All We Left Behind: Cover Reveal!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had wonderfully merry holiday and New Year.

I’m excited to start the new year with a BANG! Yup, I have something super special to share with you all. Today you get to see the book cover of my forthcoming debut novel All We Left Behind! This is a big milestone in my life, and I can’t wait for the book to hit the shelves in December 2015. Are you as excited to see the new cover as I am excited to share it?

Cue the dramatic music …


To heighten the dramatic tension …

You actually have to go to another blog to see the cover! (Doesn’t this feel like an exciting “choose your own adventure” book?)

The Cover of All We Left Behind can be seen on TWO blogs:

In addition to showing off the book design, you can also read exclusive excerpts of the novel on both blogs. Each blog has a different snippet – so be sure to visit both!

2014 was a good year to me, I hope 2015 is even better. Thank you all for being here to share in the excitement!

A Merry Merry Dr. Seuss Display

One of my childhood dreams came true this year. I designed and created a window display!

Yes, I am a child of the 80’s and it’s possible I watched the film Mannequin one too many times. But when I was little, I wanted to grow up and be a window dresser. My local independent bookstore — Vroman’s Bookstore — made that dream come true. They asked me to create a Dr. Seuss holiday window and of course, I accepted!

As we drink egg nog and celebrate with our families, I thought I’d share a few images of the window’s creation. Here are my adventures with foam core and paint.

I sketched out the Grinch.

Dr. Seuss Window Display

I painted all the Whos playing with their toys.

Dr Seuss Window Display 2

Dr Seuss Window Display 3

Russell helped me install the window. He’s very tall, which made stringing up the elements with fishing line nice and easy.

Dr Seuss Window Display 4

The display is based on this illustration in Seuss’s classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Grinch Image

And here is my interpretation of it.


Dr Seuss Window Display 1

The Grinch isn’t in the original illustration, but I had to add him in!


And, voila! A small girl’s dream of creating a window display comes to life!

Window Display 10

May all your dreams come true this holiday and New Year. Be Merry Merry everyone!

Get It Done!

It’s the last few days of the National Novel Writing Month challenge. Many of you have already gotten to 50,000 words already (or blown right past it). But I haven’t. I’m still chipping away word by word. Yesterday I filled my belly with turkey and in my current state of post-food bliss I’m thinking about throwing in the towel. Who was the crazy person who decided NaNoWriMo should be in November?

But I shouldn’t give up. The fact that Thanksgiving is part of NaNoWriMo month is a lesson. I should write every day, even with a turkey coma, even when it’s a holiday.

I’m almost there. If you’re in the same boat as me and pushing these last few days to get your word count — let’s do it together! Let’s keep writing.

Here are some words of encouragement for you (and me!).










You’re almost there! Let’s do it together. I’ll see you on the other side of the finish line!

Keep On Writing

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this month. It’s a mad-sprint to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month, and we just reached the half-way mark. This means we’re wading through the murky middle of our novels when it feels like nothing is happening and it’s hard to keep our momentum.

If you’re like me and you need a little internet inspiration, I’m happy to provide these pep-talks of writing wisdom:








Keep calm and write on










Why are you still here?

I thought all that was pretty clear.

Get to your keyboard, and remember…


Happy writing everyone.

8 Terrible Titles

Choosing-a-Book-TitleI’ve been tagged by Sweet Sixteen debut writer Shannon M. Parkerauthor of the forthcoming novel CRUSHING, to find 8 Terrible Titles within my manuscripts. The irony is that I have about 300 bad titles that I brainstormed for ALL WE LEFT BEHINDbefore my editor and I came up with one that stuck (and I’ll admit, my editor named my book!). Horrible titles are in my blood. So this challenge is right up my alley!

Challenge rules: Scroll through my manuscript and stop at a random spot. Wherever my cursor lands…That’s my title. There’s no hunting through my pages for the perfect phrases. This challenge is to see how truly awkward my title could be.

Here are my #8TerribleTitles from my YA Contemporary novel ALL WE LEFT BEHIND:

1. This  Should Be Our Best Year

2. She Riles Me Up

3. Dripping Sticky Gold Onto Wax Paper

4. How Blind We Must Be

5. Swinging Against My Elbow

6. Far Less Important Than a Soccer Ball

7. Skin Through Soaked Cotton

8. Blinking From Orange to Ash

There they are, in all their terribleness. Wahooo! I tag Melanie Fishbane and Mackenzi Lee for this challenge. Happy title-creating ladies!

The Case for Morning Writing

morning-windowI know everyone isn’t a morning person. I wasn’t always a morning writer. I used to be a mid-day writer, believing I was like a flower that fully bloomed when the sun was high in the sky. But in the last few years I’ve changed my tune. I’ve started to brave the dark cold morning hours away from my cozy bed. It isn’t easy. Who wants to give up those precious hours and minutes of sleep before the day begins? But I gave it a shot, and I’ve discovered I’m a lot more productive as a result.

I know morning writing won’t work for everyone. But I want to share a few of the ideas that influenced me to give it a try. Finding a process that works for you is essential to being a successful writer. For me, morning writing has become a staple of my process. It affects both my productivity and the quality of my work. Who knows, maybe it will work for you too.

Three reasons to consider writing in the morning:

1) It Helps You Find “The Zone”

One of the most inspirational reasons I started writing in the morning comes from Robert Olen Butler’s craft book From Where You Dream. Butler argues that to write you must enter a dream-space away from your intellectual thinking brain. This dream-space is a “zone” that lets you tap into the unconscious, which is where true creation comes from. Writing from the unconscious allows “a work of art to become an organic thing, where every detail organically resonates with every other detail.”

Realms Of Human MindTapping into this space is not an easy thing to do. Butler suggests writing in the morning because it helps you to find “a way to clear your sensibility of abstract uses of language,” which is important for helping you get into the zone. The problem, according to Butler, “is that we naturally use language in so many non-sensual ways all through the day. It’s helpful, then, to buffer those hours in which you necessarily use language in those analytical ways from the hours in which you dive into your unconscious and seek language in quite another way. One obvious way to do that is to put your night’s sleep in between. You go to your writing space straight from another dream state and go to language before you’ve had a chance for all those other uses of language to intrude on you. So after you wake up, don’t read the newspaper, don’t watch CNN; if you have to pee don’t pick up the back issue of The New Yorker in the basket nearby. You go to your fiction without letting any conceptual language into your head.”

Of course, there are different philosophies on writing. I was pretty skeptical of Butler’s “unconscious dreaming” concept. But I’d never tried it before. I’d intellectually talked myself out of its benefits before giving it a whirl. I’m a convert now. My writing has new depth because I write in the morning and I’m able to tap into that dream-zone.

For more information on this writing process, I highly suggest reading Butler’s craft book From Where You Dream. 

2) It Creates a Sense of Accomplishment

making-bedAdmiral McRaven’s gave a commencement address to the University of Texas earlier this year in which he said, “if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” That may sound odd, but consider his outlook: “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

Morning writing works in the same way as making your bed in the morning. Many of us say writing is a priority in our lives and yet we struggle to find time for it. If you start off your day by writing, then this important priority has been accomplished first. Now you can meet the rest of your day without guilt because you’ve already accomplished your writing goals.

3) Don’t Check Your Email

Email_Bad-resized-600Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Work Week suggests you never check your email before noon. He makes a strong case, pointing out the importance of making room for the tasks you need to get done before you open your email and see what the rest of the world wants from you. Sid Savara adds to the conversation with his 7 reasons you shouldn’t check email in the morning. Both authors point out that checking your email first thing in the morning makes your day about someone else’s to-do list, not yours. Write first! Resist the temptation to check your email and put your priorities first.

Anyone else out there a morning writer like me? Have you found it beneficial? Please share in the comments!

My Writing Tribe

Last week I spent a long weekend at a lake house in rural Illinois with ten of the closest friends I’ll ever have. They’re the Dystropians, fellow classmates and writers who graduated from VCFA with me. We live on all sides of the country, from California to New York to Florida, and once a year we get together to talk craft, laugh, and write.

Many of us don’t have writing communities back home, and this weekend is one of the few times we get to geek out, be ourselves, and embrace all things writing. This is my writing tribe. I can’t describe how important it is to have a writing tribe. It’s the one group of people who are going through the same highs and lows with me and understand what it is to sacrifice to write, and to love it with your whole heart.

This year I brought my camera, and I put together the following photo essay of our weekend. Enjoy!

Note: Scroll over the images with your mouse and you will see the full color contrast versions of the images.


































It was a magical weekend!

Learn all about writing from this brilliant group of Dystropians. Check out these amazing blog posts they’ve shared:

Want to hear about last year’s lake house retreat?

Author Photos

Hey Friends!

I’m in the exciting and fun phase of choosing an author photo for my book (Eeeeek!). My lovely fiance Russell Gearhart took the below portraits. I like them all so much I don’t know which one to pick. I’d love to hear your opinion. What would you like to see on the book jacket?

Please leave a comment below.


Thanks for your input everyone!

Blog Tour: My Writing Process

I’ve been invited to participate in the fabulous #MyWriting Process blog tour! Today is going to be all about process, process, process.

I was tagged to be a part of this tour by the awesome Ellar Cooper, who shared her writing process last week. Ellar is a heart-stopping writing talent. Seriously, I can’t wait for her books to be on the market! She writes young adult fiction and fantasy, and is a Dystropian from Vermont College. Be sure to read her post and peek into her brilliant mind.

And onto the tour…


What are you working on?

I’m working on a YA steampunk re-imagining of Peter Pan. There’s no magic and Peter and Hook are the heads of rival gangs that sell a hallucinogenic drug known as Fairy Dust. Wini Darling, the daughter of a bank mogul, is lured into the whimsical and artistic world of the Nevers, a secret underground artist community, in order to help her drug-addicted brother who’s been captured by Pirates. Only it’s not so easy to find her brother and leave the Nevers as she thinks.

Wini finds herself intoxicated by the no-rules artist culture of the Nevers and simultaneously mixed up in a street war between the Pirates and the Lost Boys. Then there’s that thrill-seeking, drunk-on-life Peter fellow who’s got one hell of a sweet spot for Wini Darling. Sometimes, not growing up can be a dangerous adventure.

How is your work different than others in your genre?

The tricky part about this question is I’m not sure how you might classify this book’s “genre.” It happens to be its own crazy cocktail made up of:

  • 1 part bastardization of Victorian steampunk
  • 2 parts fantasy world building
  • A ton of multi-cultural characters to keep track of (Game of Thrones style)
  • A pinch of Doctor Who influence
  • A smidgen of Robin Hood
  • A timeless gargantuan dose of never-gonna-grow-up Peter Pan
  • Two cups of hot-pink graffitti
  • A dash of Ingrid’s deliciously sensual writing
  • And some esoteric psychobabble on the importance of art…
  • Sprinkle in a little fairy dust, grab the spoon second to your left and stir straight on till morning.

So… yeah, please tell me what genre that is.

Why do you write what you do?

I only write stories that have been simmering in the back of my mind for a long time.  This one’s been cooking for at least 5 years (maybe longer if I’m honest). I write the stories that I can’t seem to forget. I write the ones that have some emotional nugget in them that keeps twirling itself over and over in my brain and whispering: explore me, write me, there’s a truth in here and it’s waiting for you to find it.

I suppose those are the stories worth telling: the ones that haunt you, the ones that demand your heart.

68701d459c1e0ce432536991c6835b8eHow does your writing process work?

My writing process is a daily, hourly, weekly, yearly exploration of the demands and needs of each individual project. And the needs of each novel (like all the relationships in one’s life) are different.

This book demands immersion. She demands focus for hours at a time. And I’m not talking half-assed freewriting or NaNoWriMo first draft word-puke. This novel wants my blood (kind of like Captain Hook). This novel is a jealous and fickle girl too. She hates it when I look at other projects or I divide my attention with puny necessities like food or sleep. This book wants all of me.

I do the best I can to keep myself immersed in this novel as much as I can (because she likes to hole up and shut me out for weeks if I’m not diligent). I keep an extensive Pinterest page for this novel to make sure my imagination is constantly exploring this world visually. I steal words from other books that sound like they might fit the voice of my novel. I try morning writing where I focus on a detail: the view outside Peter’s window, the color of a mermaid’s hair. Sometimes that detail grows into a scene. Sometimes it’s just drivel. The goal is to keep my mind exploring the story every day.

I do the hefty writing on the weekends. I set aside large chunks of hours and get lost. Immersion. I go to Neverland in my mind and I’m there all day. This book is not a vomit-first draft. It can’t be. I have to spend too much time figuring out who these characters are and their motivations. I can’t skim the surface with them. Instead I dig in and write a scene, then re-write the scene, re-position the scene, re-word the scene, re-everything until I find an emotional heartbeat in it. This isn’t a fast process. But it’s a heartfelt one.

The process for writing every novel is different. For this one … slow and steady wins the race.

May the Tour Continue!

If you enjoyed this little glimpse into the writer’s life, please follow the tour as I pass the torch to Amy Sundberg (my sister in last name, but not by blood) who will share her dazzling process next week!

Amy Sundberg is a SF/F and YA writer. Her short fiction has appeared in Redstone Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and Buzzy Magazine, among others. She lives in California, and when not writing, she’s either buried in a good book, singing musical theater songs, or trying to add more pins to locations visited on her world map. She is an avid blogger at and can be found on Twitter as @amysundberg

Please also check out the process of my fellow Dystropians who are also posting today as part of this blog tour!

Happy writing everyone!

My Night at the Oscars

Ingrid and Bette High Resolution

Me (with the purple hair) at the Oscars, behind Bette Midler!

I love the Oscars. I’m the kind of fan who watches three hours of pre-show and buys all the magazines after the event. I’ve thrown Oscar parties with ballot polls and paper red carpets that run down my living room. I’m the person who shushes her friends when they talk through the technical awards. I love this event.

You can only imagine how ecstatic I was to be invited to attend the Oscars in person! I’ve always dreamed of attending the Oscars. Granted, that fantasy often saw me hanging off the arm of Brad Pitt, but I wasn’t going to turn down an invitation from my good friend Heather. Heather is a film preservationist for the Academy and one of the benefits of her job is she gets to attend the Oscars every year. This was her tenth year at the show, and though the event may have become “old hat” for her, she loves watching us newbies go ga-ga over all the glitz and excitement.

The giddy reality of attending the Academy Awards didn’t hit me until we turned onto Hollywood Boulevard where the sidewalks were caged off with chain link fence. Pedestrians lined both sides of the street trying desperately to peek into our car and see if we were famous. They waved and when we waved back they got excited, even though we weren’t anyone important. A football field away from the red carpet we weaved through a security maze of cement dividers and it felt like we were entering an apocalyptic zombie movie. It seems they had those celebrities in lock down!

Of course it all got real when we pulled up to the red carpet and the crowd broke into excited screams. I stepped out of our car to see Jonah Hill exiting his limo and waving to the crowd. The roars of excitement came in waves, the crowd going wild to signal the arrival of Leonardo Dicaprio on my left, or Jennifer Lawrence twenty feet away from me on my right. Then whoopsie, Jen falls on her friend, laughing as she stumbles back to her feet and exclaiming that she’s mortified about tripping.

The famous people were whisked off to the left side of the entrance tent, and the rest of us stood in line on the right like we were waiting for our turn to go on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland.

The Red Carpet

The carpet was set up with two sections. There’s one aisle on the left for the famous people, a four food divider, and then a second aisle on the right for we mortals. “Our” side of the carpet was lined with security men who’ve been hired to say “keep moving” non-stop for three hours. I’d been instructed by Heather to ignore these men and walk slowly, very veeeeeery slowly and take it all in.

Red Carpet Map

Academy Awards Red Carpet Map (click image for larger view)

And there’s a lot to take in. The second we stepped on the red carpet it was celebrity overload! My first sighting was Chris Hemsworth chatting with Ryan Secret (and look, you can see me walk behind him on TV! That’s me with the purple hair!). But that was just the beginning. I blinked and there was another celebrity. Bette Midler stood half-way down the carpet on a stage. Between her and us was Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Whoopi Goldberg, Benedict Cumberbatch, and more. All looking stunning in their gowns and tuxes.

Ingrid and Bennedict_yellow circle

Yup, I’m that purple speck in the background behind Benedict.

“KEEP MOVING!” the security men grumbled, and we took our baby steps forward. Being non-celebrity folk, we’re not allowed to turn around on the carpet, we  so we inched forward as slow as we could. Suddenly, Kevin Spacey strides up next to us (only four feet away!) turning broadly to wave at the bleachers, and the crowd went wild!

“Move along! You’re holding up the line!” Which was true at this point. After all, I do have purple hair, which made it easy to notice how slow I was moving. The second half the carpet was full of more sightings: Laura and Bruce Dern, Lupita Nyong’o, Cate Blanchett, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and Anne Hathaway. At the end of walkway the carpet turns toward the theater and the four foot divider closes, allowing us to walk next to the celebrities. Who walks in front of me at that exact moment?

Meryl Streep! Holy moly Meryl Streep! I could have reached out and touched her if I wanted to.

Ingrid and Meryl Streep

Before the grand staircase is another photo area where the actresses are moved, cattle style, into position. Heather and I walked quietly behind Bette Midler, noting that we better look up Bette’s photo in in the morning. Because, yup, there’s a flash of purple hair behind all her photos on this end of the carpet! What am I wearing you ask? Why, a super fancy designer known as David’s Bridal.

Heather and Bette

The celebrities are shuffled to the first level and the rest of us go up the grand staircase to…

The Lobby

There were free drinks and mingling in the lobby as we peered down at the sea of penguin suits and colorful fabrics on the floor below us. The celebrities looked stunning, but the truth is everyone looked amazing. Coiffed hair, beaded satin, sassy bow-ties, and sparkling jewelry were everywhere. The only thing that made a famous person stand out was the fact that well … they’re famous. And for a brief moment we all seemed the same.

Michael and Tim

Michael Wilkinson and Tim Martin

In the mayhem of red-carpet-celeb-a-thon, I realized I hadn’t had a chance to look for my friend Tim Martin and his husband Michael Wilkinson. Michael was nominated for Best Costume Design for his work on American Hustle, and I was really hoping to wish him good-luck before the show. Only, there were hundreds of people at this event. It simply wasn’t going to happen. There were too many people! Just as I’m starting to accept this reality, the magic of Hollywood with its affinity for coincidences sprinkles a little Oscar fairy dust on our evening and I see the stunning couple! I offer Tim and Michael my congratulations, also getting to meet Michael’s agent and the art director of American Hustle (who gushed about my hair and even took my picture!). I may have been surrounded by celebrities on the carpet, but seeing Tim and Michael before the show was one of the highlights of the whole evening. The best part of any event is being able to share it with your friends.

Michel didn’t end up winning Best Costume Design, but I doubt this is going to be his last nomination. I’m betting he has plenty of Oscar events in his future. Plus, Cate Blanchett gave him a personal shout-out during her acceptance speech (check out minute 3.40)! How cool is that!

Headed to our seats, Heather and I saw Benedict Cumberbatch in a corner standing alone. He stood there politely, as if waiting for someone – a date in the restroom perhaps – and it was funny how quiet he seemed. Reserved and in his own small calm among the bustle of the room.

Box Seats

Normally, Heather has nose-bleed seats, but this was Heather’s tenth year working for the Academy, and lucky me, we got box seats! This meant we were closer to the stage and could make out who was sitting in which seat. Across the room we saw Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie the size of lego men, and directly below us was Matthew Mcconaughey and Jared Leto. I could have thrown popcorn at them if I wanted to.

Our box seat!

Our box seat!

I loved watching the celebrities between the commercial breaks. There were dozens of tiny moments that you don’t get to see on TV, like the huge hug Meryl Streep gave Jennifer Lawrence as the speakers counted down to the live broadcast, or Jared Leto keeping his Oscar statue on the floor by his feet.

The show itself felt a lot like being in the studio audience on a film set. Everyone was “on” for the live broadcast, and then the commercial breaks were a rush of stage hands setting up props, camera men moving into position, and seat fillers being funneled into place. Everything is rather transparent, like the moment when Jennifer Lawrence ran across the stage, realizing she was supposed to enter on the opposite side.

Heather and Ingrid at the Oscars!

Heather and Ingrid at the Oscars!

The First Floor Bar

After the second commercial break, Heather and I headed down to the bar. I saw less of the show than you might think. I missed a good hour and a half. I didn’t see the “selfie moment” or U2 sing, or watch Meryl Streep eat pizza. Instead, I opted for the “behind the scenes” experience of hanging out at the bar.

The Dolby bar was a small round room with glowing blue lights. It gives the illusion of being exclusive because it’s off the main bar, but anyone can go in. Heather told me this was where the celebrities liked to hang out and she wasn’t lying. Anne Hathaway was at the bar when we entered, looking polished with the hint of a fake smile behind her calm. In contrast, Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips, leaned casually against the wall, laughing with his friends and taking it all in. It took me a minute to recognize Sarah Paulson (12 Years a Slave) at the bar sipping champagne.

After meeting some of Heather’s co-workers, we settled in at a standing table, when I looked up to see Julia Roberts standing directly behind Heather. I motioned awkwardly for Heather to turn around, because I couldn’t tactfully say “Dude, Julia Roberts is behind you!” By the time she turned around, Julia had passed us. Only, at that exact moment, Cate Blanchett walked in.

Everyone notices Cate Blanchett walk into a room. This woman has a presence. In fact, I’m convinced she didn’t act in Lord of the Rings because she actually is Lady Galadriel in real life. She’s commanding and effortless and beautiful, seeming to glide into a room and cast a spell over it.

Cranberry drinkWe’re all a little overwhelmed by Cate when I noticed Benedict Cumberbatch in the doorway. Once again I caught him in a contemplative stance.  He hesitated by the door, unannounced, politely holding a cranberry drink and scanning the room. He had the air of a tentative teenager searching for the friend that invited him to the party, but not quite sure he was in the right place. Finally he saw Cate and Sally Hawkins and passed by us to join them. Only he fumbled awkwardly with his glass, turning to place it on the standing table before us. He almost missed the edge, taking extra care to be sure the glass didn’t smash, looking up at us with a quick “it’s cool if I put this here,” glance. We all smiled doe-eyed, trying our best not to gawk. He returned to his conversation with Cate and we stared at his glass. Should we steal the glass and sell it on ebay? Do we use the DNA on the straw and clone him? Or as Heather’s husband mentioned later when I relayed this story: This is how you roofie Benedict Cumberbatch!

Benedict retrieved his glass a few minutes later and I was struck with how much shorter he is in person. On Sherlock, he’s always towering over Martin Freeman. But here, he looked me dead in the eye at 5’9”. Which means, by comparison, Martin Freeman actually is hobbit sized in real life! In general, everyone was smaller than I expected, particularly the women. Jessica Biel walked in the bar a moment later and I was stunned by how slight she was. And Kristin Chenoweth only came up to my shoulder.

The Dolby bar began to feel like an overcrowded sauna, so we moved to the lobby bar for more free drinks and celebrity sightings. We saw Mathew Mcconaughey dash out of the bathroom and head into the theater. Mads Mikkelsen sipped champagne like he was an evil villain in a Bond movie plotting his next move. Michael Fassbender talked to Glenn Close  and made eye contact with me as I passed. Granted it was for two seconds, but still! Michael Fassbender has seen me in real life!

The Show

After Pink sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow we returned to our seats to watch the rest of the show. I was bummed to have missed Christopher Waltz give Lupita Nyong’o her best supporting actress award. Though it was fun to watch Michael Fassbender get really excited when she accepted the award, as he was near us watching the bar monitors.

And as cheesy as it may have seemed for Bette Midler to sing The Wind Beneath My Wings after the in memorium section, it was absolutely stunning to watch live. It was a highlight for me.

Ingrid-and-HeatherThe rest of the show played out as seen on television and before we knew it the show was over and we were headed to the valet. We weren’t invited to any after parties (we aren’t that fancy), and we found ourselves once again returned to our normal lives: stuck in LA traffic and headed to get Thai food.

The funny thing about attending the Oscars is it’s oddly more normal than you’d think. I’m so used to consuming the show through magazines and television that I imagined everything bigger and brighter and more intense than it actually is. The truth is there were a lot of stars I never even saw, like Sandra Bullock or Amy Adams. There were plenty more I didn’t even know were there until I saw photos of them online the next day. And its weird to see small moments like Jennifer Lawrence tripping turned into hot celebrity gossip.

In fact, attending the Oscars was humbling. When you see so many famous people all at once it reminds you that they’re just people. They hang out with their friends at the bar. They say excuse me when they bump into you in the lobby. And all that glitz and polish … ironically it only feels big in the small frame of your television, or in the glossy images of a magazine. In real life, there isn’t time to admire Cate Blanchett’s million dollar jewelry, or wonder what designer Sandra Bullock is wearing, or over analyze the best and worst dressed. All of that is window dressing.

In real life, you just enjoy the fact that you’re there.

Ingrid and Heather at the Oscars