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Meet And Greet With Jackie Collins: Part Two

February 10th, 2010 — 06:00 pm

As Monday’s meet and greet with Jackie Collins continued, the delightful bestselling author shared her observations about life, love and writing.

Jackie happily signed copies of her new novel Poor Little Bitch Girl

“The pleasure you give,” she said intently, “is the pleasure you get and that applies to everything, especially sex.”

Speaking of sex, Jackie noted how it doesn’t sell without a good story and interesting characters. Women in old novels — confined to sex and cooking — inspired her from a young age to write strong, powerful female characters free to do whatever they desire.

Her favorite creation? The beloved Lucky Santangelo, who will reappear in the upcoming Goddess of Vengeance.

“She’s so strong. Women love her, she’s like a female James Bond,” she said.

Jackie’s passion for the craft of writing, and for having her finger on the pop culture pulse is reflected in how she approaches her work. She writes longhand in leatherbound volumes, a practice she’s maintained with all 26 of her books. And, she keeps her stories fresh by submitting them months — instead of a year — ahead and doing all of the editing herself.

“If I fail, I want to fail on my mistakes, not somebody else’s.”

Jackie’s recipe for success has added up to sales of 400 million copies in more than 40 countries. How does she define success?

“Success,” she said wryly, “means I can call up Mr. Chow’s in Beverly Hills and get a table on a moment’s notice.”

For the chance to share a meal with Jackie, head on over to her website for details about an exciting new contest. If you win, you’ll enjoy every minute — literary stars don’t come any more gracious or enchanting than Miss Collins.

Comment » | Beverly Hills, Jackie Collins, Mr. Chow's, Poor Little Bitch Girl

Meet And Greet With Jackie Collins: Part One

February 9th, 2010 — 07:25 pm

Yesterday, I headed over to Bar Seine at NYC’s swanky Hotel Plaza Athenee for a blogger meet and greet with author Jackie Collins.

A True Star: Jackie Collins and me with her latest page turner

Celebrating her new novel, “Poor Little Bitch Girl” — in bookstores today — the intimate gathering of about 15 people offered the opportunity to dish with the bestselling author about her work past and present and, of course, her experiences in Hollywood.

I’m happy to report that Jackie is as sassy, charming and fabulous as you would expect from reading her books.

A Hollywood insider since her adolescent days, Jackie says the inspiration for “Poor Little Bitch Girl” came from the pampered and privileged celebrity offspring she has encountered.

“The new accessory in Hollywood is a baby,” she said. “What happens when the baby becomes a grown child, and you don’t want to deal with the kid that becomes an adult?”

Still smitten with the entertainment world, Jackie shared some favorite stories — from interviewing neighbor Al Pacino to receiving a handwritten note from Frank Sinatra after Kitty Kelly published an unauthorized biography about him.

“Kitty Kelly is fiction, yours is the truth,” he wrote of Jackie’s truthful take on life in the fast lane.

Though she’s a regular at A-list parties — Clive Davis’ legendary annual pre-Grammy soiree among them — Jackie admitted celebrity gossip sites are one of her guilty pleasures. A self-professed pop culture junkie, she raved about Paris Hilton’s album, “The Hurt Locker” and Neil Patrick Harris.

“I love Hollywood,” she said. “I’ve been there since I was a teenager and I still find it a fascinating place.”

Up next…Jackie shares her best dating advice for women and talks about whether sex really sells.

Comment » | Bar Seine, celebrity gossip, Hollywood insiders, Jackie Collins, NYC hotel bars, Plaza Athenee, Poor Little Bitch Girl, The Hurt Locker

A Weekend To Remember

June 13th, 2014 — 08:14 pm

Last weekend, I enjoyed the rare pleasure of being reunited with two of my oldest and dearest friends. Their visit coincided with picture perfect weather—ideal for strolling around NYC and playing tourist.

The festivities began on Saturday, with the arrival from Toronto of beloved galpal Jackie and her boyfriend Jim. After a visit to the M&M’s store and delicious lunch at one of my favorite greasy spoons in Midtown, we ventured up to Top of the Rock for spectacular 360-degree city views.

Jackie and me at Top of The Rock

Jackie and me at Top of The Rock

From there, we walked to Rockefeller Center, where we were treated to an only in New York sighting: a trio of guys dressed as Ghostbusters photobombing a bride.

Only in NYC!

Only in NYC!

Then, it was off to FAO Schwartz and Central Park before heading back to my place. We were then joined by another BFF, London-based Steve. Over a home cooked dinner, we enjoyed lively conversation about everything from cohabitating to 80s music favorites and career crossroads. I savored every second of being with two cherished friends that have both been a part of my life for more than two decades now.

Steve, me and Jackie

Steve, me and Jackie

Sunday, Steve and I met for brunch in Union Square. We were at the restaurant when I realized I had – eegads! – forgotten my purse back at Starbuck’s. We dashed back over there to find it right on the chair where I left it. With the cash, credit card and ID all there.

My faith in humanity sufficiently elevated, I was beyond relieved as we returned to Petite Abeille, a charming little French bistro more than deserving of its many online raves. The brunch fare is divine and so is the waitstaff.

After bidding farewell to Steve, I met up with Jackie and Jim in Times Square. On the agenda, a 30-minute ride on high speed motorboat, The Beast.

It was a glorious day to take in NYC’s majestic skyline.

Beautiful NYC as seen from my seat on The Beast

Beautiful NYC as seen from my seat on The Beast

I found myself feeling something I haven’t in awhile—smitten with my hometown. Sometimes it takes being with old friends to see everything through new eyes.

Speaking of new, the countdown to my blog makeover is on. Stay tuned for seven days of giveaways, including popular dating advice books and a one night stay at The Westin New York Grand Central!

Comment » | catching up with old friends, Top Of The Rock, Union Square

Return To Toronto: Part Two

February 5th, 2014 — 09:19 pm

My wonderful weekend in Toronto continued with a girls day out with dear friend Jackie.

Jackie and me

Jackie and me

As always, we picked up right where we left off, confiding in each other about career transitions, dating dramas and the heavy contemplation that accompanies turning 40.

Along the way, we enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon at Yorkdale Shopping Centre on the outskirts of T.O. First, a yummy lunch at Glow Press, which serves a mouth-watering variety of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Then, we hit various stores before heading out to pick up Jackie’s little boy Ryan.

Back at their place, Jackie whipped up spaghetti and meatballs, and surprised me with chocolate birthday cake.

The decadence continued back at my hotel, where a carrot cake amenity from my Westin Grand Central colleagues was waiting for me. I must say I love extending the big 4-0 festivities (waistline considerations notwithstanding).

Saturday, snowy conditions didn’t get in the way of my next reunion — with high school buddy Emma.

Emma and me

Emma and me

Over a delightful brunch at Fran’s, one of T.O.’s venerable old-school diners, we reminisced about old times and reflected on motherhood (Emma has a young son), getting older and the ties that bind. Emma spoke fondly of my late, beloved parents, sharing with me that she told her partner—

“They had an intimacy not just as a couple, but as friends.”

It meant so much to hear Emma say this, to be reminded of the impact that Mom and Dad had on everyone fortunate enough to know them. My friends in Toronto got to know them very well indeed during epic slumber parties, prom night and the like.

These and so many other happy memories of our years living up north crossed my mind over the course of the weekend. As I walked along familiar streets, many now replaced with new stores and attractions, I couldn’t help thinking of what time hasn’t changed—my gratitude for old friends and my late, beloved parents’ enduring legacy of love.

This week, they would have celebrated 41 years together. I have no doubt that somewhere, they’re enjoying one hell of a party. Cheers to you, Mom and Dad, still my all-time favorite couple.

 

Comment » | catching up with old friends, travel, turning 40, weekend getaways

An Action Packed Girls Weekend

June 10th, 2012 — 06:10 pm

This weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with my dear friend of 26 years Jackie. Jackie and I went to junior high school together when I was living in Toronto. We packed a lot in to the last couple of days.

Jackie and me at the Lowell Hotel

Friday, we enjoyed afternoon tea at NYC’s elegant Lowell Hotel in Midtown. While nibbling on finger sandwiches, scones and Devonshire cream, Jackie and I reflected on family ties and how good friends are just as important in carrying you through tough times. Afterward, craving a quiet night in, we rented the Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis romcom “Friends With Benefits,” definitely one of the most entertaining and well written romcoms I’ve seen in awhile.

Yesterday was action packed. We started the day by heading down to SoHo, delighted to stumble upon a street fair teeming with cheap jewelry finds, colorful clothes and scrumptious foods. Street fairs are one of my favorite things about summer in NYC.

A delicious spread of teas and spices at the SoHo street fair that we stumbled upon

Then it was off to nearby SoHo Park, a charming eatery whose charming public garden décor lives up to its name, for some delicious veggie burgers with cheese. From there, Jackie and I went to Macy’s to take advantage of a huge sale and add to our summer wardrobe. Back at home, I whipped up salmon burgers with dill sauce for us, happy to cook for my dear friend since I was far less adept in the kitchen during her visit last year.

After dinner and a few cocktails, we went downtown again – to my favorite nightclub, Canal Room, to hear 80’s cover band Rubix Kube.

Rubix Kube ROCKED!!

As always, the band delivered a high energy set that had everyone dancing and singing along to classics like “Beat It,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” and “Jessie’s Girl.” Jackie and I were hoarse and happy when we caught up with lead female vocalist Cherie Martorana outside.

Jackie and me with lead singer Cherie Martorana after the show

Another fantastic girls’ weekend from start to finish. Can’t wait for my next one…next weekend in South Beach. Stay tuned!

1 comment » | afternoon tea, catching up with old friends, girl talk, girlfriend getaways, Rubix Kube, SoHo

A Fun-Filled Weekend

May 31st, 2011 — 02:19 pm

Playing tourist in your hometown is always fun — especially when you do it with a dear friend. This weekend, that’s exactly what I did with my galpal Jackie, visiting from Toronto.

Saturday was action-packed. After taking in 360 degree skyline views from the Top of The Rock observatory, we strolled through Times Square, found some accessories in a bargain boutique and browsed at Macy’s before heading down to Union Square.

At Lady’s Mendl’s: Jackie and me

Our destination — Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon, rated the best afternoon tea in NYC for good reason. With its cozy Victorian B&B vibe and first class service, Lady Mendl’s delivers a truly memorable experience. Jackie and I savored the multiple variety finger sandwiches, classic buttermilk scones, cheesecake and petits fours for dessert.

Sunday, we got in touch with our inner child and walked through FAO Schwartz then stopped in The Plaza’s Food Hall by Todd English for lunch (Caesar salad for me, falafel sliders for Jackie, complimented by a round of mimosas). Taking advantage of the glorious weather, we ambled through Central Park, where the sight of kids playing got us talking about motherhood — Jackie has a three-year-old son — myths and realities.

What A Ride: Enjoying The Beast

Yesterday, we beat the heat with a ride on The Beast, a 30-minute high speed boat ride around NYC’s harbor. Refreshed from our mild soaking at the end of it, we stopped in Grand Central for cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, then capped off the day with a delicious dinner at cozy UES bistro Mediterraneo.

Of course, our weekend itinerary was also full of conversation. We talked a lot about the lingering power of first love, the importance of finding yourself before finding a mate and, of course, the slumber parties we had during our junior high school days. Jackie and I are already planning our next one, when I visit Toronto later this year.

Many times over the last couple of days, Jackie and I marveled that we’ve known each other for a quarter of a century. Old friends really are like good wine — they simply get better with age.

1 comment » | girlfriend getaways

A Girls Weekend

May 29th, 2011 — 11:04 am

When it comes to friends, there’s nothing more special than the ones that manage to withstand time and geography. This weekend, I’m enjoying a wonderful reminder of this thanks to a visit from my beloved galpal Jackie.

Reunited: Jackie and me enjoying the view from NYC's Top of The Rock observation deck

Jackie and I have been friends for 25 years, since we went to junior high school together during my years of living in Toronto. Though we haven’t seen each other in seven years, we effortlessly picked up right where we left off. Then again, that’s what forever friends always do.

We’re playing tourist in the Big Apple this holiday weekend. Coming up…details of our action-packed itinerary!

Comment » | girlfriend getaways

Houston: Days One And Two

March 27th, 2010 — 06:36 pm

Wednesday night, I headed over to Wild West for my first true taste of Texas-style fun.

As I spotted men in ten gallon hats and couples doing an endless rotation of the two step, I knew I had come to the right place. Especially when I started chatting with amiable bartender Jason and proprietress Jackie, both of whom filled me in on life and dating in Houston.

At the Wild West: Jackie and me

Jackie, a divorced mom, raved about the joys of singlehood.

“I don’t have to cook for anybody,” she said with a smile, adding that there’s no shortage of men here.

“It’s a sausage factory,” she quipped.

Jason spoke about the challenges of being a good guy, and how modern-era dating doesn’t seem to allow for that.

“Girls don’t know how to act anymore when a guy’s nice to them,” he said. “I’ve had girls ask me if I’m gay just because I don’t grab ‘em by the hair and sling ‘em in the sack on the first date.”

Thursday, I was treated to a delightful Tex-Mex lunch with Houston single gal Katie.

Single Gals In Houston: Katie and me

A former Atlanta resident, Katie says it’s harder to meet people in Houston because it’s such a car-dependent city. Most social interactions revolve around food (Houston is apparently the 4th fattest city in the US — who knew?) and you have to make the effort to identify other kinds of activities.

“There are interesting things to do, you just have to go out of your way to find them,” she said.

Like other single gals here, Katie told me that Houston’s sprawling nature makes it difficult to connect.

“It’s not like New York or San Francisco where you can do a variety of things in one neighborhood,” she said. “You have to move around.”

Still, she prefers the vibe of Houston to her former hometown.

“People are more laidback and casual in Houston than in Atlanta,” she said. “Atlanta girls wear full on makeup and when even they’re only going to the grocery store. You can wear jeans and heels here when you go out.”

Like other Houston bachelorettes, Katie raved about the city’s great variety of men — and the power of good friends.

“It’s hard to meet girlfriends but you once you do, they bring you into their circle.”

Speaking of friends, my Houston visit is affording me the opportunity to catch up with one of my dearest galpals. Coming up…more on our long-awaited reunion and details about a fun date with bull-riding, marathon-running local bachelor!

Comment » | Uncategorized