Monthly Archives: March 2015


In my novel Our Romantic Getaway, I mention nine songs. Send me your favorite song out of the nine listed below and I will send you a FREE SIGNED COPY OF my book.

Simply contact me with your fave song choice and I’ll send you a signed book (U.S. only and until supplies last).

CRAZY by Seal

Wedding Centerpieces that Can Save the World

Okay, maybe I hyperbolize when I say wedding centerpieces can save the world.

But my suggestion could certainly save one person’s world.

Many of my friends and relatives are getting to the age where they are helping their children plan and finance their weddings. And according to the majority of them, most couples are spending about 8-10% of their total wedding budget on flowers.

I also discovered from reading several wedding websites that the centerpiece is considered the major focal point at the reception.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I attend a wedding, my focal point is on the bride and groom.

The claim is as guests walk in, they can indulge in the fabulous table decor that you put so much energy, time, and effort into creating. (BTW, nowhere on those websites did I see anything about how ridiculously expensive centerpieces can be.)

According to my per-usual online research, the latest and greatest table statements are the “towering centerpieces.” The argument for tallness is to avoid blocking anyone’s view. No self-respecting about-to-be-married couple would want to do that. The higher the centerpieces, the better to see you, my dear.

To all you future brides out there, I would venture to guess that these “towers” are going to eat up way more than 8-10% of your wedding budget. And that is not including the bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, flower girl head wreath, her basket of rose petals, mother/mother-in-law flowers, boutonnieres, altar arrangements, pew, and chair décor, the toss bouquet, and cake flowers. Cha-ching, cha-CHING.

I hear ad nauseam from my friends and family who are planning weddings and other momentous occasions about the rarest of flowers sitting atop Eiffel Tower vases filled with water and beta fish (I’ve seen this one for myself), clusters of orchid blossoms, and baby’s breath on gleaming silver candelabras adorned with smokeless dripless tapers (I’ve seen this one too), and black magic roses hanging from eight-foot branches with moonbeam uplighting.

Oh, and let’s not forget the twister-inspired florals that create resplendent movement, horizontal pussy willows draped high above tables on gold spun wire, floral arrangements designed to resemble clouds at sunset, upside-down Christmas trees adorned with crystal birds, blah, blah, blech.



For anyone who knows my personality and blogging style, I just can’t resist scrutinizing the incredibly opulent, not to mention costly “focal points.” These floral monuments can cost upwards of $500-$600 per table. Probably more.

Let’s talk.

Dripless tapers: Nothing like a little fire to get the party started. And don’t forget to cluster the candles with baby’s breath to help it along.

Beta Fish: Otherwise known as Siamese fighting fish. Seems like a bad wedding omen to me.

Horizontal Pussy Willows on a wire of gold: Puleeze.

And call me stupid, but when I envision twisters, the word resplendent doesn’t even cross my mind.

Are we really serious here?  Whatever happened to the mantra “People are starving in Africa.” And okay, maybe most aren’t focusing on the starving and suffering when choosing flowers for their wedding.

But what if they did?

As I trolled around the internet looking at all the centerpiece and floral options—and the cost, I couldn’t help but envision a more philanthropic option.

So look no further than this blog post for some great centerpiece ideas. Your exhaustive internet searching is over. As my wedding gift to you, I have gathered some impressive information, so rest those little phalanges and read on!

First, take a look at this towering masterpiece below.


I won’t even try to guess at the cost of this monstrosity. But if you look very closely, you’ll see the itsy bitsy frame with a table number. This is the masterpiece I want to discuss.

How about taking away that gaudy centerpiece and keeping it really simple. Just a small frame with a table number that could say:

Welcome to Table #1. In lieu of a candelabra, we helped young Leah, who has been living a life of neglect and hardship, to pursue her dream of a life of stability and success by providing her with a dress for a job interview.

Welcome to Table #2. Instead of an Eiffel Tower vase full of rare flowers, we provided teenager Sam, who usually goes entire days without food, with a full day of healthy, nourishing meals.

Welcome to Table #3. Rather than black magic roses hanging from an eight-foot birch branch, we gave a homeless kid, who usually sleeps on the streets, a clean, warm bed and a safe and good night’s sleep.

Welcome to Table #4. There is no floral arrangement at this table in order to provide two homeless kids with a week of groceries.

Welcome to Table #5. Instead of pussy willows hanging from a string of gold, we provided a warm winter coat for a homeless child.

Welcome to Table #6. This table is void of floral accouterments because we used the money to pay for doctor visits for five homeless children.

Welcome to Table #7. In lieu of a floral arrangement, we donated a week’s worth of transportation for someone who receiving kidney dialysis.

Total bill for the above:  $431.00

Oh, and instead of throwing money away on bouquets, and the rest of that nonsensical nonsense, take a look below at just a handful of ideas to make better use of your money:

Bouquet of photos

Newtown Action Alliance

Prevent Child Abuse America

The Center for Victims of Torture

Animal Welfare Institute

National Military Family Association

Children’s Health Fund

Covenant House

American Kidney Fund

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Child Find of America

Save the Children

Mental Health America

Starlight Children’s Foundation

Scholarship America

To all of you soon-to-be-married couples out there, I would like to say:

Lifelong love and happiness is the reason, devotion and friendship is the gift, kindness and empathy is the glue, and until death do you part is the lastingness.

And if any of you brides decide to take my suggestions, please let me know. I would love to write a follow-up blog piece about it.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry—But Chew Well


I recently hosted a dinner party at my house, when all of a sudden my friend Robin clutched at her throat and began to gasp for air.

My husband loudly proclaimed that “Robin’s choking!” Robin’s husband emphatically instructed her to “drink some water!”

My panic-stricken friend with her mouth wide open, goggle-eyed me helplessly. There was zero chance that water was going anywhere down that throat. Robin indubitably required the Heimlich maneuver.

I wasn’t sure how to do it, and I pathetically looked to my husband for guidance. As he jumped up from the table to come over to Robin, I was praying that he knew how to administer the abdominal thrust and could save her—without breaking any ribs.

In the meantime, Robin’s husband frantically asked no one in particular if he should hit her on the back, and I anxiously responded that I didn’t think it was a good idea.

Bottom line was that the three of us were trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do about the situation, while my BFF was choking to death.

Even though I had glanced at the posters in countless restaurants, and seen the Heimlich maneuver dramatized on television, I had absolutely no clue what to do beyond squeezing around the stomach area.

It seemed interminably longer than the few seconds it took for Robin to dislodge the piece of steak from her air passage on her own.

Several minutes after Robin recovered from her terrifying experience, she looked at me teary eyed and said “It didn’t seem like the three of you were going to do anything to help me, so I was just about to throw myself against your kitchen island.”

We had all been total Heimlich failures.

In order to break the tension, I nervously prattled on about the time a few years ago, that I attempted a semi Heimlich maneuver—on myself.

I was at a power lunch in Manhattan with several luminary magazine editors and publishers, when I choked on a rather large piece of radicchio. For those of you who are not familiar with radicchio, it is very crunchy and fairly immovable.

It was eminently clear to me that in order to protect my glam reputation, I was going to have to dislodge the leafy vegetable from my constricted throat on my own. ASAP.

I casually but quickly removed myself from the table and ran past the bar and the bartender. Stupid move. I bolted into the ladies room and locked the door. Another stupid move.

I then proceeded to hurl my body about the room, the wall, the stall door, and anything else I could bounce off of. I finally reached in with my hand and grabbed that sucker, throwing it onto the bathroom floor.

As I slumped against the paper towel dispenser, there was frantic banging on the bathroom door. Apparently the bartender had heard the commotion and was concerned. Duh.

I was able to collect and wipe myself off, and returned to my table of VIP’s like nothing had happened.

By the time I finished telling Robin my Radicchio Story, she was cracking up and almost back to herself. Albeit very shook up.

Of course, after my guests left, I did my usual online research, and it turns out that hitting Robin on the back wasn’t entirely incorrect.

The Red Cross actually recommends a “five-and-five” approach to delivering first aid:

First, deliver five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

Second, perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).

Alternate between 5 blows and 5 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.

For a complete first aid breakdown, and instructions on how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, go to the Mayo Clinic choking section.


First & Second Date Questions

I am very happily married, but if I were in search of a soul mate, I would definitely ask the questions below, spread out evenly over date #1 and date #2.  They aren’t in any particular order, and I would personally jump right in with the deep water questions, but you may prefer to wade around in the shallow end.

Are you pro-choice or pro-life? (Definitely a deep water question, and could be a deal breaker.)

Who did you vote for in the last election and why? (Before Trump I  thought: You don’t have to agree with each other, but mutual respect on this issue is desirable. But after Trump? This would be a deal breaker for me. )

Do you snore? (I would personally ask this question on Date #1.)

What did you do on your last day off? (Be concerned if the answer to this one is that the person waited in line for 30 hours to buy some new product on its release date.)

Are you jealous or possessive in relationships? (My experience with possessive and jealous people is that they get jealous over things that might happen, things that didn’t happen but could have happened, and things that haven’t happened but will probably happen. Toxic, toxic, toxic.)

How long was your longest romantic relationship? (Helpful to know if there are any long term possibilities.)

How long was your most recent romantic relationship? (Ditto re my note to the question above.)

Do you have any phobias, and if so, what are they? (Having recently blog posted about phobias, this would be one of my date #1 questions as well.)

What is your all-time favorite book and why? (The importance of this question is not the what but the why.)

Who is your hero? (If the answer is snoop dogg, I would delve deeper.)

Does religion play an important role in your life? (This is a great way to get the “what religion are you” question asked without actually asking.)

Who hates you and why? (This is one of my fave questions.)

How many times a week do you call your mother or father? (If the answer is 10-12 times a day, know up front that the family will be in control.)

How is your relationship with both of your parents? (My very wise grandmother told me years ago, to carefully observe how a man treats his mother because he will in all probability treat his wife the same way.)

Have you ever been arrested?  (Not enough people ask this question.)

If the answer is yes to the above question, the obvious follow up would be:

Were you convicted? (Call me naïve, but a yes to this question might also be a deal breaker.)

Do I remind you of anyone else you know? (If the answer to this question is a recent ex, run.)

Do you have any concerning diseases? (If the answer to this question is long and involves anything communicable, run run.)

Are you now, or have you ever been married? (Date 1. Duh.)

Do you gamble? (A question not asked enough.)

Who is your least favorite relative and why? (The answer to this question could be extremely foreboding.)

What is your favorite television show? (“Dating Naked” would be a red flag for me.)

Do you blame your parents for any issues that you have? (If ever answering this question, just say no.)

What do you do for a living?  (I leave it to you to determine what careers are acceptable.)

The question above makes for the perfect segue below:

Do you spend more than you earn or earn more than you spend? (I like to think that wealth is determined by the quality of one’s experiences, not one’s material assets. Just saying.)

Good luck and happy dating.

Finish This Sentence: “My Biggest Fear Is…”

A study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that between 8.7% and 18.1% of all Americans suffer from some sort of phobia.

Phobias are like opinions: Everybody has at least one. From the fear of clowns to the fear of polka dots, millions of phobia sufferers are tormented by the most inane things, and I am no exception.

Since nearly 19.2 million Americans suffer from phobias of some sort, I’m okay with admitting that I have a few. My anxiety levels are heightened by germs, disorder, clutter, ventriloquist’s dummies, the dark, tunnels, sharks, and the Statue of Liberty.  The reasons for being anxious about the items listed above will have to be addressed in another blog entry at another time. This post is already too long according to the blogging experts out there.

You might think that being afraid of Lady Liberty is a bit over the top, but there are some fairly strange phobias out there, so I don’t feel that any of my “issues” are that abnormal. But below are some phobias I discovered via my research, which could pose some serious difficulties.

Consecotaleophobia: Fear of chopsticks. These folks have actually been known to run out of Chinese restaurants screaming.

Zemmiphobia: Fear of the great mole rat. This phobia is puzzling in that there’s technically no such thing as the great mole rat. There are many other types of mole rats, such as the naked mole rat, and the blind mole rat, but I found nothing online at all to convince me of the existence of the great mole rat. Although when I found this photo of the naked mole rat, I can see why mere mortals would be afraid.

Naked Mole Rat

Getting back to phobias…

Anatidaephobia: Fear of being watched by a duck. Characters with this phobia have a real fear that no matter where they are or what they’re doing, a duck is watching them.

Phronemophobia: Fear of thinking. I know a few people with this one. I thought they were just stupid.

Nomophobia: Fear of being without mobile phone coverage. This phobia can cause a serious meltdown over losing signal, running low and/or out of battery and losing sight of the phone for just one second. I know a few people with this one too.

Optophobia: Fear of opening one’s eyes. Having to open their eyes is just too stressful for some individuals, thus they stay mostly at home.

Papaphobia: Fear of the Pope. Papaphobes refuse to go to Italy for fear of running into him. And the mere sighting of His Holiness in a photo or on television, cause these poor souls major heebie-jeebies.

Pentheraphobia: Fear of one’s mother-in-law. This one is a lot more common than you would think. I know people that have this one too. A lot of people.

Turophobia: Fear of cheese. These panic stricken citizens flee if they see so much as a slice.

Bagpipaphobia: Fear of Bagpipes. People with this phobia say there’s something petrifying about the way bagpipes just lie there, lumpy and furry with tubes sticking out of them.

Hylophobia: Fear of trees. Many in this phobic group can’t even think about wood without running for the hills—preferably hills with no trees.

Omphalophobia: Fear of belly buttons. These individuals are both repulsed and frightened by seeing or thinking about a belly button. And they jump through hoops not to look at their own. And the “button” never gets touched.

Alektorophobia: Fear of chickens. These odd birds (no pun intended) display extreme anxiety when thinking about farms. For most, even the mental image of a feathered bird is enough to cause a panic attack.

Asymmetriphobia: Fear of mismatched things. Socks that don’t match will send members of this phobic club into another time zone. Additionally, persons with this phobia can’t handle any two sides that don’t match, are uneven or out of whack.

Geniophobia: Fear of chins. For these peeps, chins are legitimately terrifying, and they tend to avoid face time.

Coprastasophobia: Fear of constipation. Many in this group are manically afraid of becoming constipated. Call me stupid, but this fear doesn’t seem that far of a stretch.

What causes me the most anxiety? It’s the fear of water, better known as Aquaphobia.

I’m not a 100% certifiable aquaphobe—I recognize that tubs and pools pose no imminent threat.  However, you would be hard pressed to find me anywhere near a pool at night.

And I might possibly have Antlophobia, which is the fear of floods, and/or Limnophobia, the fear of lakes. Oh and then there’s heliophobia, which is fear of the sun.

And this might be off topic, but in all likelihood, I also have cockroachaphobia.

But my real terror comes from any large body of water, including images of water on television, in paintings, photos, and movies.

I get the willies any time I watch the part in Disney’s Frozen, when Elsa and Anna’s parents drown when a massive storm overtakes their ship. I don’t know how young kids can watch that part. It scares the bejesus out of me.

While sunning on the beach in Jamaica a few years ago, my husband explained to me that exposure therapy was the first line of treatment for treating phobias.

I should point out that my husband was sunning. I was under an umbrella, clothed in a close-fitting, sun resistant body rash turtle neck top and long pants used for scuba diving, slathered with 60+ sun block and zinc oxide.

According to him, I needed to expose myself to the fearful environment and learn to “unlearn” my fear of water. He went on to suggest that I might want to consider exposing my body parts to the sun once in a while as well.

Exposing my body to the sun was not going to happen, since it took me forever to don my deep sea exploration gear. So I decided since the ocean was so incredibly blue and tranquil, and so clear that I could see everything that was happening in it, that I would give a try to floating around on it.

First, I put on my aqua shoes so I wouldn’t have to feel the bottom of the ocean. But really, the shoes were a complete waste of time and money, because I had zero intention of touching the ocean’s floor.

I plopped myself down on the float at the water’s edge, and my husband shoved me and the float into the water. I started to panic and hyperventilate a little, but I calmed down once my husband joined me on his own float. I still had dry mouth though.

I was kind of, sort of, settling down. That was until I noticed a fairly large sting ray swimming near my float. I screamed bloody murder, and vigorously and vehemently paddle whacked my way back to shore. Once I hit ground, I catapulted myself off the float, and dove head first into the sand.  Every single person within a fifty yard radius was staring at me.

As I crawled around on the beach, still screaming and flailing about, I looked down and noticed that my wet suit pants were askew and hovering below my thighs, with my whole front and back “package” hanging out. As I squirmed around on the sand, I wrenched the pants up so high they were almost to my chest. Then I slowly stood up, and brushed the sand off of my body, trying to compose and redeem myself. As I looked around I noticed a few people covering their mouths to keep from laughing.

When my husband got out the water he walked right past me like he didn’t know me, and later scolded me for causing such a humiliating scene.

It didn’t surprise either one of us when we didn’t make a single friend on that trip.

But at least I didn’t think a duck was stalking me.

My First Ever Blog Post

Today marks my opening act—and my first blog post on The Teri Tome.

Before writing this post, I did my usual painstaking research to see what the hell I was going to blog about and why anyone would care to read it. Based on everything I fervently read, my blog has to be pithy, witty, wise, provocative, insightful, powerful, compelling, and beautifully written.  It was also highly recommended that a Mission Statement be prepared. This blogging business is going to be way more time-consuming than I originally thought.

So here’s my Mission Statement: I’m a first-time author, and I really need to sell copies of my book Our Romantic Getaway. This way, I can retire, kick back and do nothing but write for the rest of my life.  And since authors are supposed to have blogs, this one is mine. I will try to be pithy, witty, and wise.

I’ll probably spend a lot of time blogging about myself since I’m technically not allowed to talk about my kids. The primary reason being, I’m afraid to ask them for their permission.  One is still not speaking to me since I published Our Romantic Getaway last December—seems I “stained” the family name.

I did ask my lawyer husband last night for permission to blog about him from time to time, and he reservedly and begrudgingly said okay, as long as he had the final editing say in anything I write about him. He also mumbled something about his right to privacy.

So based on the family slim pickings, I’m thinking that this blog is pretty much going to be about me. And I might throw in my observations about whatever might be in the news, or throw out some questions to my readers (hopefully more than just my BFF) about any old stuff.

From the research I just completed, I concluded that I should probably answer the four very important questions readers are supposed to want to know below:

Q #1: Who am I?

A #1: This is where I get to brag. I’m the founder and owner of an international news website, which reaches over 50,000 unique visitors a month. I’m also a journalist, and a publishing and marketing consultant. I’ve been a director at Newsweek, a publisher and COO of World Press Review magazine, and publisher of Commentary magazine (their first female publisher since their founding in 1945). As I previously mentioned, Our Romantic Getaway is my first novel. And I am working on a sequel, albeit very sloooowly.

Q #2: Why am I blogging?

A #2: Since you force me to spell out my intentions, I hope to entertain you, make some friends, keep my enemies at bay, and fulfill my requirement to blog. Oh, and it would be great if I could sell some books.

Q #3: What will I be blogging about?

A #3: As stated above, I will definitely blog about me, the occasional state of the nation, the world, my relationships (trying not to mention my husband too many times), loss, motherhood (without mentioning the offspring at all), with a little gardening thrown in there. Blogging about my relationship with my husband may pose somewhat difficult, if not impossible since my husband has now decided he wants out of all posts.

We had a firm and stern (on his part) discussion over coffee this morning regarding his right not to be subjected to unsanctioned invasions of privacy. So you-know-who basically threw a wrench in my blogging plans.

Q #4: How can you leave feedback?

A: Since I am still trying to figure out how my blog works, I have no clue.  But I’m working on it.

Stay tuned for my next blog post!