Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sneak Peek: SPARKLE Cover Inspiration Board!

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Putting a book together from soup to nuts completely by yourself is not for the faint of heart. In the past 3 weeks, I have been totally and completely consumed by this book baby I'm pregnant with, and if my observations are correct, I have skipped the first trimester of bebe bliss and flown right on through to the third and final trimester, where you realize there is so much to do, with so little time, or as I call it: PANIC.

After playing with a few ideas for the cover art, and realizing that what I love on a computer screen will not necessarily translate to a paperback (what? you mean I can't have each book hand-sewn with glitter attaches!?), I've decided to expand my team of creative women geniuses and hire Fifi Flowers to do some custom illustration work for the cover of the entire Champagne Diaries series. If you haven't seen her work, then check it out here and prepare to have your mind blow. Her designs literally make you feel like you've been whisked away to Paris and you have unlimited funds to drink as much Champagne as you like, cart around really cute poodles and wear the finest fashions France has to offer. Her whimsical, feminine drawings are the epitome of what the The Champagne Diaries is all about: luxury, glam, booze, a little bit of fantasy, and feelin' good, and I know she will nail it! Of course, the wondrous Cara Loper will still be doing the cover layout and graphic design (and she will also be keeping my sanity in check), so together I think we will make an amazing team!

Check out some of the inspiration I've been pinning (as if I needed another reason to be on Pinterest 24/7) and tell me what you like!

Doesn't she look like SHE'S living an effervescent life!?

Maybe replace the coffee with bubbly? (always a good decision)

J'adore the way Fifi draws Champagne!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wishing Everyone a Delicious Weekend!

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday MOETivation: Celebrate Life

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As I write this blog, it's thundering outside, there is heavy downpour, and I am preparing for 2 days of hell. We lost my great aunt Dolores this weekend. She was a beautiful woman; kind, caring, selfless, young at heart, with the warmest smile you could ever imagine. You'd never know anything was wrong, but I knew she didn't have an easy life. Nothing was handed to her, she had her share of problems, yet you'd never know. Her bright eyes and her beautiful spirit revealed nothing but happiness, appreciation for life, and beauty.

Funerals are never easy. I have an incredibly hard time grasping death. No matter how spiritual I am, there is just something so unreal about it to me. No matter the age of the person, how sick they were, whatever the case may be - you are never prepared to say goodbye. There's no doubt today and tomorrow will be brutal, but I am choosing to try my hardest to view these two days as a celebration of Dolores' life...of all our lives.

I find that the happiest people are those who have been through the most. When you experience a loss, or even come close to it, it really puts things in perspective. You realize that nothing is guaranteed, and every peaceful moment is a gift.

So no matter what you're going through right now, take a few moments to celebrate the good stuff. Celebrate your health, your family, your home, your friends, your love, your career, your children - whatever it is, embrace it, appreciate it and know that it is meant for you to enjoy and to cherish. This life is short, it is unpredictable, and it is precious. My mantra is to celebrate each day, and although I remind myself of that daily, it really hits home at times like these.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Champagne Girl of the Week: Ella Coquine

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One of my dreams has always been to pick up and move to London. I developed a fascination with the culture in my early 20's, and I've only fallen more and more in love with the city as the years have gone on. Although I never bought a one-way ticket and hopped the pond, I make sure to visit as often as I can, and in the meantime I immerse myself in those who have followed their dreams and moved abroad. 

Enter Ella Coquine (not her real name, in case you were wondering). I'm not quite sure how or when I discovered Ella's blog, Tales from the Chambre de Bonne, but from the minute I found it I was hooked. Her story of "starting over" in the city of light after a devastating break-up reads more like a movie script or a novel than it does a blog, and I think that's what makes it so appealing. Ella logged her diaries every single day for one year after "MF" (which I still think stands for "Motherfucker") broke her heart, and today marks Day 365 in her journey. To celebrate, I'm featuring Ella Coquine as my Champagne Girl of the Week. Cheers to her for picking up herself up by her stilettos and not just starting over, becoming stronger and better than ever! Ella, you are an inspiration!

CD: Tell us a little bit about yourself

EC: I'm an Italian New Yorker who has lived in Paris for almost three years. My life has been an adventure where I feel like an actress following a script. I have lived in Los Angeles where I was a failed actress turned extra turned Hollywood Coffee Shop waitress, back to New York where I was the personal assistant for a famous fashion tyrant who fired me, which then led me to working for one fashion's most famous designer, where I fell in love with French culture and my first French fling.

CD: What inspired you to start Tales from the Chambre de Bonne?

EC: After the embarrassment of being dumped and left out on the streets of Paris by the man that I had loved, and had lost all of my friends, I had no one to talk to. I was embarrassed to talk about my failed relationship with friends from back home who were planning their weddings, and I didn't want to worry my mom and aunt anymore than I had, so I started Tales from the Chambre de Bonne as an online diary to vent, document my progress, in an effort to live each day to its fullest.  I never intended it to reach as many people as it did. I remember the feeling of complete shock when I received my first comment. It was like, "Wait, there's someone out there?" I accused my mom and my aunt of being this reader for several months because I didn't believe that there was someone actually reading my story.

CD: What was the most challenging thing about moving to Paris?

EC: Not knowing anyone because I moved there without knowing a single person. I felt really cheesy when I'd be in my little apartment drinking wine alone, and hear the sound of my neighbor's high heels in hallway of my apartment building going out Friday night. I wanted to be fabulous in Paris too! I knew that before uprooting to Paris, that there was going to be sacrifices, and not having any friends would be one of them. Little did I know at that time, that not having people go drink wine with was going to be the least of my concerns, and that life was going to get way more complicated.

CD: What was the best thing about it?

EC: My favorite thing is poking fun at myself in this refined city. I'm a New Yorker and always will be, and I love how I stick out like a sore thumb and that I speak French with a bit of a Queens accent.

CD: What's your mantra?

EC: Don't complain...Change! If you're unhappy with something or someone in your life, do something about it! You're the only person you can control.

CD: What's next for Ella Coquine?

EC: Next is looking for a new home, getting a job, focusing on my Etsy shop, blogging, writing, going to school part-time and enjoying every moment of life. I wouldn't have been able to say this last year because I was feeling far from fab, but today I can say that life can be pretty good.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Submitting My First 10,000 Words of SPARKLE Today!

Pin It Now! Hello Champagne girls! I posted last week about my decision to self-publish my first book, SPARKLE, and promised that I'd be posting updates here to keep everyone involved in the process from start to finish. Because, well, I keep you involved in everything. And I wouldn't have it any other way. So here's our first update! I will be submitting my first 10,000 words to my editor, Cara Lockwood today! We are officially in business. Here's a quick video post talking about it (note: I have not had nearly enough caffeine in this video, or at this very moment, for that matter). Hope you enjoy the video! Off to grab a coffee and get ready to submit!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wine-cation, Have to Get Away

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It's pretty evident that I love wine. I mean, duh. Champagne (clearly), pinot noir, cabernet, and pinot grigio for summer - I'm not biased, as long as it tastes yummy and gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling, I am game.

And I have no issues with drinking wine regularly. Though I'll admit, that "glass a day" has turned into two lately, mostly three. On weekends, four or five. Maybe it's the added stress of working full time, going to school, being a wife, running The Champagne Diet and still trying to keep my sanity, but wine has gone from a treat to a crutch, and frankly, I feel gross. And I've gained a couple extra pounds, which has also in turn made me feel even grosser. That nightly treat has gone from making me feel giddy and relaxed, to making me feel tired, sluggish and fat. And sometimes, we need to check ourselves, before we wreck ourselves.

So for that reason I have decided to take a wine-cation for the month of May. Once you pick your jaw up from the floor, please continue to read on...

Yes, I'm doing it ladies. I just don't feel like myself. I need a serious cleanse. I need to shed these extra pounds and come out of my pinot noir fog. I need to learn to appreciate wine again the way it should be appreciated. And as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder (and I plan to be pretty damn fond of it come June 1st.)

Now let me just add my disclaimer, there is nothing wrong with a good glass of vino. I love it, and it will always be a part of my life. Wine is amazing. Wine is friends, it is family, it is culture. But for now, mama needs to take a little break to get her bearings. Once I'm back, I'll continue on with enjoying my wine the way it's meant to be enjoyed - in a sexy outfit, 10 pounds lighter, at a nice restaurant on a Saturday night. The way I've always enjoyed it.

In the meantime, it's sparkling water for me (in a wine glass, of course), and this song, on repeat.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Event Recap: Cocktails & Crafts with Janet Lee and The Champagne Diaries

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If you weren't able to make it out to The Bookmark Shoppe in Brooklyn this past Thursday, then I feel really, really bad for you. Totally kidding - well, not really. You missed a great event!

Janet Lee, designer and author of "Living in a Nutshell," and I hosted a night called "Cocktails and Crafts." We laughed, we drank, we crafted, and we laughed some more. A whole lot more. It was so amazing to see brand new faces - women that neither Janet nor I knew personally. And after a couple hours of Champagne mojitos, we were acting as if we had known each other for years. A true testament to the fact that Champagne truly brings people together! (Right, Le Grande Courtage?)

So for those of you who missed out on the action, here's how we kicked it off...

Bubbles? Check...

Glasses? Check...

And we wouldn't have Champagne mojitos without all the necessary ingredients...

But it wasn't JUST about the cocktails. We came here to craft! Right, ladies?

This gorgeous accent piece for the home seemed a bit daunting at first glance...

But after a few cocktails,Janet's direction, and a lot of teamwork, anything seemed possible!

The night was a sparkling success, and everyone was loving Janet's new book 

She signed copies well into the evening! (I took notes for the future...tee hee)

Cheers to a great night!

A huge THANK YOU to all the women who came out and celebrated with us. An extra special thanks to The Bookmark Shoppe, who is gracious enough to always open their doors to me and host all of these fabulous events. Thank you to Le Grande Courtage for providing the delicious bubbles that made our Champagne Mojitos possible (click for recipe!) and of course, our bartender Chris who served them up all night! And a huge thank you to Janet Lee of Living in a Nutshell for being such a wonderful co-host and teaching us how we can all add a little glamour to our homes and our lives!