our thoughts are on adaptations.

My mom tried to make banana pudding this week, but banana bread donuts are much more my speed

Why we should admit that we don’t wake up as flawless goddess beauties

I think everyone is saddened by Robin Williams’ passing, but I was surprised to learn about his following in the gamer community

Speaking of Robin Williams, here are some of his best performances, as gathered by Mashable.  In his own words, “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

Doctor Who returns next week with the formidable Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi. Take the Companion quiz to see which New Who companion you’d be. I, kind of regrettably, got Clara.

The Times Square mascots creep me out, but the New York Times offers a humanizing look into the lives behind the masks

How long do I get to pretend to be a recent college graduate? Thought Catalog’s Jae Sung shares advice on how to make the transition to being a real adult

XOJane offers insight into what it’s like growing up with a gay mom

I love this info graphic of NPR’s top fantasy and sci-fi books

Love always,

Accomplished! The Nuyorican Poets Cafe

When I was a tiny little frosh in high school, attempting to be gothic and failing epically, my English teacher decided to introduce our brains to slam poetry.

She did this by bringing in Zork.

Zork, a giant ginger of a man, came into our very homogeneous, very snide den of vipers known as ninth-graders, and performed this. As you can imagine, we had no idea of what to make of him.

Ever since Zork came in and gave us a very… peculiar English class, I’ve been curious about spoken word poetry, and its New York mecca, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. For too long, I’ve felt like a failing of a literary New Yorker because I had never been there. Until last week. I finally made it over there with Writopia Lab’s Teen Poetry Night.

Playwright, program developer, and all around awesome person, Danielle Sheeler introduced the poets

Danielle Sheeler, playwright, program developer, and all around awesome person, introduced the teen poets

The teen writers had waaaaay more moxie than me, as they stood up in front of everyone and bared their souls through their poetry. It’s one thing to blather on when I’m teaching or leading a group.

But poetry. That’s like opening your veins, and saying, listen, this is the sound of my blood, singing the words of my heart. This is all the pain, the power, the story of my world, my lifetime on this planet.

It’s… intense. To stare at a crowd of strangers and let them hear that.

But we had an amazing motley of poets. There were four boys from Brooklyn, who did a great rap. A teen boy who lamented his lack of ‘big balls’. And of course, my fellow Westchester writers were phenomenal. The issues they tackled, ranged from silly and tongue-in-cheek, to really tough ones. Suicide. Prejudice. Heartbreak.

They really showed that age is no barrier to how profoundly and deeply our experiences affect us. And how universal those experiences can be, at least the feelings that go along with them. I applaud each of them for sharing.

Maybe one day I’ll be as brave as they are.

I had never been to the East Village before, either. (Terrible New Yorker, yes, I’m aware). And it’s so crazy artsy. Neon mohawks, piercings, and tattoos adorn the body of almost everyone. I resisted gaping, but I wondered what sort of jobs they must have, to be able to express themselves so openly, and afford Manhattan’s insane rent.

Big. Gay. Ice Cream. The line was all along the sidewalk!

Big. Gay. Ice Cream. The line was all along the sidewalk!

We wandered over to this famous ice cream place, Big Gay Ice Cream, before we headed back to Grand Central. I had read about it before – it features flavors such as the Bea Arthur and the Salty Pimp. They even have gluten-free cones. Got to love it.

Ah! Already I want to go back and explore the area more. I love cities. I love how there are a million different worlds, all contained on this one island, and it’s outer boroughs. I guess most major cities must be like that. Still, it only fuels my hunger for experiencing as much as I can with the time I have.

Other countries are out there too – but there’s so much to see right in my own backyard.

Love Always,

Inspiration 8.10.14

The past week has been insane. I worked in the city with some amazingly talented people and young writers, and enjoyed the beauty of the Upper West Side in summer. I went to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe for the first time (more on this later!), a literary agency, and the six month celebration for Bibliosmiles! It’s been a whirlwind of running up, down, and all around, but I’ve loved every second of it.
Hope all your weeks are going well too, and you find a moment to catch your breath!

• Turn Down for What, helpfully dissected and explained. What should we turn down for?

• I loved Narratively’s entire series this week on Ice Cream, but this piece about how gelato broke through an autistic two-year-old’s mind was a compelling, funny, and unique read

• Not quite ice cream, but this gluten free recipe for Vanilla Sundae Cone Cupcakes looks like the perfect treat for this weekend

• Sarah volunteered for a day at Habitat for Humanity as part of her year’s bucket list. When doing good is on your bucket list, you’re doing something right

• Jenna Marbles is one of my spirit animals. “Things Girls Lie About” is spot on

• Disappointing – A husband and wife interview separately for the same job and get asked totally different questions

• A reminder that enough is enough, for every area of our lives


Have a spectacular weekend!

Love always,