Monday, April 28, 2014

Paint Party!

When I got back to New York, I knew I needed a girls night. Thankfully, Living Social provided us with a great excuse to get together.

Yep, a Paint Party.

I hadn't heard of Paint Nite, but the gist of it is this.

You sign up online and then show up.

You start with a blank canvas.

Order some food and drinks.

Get your paints and brushes.

Listen to your instructor.

And paint!

We all swore that we weren't good artists (more on who lied at the end) but we chose Purple Trees which said that it was going to be easy and thought why not give it a try. 

We even took a vow:
I promise to relax and have not to bitch and moan. Not to throw my canvas across the room. Not to say "I messed up," or "Mine sucks," or "Can you fix it," or "Can you just do it," or "I thought this was paint by numbers."
And then we tried our best to follow instructions...while also holding to that vow.

When we finished painting the background, I had already surpassed my artistic expectations.

Once the background was dry we added our purple trees and our instructor encouraged people to kind of do their own thing. 

I did what she did because apparently I have no imagination when it comes to painting.

Here's mine, which is now hanging in my living room.

There were some seriously talented people in the class. 

Including the person who did this.

Now come on, does this look like someone who professes to not be good at art? Um, no. Jaida, you liar you're too modest.

I'm so up for doing another one of these. Now I just have to decide which painting to do!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Books of Wonder and East Side Sushi

Wednesday Night there was YA Genre Face Off at Books of Wonder.

The amazing and talented and all around awesome guy, Adam Silvera, asked me if I was up for helping represent science fiction with the lovely Joan Paquette and I said of course.

My books were in great company.

Representing contemporary Elizabeth Eulberg (or Elizabeth #1 since there were two of us) mentioned that Better Off Friends was inspired by the age-old question can a guy and a girl really be best friends--and nothing more--and the quintessential girl-guy-best friend movie, When Harry Met Sally.

She also said that when she does school visits, she gets a lot of blank stares at this movie restaurant.

This happened to me a lot when I was teaching. I'd mention a movie and get blank stares and be like "um I am not that much older than you, please see more movies" and most of my students would roll their eyes. But anyway...

Also on the contemporary team, Laurie Boyle Crompton was there with The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High, a book about a bunch of outsiders who get to go to prom queen makeover camp, which is also a reality show, and they have to battle it out to be prom queen and win a million dollars.

I totally wish this had been a real thing when I was in high school because while I might not have cared about being prom queen (I was so not on that radar) me and my competitive drive would have been really into trying to win a million dollars.

Laurie inspired us SF and Fantasy writers to talk about what our own characters prom ambitions would be. 

Janelle and Ben, by the way, probably wouldn't have gone to prom. I mean, with the whole world falling apart they were a little busy, but I think that would have had a lot more fun getting dressed up and doing something together or with a small group of close friends rather than going to the prom.

On team fantasy was Marie Rutkoski with The Winner's Curse, the first in a trilogy. Interestingly enough though, she conceived of the book as a stand alone only once she got near the end she realized she was going to have to write more than just one book, otherwise her readers who be really mad at her for ending the book like that. 

This is also a fantasy novel but without magic--it's set in another world but feels more historical. After hearing Marie talk about it, I definitely am into reading this. I think Janelle and Ben might have something in common with Kestrel and Arin.

The other fantasy member was Leah Cypess whose novel Death Sworn is near the top of my TBR pile. The contemporary and SF teams had to decide what weapon our characters would use if they needed to assassinate someone. I said Janelle would probably use a gun since she's been taught how to use one. 

But I really like Joan's answer: death ray stare. Since that seems easier and potentially more affective. 

We had a lovely crowd who asked some really great questions. 

Almost everyone had a great time.

Okay, really everyone did have a great time.

After the event ended I was starving and my friend Whitney (who used to live in my building but just moved to midtown East) and I headed over to her neighborhood for sushi at Tenzan.

We both started with Miso Soups.

 Then we feasted:

 It was fresh and cheap and delicious. All clear signs of a great night.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Museum Hopping

When I asked the boyfriend what he wanted to do in London, he said "Museums!" I asked which ones and he answered "All of them!"

So that's what we did.

But any day that involves museum hopping needs to start with a good breakfast. We started at Duck n Waffle where the boyfriend had an English Breakfast and I had a waffle with nutella, a caramelized banana, and a scoop of ice cream.

It had some pretty incredible views.

Including my favorite building.

Then we popped over to the Monument to the Great Fire of 1666.

It had some pretty nice views too.

Next up was the British Museum where are favorite exhibits were the mummies and the rosetta stone.

Then there was the Natural History Museum which included dinosaurs + the butterfly exhibit.

We even jumped on the tube and headed out to Kew Gardens at the suggestion of my friend Molly.

We went to the Sr John Soane Museum--where I couldn't take pictures, but if you're ever around, I'd seriously recommend it. 

Then we strolled through Hyde Park and went to Kensington Palace.

Where there was a great fashion exhibit and an exhibit on Queen Victoria's life.

After a long day we stopped at Sticks n Sushi in Covent Garden for green tea, sushi, and kabobs.

Then since it was our last night we stopped into the Axis hotel and grabbed a last drink from their bar.

And after a long walk back to the apartment, with a pass by Buckingham Palace, we stopped at a cremerie for ice cream.

All in all, the last day in London was amazing. Which makes sense because the whole trip was amazing. I already can't wait to find an excuse to go back.

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