Essays & Blogs

Dear Diary: A friend and I were on a Queens-bound E train when, although she lives 3,000 miles away, my grandmother got on at 14th Street. After a double take, I realized it was not my grandmother, just an older Filipino woman with my grandmother’s exact hairstyle and small stature. She was carrying several shopping bags. A mix of decorum and homesickness seizing me, I leapt up, motioning for her to take my seat. “No, no,” she responded, shaking her head and clutching a pole with her free hand. “I’m fine.” “Please,” I said. “You have bags.” Again, a terse “no.” I sat back down and stared at my feet, feeling awkward….… Read More


When your mother is a catering chef, you learn long before any knife skills or kitchen etiquette one key truth: Bacon is the backbone to any crowd pleaser. Mom is a tiny woman, but has a fierce knowledge of barnyard meats. And, her creations are the stuff of Pinterest legend. For instance: She taught me to secure a meat-and-ale pie with a tight bacon lattice. Dusting maple crystals atop Sunday morning rashers or pepper bacon was a standard practice. She’s twirled marbled ribbons into muffin tins and filled the cups with mac n’ cheese before baking to crisp succulence. (Those she fed proclaimed her “ingenious.”) She recently cured strips of lamb belly for gloriously meaty sliders. On the list is creating such vegetarian witchcraft as… Read More


The notion of writing while traveling is a beautiful thing. Picture it: You’re writing your novel. But, instead of toiling away at your cluttered writing desk as usual, you’re on a beach on Maui, ocean breezes wafting over you as you ponder your draft over a piña colada. But, in reality, writing while traveling isn’t always as lovely. While a new adventure can be an excellent way to stimulate your writing mind and enrich your writing life, finding time to focus amid lost luggage,  jet lag and must-see sights can be frustrating. Consider these tips below, from someone who’s been there.… Read More


Anecdotes aren’t just for sparkling chitchat at dinner parties. When crafted with an honest eye, a nonfiction anecdote can tether a complex issue to a flesh-and-blood human being, bringing an understanding to readers they wouldn’t obtain otherwise. A book with illuminating anecdotes can even establish an author as an expert. If a non-fiction book doesn’t have anecdotes, it can be a turn off to publishers. Sculpting an enlightening anecdote — or even a helpful one — isn’t easy. Here are 5 laws to abide by when writing anecdotes:… Read More


My childhood ceased in one fell splat. Every lady knows the emotional weight of that memory — when, in a not-so-metaphorical typhoon of confusion, you discover that peculiar splotch in your panties and your world breaks in half. Now, take that thrilling adolescent recollection you have, and imagine it set to the saccharine soundtrack of Disneyland’s Main Street parade. Bam! You have my life. Also, can we talk about how I was nine when I first got my period? Talk about unfair. Was my childhood diet somehow 400% milk? Was I descended from Viking women? Did I commit a crime against humanity in a former life? I ended up as that 5th grader who had to pay close attention to the degree of butt-tightness my… Read More


Many of the fearsome icons on this list have either a.) Torn out hearts, literally, b.) Said totally impolite things to my favorite characters, or c.) Caused me to wail at my television, ensnared in a web of emotions. Yet, these devilish characters make for excellent drinking company. Here’s why: 1. Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones I would constantly hold my breath, hoping Cersei would reach her cup toward a terrified servant and demand “More wine.” Cackles galore. Aside from being a huge bitch and a bitter mom who literally birthed a blonde demon, Cersei must be a fantastic gossip. Think of all the Kings Landing scuttlebutt she has packed up inside of that small head of hers. The finest compliment to a glass… Read More