Where I’m at A-Z Pandemic edition

I hope you all had a great weekend! The weather in New York City was beautiful and I went running on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I try to get out early and beat the crowds. That way, I get my fix of fresh air and don’t feel like I’m missing anything stuck indoors the rest of the day. My critique partner returned the first 150 pages of my novel! The good news is she loves the book so far and gave me a lot of constructive feedback and suggestions to make it even better. The bad news is now that I’m revising again, I won’t be posting daily blogs for a while. To conclude this blogging marathon (not forever just “for now”), I’ve brought back an oldie but goodie: Where I’m at from A-Z Pandemic Edition. Enjoy!

I Already wish it was Friday.
I’m Bored with my own company. We’ve been spending a lot of time together lately!
I need another cup of Coffee. Mondays.
I’m Debating virtual Dating. (See my blog last week!)
I’d rather be Editing my 9th full-length novel right now.
Which Face mask should I wear today?
My main character’s last name is Gellar. Her first name is not Monica. Or Ross.
I’m Hungry.
At least It’s almost lunchtime.
Jokes on me. It’s 9:30 in the morning.
Ketel One is decent vodka, but I prefer Tito’s.
Now is it time for Lunch?
Memorial Day is next week—Beaches and BBQs with friends await.
or Not.
Or not.
I might visit my Parents again this weekend.
Quiet, please. I haven’t told them yet.
Revisions are fun!
This post is Silly.
Upload on Amazon Prime was so good!
Did someone say Vaccine?
Work is calling 😦
Xebec. I don’t know what it means, but it’s a word that starts with an X.
You think you can do better?
Zoom used to be at Box 350 Boston Mass 02134. Now it’s in my computer.

dating in the time of Corona

I’m not doing it.

End of blog.

Just kidding. Let’s discuss.

When I thought the restaurant/bar closings, instructions to stay at home, and warnings against close contact with others would last several weeks to a month, dating was something I was happy to put on hold. I didn’t see the point. The idea of spending significant time communicating before meeting, as would have to be the case right now, leaves me cold. Before I am vested in someone—something that doesn’t happen until we meet—I find texting or talking on the phone with them to be boring and time consuming with no guarantee of an ROI. Many enjoy this aspect of dating, but I try to keep it to a few exchanges back and forth to give me some indication of whether we click and, if so, make a date to meet face-to face. I typically don’t rule out giving it one in-person date if the first text exchange or phone call is “blah,” because you never know what kind of chemistry can spark in person, but I prefer to leave it at one phone call/handful of texts. I didn’t enjoy the banter with the guy I was talking to at the beginning of all this enough to continue knowing it would be a long time before we could meet so I let the communication drop off…as one does…and haven’t bothered with the app since.

I regularly receive emails from Meetup groups about virtual singles events they are hosting. So far, I have deleted them all without reading. Now, two months in and with no clear end in sight, I’m starting to wonder if I should reconsider attending these virtual events. Unlike talking on the phone or texting, I will actually “see” these men—their facial expressions and how they react to me in the moment—which may be enough to determine if there’s in-person chemistry. And maybe it could lead to sitting six feet apart at a park with a mask between us for a “real” date of sorts even if that’s as far as it can go. (I’m not risking my life to get naked with anyone right now…) I just don’t know. Not to mention, I haven’t had my hair done, worn makeup, or dressed up in months. I prefer to look my best on dates. Do I have it in me to make the effort?

I’m torn. Am I wasting this chunk of time…this opportunity…to truly get to know someone without the pressure of taking things to another level? The casual nature of dating these days (before the virus) is something I’ve never been comfortable with. This could actually be a perfect time to meet someone, and I have way more time on my hands than normal. Then again, wherever (or whenever) you go there you are. Douchebags will be douchebags even in the time of Corona. Do I want to add dating stress on top of all the other havoc this virus has wreaked on my mental state?

What do you guys think? Should I go for it? Are any of you “dating” right now? Care to share your experiences? Let me know in the comments!

I will not be posting tomorrow or over the weekend, but I will see you back here on Monday. Happy Weekend everyone, and stay safe!

What I most look forward to after a vaccine

A few days ago, I posted my favorite things about staying at home. Today, I want to take a different route. To avoid being negative, I’m not going to list all the things I hate about life these days. Instead, I will take a more positive approach and discuss what I most look forward to when life goes back to “normal.” (I’m using quotes because I fear things will never be normal again.)

Hugs. I am so excited for tight bear hugs. I’ve always loved fierce embraces, but I never realized how much I needed them until they become life-threatening. I’m so excited to squeeze the members of my family (my mother first) and my friends. Hell, I might accost a random stranger or go to one of those cuddle parties to get my fix!

Live book launches. I’ve become friendly with many authors in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut tri-state area over the last few years and there seems to be a book launch at least once a month. Before, I was celebrating a book release at Shakespeare and Co., The Strand, or Barnes & Noble often. Now, while I will continue support my fellow authors at their virtual parties, I look forward to seeing them live from a seat in the audience and to the time when it will be my turn to be the author-of-honor at my own launch party!


Rochelle Weinstein’s launch of THIS IS NOT HOW IT ENDS at Shakespeare and Co. earlier this year.

Drinks with friends somewhere other than my apartment and without a device between us. Shout-outs to Shanna and Dee, the two friends I most look forward to clinking glasses with when it is deemed safe, even if it results in a hangover!

Eating a meal out. I still order take-out or delivery once or twice a week to support local businesses and to vary my menu, but I miss sitting at a restaurant and ordering a full-on meal with an appetizer, main course, and cocktail. I don’t enjoying cooking and tend to prepare the same meals at home every week. There’s only so much gluten-free pasta, salad, rice and vegetables, tuna melts, and soup I can handle.

A fully-stocked grocery store. I’ve had all of my groceries delivered from Fairway since mid-March. For every order I’ve made, at least 25% of the products I put in my cart were either replaced or refunded due to being out-of-stock. I had to buy low fat mayonnaise and, let me tell you, it was gross! Until this past weekend, I had saved my last Udi’s gluten-free frozen pizza because I was waiting for a “special occasion.” This is what my life has come to: waiting for a special occasion to eat frozen pizza! I visited my parents this weekend and, lucky for me, the Shop Rite by them had the pizza in stock so I bought a few of them. I’ll wait until I have one left and save it for another special occasion.


Saving for a special occasion!

Losing the mask. I know essential workers sport face masks every single day for hours on end and I respect, admire, and thank them for it! I do, and will continue to wear one whenever I leave my apartment—aside from my runs where there’s more than enough space to leave it around my neck—but it doesn’t mean I don’t hate it. For one thing it’s hard to breathe, and for another, I have a small head and it always slips. I can’t wait to take for granted the ability to breathe in fresh air without a mask like I used to. I wonder if I will ever take it for granted again.

Getting my hair done and feeling pretty again. I haven’t had my hair done professionally since February and it shows. My hair is probably about 25% gray and while I can easily touch up my roots at home, my stylist uses highlights and low-lights to cover my grays and to give my naturally very dark brown hair a reddish tone that I love. A bottle of Clairol can’t do that. My hair needs a good cut, too, which I refuse to try myself! I learned my lessons from multiple disastrous attempts to trim my own bangs when I was younger. Also, I very rarely bother with makeup these days. My face is covered with a mask when I’m in public and I live alone. Every so often, I put it on a little eye makeup or lipstick for a Zoom video, but usually not. Finally, I can’t wait to wear a dress instead of the rotation of leggings, sweatpants, and shorts I’ve been sporting daily. The phrase “comfort over style” has become a cliché.

IMG_1069 (2)

This girl needs a haircut and some makeup. 


The resumption of my rowing classes. I only discovered rowing in December, when a Row House studio opened in my neighborhood. I was hooked from my first class. It’s a full body workout that gives me something similar to a runner’s high during sprints. Most of the classes also include a body weight portion. After each class, I feel so strong, capable, and like I can take on the world (slight exaggeration for effect)! When fitness centers are given the green light, I hope the studio will open to smaller classes where we can all be separated by more than six feet.


The studio gifted me this shirt after my last class and haven’t worn it yet. 

Getting my regular salary back. Like many of us, I was hit with a significant pay cut. Right now, I make up a lot of the money by not getting my hair or nails done, eating or drinking out, clothes shopping, or paying for gym memberships, but it’s still a big loss and I worry about how much of my savings I will have to rely upon to pay my expensive NYC rent. My workload has also dropped by about 25% and I also look forward to being busier.

Dating. This isolation has motivated me to find a man to spend my life with, if only so the next time this happens, I’m not all alone! (Just kidding. The truth is that I’d rather be alone than stuck with someone I’m not into.) Many people are “virtual dating” but it’s not for me. I’m rethinking it though…More on that tomorrow….maybe (I’m still debating going there.)

What about you? What do you most look forward to doing when things open up and it is once-again safe to go outside?


Favorite books to stay at home with

I’m devouring books more than ever due to my complete lack of a non-virtual social life. While many of us are embracing reading during this time, I’ve heard others are struggling to focus on books. By sharing some of my favorite reads over the last two months, I hope I can provide recommendations to those of you who can’t read fast enough, and maybe help others break their lack-of-focus spell.

This list is limited only to books I’ve read since the stay-at-home orders. There’s a nice mix of genres, including romantic comedy, historical fiction, and thriller.

THE DRESSMAKER’S DOWRY by Meredith Jaeger – This impressive debut is a historical fiction novel about—from Goodreads—two women: one, an immigrant seamstress who disappears from San Francisco’s gritty streets in 1876, and the other, a young woman in present day who must delve into the secrets of her husband’s wealthy family only to discover that she and the missing dressmaker might be connected in unexpected ways. (I also recommend Jaeger’s sophomore novel The Boardwalk Summer.)

ONE TO WATCH by Kate Stayman-London – There are many Bachelor-inspired romantic comedies, but this one is by-far my favorite. Plus-size fashion blogger Bea is so likeable and there are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing who will be the last-Bachelor-standing. I was fortunate to get an ARC of this novel that won’t be out until July.


WE CAME HERE TO SHINE by Susan Orman Schnall – This historical fiction novel is set at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York and tells the story of two women, Vivi the actress and Max the journalist, and the friendship they forged over one summer. The adversity they faced as women made me so frustrated, but only because I was entirely vested. Out next month, this is the author’s second novel in this genre after The Subway Girls (another winner).

HEAD OVER HEELS by Hannah Orenstein – This women’s fiction/romcom crossover is set in the high stakes world of competitive gymnastics and was so much fun! I’m obsessed with Olympic-level gymnastics and with the 2020 Summer games canceled, this novel filled the void a little. I was fortunate to get an ARC of this book that won’t be released until June. (I also really enjoyed her debut Playing with Matches.)

MEET YOU IN THE MIDDLE by Devon Daniels – Pitched as The Hating Game meets The West Wing, this rivals-to-lovers romantic comedy featuring liberal Senate staffer Kate and conservative Senate staffer Ben is spicy, sexy, and full of humor and heart. Throughout the novel is the running theme that sometimes you need to look beyond labels to see the person inside. This novel won’t be released until September, but you can (and should) pre-order it now!

THE SWAP by Robyn Harding – This delicious thriller about two couples and a troubled teenager is the perfect follow-up to Harding’s 2019 release, The Arrangement. I’m sorry to say that, once again, it is not out yet, but it will be released next month.

THE GRACE KELLY DRESS by Brenda Janovitz – I absolutely adored this historical fiction novel featuring three women in three different timelines and the wedding dress that connects them.

THE TWO LIVES OF LYDIA BIRD by Josie Silver- One Day in December was one of my favorite books last year and now the author has blown me away with the story of Lydia Bird, a young woman who’s reunited with her late fiancé in her dreams. Bring your tissues!

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NITA HILL by Abbi Waxman –I loved everything about this book. Quirky Nina and her offbeat friends and family, the slow but sexy burn of her romance with Tom, and the punchy dialogue stole my heart and inspired me to dig deeper in my own writing.


TWICE IN A BLUE MOON by Christina Lauren – The second-chance romance between Tate and Sam in this novel was less romantic comedy and more full-on romance. I’m such a big fan of this author duo, and this book demonstrates their versatility. I never really know what I’m going to get from their novels in terms of humor and steam levels, but I’m just about guaranteed to love it.

What about you? Have you read any of the above books? What have you read since this pandemic started that you’d like to recommend?

Fitness in the age of Corona

Before Covid-19, I exercised five days a week. My rotation consisted of outdoor runs, the Peloton bike in my apartment building’s gym, spinning at NYSC, and rowing classes at Row House. When gyms were ordered to close down, I had to re-access my fitness routine. Spinning, rowing, and the Peloton bike were no longer options because I don’t own the necessary equipment. I’m just recovering from an Achilles tendonitis injury so I’m reluctant to run on back-to-back days. I’m also gun-shy to spend too much time outdoors these days. My previous routine was very cardio-heavy, which meant I was neglecting a lot of muscles without even realizing it. I learned this when Row House opened in my neighborhood and I took their “Body” and “House” classes. In both, we step off our rowing machine (erg) twice to do strength exercises, either with dumb bells or using our own body weight. These portions of the class were more challenging for me than the rowing itself partly because I lacked strength, and also due to my horrible balance! Despite the difficulty, I became addicted to these classes, and anticipated getting through the struggle.

Covid-19 forced me to think outside of the box with respect to my exercise options. It was also an opportunity to work on those muscles I neglected while focusing on so much cardio.

There are thousands of videos on YouTube, but I’ve never enjoyed doing exercise from my computer or phone because the screens are too small. With my purchase of the Roku Streaming Stick, I was able to upload YouTube on my television—GAME CHANGER!! The selection is amazing and I’ve found several favorites. When I get bored or the video becomes easy, I find a new one to take its place. I now rotate these videos (a mix of body weight, HIIT, Pilates, and yoga) with running outside—I found a wide-open space near the water where I can run back and forth without a mask and feel comfortable with it. I’m proud to announce I haven’t missed a single day of exercise since being at home—not one! I’m working out seven days a week. The videos aren’t as long as my exercise classes at the gym and I’m not walking as much as I used, but I hope that by doing it every day and working parts of my body that have been mostly neglected before, I escape social isolation in as good, if not better, physical shape than I entered it.


This wide-open space is perfect for running these days!

These are some of my favorite classes:

This a Pop Sugar bodyweight class. It’s a great mix of cardio and strength exercises. Although the cardio is getting a little easy, the arm section still kills me almost two months later.

This is another Pop Sugar bodyweight class to shake things up a little. This one includes more balance exercises which are a challenge for me. I still haven’t mastered side planks.

This is an HIIT WORKOUT with Self Magazine for when I need a cardio fix. It’s so hard! I’m always out of breath, but there are well-timed breaks. It’s probably 95% cardio, but there are also planks and walk-outs for upper body and abs.


My yoga mat is getting more action than every before!

This is a Pilates and Yoga fusion workout through Trifecta Yoga. I have a hard time letting my mind go, which makes yoga difficult (and sometimes boring) for me. Although I know it’s great for the body and mind, I prefer mixing it with Pilates for more muscle targeting. Beth, the coach, is clear and concise with her instructions.

What about you? Did you exercise before the pandemic? If so, how has your routine changed? Are you still making fitness a priority or are you taking the moment to give yourself a break? No judgement! All that matters is getting through this time as healthy and sane as possible and that means different things to all of us!



Until tomorrow, stay safe and be happy!


There are so many things to hate about this moment in time. Constant fear and anxiety, not being able to see my friends and family without a device between us, and struggling to breathe behind a face mask are at the top of my list. Perhaps I will publicly add to that list at some point, but today I want to focus on the upsides of my state’s rigorous stay-at-home orders:

While working from home, I don’t have to wake up hours in advance to shower, dress, and do my hair/makeup. When I log into work at 9:30, I’m still in my pajamas. I still rise early to write because it is my most productive time of the day, but it’s not as early.

Because of the above change in my schedule, I’m able to stay up later to finish tv shows or read without losing out on precious sleep hours. If I suffer from insomnia, happening more frequently, there is less pressure to wake up when my alarm goes off.

I used to wake up before work to exercise (go for a run, use the Peloton bike at my apartment building’s gym) because midday workouts were not possible and I liked to keep my evenings open to write or go out with friends/dates. I no longer must exercise first thing in the morning to get it done. Instead, after going through my work emails and handling anything urgent in the morning, I usually take a break between 10:30-11am and do a fitness video on Youtube or pop outside for a quick run (with lots of social distancing). If that time doesn’t work out (see what I did there?), I have all day/night to fit in exercise. I literally have ALL day.

(Something I’ve observed is my preference to keep a schedule, even now. I’ve just modified the schedule to reflect the changes in the world. Despite having nothing to do, I get anxious when my routine is interrupted I think it’s a control thing…(You think, Meredith?) Anyway, I’m trying to embrace the freedom and squash the anxiety or at least keep it in perspective.)

Before Covid-19, my virtual communication with just about everyone besides my parents was limited to text, email, or FB message. Now I have a weekly Zoom with my closest author friends who live all over the country and Canada, am doing Facetimes with a few other besties regularly, and even had a virtual reunion with my college roommates. I wasn’t in physical contact with most of these people weekly or even monthly before, and now we’re all making a conscious effort to check up on each other face-to-face. We even taught my aging technophobe parents how to Zoom—not without its complications—and my mother got to celebrate her 79th birthday with all her children and grandchildren on one screen. It was wonderful.

Before Covid-19, I had to fit my writing time in between my day job, my social life, the gym, and general “errands.” With the flexibility of working from home, nowhere to go in the evenings, my gym and rowing studio closed, and most of my essentials being delivered, I completed the first draft of my novel and several rounds of self-editing way faster than I anticipated. It is now with my critique partner and I hope to send it to my agent at the beginning of June. While I miss going out for drinks and dinner and would like to get back to my office, those are things I can’t control. Using the extra time to write is something I can control. I don’t want to take this extra time for granted because (God willing) it won’t last forever.

I love how social isolation has forced so many to step out of their comfort zones. I’ve been amazed by the original and innovating ideas my writer peers have come up with from live reading first chapters of books, to Instagram book launches, to Zoom book clubs. Beyond the author world, I’m so proud of my technophobe parents for learning how to Zoom and FaceTime. I’m an anti-crafty person, yet when forced with no other options, I took to YouTube for lessons on creating face masks from T-shirts. (Eventually I acquired two much better masks, but the ones I made myself worked in a pinch.) It might seem like a small thing, but I was pretty proud of myself and proved that I am capable of doing what needs to be done!

For now, my list will end here. Maybe I will add to it as I think of others. Being grateful for what I have is far more enjoyable than crying over what I don’t. What about you? Is there anything about social distancing that you enjoy? Did you learn anything about yourself? Let me know in the comments.

See you Monday. Have a safe and healthy weekend everyone!

Meredith’s TV Guide

For more than six weeks now, my social life has consisted of Zoom and Facebook happy hours with friends and family. Going out in the evenings hasn’t been an option which means I have watched television every night for the last 50+ days. I’ve kept my viewing under control by limiting it to the evenings/nights while reading or writing during lulls from my “working at home” schedule during the day. Nevertheless, there’s been a lot of tv-watching action, even for a self-proclaimed television addict like myself. These are some thoughts on the television shows I’ve started (and in some cases finished) since the stay-at-home orders:

FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL – this Hulu original inspired by the romantic comedy movie of the same name is absolutely delightful. It has everything I like in a romcom—humor, slow-burn romance, depth, close friendships, tension, and a well-earned happily-ever-after for all. I highly recommend!

BIG LITTLE LIES – This is an HBO series based on the delicious novel by Liane Moriarty, but I watched it on Hulu. With an all-star cast of fabulous female actors including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoé Kravitz, and Merryl Streep and addictive storytelling, this series is a slam dunk.

OZARK – This Netflix original is so dark and twisty that I barely breathe while watching. I used to call this show “Breaking Bad Light” but after watching the third season, it’s brilliance stands on its own and it there is nothing light about it!

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE – This is another Hulu original based on the best-selling novel by Celeste Ng. I haven’t read the book yet, and while it took me a couple of episodes, I am nearing the end and absolutely hooked. Also, kudos to the casting directors for choosing actresses who could absolutely pass for the younger versions of Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington even down to the mannerisms. AnnaSophia Robb and Tiffany Boone were fantastic!

HOLLYWOOD – I’ve only watched two episodes of this Netflix series about the golden age of film making, but I’m already hooked. Anyone who knows me is aware that when I really love a series, I don’t binge it. Rather, I prolong the pleasure for as long as possible.

NEVER HAVE I EVER – This series on Netflix is like watching a YA novel on the small screen. It is absolutely delightful and a perfect reprieve from all the sadness and uncertainty of the current moment.

YOU – This Netflix series about sociopath Joe Goldberg and his obsessive search for love is based on the psychological suspense novels YOU and HIDDEN BODIES by Caroline Kepnes. It is so disturbing and absolutely addictive!

BETTER CALL SAUL – This spinoff of Breaking Bad spotlighting the characters of Saul (James) and Mike is hit or miss for me. Some episodes hold my attention and others leave me cold. I’m not giving up though!

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – This was a re-watch for me. I loved watching the “Scooby Gang” fight evil as much today as I did twenty years ago. Something tells me I will be re-watching it again someday. I’m trying to get into the spinoff Angel, but it’s a hard sell because I’m pining for Buffy, Willow, and Xander.


I’m more of a television than movie person, but I watched these three popular romantic comedy movies that for some reason I missed before:

LEAP YEAR – This movie starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode was the quintessential romcom with all the tropes that go with it including the “Fake lovers” and “only one bed” favorites.


WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING – I honestly have no idea how this classic slipped through the cracks, but it was worth the wait. Sandra Bullock was charming as always, and it was nice to see Bill Pullman as a romantic hero for a change.

MORNING GLORY – I’ve debated watching this one for months and finally gave in. With an all-start cast featuring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton, it was adorable. And I finished it with a massive crush on Patrick Wilson.

What about you? Have you watched the television shows listed above? Agree or disagree with my thoughts? What new television shows or movies have you been watching? Comment with recommendations! Depending upon how much longer this lasts, maybe I will do a follow-up to this next month with a new rotation of shows!

Marathon Blog – Day 1

Hello to all from my individual hell…I mean social isolation!

Once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but beginning today I will be sharing content daily. Yes, daily! (minus weekends). You see, all this time at home has allowed me to finish a first draft of a book and several rounds of self-editing much quicker than I had anticipated. Yesterday morning, I sent the manuscript (a quirky and sexy women’s fiction/romcom crossover about…NO SPOILERS*) to my critique partner for her feedback. She’s busier than usual with her kids at home all day and I’m not sure when I’ll have it back. This book has been the best distraction—even better than television—during this difficult time and with it temporarily out of my hands, I’m afraid the isolation will wreak havoc on my mental state. Some people like breaks from writing—days, weeks, months—after completing a draft to refresh. Not me, I need to be constantly working on something creative…something beyond the other “staples” in my life (day job, exercise, reading and television). I’m not ready to start plotting a new novel, and since I’ve neglected my blog for so many months, it’s the perfect time to revive it.

I’m not promising epic journal entries. The truth is, I’m not sure what sort of content I’ll be providing. It will most likely be personal observations regarding my experience being at home all these weeks. Stay tuned every day and you can see for yourself. Any suggestions or requests are welcome, just leave them in the comments! Please comment anyway and let me know you’re here. I’ve missed you and apologize for being away so long. It became too hard to maintain my blog while keeping up with my writing, a full-time job, a social life, and all the mundane aspects of life. With my social life now reduced to Zoom video calls and Facetimes, my newest book in the process of being ripped to shreds (in the best way possible) by my critique partner, and a looming sense of loneliness in general, I’m happy to fit the blog back into my schedule.

Until tomorrow, stay safe, healthy, and at home if your state requires it (unless you’re an essential worker in which case, THANK YOU)!

*Five ways to describe my new book without giving it away: fish out of water, Hallmark obsessed, journalist, real estate development, small town vs. big city.