las vegas and me

Posted: May 5, 2018 by Rachel

Las Vegas and Me

I’ve been asked why I don’t write about Las Vegas much. For that, I don’t really have an answer beyond: how do I write about a city I don’t really know?

It’s not like New York, where you might walk everywhere, where you run into friends on the subway or in line buying a bottle of wine. The closest I get to that kind of life is bumping into a fellow mom in the target grocery aisle (and even that, I can confidently say, has only happened twice in the just over seven years I’ve lived in this city).

My experience in Las Vegas is, I can guess, much different from a twenty-something single woman’s or someone who lives in those fancy oversized, over-priced housing developments that butt up against the mountains. And it is definitely different from someone who lives downtown, where I like to imagine they exist within a three-mile radius: coffee to work to home and repeat. Now that I could get on board with.

The truth is that Vegas and I are still getting to know one another. We’re at that stage in our relationship where we’re been seeing each other for a while and everyone has started asking us if we’re together or not. We own two homes here, work and play here. We are raising a kid here amidst my husbands big, italian family; so the reality is that yes, Vegas and I are together. We’re official.

But.

Seven years in and this city still feels strange to me. I’m more than on board with the weather here, with the affordable housing and food, with the great school district we found ourselves in. i’m on board with family close by. I’m on board with the incredible library system and the fact that there is always great coffee nearby.

But.

I could be somewhere else. If the opportunity came up, I could. There will probably always be a part of me that thinks how great it would be to move somewhere new. Maybe not forever—because I already live in an entirely different country than my family, why would I want to be far away from my husband’s too?—but it would be an adventure. One I wouldn’t shy away from. One I would embrace.

Maybe I’ll never want to be monogamous with Las Vegas. Maybe it will tell me itself that it’s had enough. Or maybe the answer is simply that we need to get to know each other a little better.

 

 

It’s not about the desk (ok, it’s a little about the desk)

Posted: April 20, 2018 by Rachel

I ordered a desk yesterday. A small, white thing with clean lines and a drawer that the reviews say is deceiving because it doesn’t open all the way. But what do I care about that, really? I didn’t talk to Dom about it first. I didn’t tell him I’d been debating the purchase for a couple months now, mostly because I knew what he’d say. “Why do you need another desk?”

I have a nice, big desk in a separate office that is cold in the winter and hot in the summer and I can never quite figure out how to dress properly so that I’m comfortable either way. But the problem is that I work from home, at that desk, in that space. For eight hours a day, I sign contracts there, finalize book interiors there, write marketing plans there, among the other eight hundred tasks I do as part of my publishing job.

That’s the problem.

When I’m in that office, sitting at that desk, I’m in day job mode. And no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I can’t break out of that work mode after work hours.

What I’m trying to say is that at that nice desk, in that lovely office, I cannot write.

So I started thinking about buying another desk. Just a small one that I could fit in the bedroom, or even the guest room if need be. It doesn’t really matter where it is at this point as long as it’s not in the office.

The desk is set to arrive by end of day Tuesday and I can only hope that once I figure out a home for it, the rest of it—the writing bit, the finishing-of-the-novel bit—will all sort itself out.

Why do I need another desk?

Let me show you why.

The Kind of Woman I Want To Be

Posted: March 24, 2018 by Rachel

I want to be the kind of woman who can easily turn away from social media when it feels like too much.

I want to be the kind of woman that wouldn’t care that her stomach oozes over her jeans when she’s bent over.

I want to wash my face at the end of every day (I still don’t do this, after all these years).

I want to be better about biting my tongue.

I want to never again throw away any of my journals (what a hard lesson to have learned).

I want to be more patient.

I want to be the kind of woman who isn’t afraid to eat by herself.

I want to be the kind of woman who doesn’t go shopping when she’s feeling blue. In the end, I only feel worse.

I want to perfect the at-home iced vanilla latte before summer comes around

I want to be the kind of woman who wears long, flowing skirts (like this one, recently purchased).

I want to always reach out to those I admire and tell them so.

I want to be the kind of woman who loves wholly and without judgment.

I want to be better about saying enough is enough.

I want to be the kind of woman who takes more risks, goes more places, takes more pictures.

I want to embrace being almost thirty-four.

**

P.S. The 2014 version

Winter Lists On a Thursday Morning.

Posted: March 1, 2018 by Rachel

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I was inspired this morning. So, here’s a little glimpse at life right now:

things currently on my nightstand.
mango papaya candle
slow motion by dani shapiro
ear plugs from last night
phone charger

songs I can’t stop listening to.
say something by justin timberlake & chris stapleton
help me out by maroon 5
hold me tight or don’t by fall out boy
still feel like your man by john mayer

things on my 2018 to-do list.
eat more popsicles outside
teach my son to swim
go on a road trip
finish my new book
see fall out boy in concert again

things i want to purchase but won’t.
another third love bra
every single one of dani shaprio’s books (i’m pretty close, anyway)

things i’ve loved lately.
archer farms donut shop coffee
waking up at 5am to write


Previous Lists:

Winter 2017
Winter 2015
Summer 2014
Spring 2014

I worry

Posted: February 25, 2018 by Rachel

Last week, I heard something in an interview with Cheryl Strayed that stopped me cold. I hit pause—Cheryl’s face frozen mid-sentence—and tried to regain my breath. I sat there for a few more beats before I decided it was best if I got up and moved around (I have a bad habit of sitting for periods far too long), so I went into the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee—my third of the day, probably.

And then I finished watching the interview.

I’ve since watched plenty of Big Little Lies and read Hourglass (and half of Still Writing), not to mention worked plenty of hours, but I can’t get what Cheryl said out of my head. I fear I never will.

She’d said that she worked as a waitress, specifically, because it was something she could turn off at the end of the day. She didn’t have to take her work home with her. When she wasn’t waitressing, she was writing. There were no blurred lines.

My life is one big blur. I work in publishing, from my home office. My days are made up entirely of reading books, thinking about books, marketing books, helping authors, acquiring new authors, etc. And when the day is over (pretending that I can turn it off at 4pm), I try to then think about my own writing.

I love my job, I sincerely do, but there is no turning it off at the end of the day or over the weekend. And because I work from home there is no way I can’t take my work home with me.

So I worry. I worry that it’s not possible to focus on my own words with so many others’ in my head as well. I worry that, working from home, I’ll never achieve that separation that Cheryl spoke of. I worry that the struggle will always feel like it does right now: impossible.

I worry that I won’t figure out how to make it work.

Could it really be as simple as finding the perfect chair? The perfect routine? An ideal room in which to write? The ideal notebook? (These are all things I’ve read lately—because we writers are superstitious creatures, did you know?). Maybe I’m only the perfect pen and favorite coffee mug away from figuring it all out.

Wouldn’t that be great!

My (Very New) Writing Habit

Posted: February 18, 2018 by Rachel

My (Very New) Writing Habit

For almost two weeks now, I’ve been doing this thing where I sit down in the same place and same time every single day, to write. I give myself an hour, because, really, that’s all I can afford most days. I’ve read enough from successful writers to know that the real work is sitting your butt down in the chair every day and, well, I wanted to figure out a way to make that work for me.

I take it quite seriously; that hour every day. Sometimes it means rushing my kid out the door (if it’s my day for drop-off) so that I can be back at my desk by 8 am. Other days it means telling my family I’ll see them in an hour and then close myself in the office. One morning, it even meant sitting in the hotel lobby while Dom slept in upstairs (and here, it should be noted that I sat and wrote in front of a lovely, warm fire).

I don’t always write for the full hour, but you can be sure my ass is in my chair that whole time. I’ve never been great at creating habits from scratch, but this one? It will be well worth it in the end.

—–

I haven’t really talked to many people about what I’m working on now. There are a select few who know how I’ve been spending my mornings; what thoughts are now filling my journals and notebooks, but mostly, I’ve kept it to myself. I think that, right now, while I have some inkling of what it could all be, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. It needs to be something more, something bigger, before I share it with everyone.  I have a habit of jumping the gun, and I don’t want to do that this time. Not with this project. Not with these words.

These words are rebuilding me, letter by letter.

Maui: because it’s been one of those weeks, and I just want to reminisce

Posted: February 8, 2018 by Rachel

The last almost two weeks have been, well, kind of a mess. First, I fell down the stairs and messed up my tailbone. Then, just days later, DJ and Dom both got the worst cold they’ve probably ever had. That I didn’t catch it was a miracle. DJ missed a lot of school, Dom missed work, and I was here, working from home like I always do. It was a rough six days, to be honest.

I’m tired this morning; the kind of tired that coffee cannot fix. DJ is back and school and Dom is back at work but my mind and my heart haven’t quite caught up.

And so I wanted to look at something beautiful. Be reminded of something beautiful.

Like three blissful, child-free, relaxing days in Maui this past December.

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I’ll tell you what I want you to know

Posted: February 6, 2018 by Rachel

Over coffee with a girlfriend recently, I admitted that I’m a terribly private person. I didn’t give her the chance to say what most people say—“you sure share an awful lot online for someone who claims to be private”—before I set down my too-strong coffee and leaned closer, saying, “I share what I’m okay with other people knowing.”

That is to say: I’ll tell you what I want you to know. And the rest I want to keep to myself.

I share a lot more with some people than with others, as I think most people do. And there are a select few who get very little of me, mostly because I’ve learned from my mistakes. I consider myself a forgiving person. I’ll forgive you, but I’m also not going to give as much of myself to you in the future should you hurt me.

Lately I find I’m struggling with what to say and what not to say. I used to talk a lot more openly about my life, which is funny if you think about it, because my life has changed so much in the past seven years. Right now, I can think of three things I’d love to write about, but it would mean opening myself up to people I’d rather keep at bay.

So, like I have for too many years now, I stay quiet.

But I find I’m missing it; writing about my life. And I’m determined to find some kind of middle ground, some areas of my life that I’m comfortable sharing. Because as simple and slow as my life is, there is so much good in it that is worth being celebrated.

5 Photos that make me wish I’d gone to The Big Apple Author Event

Posted: October 16, 2017 by Rachel

I can tell you with absolute certainty that if New York were closer, I’d have gotten my butt down to The Big Apple Author Event in NYC this past weekend. Because, I mean, look at how much fun it looked to be! Some of my favorite authors all in one place–some of whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting.

These 5 photos made me wish I’d gone to the event, distance and cost be darned.

1. R.S. Grey and Renee Carlino

R.S. Grey and Renee Carlino

I had the pleasure of meeting Renee last October in Phoenix, but I would have loved to have met Rachel.

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