Archive for July, 2012

Real-Life Ice Cream Connoisseurs

If you’ve read Past Perfect, you know that the protagonist, Chelsea, and her best friend, Fiona, love ice cream so much that they have decided to devote their summer to becoming ice cream connoisseurs.

They are not the only ones.

On Sunday I went with my friends Emily and Elyse to the Ice Cream Takedown at the Bell House, a bar in Brooklyn. What is an Ice Cream Takedown, you want to know? Well, I’ll tell you: It is a magical, magical life experience in which 30 people prepare different flavors of ice cream, and then you (in this case, I) eat it all.

I ate baklava ice cream and mint julep ice cream and cotton candy ice cream and coconut ice cream (even though I do not like coconut). I also took photos. For you.

Emily shows off some of her ice cream samples.

Don’t worry. By the end of the afternoon, they were all empty.

Emily and Elyse studiously watch a vendor scoop ice cream. And then give it to us. In unlimited quantities.

I never smile as much as when I have ice cream in hand!

the second annual writers’ retreat

As you may recall if you are a diehard fan of leilasales.com, last summer my friends and I went on a Fire Island writers’ retreat. This year we decided to “relive the magic” at a farmhouse in Copake, New York.

It’s hard to imagine how anything could be better than last year’s retreat (which involved, as you may recall, gambling on hermit crab races), but it’s possible this year actually was. Our giant house had its own pool, and we overlooked a pond and some mountains. I was there with Lauren Oliver, Jess Rothenberg, Rebecca Serle, Courtney Sheinmel, Lexa Hillyer, and Emily Heddleson. Here is what a typical day looked like:

Wake up around 9am. Put on bathing suit.

Write by the pool for a while.

Break for water calisthenics in the pool, led by Lauren, who in some parallel universe must be a full-time personal trainer.

Write some more.

Hang out in the giant kitchen, talking about my willingness to help cook, while everybody else prepares an amazing lunch.

Eat the amazing lunch by the pool, while discussing crucial writing questions, like, “What do you do when you get an idea for a story?” and, “Can you help me think of a tagline for my new novel?” and, “Is there any lemonade left?”

Go for a walk through the sprawling countryside.

Write some more.

Try to snap photos of the bunny that kept coming over to visit, which is a challenge because he moved too darn fast, and also because Lexa kept claiming he was a “rabid rabbit.”

Take decisive steps toward setting the dinner table while all my friends, you know, the people with legitimate life skills, prepare yet another amazing meal.

Sit at the grand dining room table and eat everything that isn’t nailed down while arguing about which of us is the most Type A. Try to come up with a metric for measuring Type A personalities, and then trying to rank all of us in order from most to least Type A.

Have a dance party in the giant living room.

Cool off in the hot tub, while telling ghost stories, until some of us (namely, Courtney, Jess, and Lauren) get so scared that we all have to go back inside.

Play a game, like Imaginiff, or Wise and Otherwise, or Apples to Apples, only not charades because for SOME REASON nobody except me and Jess wanted to play charades. I should also here note that, out of the dozen different games that were played, I won NONE of them, and I think Rebecca won like two-thirds of them, even though she kept claiming that she didn’t even understand the rules. However, I did assert that I was the most Type A in the house, and no one was willing to argue with me on that, so I guess I “won” at being Type A?

Make s’mores.

Write some more.

Go to bed.

I would live this day over and over and over again, if I could. I don’t honestly see how we could make next year’s annual writers’ retreat any more magical. Unless we added unicorns, maybe. Or charades.