I’ve written about my internationally-published author friend Samantha Sotto a few times on this blog. It’s not because I’ve run out of material to write about (seriously!) but I can’t help be amazed and proud of her (and of myself that I know her)! So to brag even further, I just want to tell you (all 12 of my readers, up from 7 the last time I checked) about the time I got re-acquainted with Sam 2 years ago.
Sam was one of our marketing bosses in that great multinational over in Bicutan. I never worked with her but I did share a room in one of our team building sessions in Baguio. We got along because we wanted to sleep the earliest despite everyone calling us killjoy. After she retired into motherhood and her ice cream kingdom in 2003, I hardly saw her until 2009 when we coincidentally scheduled our NY trips around the same dates.
My husband and I were in the U.S. to attend an Aquasana training session in Dallas, and New York was the holiday part of our trip as I had never been there. It was Sam’s and her husband’s first trip to NY as well and they were there to meet Sam’s agent, Stephanie Kip Rostan. One of our good friends, Francine, had just moved to NY and she had taken the role of resident NY tour guide quite seriously. There were 4 different groups (all of whom left corporate to be entrepreneurs, a student or a wife) who would be in NY and oddly, we would be there around the same dates. Francine, the ultimate O.C., suggested common itineraries where everyone could meet up. It was like our very own Slight Detour tour group in New York.
The first stop for any tour group (especially a Filipino tour group) — lunch! The burger in Burger Joint was highly-recommended by Francine who liked it better than the famous Shake Shack burger.
After, we walked off our heavy meaty lunch on 5th Avenue where we took photos in front of The Plaza Hotel, the setting for movies like Brewster’s Millions, Princess Diaries (where Queen Julie Andrews lived), Bride Wars (another Anne Hathaway movie) and one of my daughter’s favorite books with naughty child character Eloise (who lives in tippy top floor of The Plaza Hotel).
We walked to Columbus Circle and took the Subway from there, our first ride (well, for the NY newbies) in the NY subway.
Shelley, Sam’s main character in Before Ever After, would have stopped to admire these mosaics on the walls of the subway platform.
The rest of the tour included more eating venues: dinner at the original Bon Chon (which we had no photo of because we were very hungry), sake at this Jap resto, and dessert at Chikalicious, which had the best red velvet cupcakes (Francine swears it’s better than Magnolia Bakery. I wouldn’t know because after Chikalicious, I didn’t want to try anything else.).
The tour continued on the next few days but I won’t bore you with the details of shopping, shopping and more shopping. New York was one of our best holidays because we spent it with great friends, Francine’s OC non-trad itinerary and the start of a renewed friendship with Sam and her husband. My husband and I were really planning on going back this year to support Sam on her U.S. book launch but my unplanned due date wouldn’t let us.
It was a good thing that the Philippines had its own Before Ever After book launch last Wednesday and my mom blogger friends and I got “backstage passes” with Sam. Thank you to ManilaMommy for the photo =)
At the risk of sounding showbiz, I really feel honored to have experienced a small part of the Before Ever After journey, particularly that trip to NY. And I feel so touched that she put us in the acknowledgment section. It was totally unexpected (and now, I feel like an international rock star!). I don’t normally read the Acknowledgments of some books but you have to read this one. It’s amazing! (Clearly an unbiased opinion.)
Congratulations Sam! We’re so proud of you. =) This is probably your craziest but happiest birthday ever!