The Bright Hour

It’s the kind of book any writer wishes they could have written but is eternally grateful they couldn’t.  Nina Riggs and I had a lot in common- we share a literary agent (the phenomenal Brettne Bloom), published at the same imprint (Simon & Schuster),  both the mother of boys and an affinity for self-diagnosing via WebMD.  She seemed like the kind of woman I would have loved to have shared a cocktail (or four) with on a sunny June night, talking about motherhood, writing, dogs, wine…anything and everything. But for some cruel reason, Nina was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 37 and that friendship will never happen.  Nina passed away last month, just shy of seeing her memoir, The Bright Hour, being published to rave reviews tomorrow June 6th.  And so other authors, like me, are hoping to take on a small part of promoting this book for her, in honor of her, to make sure the brightest of lights shines on her talent.

Nina had the painful and poignant experience of writing about dying in a way that I never could have- with humor,  exquisite clarity, bravery and levelheadedness. Her book is a masterpiece.  I was sitting with our agent at a Manhattan bar when she got the final bid on Nina’s manuscript and got to call her and tell her the amazing news that no doubt helped alleviate some worry for her financially.  She kept telling me how much I was going to love this book, how much I would love Nina, how important this book is.  And she was right. About all of it. It’s hard to make sense of it, but somehow I found myself looking forward to getting into bed and reading this book about a dying mother every night. How is that possible? Because Nina made this book about LIFE really, not death. She wrote about her excruciatingly unfair diagnosis with such levity (and even laugh out loud humor) that I found it uplifting instead of soul-crushingly sad.  I think that was her goal- a lofty one for sure, as how does one write about dying young in a “light” way??? But her extraordinary talent allowed her to. I saw so much of myself in her, and also qualities of the woman I hope I can become someday.

The lessons, the deep stuff- it’s all there. The reminders to value every moment of your life, even the shitty ones- that you take away for sure.  But upon closing the back cover, you also take a way a feeling of boldness and light instead of despair.  And looking at pictures of Nina, or reading her amazing Modern Love column that garnered so much attention, you can see it in her eyes and words- she was a woman who radiated love and positivity, even during her darkest moments.

“We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.”

I really wish I could have met Nina. She was clearly a very special person. But I am so glad she left us all with this book, this gift, really. Especially for her two sons, who miss her with every ounce of their beings and will forever.  She was a magnificent mother. And writer. And human.  And you all need to read this book.

So today, I get to give away five copies (open to US residents only) of The Bright Hour thanks to Simon & Schuster. Leave a comment below and I will pick the winners randomly tomorrow morning and e-mail them directly.  For all of you who do not win, you can buy the book here or pick it up at your local bookstore.  Lets make The Bright Hour a rousing, NY Times Bestselling success and spread the love and light that Nina shared as far as we can.




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A Great New Book & Entry Inspiration

I was so drawn to the cover of Susanna Salk’s new book It’s the Little Things over the weekend while shopping in a small bookshop.  The interesting, layered shot is everything I hope to create in a home and so I bought it and poured over it during Henry’s nap.   I love the concept of creating little “moments” in your home using unique and storied items.  These details truly do MAKE a home.  I highly recommend this book for those of you who just love the details aspect of decorating!

I loved this entry- the combination of funky wallpaper with a more traditional, antique dresser is such a great example of mixing textures, time periods and styles.


I decided to interpret it into an easy to re-create version.


wallpaper // sconce // mirror // shell planter // sculpture // bird prints // dresser // wire basket // rug

Dream Life on Patina Farm

I have long been following Velvet & Linen,  the blog of designers Brooke and Steve Gianetti, and marveled at the process of building  their incredible home in Ojai, California called Patina Farm.  And now it’s  complete and a book!   One that may lead you to dream, like I have,  of a beautiful alternate life full of vintage French wood doors, elegant chicken coops, glass walled showers and baby goats.  Oh, so many baby goats. Let’s go visit the farm….


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Great Children’s Books to Give


My sweet and wonderful friend Sarah (mother of two) compiled a list of her favorite children’s books for me to share with you as it’s one of the best gifts to give a child this holiday! My baby shower was a book theme so I added a couple others here I like (and received for Henry).  I can’t wait until he’s old enough to read with!  If you have a favorite please leave the title in comments so we can gather a great knowledge base for everyone to access! :)


Age 0+

Polar Bear What Do You Hear

Dear Zoo

Each Peach Pear Plum

The Goodnight Train

Goodnight Moon

I Took the Moon For a Walk

Goodnight Gorilla

One Gorilla

Your Baby’s First Words will Be Dada

Naptime with Theo and Beau

Age 2+

The Circus Ship

Sleep Like a Tiger

Harold and the Purple Crayon

This is Not a Box

Officer Buckles and Gloria

Snowy Day

Counting Lions

Paris: A Book of Shapes

Press Here

Age 3 -5


Rosie Revere Engineer

Iggy Peck Architect

What Do You Do With An Idea?


Counting Lions

Secret Pizza Party

Dragons Love Tacos


Blueberries for Sal




Count the Monkeys

The Jolly Postman

And here are some bookcases and wall storage to help display all these great titles in your child’s room!

bookcases 1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6. // 7.

Book Review: Gracious Rooms

My dad picked this book, Gracious Rooms by Barbara Westbrook up for me last week and I was so glad he did. It isn’t one that I would have necessarily bought myself but I LOVED it. Barbara Westbrook is one classy lady with a very specific and refined sense of style. Very grown up, traditional and yet interesting and luxurious. The images really spoke to me- so if you have anyone on your holiday gift list that likes design (and specifically this style) this book would be a great gift.

Here are some amazing spaces by Barbara to whet your appetite…



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