Read Along With Me: Under the Influence

Under the InfluenceMay’s book of the month is a brand new release–just out today!

Under the Influence is a new adult story that is getting a lot of buzz. I’ve read a few other books by L.B. Simmons and thought they were great, so I can’t wait to try this one. She writes beautiful characters and tells soulful, insightful stories.

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Celi Cooks: That’s a Layered Pizza Pie!

What's cooking? Pizza!

What’s cooking? Pizza!

I’ve baked homemade pizzas for years, but a recent episode of Man vs. Food I found on The Food Network convinced me that I might have been doing it wrong all along. The episode focused on an NYC pizza joint that serves an epic pizza the Sicilian way.

A big twist here: sauce on top of the pizza, not on the bottom.

I’m not Italian (Celi is a name I received when I married my Filipino-American husband), so this concept seemed new and interesting to me. What an idea, right? According to the episode, placing the cheese on the bottom and the sauce on the top of a square pizza actually improves the dough and makes a crispy pizza, despite a thick layer of sauce.

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My Friends, the Happy Family of 5 (Two Parents, Two Kids, One Dog)

photo 1 (16)I’ve been pretty lucky in life.

I have a group of girlfriends I’ve known for over 15 years–20 years in some cases. We grew up together, went to the same schools, and graduated together. Email, AOL Chat (haha, circa 2001), Facebook, and Instagram have all helped us keep in touch over the years, through engagements, marriages, and babies. A few of us still live in the Cincinnati area, and we get together as a group for drinks or dinner from time to time.

I feel like I know these women pretty well, but every once in a while, they throw me a curve ball to amaze me.

My friend Meghan Bole is doing that right now. Continue reading


Loved Locked Down… on a Bridge

Sunny weather and breezy days have me walking around Cincinnati more for exercise, and I love some of the things that gives me a chance to see.

A favorphoto 3ite walk of mine takes me across the Purple People Bridge, that famous pedestrian only bridge across the Ohio River that links Cincinnati with Northern Kentucky. There’s always something to see on that walk, and the other day, I spent some time examining a new feature of the bridge–the love locks.

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Its Hat Season!

photo 3 (13)In case you didn’t know, its hat season.

I’m not talking about winter hats, baseball hats, and other such useful hats. I’m talking about the frilly little puffs of cream made for show and special occasions. You know the type. They look like macaroons and very often have sparkles, feathers, and an abundance of ribbon.

I love these kinds of hats. I have four.

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Yes, I Shopped #LillyForTarget

photo 1 (12)

The line outside the Target where I shopped, 7:30AM

Long before the day came, I had my strategy ready. I wouldn’t go to a Target store near the center of Cincinnati, I wouldn’t get any preconceived notions about what I might find, and I wouldn’t go crazy if the demand for the items exceeded the probability of me buying something.

Lilly Pulitzer, you see, deserved at least this kind of decorum from me.

Since the announcement earlier this year about the brand’s collaboration with Target, anticipation for the line has been building to a fever pitch. Lilly already had a loyal, devoted following of fans who have worn the timeless pieces for decades. Target also had a following (Tar-Jay, anyone) of bargain hunters who love the store for its high end looks on a budget.


A crashed website leads to Twitter outrage

A marriage of two wonderful things. Post AM rush, though, I’m not sure either realized the power of the mix they had brewed for all of these months.

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April’s Read Along with Me: The Good Girls

The Good Girls 2April’s Read Along with Me is a brand new, out of the box book by Teresa Mummert.

Ever since I heard about The Good Girls, I’ve wanted to read it. It sounds like something I have NEVER read before, and it sounds like a mind job.

I’m in!

Here’s the blurb:

My life was meticulously planned and I refused to deviate from that path. While my peers were partying, I prepared for the future. Then a tragic event destroyed everything and I learned that while I was looking ahead, I forgot to live in the moment.

Starting over seemed impossible until I met Cara McCarthy, who lived every day like it was her last. She opened my eyes to a world of chaos and disorder. I loved every minute of it. She was also dating Tristan Adams, one of the most gorgeous men I’d ever seen.

The three of us became inseparable. Our parents were oblivious and soon lines became blurred, feelings began to grow, and someone’s heart was going to get broken. I hoped it wasn’t mine.

Sounds awesome, huh?

Find out more about Teresa Mummert here. 


Four Ways to Tell It’s Spring in Greater #Cincinnati (Without Looking at the Calendar)

Tulip ProfusionHere’s the list, in no particular order:

1. You’re sneezing all the time, and most of the time,  it’s a double sneeze. Allergies run high in this part of the country, and they can be brutal. Mold, pollen, grass, and other annoying parts of life leave most people around here miserable from late March to early June. Allegra-D anyone?

2. You’re headed to Keeneland for Saturday fun. Keeneland’s spring season comes with high expectation. Bus trips and group getaways to this elegant racetrack are on everyone’s lips in the late winter. Spring isn’t spring without Keeneland, a great place to catch some amazing horse races before Derby Day.

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Fun Times at Aston Oaks Golf Club

photo 1 (11)A few weeks ago, my wonderful author friend, Mia Sheridan, graciously invited me to participate in a “wine and books” event at Aston Oaks Golf Club.

No way would I turn that one down!

From 1-4 on Sunday, March 29th,  we met with readers, drank some wine , and had a fantastic afternoon. Authors Emerson Show, Tanya Kappes, and Wendy Owens also participated in this signing. I think I speak for all of us when I say we had a fantastic time meeting readers and tasting the wine!

We’d all come back and do it again, trust me.

photo 2 (14)Afterwards, a few of us joined some readers for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in Kenwood. I think that was my favorite part of the whole night–meeting with readers is always amazing, and I often don’t get to spend as much time with them as I’d like.


An Awesome Day for an Awesome Cause

photo 2 (13)Today was a fantastic day at Wesley Community Services Organization.


This whole month, Wesley Community Services has been participating in March for Meals, a nationwide push that highlights organizations that provide Meals on Wheels to  older Americans all across the country. In 2014, Wesley Community Services provided over 450,000 meals on wheels products to clients in Greater Dayton, Greater Cincinnati, and Northern Kentucky (cough–I jointed the board of WCSO that December, too–cough), and we wanted to make sure the community is more aware of the work we are doing.

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