Costumes from The Old Globe

Costumes from The Old Globe

Last week I attended The Old Globe's annual fashion show fundraiser. On display before the fashion show were some beautiful costumes from past productions. I took pictures of the gorgeous outfits to share with you. Enjoy!

This dress is from the  The Old Globe's production of The Madness of King George. It was worn by the actress playing Queen Charlotte and is late Georgian era.

The Madness of King George, The Old Globe

The Madness of King George, The Old Globe

The Madness of King George, The Old Globe

This Georgian suit is from The Old Globe production of Two Gentlemen from Verona.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Old Globe

Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Old Globe

Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Old Globe

Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Old Globe

Here is a closer photo of the lace cuff.

Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Old Globe

Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Old Globe

Looking for a stunning ball gown with a hint of history? Then check out this one from Twelfth Night. The sign for it (pictured below) says it is Modern/Elizabethan" inspired.

Twelfth Night, The Old Globe

Twelfth Night, The Old Globe

Twelfth Night, The Old Globe

Twelfth Night, The Old Globe

If late Edwardian is more your style, then you will love this 1919 inspired dress from the production Much A Do About Nothing. I love the purple color.

Much A Do About Nothing, The old Globe

costume, The Old Globe

 I hope you enjoyed this peek at some of The Old Globe's stunning costumes. If you like historic clothing then check out my books at There are lots of pretty dresses in them.

Tips to Save Money on Party Supplies

If you want to save money on party supplies, don't wait until the week before the party to buy them. Instead, always keep in mind your future party needs and shop seasonal clearance. I have a plastic tub in one of my closets that holds party supplies. After major holidays like Christmas or Easter, I shop the seasonal aisle and buy napkins, cups, utensils and plates at a fraction of their usual cost. They then go in the tub for future use.

I make the seasonal sales work by buying things that don't say Christmas or Easter on them. For example, this past April I picked up blue plates and napkins after Easter. There isn't a bunny or egg to be seen, and I've used them for summer parties. I also buy green and red utensils and cups after Christmas and use them at different times of the year. Taken out of context, no one associates the red or green with Christmas.

If you are known for your annual Christmas or St. Patrick's Day party, then head to the store the day after the holiday and stock up for next year. You'll end up spending $.10 on a pack of Halloween napkins instead of the $1.99 or more that they usually cost. You will also have them on hand for those last minute requests from teachers or scout leaders to donate to a themed party. Having things on hand for last minute requests makes life a lot easier.

If you need a way to relax after your shopping or party, please check out my books. they are great for any season.

A Visit to an Olympic Training Center

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center

This summer, I got to visit the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center. It was an fun trip with a chance to take a peek into how and where the top athletes train. The facility is located just south of San Diego. The main visitor building and courtyard are beautiful with evocative images of athletes from various Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Chula Vista Olympic Training CenterChula Vista Olympic Training Center

 Chula Vista Olympic Training Center
Inside the visitor's center is a gift shop, a lobby where you get to watch a video about the recent Olympics, and displays of medals and Olympic torches. In case you were wondering, the guide said that the medals do contain real gold, silver and bronze. The silver and bronze medals are 100% pure while the gold isn't. The medal below are from the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, Olympic medal

Included in the display case were Olympic torches.
Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, Olympic torch

Also inside the visitor's center is a BMX bike museum. The Chula Vista center has BMX bike tracks for both the public and the Olympic athletes.
Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, BMX

 For movie buffs, the museum has the bike from the movie E.T.

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, BMX, E.T.

This is the Olympic BMX bike track and is a replica of the Beijing track. That's a big drop at the beginning.
Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, BMX

Here's the kids BMX track. Notice the kids taking off down the first hill! This one is open to the public. More information is available at

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, BMX

It was very hot the day we visited the training center. The center offers guided or self-guided tours. I recommend a hat, sunscreen and water as there is a lot of walking and not much shade. Even on a cool day it would be really sunny. The guided tour was about 2 hours but the self-guided tour is an option. If you  plan a visit with young children, I'd recommend the self-guided tour. Our guide was excellent, but with so much to take in, and so little happening on the fields, children might find it hard to concentrate. If you choose the self-guided tour, mind the signs and don't wander into restricted areas.

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center

Being so close to the Olympic Games in Rio, there weren't many athletes training at the center on the day we were there. However, we did get to meet some players from the U.S. Women's Rugby Team. Go Team U.S.A!!!!

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, women's rugby, rubgy player

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center,  women's rugby, rubgy

Here are some sights from the tour. As you can see, the facility is a beautiful place for athletes to train. At the Archery Center, one archer was practicing. It was amazing to watch her hit the targets.

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, archery

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, archery

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, archery

The training center also has a number of different fields for Rugby, Field Hockey and Soccer. Here is the one for Field Hockey.

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center

Along with the excellent facilities are the gorgeous views. 
Here's one of the lake where the different rowing teams practice. 
Chula Vista Olympic Training Center

You can see the lake again in this picture of the tennis court.
Chula Vista Olympic Training Center

When athletes are here, they are completely take care of so they can concentrate on training. 
Here are some of the hotel-like dorms they enjoy. 
Chula Vista Olympic Training Center

The facility also offers athletes nutritionists, sports psychologists, transportation and stipends. 
The facility is funded through donors, and sales of merchandise at the Olympic shop at

The visit to the center was fun and a real chance to learn about what it takes to be an 
Olympic athlete. 

Chula Vista Olympic Training Center

I hope you get a chance to visit the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, 
and help cheer on Team U.S.A. during the Rio Olympics!

Check out my books because when the Olympic are over you will need something to read!

Tips for Being A Mom and A Writer

how to, tips, parenting, motherhood, kids, family

I am a mom. I am also a writer with deadlines. By doing both, I've learned a great deal about managing my writing time while not neglecting the family.

While things did get easier when the kids went to school, in the early years it was a challenge. During that time, when I was in the midst of toddler tantrums and sleepless nights, how did I manage to keep writing and selling my novels? Through trial and error, I discovered some tips on how to be a mother and a writer at the same time.

So here they are, in no particular order.

1) Nap time is not clean the house time. It is writing time. Give up on having a spotless house and write. Ask people to call before they come over so you can do a quick clean. This applies to everyone except for your family. They already know how you really live.

2) Get up early or stay up late, whichever works for you. Do not fold laundry. Do not watch TV. Do
not play around on the internet. Write.

3)  Buy a Crock-Pot and learn to love it. You'll have a healthy dinner without a lot of effort and more time to write.

4) After your family revolts when you serve yet another slow-cooked meal, find a few other meals you can make ahead of time, or in the morning when the little one is eating. Make them ahead of time and then make sure you get two or more dinners out of them.

5) Delegate the laundry to someone else in the house. The toddler is probably too young to reach the washer and dryer, so recruit an older child or hubs.

6) When the in-laws come for a visit and take over childcare duties, by all mean go have a massage or a manicure, then write.

7) Buy a spiral notebook and pick out a nice pen. In one of the rare moments when you're outside and the child is happily caking himself with mud and could care less what you are doing, write.

8) When your family complains about eating spaghetti for the fourth straight dinner in a row, invite someone else to start making dinner. When the invitation is refused, go back to #3.

9) Buy a lot of clothes for you and your family. This will prevent you from having to do the laundry which is now piling up because #5 failed. Write.

10) Manage your time wisely. You know when your deadlines are so don't wait until the last minute to work on getting your writing done. If you do then plague will strike your house in the form of stomach sickness or strep throat. You will save yourself a lot of stress if you plan ahead, then stick to your plan and write.

I hope you find my list of hints helpful. If you do, then check out my books because you need a break.

Tips for an Afternoon Tea Party

High tea, afternoon tea, tea party

Bath, England, high tea, afternoon tea, The Pump Room

When my husband and I visited England a few years ago, we enjoyed high tea at the Pump Room in Bath on Thanksgiving. It was a treat to sit in the historic room listening to Handel while paintings of lords and ladies watched us eat scones with clotted cream. Drinking tea is a great British tradition and historians have connected the decline in health of the British poor to low calorie, low nutrient tea replacing high calorie, high nutrient beer as their drink of choice. But I digress.
afternoon tea, garden, tea cup, book

In America we tend to romanticize high tea because of its historical connotations and innate pinkie raising elegance. My mother belongs to a Victorian group that dresses up and meets for tea. Even one of her social clubs with no Victorian connection is meeting for high tea and encouraging members to wear Victorian dress. Tea houses and hotels all over America offer high tea in elegant and not so elegant settings. I have a hard time watching Downton Abbey without drinking a cup of tea.

afternoon tea, garden, tea cupIn the mood to host a small or large tea party of your own? Here are some tips for brewing up some old fashioned fun!

1) Scour second hand stores for unique or vintage tea pots and tea cups. I've come across everything from small elephant tea pots to elegant platinum rimmed ones. Whatever your style, with patience, you will find what you are searching for. Also keep an eye out for multi-tiered servers and other pretty things like vintage lace tablecloths to decorate your tea table.

2) Get a little taste of British high tea by visiting a local British food market or a market like CostPlus that carries British food items. If you don't have a store that offers British goods near you, Amazon had a nice selection including The Devon Cream Company Clotted Cream. You can't have a scone without it. If you are searching for another great British taste then check out the jam selection from Tiptree by Wilkins and Sons on Amazon. My favorite Tiptree is the Raspberry Seedless Preserve. It was so good that I brought a jar back from England.

3) Have some fun with your tea flavors. A couple of years ago a friend gave me the Downton Abbey Estate Blend Earl Grey with Vanilla. It's really good and it gives your party that little hint of Downton Abbey. If you want a decaf option, one of my favorites is The Republic of Tea Strawberry Chocolate. It is delicious!

4) Serve tea sandwiches and other fun finger foods. For finger sandwiches, I love the classics like egg salad and cucumber. Recipes for both these and less traditional options can be found here and here . To serve something warm and savory I like Nancy's Frozen Mini-Quiches. Costco carries the in the large quantity but I've seen them in the smaller quantity at grocery stores.

5) Offer small but yummy deserts.  I love serving Costo's mini-lemon cakes. They are the perfect bite-sized end to a delicious tea.

I hope these suggestions help you have a beautiful and tasty afternoon tea.

If you enjoyed this post then you will love my novels because they have a lot of tea drinking in them.

Romance Writers of America 2016 Conference Wrap-Up

Whew! I'm back home from the 2016 Romance Writers of America conference. The RWA conference is a non-stop whirlwind of networking, meetings, parties and workshops that leave authors excited, and exhausted. I officially have conference hangover. Before the euphoria completely wears off, I want to share with you some pictures from the event.

For me, conference began on Wednesday with the Beau Monde Conference. The Beau Monde is the on-line Regency specialty chapter of RWA. It was a great chance to meet in person, and to get to know better, all the people I regularly see online. I also presented a workshop on the training and education of medical professional in Regency England. Here is a shot of me in action during the presentation.

The RWA 2016 Literacy Signing was the next event after the Beau Monde Conference. Imagine a large hotel ballroom filled with hundreds of authors signing books and you can imagine the excitement. I was seated next to the wonderful Jade Lee who also writes Regency romances and was the keynote speaker at the Beau Monde conference.

The first official day of conference began on Thursday morning at Richard Walker's for breakfast with  the wonderful Harlequin Historical authors.

After breakfast, there were workshops to attend and later lunch with the talented Beverly Jenkins giving the keynote speech. Sadly I don't have any pictures of the speech but it was inspiring.

In the afternoon, the Harlequin Historical authors met up for tea in the courtyard of the Horton Grand Hotel. It was a lovely setting and a delicious tea. I was even able to try Scotch Eggs for the first time and chat with the wonderful Harlequin editors.


 Thursday evening saw me at the Montlake Romance party at Roy's Hawaiian. Sadly, I didn't take pictures but I met some great authors including Camille Di Maio and Thelma Adams.

Friday morning began with breakfast and a presentation on impostor syndrome by Dr. Valerie Young. It was another inspiring speech. Afterwards, I participated in the Harlequin book signing. One of the great things about conference is that many publishers host book signings where they give away free books. It's a book lovers dream and this was my first time participating in a signing. 

Friday was filled with more workshops before I reached the highlight of conference, the Harlequin Author Party! It was held at the Omni Hotel and offered a delicious dessert bar. Also available was an adult milkshake with Bailey's, Frangelico, coconut rum and too many other good things to mention. This was another great chance to meet with friends, make new friend and dance the night away. 

Saturday began with another inspiring speech by author Sherry Thomas. It was followed by more workshops, including the one below offered by the talented Elizabeth Hoyt.

Afterwards, I had lunch with my excellent editor at the Hotel del Coronado. Saturday night, the conference concluded with the  RITA and Golden Heart Awards ceremony. Once again, I was terribly remiss in taking pictures of Saturday's events. This give me yet another reason to attend next year's RWA conference. 

I hope you enjoyed this little peek at the conference experience. If you'd like to check out the book I gave away at the Harlequin signing, you can find it on my website at

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