What are you doing this weekend? My boys are with their dad (sniffle, sniffle), so I'm planning to use the quiet time to finish the first round of edits on my new novel. I'll also probably also go for a run, clean my closet (spring cleaning has morphed into summer cleaning at this point (oops), and spend some time hanging with Brandon and his sweet kids, of course. It's going to be warm in Seattle, yay!

Some of you here have been longtime readers of my books and my work for Glamour (hi everyone! And, good heavens, I just saw that when you search my name on the site, I've written something like 4,600 articles and blog posts over the years. I am exhausted just thinking about that right now, ha. I mean, how did I do this? Did I have a clone working at night while I slept. These are blurry years. There was a lot of newborn babies involved.). Anyway, some of you are new here--new to me, my books, my writing, and I wanted to say hi! I love hearing from new readers every day all around the world. It's seriously my favorite part of what I do--hearing from you! I write to authors of books and articles all the time to say hi and tell them when I connect with something because it means so much to me when people take the time to write. So, welcome, everyone, and thank you for stopping by! Things have been a little quiet around here for a while. I took a bit of a break from this blog while I went through some big changes in my personal life, which I will write about more here in the coming months, but I’m BACK, and I have some exciting stuff coming your way. If you'd like to learn a little about me, you might check out my bio (scroll down for the slightly more fun "informal bio"), but to add to that, I decided I'd share some more, real life, less stuffy kind of stuff (stuffy kind of stuff-? My editor would cut that one on sight). With that, here's some stuff about me: I write books. Ten so far, published in a lot of countries (around 30, I think). Pinch me. Sometimes I still wake up and am like, "really? Is this really my career?" I feel very lucky. I'm a boy mama. My boys are presently 11, 9 and 7. If you see me in Seattle, I usually have a herd of little men around me, with the littlest one (age 7)  holding onto my purse or skirt hem (he's done this since he learned to walk). I love pink, heels, and all things girly, and while I'm not entirely sure how/why God thought it would be a good idea to shower me with boys, I have to say I love, love, love being a boy mom. Lots more posts on boy-mamahood to come, but I feel, truly and deeply, like the luckiest lady to have been blessed with this tribe of little men. My first love was magazine journalism. After college, my dream was to become a freelance writer, and I hustled it big time to make it a reality. While my career transitioned into writing fiction, I still love magazines and would drop anything if one of my former editors called and asked me to write an essay about, say, my love of jazz, for example. (Friends at Real Simple, are you listening? Also, here's an article I wrote for RS years ago titled "20 Tips to Make Your Wardrobe Last" that I just found online. My Lulu leggings are looking kind of haggard, so I'm going to stop this and re-reread my own advice right now, ha.) I'm obsessed with jazz. Old jazz, new jazz, latin jazz, piano jazz, Bossanova jazz--all jazz (except elevator jazz, which really isn't jazz) makes me insanely happy. Dave Brubeck for me = instant mood lift. At my house, you'll find jazz streaming through the speakers all the time, especially on Sunday mornings, when it's a ritual. I think life is better with wine. Enough said. Dark chocolate makes me sneeze. Totally bizarre but true: I sneeze after the first bite of dark chocolate. Same thing happens to my son, Carson. Genetics, I tell ya! I love love. I'm a total cheeseball, tis true. I cry at weddings. All of them. I ask everyone how they met, fell in love. I eavesdrop on strangers on dates at restaurants. I am eternally fascinated by love. I'm a huge believer in forgiveness, of others and self. Forgiveness comes easier to some than others. I am always grateful that I'm an easy forgiver. I mean, I know, some people deserve what they have coming, but the thing is, friends, holding on to anger is sooooo toxic. Choose forgiveness. I do! And what's harder, I've found, is forgiving yourself. I'm still working on that. I survived divorce, and am stronger in its wake. Divorce sucks. I went through a pretty bad and wacky one, and still struggle with frequent landmines in its aftermath. Basically, when you dismember a family unit with the court system as the surgeon, you're going to have a bunch of wounds, scars, infections and phantom pain. Good analogy, right? That said, five years later, I am happier than ever, stronger than ever, and look at life and people so differently than I did before. Lots more on this subject to come

Hi all! I'm going to be starting a new series here called "3 Things" where I'll share the latest and greatest things (or people or places!) that are making me smile. First installment: 1. Bento boxes! My boys are 5, 3 and 1, and I've been trying to think of ways to make mealtime more fun and interesting (and also figure out how to get them to eat more vegetables---like every mom on the planet, right?). Well, my latest solution is bento boxes! I ordered three cute bento boxes (a frog, a duck and a panda) and a bunch of cute bento accessories (vegetable presses to make carrots look fun; seaweed presses to make animal shapes to put on rice; and rice presses to make triangles, flowers and heart-shaped rice balls). My kids are loving this. Every day they get excited about what's in their bento boxes and are less likely to complain when I throw a veggie inside. I also am crazy about these cute little critter-shaped fork-picks that make veggies and fruit more fun to eat. 2. Mason jars. I'm on a mason jar kick these days. I bought a pack years ago when I decided I wanted to get into canning. But I never did. Instead, I use mason jars for all other sorts of things---vases for flowers, food storage, and my favorite new thing: mason jars as portable water glasses (my dad got me started on this). So much healthier than plastic water bottles and they're so easy to clean! 3. My new garden. I'm discovering all these great things in the garden at our new house, like this amazing flower (not sure what it's called!). I can't wait to harvest the figs from our fig tree, and the plum tree is loaded with little green Italian plums that should be ripe in a month or so. Also, Jason and the boys planted pumpkins, eggplant and lemon cucumbers for me!

Now that it's finally summer in Seattle (sort of), and we've had our first 80-degree day, my husband and I have been spending as much time in the backyard as possible. We recently purchased this umbrella for the deck and I decked it out with some lanterns. I think they're so romantic! I love it when the sun goes down, and we turn on the lanterns! J and I enjoy a glass of wine on the deck after the kids are in bed and it's just us (us and Paisley the dog!). I love summer! (P.S. If you're wondering what those oddball things are on our side table (besides the wine), they are our four-year-old's bug catching paraphaneila. He currently has a pet spider that he trapped.)