Summer Reading

There is nothing like a good book on the beach.  I am a little late this summer organizing a pile of books to read, but I finally got my Amazon order and am ready to go!

Not on purpose, but there seems to be a Paris theme in my book list.

A Paris Apartment depicts Paris of the Belle Epoque, an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been shuttered for 70 years with lots of treasures and a “sexy” Parisian on the scene.  Tres Bien!

All The Light We Cannot See is set in Paris during World War II.  Anthony Doerr took ten years to write this novel and won the Pulitzer Prize for it.  Supposed to be amazing.

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My summer book club book is the new Harper Lee Go Set a Watchman.  With many of the same characters as To Kill a Mockingbird, this new book takes place 20 years later when Scout comes home to visit her father and all that ensues.  Launch date, July 14th.

My Life in France is an attempt to get interested in cooking this summer….

It tells the story of Julia Child when she first arrives in France, her time at the Cordon Bleu and writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  If it doesn’t get me interested in cooking, I know it will get me interested in a trip over the pond!

If Reese Witherspoon has already signed on to be in the movie version of this debut novel Luckiest Girl Alive, it should be good.

Last but not least, the wanderlust book.  Without Reservations winds the reader through Paris, London and Italy….  One CAN live vicariously on the beach.

I am almost done with Primates of Park Avenue (admitting to reading it) and am excited to lie around on a beach towel and read all of these new books.

Happy Reading!

the wry home

NYC Gift Show

The Gift Show was this week in New York.  Snow decided to mess things up for everyone Monday, but I was there with bells on Tuesday morning.

I wore my cute black boots so I would look “good” at the gift show.  I clearly had amnesia about the amount of WALKING I did there last year, up and down the aisles.  Plus, the ankle deep puddles I was jumping over were clearly more suited for my Sorel Boots…

I met my college roommate in the Javits lobby.  There should be a reality show about how long somebody can last at the gift show, because if there was, Ivy would win!  She gets there early and leaves at 6pm every day.  Impressive.

I cannot believe she can browse for that long.  Usually after thirty minutes, I am making friends with people in different booths so I can sit in one of their chairs and take a break.

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Lots of color this year.  In fabrics, rugs, bedding and accessories.

Roberta Roller Rabbit

Roberta Roller Rabbit

I saw Blake Lively as I was limping through the home section.  I heard a recognizable voice and turned to see her ~ stunning in black leggings, chic sneakers (she was smart!) and a killer dark green Chanel tote.

So much to see!  I took notes like crazy.

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Jonathan Adler.

More color.

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There was a fabulous vintage poster booth that I didn’t see last year.

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Clean, modern lines.

Basically, I wanted to go home and redecorate all of my rooms.  Tim?

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I was nearing my gift show expiration date.  I ran into a few other college friends (see, glad I wore the nice black boots) and a few work colleagues.  I was eyeballing the taxi situation out of the corner of my eye, so it was time to go.


These bowl are made out of sea salt.  An Ivy discovery.

These bowl are made out of sea salt. An Ivy discovery.

I am starting basic training for next year.  The goal is to last one whole day, from the time Ivy arrives until the time she leaves.

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My definition of a “whole day” is having frequent coffee breaks, lunch and testing out (sitting on) a lot of furniture at the same time.

And then relax and maybe leave a little early…..

the wry home

Focus On: Lee Woodruff
Where Rye Writers Write

The third writer I am profiling in my series “Where Rye Writers Write” is Lee Woodruff.  I met Lee in the fall of 2005, shortly after we moved to Rye from Charlotte, NC.  Our mutual friend, Callie, introduced the two of us and we had many great lunches and walks before her whole life changed in January 2006.  Lee’s husband, Bob Woodruff, was the co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight and in Iraq on assignment when an improvised explosive device went off near the tank he was riding in and Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly killed him.

Lee and Bob wrote In an Instant together, chronicling how their lives changed and healed after this traumatic event.  Lee then went on to write two more books, Perfectly Imperfect and her first fiction novel, Those We Love Most, which won the Washington Irving Book Award for fiction.

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As if all of this, plus four kids, is not keeping her busy enough ~ Lee is also a contributing reporter for “CBS This Morning,” writing freelance articles that have run in magazines such as Real Simple, Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal and is on the road weekly for numerous speaking engagements.  Ok, I’m exhausted thinking about all she is up to, so lets take a look at her beautiful home.

What is your training?

I never really had any formal training.  I was an English major in college and always loved to write stories as a kid.  Writing was the thing that I gravitated toward and I just kept doing it, even when what was coming out wasn’t so good.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been making up stories since I was a little girl.  Then I moved to writing in the marketing field, then essays and articles for myself and finally books.

Why did you start writing/motivation?

Writing was the thing that found me.  I would have to say that the motivation was probably that it made me – and still makes me – fulfilled.  When it’s going well and it’s all working, it makes me extremely happy.

Where in your home do you like to write?

My favorite place to write is in our cottage in upstate New York.  It was my grandparent’s house and it has memories, it’s cozy and it’s my safe place.  I have an office here in Rye where I also write and I like to pull my laptop into the living room and look out the window at the sky.  Light is good for writing, but so is a dark cozy morning before the sun rises.

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What in this room inspires you?

My office is an eclectic mix of all kinds of parts of my life; pictures, books, candles, bud vases, old Mao buttons from when we lived in China, wooden antique carved figures.  It is a tangle of things that inspire and define me.

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Do you write everyday?

I wish I could.  Someday I will have more time.  I always say right now with other hats I wear, writing is the thing that happens in the margins of my life.  I don’t ever want to wish time away, but I know that when the kids are out of the house, it will be the good thing to look forward to in that weird transition.

Who has influenced your work?

So many writers and many things still do.  I constantly rip out articles or write down words I read.  I love female writers like Sue Miller, Jane Smiley, Jane Hamilton, Emily Dickinson, Curtis Sittenfeld, Ann Leary.  I could go on and on.

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Who is your favorite up and coming writer

I’m not sure how to answer that – up and coming – I think if someone is published and I’ve read them, they’ve made it!!!



Fantasy place to write?

Any place with water or the woods inspire me.  A cozy cottage, house or apartment where I am alone and can write – well, that’s a fantasy.

Favorite guilty magazine or blog?

I’m still a hard copy girl – I spend so much time on my computer that’s not where I like to read.  Vanity Fair and New York Magazine hands down!

Favorite way to relax?

Read, hike, garden and red wine!

Dream accomplishment?

I think the New Yorker would be a dream.

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Are you working on anything now?

Yes – working on finishing a novel now and hoping to get it polished up soon.

Here are links for more information about Lee and her books:

Website ~

Facebook ~

Twitter ~ @LeeMWoodruff

Instagram ~ leewoodruff

the wry home

Focus On: Annabel Monaghan
Where Rye Writers Write

The second writer I am profiling in my series “Where Rye Writers Write” is Annabel Monaghan.  With three successful Young Adult books under her belt, Annabel also writes a bi-weekly column for the Rye Record, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and a lifestyle columnist for The Week.

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Annabel’s column in the Rye Record is where I first discovered her writing.  Here is what you need to know about Annabel.  She is funny!  I went back and read every single one of her columns after that first one.  She perfectly captures the everyday things we all navigate and makes you laugh.

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Annabel writes in two places in her home.  For her column, she writes in her kitchen/family room, as she says, “to keep it real.”  For fiction, she writes in her beautiful living room at a table by the window.

IMG_2956What is your training?

I was an English major in college and took writing classes.  But mostly, at that time, my writing training was just reading a lot.  The more you read, the more the flow of a story or even a sentence becomes natural to you.  As an adult, I’ve taken a novel writing course and a screenwriting course at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, which I loved.

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was a little kid.  There’s a fine line between being a kid who likes to lie and a kid who’s creative!  I made up stories all the time, for better or worse.

I got away from writing when I graduated from college and realized how dependent I’d become on food and shelter.  I got a job at an investment bank and didn’t write another word until I was 37, when Elisabeth Wolfe and I wrote Click!

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Why did you start writing/motivation?

Growing up, I would read stories and think “how did they do that?”  I was often more interested in the writing of the story that the story itself.  I like the way big words and little words got arranged to create a feeling.  I like how capitalizing a word could amplify it’s meaning.  I liked how an author could suck me in with the smallest detail, and suddenly I’d find myself still reading at 3am.  I started writing because I wanted to be able to do that.

Keeping it real!

Keeping it real!

Where in your home do you like to write?

I write in two places.  When I need a clear head and I am writing something complicated and that doesn’t stem from my own life (fiction), I like to write in my living room.  It’s the only room in my house that no one uses, primarily because there’s no TV.  As a result it’s always clean and offers a good spot to keep a clear mind.

When I’m writing my column, which is mostly about the messy reality of being a stay at home mom, I like to write in my kitchen.  Sometimes I look at the morning mess, which has merged with the night before mess, and I decide to just get writing and become a part of it.  You know those people who can’t think straight unless the dishes are done?  I am not one of those people.

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What in this room inspires you?

Living Room: Obviously, the fact that there are no stray socks in the room is a plus.  But everything in this room means something to me.  I have recovered a lot of my grandparents’ furniture and write on the game table where I used to play gin with my Nana.  The white rug, the most impractical thing I own, was selected by my mom who was equally impractical and infinitely more beautiful.  There’s a red painting that I love, made of beeswax, which reminds me to mind my own.

Kitchen: The mess honestly inspires me.  I can be writing about a small slice of mom life and look up and see six or seven examples.  Surrounded by chicken grease, socks, a floating goldfish and a forgotten school photo order form, how could I ever run out of things to write about?

Do you write everyday?

I try to write everyday.  Ideally, I write from 10 to 2:50.  There’s a lot of other work to do as a writer that is not writing, like managing social media, scheduling school visits or reading articles like “Six Signs You Might Be a Procrastinator.”  I’m frustrated when I am at my computer all day and I’ve written nothing.  Some days I have to set a timer and disconnect from the Internet to keep me focused.

What are you reading now?

Swindle by Gordon Korman.  Yes, it’s a little below my reading level but it’s for my mother/son book club.

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Fantasy place to write?

I frequently dream of going to a cabin on a lake for one solid week alone to write.  There would be a really good coffee maker, a fireplace and a wooden table with a comfortable, but not too comfortable chair.  However, this dream goes off the rails when Justin Timberlake shows up at my door to borrow a cup of sugar and asks me to dance…

Favorite guilty magazine or blog?

Hands down, the  It’s just celebrity gossip that no one cares about but whoever writes it (I think it’s anonymous?) is the best, funniest voice on the internet.

Dream accomplishment/project?

I’d like to be on the New York Times Bestseller list, mainly because then I’d feel I wrote something that really resonated with a lot of people.  But my dream job would be to write a column for The Wall Street Journal, like maybe Joe Queenan would retire and give his column to me. (Ahem, Joe!  Are you out there?)

Are you working on anything now?

I’m working on my regular column about being a mom on the edge at Christmas time, due tomorrow.  I’m also working on a screenplay, which is an animated fairytale that I really, really like.  And I’m also working on finding the time to get the third Digit book out of my head and into my laptop.  Any idea where I can rent a cabin on a lake, preferably near Justin Timberlake?

Here are links for more information on Annabel and her books! (Digit and Double Digit)

Twitter ~ @AnnabelMonaghan

Instagram ~ annabelmonaghan

Facebook ~

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