Review of Lauren Layne Oxford Series Book 3

This one might be my favorite book of the entire series. Not only does it feature Lincoln Mathis (YUMMY). It also has a lot more depth. Someone Like You is a sad story that really tugs at the heartstrings. What I really like about it, is that it takes place over a year. I am never a big fan of the books where the characters meet and fall in love in the time-span of two weeks. Not realistic.

The book starts at Emma and Alex’s wedding. Which is absolutely adorable and only about seven years overdue. Emma’s twin sister Daisy is the off limits bridesmaid. No worries, because Lincoln isn’t truly interested in her. As we have picked up in the last couple of books, he has some hangup where he needs everyone to think he is a playboy but he isn’t. Being at the wedding is almost too much for Lincoln though. The easy charm is gone and he finds he doesn’t want to fake it today. Cue Daisy, the adorable twin with her own secret past. They have their witty banter and realize that they feel far too comfortable with each other.

Instead of running far from each other, they are drawn like the moth to the flame. Both of them over the wedding, they leave together to a pub. Baiting and ignoring each other, Daisy gets hammered. She wakes up only to find herself in Lincoln’s bed, wearing his clothes. No, they didn’t engage in any mattress dancing. Lincoln was the perfect gentleman. When he goes to drop her off, he decides that he isn’t ready to be finished with her company. Shocking himself, he invites her on the trip he makes every fourth Sunday.

The trip is to go see his fiance. I know I was shocked too. Sadly, his fiance is a mere shell of the beautiful and vibrant woman that he fell in love with. She was severely injured in a car accident. (DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE). Shocked that he shared this with her, she returns to her hotel unknowingly smitten by a man she can’t have. The two part ways. Over the course of the next several months, they engage in flirty banter until a guilty Lincoln breaks it off.

During a card game, Lincoln receives the news that his fiance had passed. This sends him into a tailspin that prompts Alex to make him take a sabbatical. This takes him to North Carolina and our very own Daisy. Since he is still grieving, Lincoln is still the perfect gentleman. Although he is starting to have very ungentlemanly thoughts. He defends her against her abusive ex-husband and he even helps her land a date. This doesn’t please him and he gets too close to wanting her. Freaking out, Lincoln bolts and finishes his sabbatical taking the honeymoon he never had.

Cue another couple of months later, Daisy is now in New York and working as a temp for the Oxford magazine. Lincoln returns feeling fresh and ready to move on. Until he sees Daisy. This sends him into a smaller tizzy as he learns she is sort of dating Nick (Cue the next book). After a heated argument the two finally get together.

The conflict arises as Lincoln’s guilt eats him alive. He breaks things off in one of the saddest moments of the entire series. He turns into a zombie, becomes a jerk to his friends, and gets lectured by everyone. He finally has the talk with his late fiance. After bearing his guilt and his feelings for Daisy, he feels like he can finally move on.

Daisy, smart girl that she is, tells Lincoln that she just can’t trust that he won’t do this to her again. (I was very proud of her for this). She then promptly caves. (Oh well, the book has to end). They go off to live happily ever after.

I loved that Layne touched on some serious subjects. It felt deep without being too heavy for a romance novel. She was able to tell Lincoln’s story through the books prior so I really felt like I knew him. I grieved with him. I felt his anguish. It was a different feel than the other books. Darker, but also longer as it spanned an entire year. I enjoyed the change of pace.

Lauren Layne Oxford Review Book 2

Oxford 2

The second book of the Oxford series features a newbie, former pro-football player Jackson Burke. Jackson was briefly mentioned in Cole’s story, but for the most part, we don’t know anything about him.

Turns out, Jackson is a super depressed loner who just got a divorced. He lost his football career and his good reputation in the same car accident. He moved to New York to work for Oxford Magazine. Not in sports, because that role was filled in the last book, but as the heath and fitness guy. According to the description, Jackson is jacked. Lonely, depressed, and generally hating the direction that his life went, Jackson reaches out to one of his dearest friends. This happens to be Mollie, the younger sister of Jackon’s ex-wife Madison.

Mollie is a certified bookworm obsessed with bugs. She was the only one who believed Jackson when he said that he didn’t cheat on his wife. This is mostly due to the fact that she has been in love with him since she was twelve-years-old. Mollie has one of the more tragic backstories. She came home from school to find her mother dead and was raised mostly by her sister. Now Madison (I hate the name Madison. I have not come across one Madison that was a good person.) is a terrible person (told you). She calculated her behavior in order to manipulate Jackson into dating her. Once she had the ring on her finger, she alienated him from his friends and family. Mollie feels immense obligation to her older sister because she did the bare minimum of taking care of her as a child.

None of this matters though as Mollie puts on her best dress and meets Jackson for the first time in several years. Her objective is no longer the comforting younger sister, it is to make herself seen as a woman. Her objective works, but Jackson is still too broody to fully notice it.

In a classic Layne move, Mollie suddenly finds herself needing a place to live. Who should offer? Why, Jackson of course. He has a multi-million dollar penthouse that would be perfect for the two of them. Locked into close quarters, the two are suddenly super aware of each other.

Cue the sister, her life isn’t working out the way that she wanted it to since she is no longer married to the famous guy. In order to get back on the reality show that she loves more than anything else, she attempts to manipulate Jackson into coming back to her. This infuriates Mollie but she is too passive to do much about it.

Jackson and Mollie end up sleeping together (ew ew ew ew ew. Can’t get over the sister thing, sorry.) Mollie is thinking that this is going to be the start of everything that she has dreamed of since she was a teenager. Jackson just thinks its a fun way to pass time until he heads back to Texas.

Madison pulls some strings and gets Jackson the coaching job in Texas that he wants. The catch is that they have to have a reconciliation. She gets her show, he gets his job. It takes Jackson a total of six seconds to realize that she is bat crap crazy and he heads straight to the ticket counter. After two flights and a waste of about six hundred dollars, he gets back to his swanky penthouse to catch Mollie moving out. Deciding to help her, he loads up her boxes and takes them to his bedroom. That was his passive aggressive way of asking her to be his girl. She swoons, mostly over the closet space, and says yes.

They receive a wedding invitation from Madison, who has decided that their relationship isn’t creepy, and they live happily ever after.

As long as I ignored the yuck factor to this book, then I could enjoy it. I know that its not that gross but I am too close to my sisters to imagine being able to share a guy. That would be an automatic deal breaker. It worked for Jackson and Mollie and I am sure that they will live happily ever after.

There wasn’t too much of the other characters in this book. Jackson is new to Oxford and Mollie is a scientist. We do get some cute scenes of Jackson trying to integrate himself into the group. Overall, its a great book. I am most excited about the next one. Lincoln’s story is by far my favorite.

The Renovation Review: Tips and Tricks for a Small Bathroom

Its most people’s dream to have a big, cozy, beautiful bathroom. I mean, let’s face it, we all spend a good amount of time in there. The sad reality is that not every bathroom has the space to hold a double vanity with lighted mirrors and a sauna shower with seven different kinds of jets. The good thing is that you can still make your small bathroom cozy and efficient. Here are some tips and tricks for your small bathroom.

1. A Little Bit of Paint

When you have a small space, try to avoid dark colors. This will make your room seem smaller. Using a lighter color can make your space seem bigger. This is because light colors tend to reflect light rather than absorb it. You can also get fancy and choose a small wall to turn into an accent wall. If you choose to have an accent wall, this is where you can use a medium based color. Depending on the location of the wall, this can create a false sense of depth.

Like this one found on Pinterest

bathroom wall

2. A Pedestal Sink

We used this trick when we redid our guest bathroom. When we first bought the house, there was a medium sized vanity sink that pretty much butted right up to the toilet. My husband hated it because he couldn’t sit comfortably. Since it isn’t a bathroom that is used frequently, we pulled the vanity out and put in a simple pedestal sink. It freed up a lot of space and the taller people were able to sit and enjoy their after coffee ritual. If your bathroom is one that is used a lot and you are needing the extra space, there are plenty out of the box styles that are condensed as well as functional.

I like this one from Overstock.com

sink

 

3. Corner Shower

If you don’t need the tub, then get rid of the tub. Corner showers are great space savers for small bathrooms. They are relatively cheap to install and they are still considered a 3/4 bath. You can upgrade the shower with tile or you can go the basic route. Using tile is a great way to add some different color to your small space with out decreasing the size.

Other ideas to consider are wall mounted cabinets and over the toilet storage space. These both save valuable floor space and can provide extra storage. Hopefully, these ideas can help you turn your small space into a show space.

 

Lauren Layne Book Review Oxford Series Book 1

oxford 1

Here we go. We have officially reached the Oxford men (YUM!). For some reason, I like the books that focus on the man’s point of view more. Maybe it’s because I get a rare glimpse into what they might actually be thinking. Layne really does a great job of showing both perspectives. I think the Oxford series gives us a little more of the male perspective.

This book starts with Cole Sharpe (remember him, he was the one that was going to kiss Grace on the kiss cam.). He is ready to finally settle down and start full time at Oxford. They are hiring a sport’s editor and he is a shoe in for the job. Or is he? Cassidy told him that there was one other candidate that was being considered.

The story starts with Cole at a Yankee’s game, which is apparently the holy grail of NY sports but he can’t seem to focus. What has captured his attention? Well that would be a tiny petite girl who is absorbed in the game. She is the male version of him and he is super into it. He makes his way down there to take his shot when he founds out… dun dun dun… that she is his competition.

Penelope Pope is a good old tomboy who is looking for a fresh start. With her small stature and perpetual friend zone, she immediately regulates Cole to the friend zone before he can. She is, however, in the market for a friend.

After a series of interviews and some playful banter, it is revealed that they are going to be co-editors. Both of them seem okay with that since they are wildly attracted to each other. Cole gets bent out of shape that his friends want to set her up with Lincoln (sigh) and that makes him work a little harder. After the most precious encounter at a Yankee’s game, Cole and Penelope finally act on their attraction.

The conflict arises when Cole’s brother gets injured and he tells Penelope that he doesn’t have time for anything else. They are politely civil to each at work until the other Oxford guys pulled the old trick out of the hat. Leading Cole to believe that she has moved on, he makes his dramatic gesture and they lived happily ever after.

I really liked this book, I mean, I really like all the books. This one was just light. Cole is just a good guy. There was never a hidden agenda, he was never ashamed of her. He gave her all the space that she needed. He did have one minor freakout but it wasn’t directed towards Penelope. The one thing that annoyed me just a little, was the overuse of the nickname. I swear, if he called her tiny one more time….

Cole and Penelope were just real. It was like watching two of your friends fall in love. There wasn’t any scheming, no matchmaking plan. Cole is just a man who liked a girl. I adored the way that he was always kind to her. One of my favorite things about this whole book, is that Cole is truly a good person. To his friends, his family, and especially to Penelope. There was no cat and mouse, no one upping, just honest people who found the person.

 

The Housekeeper’s Tale Part 3

Dear Jack,

Things are definitely looking up since the toilet incident. And when I say up, I mean way up. Today, I was tasked with cleaning the roof. I know, I know, it sounded weird to me too, but the Manilow’s are apparently super neat freaks.

It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out how to get up here. My first thought was a ladder but they told me that was too much of a liability so I would need to get creative. In the end, I ended up climbing a tree, jumping to the top of the gardner’s shed, really really leaping to get to the next tree (I only missed six times) and then finally, jumping on the drain pipe and shimmying up.

The top of the manor was surprisingly dirty. There were your typical dirt and leaves and all that. But there were also couches, a tv, and a wide variety of vibrating dog toys. It almost looked like someone was using this space as their secret getaway.

I am thinking that it is Mrs. Manilow that sneaks up here. I am pretty certain that I saw her red hair peeking over the top of the roof. I was sad because it didn’t look like she had the dog with her.

Anyways, after eight hours, I finally got the massive roof clean and sterilized all the dog toys. It was slightly harder figuring out how to get back down but I did it with very few bruises and only one possible broken bone.

Hope you guys have a great day. It looked like Mitzie’s bat mitzvah was a great time. Wish I was there.

Review of Lauren Layne’s Stiletto Series Book 4

Stiletto Series

This one is the last book of the Stiletto series. Never fear we still have the Oxford men to cover after this (swoon). The Trouble with Love features Emma Sinclair. She is the no-nonsense ice princess that was introduced to us when Grace went on her sabbatical. What I liked about this book, is that Layne has been building up to it from the moment we met Emma. Little clues were dropped in Grace’s and Riley’s stories about tension between Emma and Alex Cassidy, the editor of the Oxford magazine. This was a clever move on Layne’s part as she has now opened up the segue to the Oxford series.

Emma is a good old-fashioned country bumpkin from North Carolina. When she moved to Manhattan, she made a point to bury all that southern charm and turned herself into the quintessential Manhattanite.  Emma came in as another relationship writer but, unlike the other three, she doesn’t have a shtick. She also isn’t safe from Camille’s meddling. This time, Camille has decided that she needs a mini sabbatical with her new boy toy and will be traveling with him for a while. Since this leaves an absence at Stiletto, who better to fill the position as editor as the one and only Alex Cassidy. Because everyone knows that the best person to edit a woman’s magazine is the ultimate manly man.

Now, Emma and Alex have had a very cold relationship through all of the other books. They have become pros at avoiding each other. Snide comments and sassy quips are the norm. From the past two books, we can discern that they have had a precious relationship and it did not end well.

In the present day, Emma finds herself in a flooded apartment. This is adorable to me since she shows up at work completely disheveled. It is always fun to see the icy one at their worst. Makes them human. Since Camille is going to be conveniently gone, Emma was offered to stay in her swanky apartment. Naturally, as any woman living in a closet sized Manhattan apartment would be, Emma is stoked about the gorgeous view, beautiful kitchen that she won’t use, and a walk in closet (cue hallelujah chorus). The downside, it comes with Alex Cassidy right next door . (I smell as a scheme).

To further her matchmaking ways, Camille has Emma write an article about blind dates. Emma is set up with a Benedict. (I’m sorry, if your name is Benedict than I am out. Hard to fall for a guy who’s name is synonymous with a traitor.) After a rather lack luster date, they reach Emma’s apartment building. There is the awkward end of date do we move forward with the after date moment. In the end, Traitor leans in and kisses her. In the middle of the kiss, where Emma already has warning bells going off, Traitor breaks the kiss and says the one thing every girl wants to hear. The ex-boyfriend’s name. Who suddenly appeared? Why it’s Alex Cassidy with a date. Of course, Traitor has a fan boy crush on Alex. Apparently, college soccer stars really do it for him. After the awkward, why yes we know each other moment, Alex made it quite clear that he was the matchmaker of this new union. With her own style, Layne was able to remove these two obstacles in one fell swoop. The minute that Traitor shakes Not Emma’s hand, the two fall madly in love and will no longer be a problem. They did, however; serve their purpose in reigniting the awareness between our two ice sculptures.

On the work side, Emma now has to report to Alex. In his own form of personal pleasure, he assigns Emma an article about all her ex-boyfriends. Emma, of course is appalled because that includes the very man that assigned her the article. So instead of mentioning that this would be a conflict of interest and they come to a mutual agreement for an article that won’t land them in HR, she accepts.

After a dinner party, which includes all our favorite people (I love these scenes. It really makes the friendships come to life) and a wedding, we find out that Emma and Alex made it all the way to the wedding day. In the end, Emma was left standing at the altar. The true story is that Emma found out that her daddy had hand picked Alex to date her and he agreed because he thought he was going to date her more fun twin sister (ouch). Then, during their rehearsal dinner, drunk daddy mentions how he was only going to leave his thriving business to family. Lo and behold, the next day, Alex proposed. Emma was rightfully horrified and told Alex where he could go. So Alex went. Emma then had a change of heart and left tearful voicemails about still wanting to get married. Hence her being left at the altar. Alex, after being told what a piece of crap he is, threw his phone out the window and never looked back.

After the wedding, where emotions were high and all the things that they had closed off were broke open, Alex and Emma headed home. It took approximately three minutes before seven years of built up tension broke open and the ice caps melted.

The conflict comes when Emma plans on going to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, without Alex. Emma still doesn’t full trust him and starts to pull away. Alex, gets over his pouty pants and realizes that she is the only one for him. After the typical speech where he shows her the receipt that he kept for seven years (really???? I can’t keep a receipt for more than a week) that proves he bought the ring before his dad mentioned leaving the company to family. That proves that he had no ulterior motive and they live happily ever after.

This one was a super cute story. We got to know a little more about Cole and Daisy, who I predict we will see in their own books. Emma was always the voice of reason in the other novels so it was nice to see her become a little more normal.

The Housekeeper’s Tale Part 2

Dear Jack,

I have survived my first week. I mean literally survived. The staff bathroom toilet exploded while I was on it. It got pretty crappy pretty fast. Ha, did you catch my pun? Anyway, I am not entirely certain what happened. I had finally hit my 4 min break. We get 4 whole minutes to ourselves after a short 7 hour period. I figured that I had better use the restroom while I had a chance. I had to pee since hour 3. It took the better part of my first minute to make it to the servant’s wash-closet. That’s not a fancy term, it really is just a closet. By the time I got there, my eyeballs were floating. I did one of those half peepee dances, half undress while you walk until I finally sat upon the sweet sweet throne.

Then, just as I started to feel the orgasmic bliss that comes with a long overdue pee, the toilet exploded. Or I guess the proper word would be imploded. One minute, I am seconds away from a peegasm, the next min, I am in the hole. Completely folded in half. Rear in, arms and legs poking in the air. Since I was the last one able to get my 4 min break, I had to wait 7 hours before the next employee came in to use the restroom. However, instead of helping, he growled curse words at me as he ran off to the next nearest bathroom which was only a quarter mile away.

The second one that came in was helpful. He had devised a secret plan of peeing in the empty beer bottles that the Manilow’s leave lying around. Since I am the one that cleans those up, I think he felt obligated. It took all four minutes of his break, but I was finally pulled free. Thankfully, no one even noticed that I was gone for those 7 hours so I wasn’t forced to spend an hour in the chokey. Mrs. Manilow is a big Matilda fan…. well Ms. Trunchbull fan.

It was quite the stroke of luck that this happened on my day to shower too. Air five for small blessings! Anywho. I hope you are having a wonderful time. Your last letter implied some worry about my situation. No need to worry. Oh and I found out that the ghost isn’t actually a ghost. It is just a rabid raccoon that is trapped in the walls.

Hope to see you at Thanksgiving!

Review of Lauren Layne’s Stiletto Series Book 3

Stiletto Series

Hi Guys! Its time to jump into the third book of the Stiletto Series Just One Night. This one features Riley McKenna. I don’t feel like Riley really got to make an appearance in the first two books. She is the sex expert for Stiletto and her first couple of appearances were almost a stereo type of that. That being said, Riley’s is one of my favorite stories lines but not my favorite of Layne’s books. I am a sucker for some good old forbidden romance. I also enjoy the story a lot more when the characters have known each other for some time. Call me old fashioned, but these romance ladies don’t waste any time on these relationships. What happened to courting?

So the story begins very similar to the other two. Our lovable but super nosy boss Camille has decided that the resident sexpert needs to write something more personal. Now, I don’t have any experience writing about the physical act of love (Friends reference for the win!) but I would like that it would all be personal. Ah, but here is the twist. Riley has zero experience. In her lifetime, she had one awkward encounter during college. She is…wait for it… super hung up on her brother’s best friend.

Sam Compton is the no sense of humor, super serious playboy with a hang up on a raven haired beauty. He thinks because he made a promise to his best friend a decade ago, he can’t pursue the one girl that actually makes him think about commitment. The reality of it is, that he just doesn’t think he is good enough.

Riley uses this opportunity that Camille gave her to proposition Sam for a little midnight love. He turns her down, all those nagging thoughts about not being good enough weighing him down. It isn’t until after Riley uses the oldest trick in the book (make that man jealous), does Sam finally accept. After a couple of strike outs, they finally are able to solidify their relationship.

The conflict comes with Sam, who just can’t seem to accept that he is not the failure that his horrid mother makes him out to be. He ends things with Riley and they are both miserable for a short (emphasis on short) amount of time. Riley uses her influence as a writer to publish a man hating article. Which in turn receives tons of mail (Hell hath no fury…). She is then forced to respond to two readers. I really enjoyed the scene where Grace, Riley, and Julie were going through the letters. The heart of these books are the friendships and it makes me happy when we get to see them interact. It really helps the books not feel so one dimensional.

The girls pick one letter to respond to but Camille says she has the second one. Surprise! Its from Sam, saying in all the mushy gushy words that boys don’t use about how he screwed up. She’s smitten, he’s forgiven, the end.

This one is my least favorite of the three. It was still well written, I just felt like Riley was way too stereotyped. Sam was duller than the previous two leads and their story was a little flatter. It is still a great book but not one that I go back to reread often.

Review of Lauren Layne’s Stiletto Series. Book 2

Here we go my friends. Book 2 of the Stiletto Series is Love the One You’re With. This one features Grace Brighton. Remember her? She was the one in the first book who was dating the tool Greg. Then at the end of the book, we find out he cheated on her (called it). Anyway, this is her story. One of the nice things about Layne’s books is that they can also be stand alone. So if you haven’t read Julie’s story (I totally recommend it) then you won’t be missing out on anything.

Grace is Stiletto’s relationship columnist. Unfortunately, her break with Greg put her off men and into a short sabbatical from her job. Her first day back to work, she has a saucy encounter with a handsome stranger (of course, no cutesy guys in these books) where they end up sharing a cab. Now in book 1, Grace was the epitome of class. She was the more reserved of the three and definitely the one with the tact. Post Greg and faced with a new handsome stranger, Grace let’s her 2.0 out and adds a little bit of vinegar to her sugar. The two have some witty banter before they realize that they both work in the same building. What are the odds in Manhattan? Slim to none but in book Manhattan it’s pretty much a guarantee.

Grace returns to find that her crew has welcomed a new girl into their group. (How dare they??? But I smell a book 4 coming). Camille, the overly nosy and meddling boss throws out an article about collaborating with the Oxford guys (sigh…the Oxford guys). Everyone volunteers new girl Emma, including Grace’s homegirls and that just rubs Grace wrong. But being the smart girl that she is, she realizes that fake dating a random guy is probably not the best course of action for her so she quietly passes. Ha, that would be a short book, no she volunteers to be the guinea pig.

Back on the Oxford side, we meet perpetual loner with a hard on for traveling, Jake Malone. He is finally over the stability and comfort of a steady place to live and wants to travel to the dark parts of the world. Well, he is a pretty boy romance hero, so the cushy parts of the world. His boss, Alex Cassidy (I predict we will see him in future books) says he can have the travel editor job if he does this collaboration with Stiletto. Because those two things go hand and hand. He isn’t even the relationship writer. That’s Lincoln, who is described as God’s gift to women but has a hint of a dark past. But in order to further the plot, Jake takes on the assignment.

Jake ends up sitting at a bar to wait for his date. Guess who walks in? Julie! I kid, of course its Grace. Jake, being the sharp and witty journalist that he is clearly discerns that she is his date. I mean she is at the venue, he knows she works in the Stiletto building, and she is walking over to him. But alas, Jake is too caught up in the short dress and the sky high heels that he doesn’t put it all together until it’s too late. Ding: round one goes to Grace.

Now the dating portion of this book is quite entertaining and I don’t want to ruin how it goes for you. I highly suggest you check out the book for some laughs and a lot of awwwwwwww.

The conflict arises when Jake is offered the travel job, but he needs to leave right now. Ooooffffff course he does. Right before the big reveal of do they or don’t they at a baseball game. He tells Grace and 1.0 Grace accepts it with the dignity that her blue blood was raised with. Jake is disappointed by her reaction and he can’t figure out why. (Ummm because you love her, you idiot.) He sets off and she prepares for the game. At the game, Grace is spazing about having to kiss Cole (cue another book) as proof that she is over Jake. As the 7th inning stretch nears, Grace is sweating and Cole is grinning. He leans in for the kiss and who shows up? Greg. Just kidding (I’ll stop). Jake. He shoves Cole out of the way with some grand speech and kisses Grace on the kiss cam. All is forgiven and they will magically make it work while he travels all over the place.

Plenty of appearances of Julie and Mitchell. I love when my characters come back. Plus, we get our first glimpse of Riley’s love interest.

This one was so much fun with the competition dating. It had lots of tender moments. The reality of them not really enjoying the attention was refreshing. It was fun to see them put on the show but then disappear together.

You can buy her books on Amazon. They are reasonably priced. If you’re like me, you’ll read them more than once anyway.

The Housekeeper’s Tale

November 8th 2019

Dear Jack,

It’s my first day as the housekeeper at the Manilow Manor. Everything started out super great. It took me nearly three hours to visit every room. I swear there are at least 29 bedrooms and not one of them are being used. I kid, I kid. Two of them are being used. The master suite for Mr. and Mrs. Manilow and the farthest bedroom possible for little Mannie Manilow. I have not yet discerned on whether that is his actual name or a rather unfortunate nickname.

Anywho, after I took the three hour tour (cue Gilligan’s reference), they treated me to lunch. We ate in the grand dining room which was spectacular. It had a gorgeous mahogany table that seats 36. The lunch itself was slightly bizarre as Mr. Manilow sat at the head of the table and Mrs. Manilow sat at the other end. I was positioned directly in the middle. Conversation was limited as you could have guessed.

Anyway, after the very quiet lunch, which Mannie was not present for, I was presented with my servant’s chambers. It is quite a lovely area. And I will get my daily workout in as I have to climb down 8 flights of stairs to get to the basement. From there, its only another 3 hallways and 6 corridors until I get to the last room on the left. It is a quite cozy room. There is a beautiful twin sized canopy bed and a dresser. Even better, there is just enough room to do some situps on the floor. Hello bikini body!

Anyway, everything was going swimmingly until bed time. I was minding my own, reading the latest Stephanie Plum novel, when all of a sudden, the lights went out. At first, I thought it was some bizarre lights out thing that they had going for their staff. Which to be honest, is not the weirdest rule they have here. But then, I heard this wailing down the corridor. I’m fairly certain it was just Mary Lou, the gardener crying about the berating she received before bedtime. It’s just that, well I swear the wailing seemed like it was floating around the house. It sounded like it was coming from Mary Lou’s room but then it sounded like it was coming from the room above me. Oh well, such is the cross to bear for living in a huge mansion. Or maybe it’s a ghost! I kid, I kid. Anyway, I’ll keep you posted. Tell Fritzie I said hi and give your mom all my love.