Behind the Scenes of a Book in Progress

Posted by melissa kandel on August 17, 2019 in Novel Ideas | 3 Comments

I’m starting to write a book. It’s a strange, big project I’ve been wanting to take on for years (I’ve written about doing it at length on here) and now FINALLY the time is right. Here we go. I also want to bring all 9,000+ of my followers along with me, hanging out backstage for this creative tour, in case there’s even one person out there reading these words who wants to write a book or launch a business or join a traveling circus or climb a French mountain or do anything that seems just a little bit out of reach. Read More

Hathorway’s Jessica Phan Designs the Career of Her Dreams

Posted by melissa kandel on August 2, 2019 in Found Her Fridays | No Comments

The road to entrepreneurship isn’t always a straight line. Not all of us wake up one morning, watch the sun shining optimistically through our bedroom window and decide there and then to simply quit our jobs and go for it. Sometimes, entrepreneurship happens another way. Jessica Phan, founder of Northern California-based jewelry line Hathorway, understands there’s more than one route to female founder-dom and the trail-blazing designer is setting out to prove it.

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Passion in Writing

Posted by melissa kandel on August 1, 2019 in Bookish, business journey | No Comments

Reposting this little rant on writing today because I’m reading John Lennon’s biography and also just because. 

When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.” – John Lennon

The minute you start writing for anyone other than yourself is the minute you lose the kind of authenticity that will make your writing great. Pleasing the reader is an ill-fated practice in ridding your prose of the distinct “you-ness” that draws him or her to your work in the first place.  Read More

Meet Kathryn Gunderson of Grace & Gusto Cakes

Posted by melissa kandel on July 26, 2019 in Found Her Fridays | No Comments

It takes a lot of grace to run a successful pastry business and it takes a lot of gusto to make Sia’s famous black-and-white wig out of nothing but fondant and dreams. Kathryn Gunderson, a professional pastry chef baking out of San Francisco, is doing both, boldly carving her sweet niche in the wedding cake world with her company, Grace & Gusto Cakes.

Kathryn’s creations are crafted with life-like precision, works of edible art reflective of hard-earned experience and talent. Kathryn spent years honing her skills in professional kitchens, including the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, where she obtained her degree. In every Grace & Gusto cake creativity abounds, and the only thing better than looking at her works of edible art is eating them.

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On iPhone Photography, In Gratitude

Posted by melissa kandel on July 20, 2019 in Photography | No Comments

I took the butterfly photo above yesterday morning on an iPhone. 🦋

It’s amazing to work with the big clients, the ones with huge marketing budgets that allow for a “let’s do it” attitude at every strategic turn, but there’s something imaginatively wild about a scrappy brand able to execute with nothing but the phone in their hands. Read More

Pipeline to a Cure

Posted by melissa kandel on July 14, 2019 in Orange County events, Personal | No Comments

I’ve learned a lot by giving back. I’ve learned there’s happiness in selflessness and that even one person with a will to create change really and truly can. (I’m not referring to myself, although I hope to one day be such a catalyst for charitable revolution. I refer instead to Judy Burlingham, chairman of Pipeline to a Cure, an event dreamed up by Judy and a few friends, who years ago imagined a “magical night” to save lives by the sea.)⁣

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Recharged in San Diego

Posted by melissa kandel on July 13, 2019 in business journey | 2 Comments

Yesterday morning, I drank two cups of coffee and rode the train to San Diego. The frothy ocean views and muted seascape I’ll save for another more literary post but sitting on the train, watching the ocean curl below mottled-gray clouds, I felt like a detective on a civilized coastal adventure. Read More

What I Talk About When I Talk About Writing

Posted by melissa kandel on June 28, 2019 in Bookish, business journey | 7 Comments

In most cases learning something essential in life requires physical pain. – Haruki Murakami

Right now I’m in training to write a novel. I do think it’s strange to say I’m in training, but I am. If you read the best books on writing (King, Murakami and Bradbury are good places to start), there’s always a physical element to the way the masters describe writing that people who don’t do it professionally might overlook. I’m not putting anyone down who writes for fun (please, write, WRITE!), it’s just the truth. To most, writers are sad people. They drink a lot more than they should, shower less than they should and sit hunched over leather notebooks in dark corners of dimly lit coffee shops, stealing brilliant ideas from the cinnamon-spiced air to scribble down and publish. Read More

Among the Green, Green Grass

Posted by melissa kandel on June 23, 2019 in business journey | 2 Comments

I had two hours until the meeting. One hundred and twenty minutes to open the door of a hotel room that faced a neon-lit atrium and wander a city I’ve never been. Outside on North Main Street in Greenville, South Carolina, humidity bricked against my face, thick as unmilked cows. And seen: the grass, the shrubs, the willow oaks, wispy along parts of the road, bold in other places, trailing toward the cloudless sky. Cars ambled by with the unhurried air of sweet tea sipped on a slow, creaking porch swing. People clutched to paper-wrapped coffee cups and dog leashes and the rhythm of Monday morning.

Two hours. A lot could be done in that time. I could find a quiet nook for breakfast, discover why grits seemed to hold such charm, scan the sky for the Blue Ridge Mountains, walk to the waterfall a sweaty concierge had insisted held small-town promise.

OK, I’d do that. Read More

Unshaved Legs and a Sunset

Posted by melissa kandel on June 4, 2019 in Fiction | 6 Comments

Yesterday, I received word from Z Publishing House that my short story “The Disappearing Act” was included in a published anthology called “America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers: California,” available on the publishing house’s website and through Amazon. My words appear alongside those of 32 other writers and I do have to say “published author” has a nice ring to it. Anyway, a few people (e.g. my dad and third cousin) asked about the story featured, so I’m reposting it here in case you’d like to read. In other news, I apologize for the weeks-long silence of this blog. Posts will start to appear with a much more frequent rhythm over the next few weeks, especially as I prepare to start writing my book in July. Stay tuned …

The Disappearing Act


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