I was born on September 13, 1966 in Reading, Pennsylvania. For the most part, I grew up in a tiny borough just outside the city limits called Mount Penn. I played hopscotch on my sidewalk and other silly street games like “Mother May I” and “Red Light, Green Light”. It was from these that I learned valuable skills like screaming, running fast, standing on one foot, and asking permission.
I danced my way through childhood at the Carol Ennis School of Dance, and later joined La Petite Ballet, which matured into the regional company Berks Ballet Theater. I aspired to be a professional ballerina and danced the fairytale role of the Sugar Plum Fairy at the age of 14, but I loved food way too much. (I still love food!)
I sported a hideous uniform for many years, which included pleats and a Peter Pan collar, and eventually polyester pants while I attended Catholic school. I graduated from Reading Central Catholic in 1984, but I knew just out of diapers that college wasn’t for me. Although I was a good student, member of the National Honor Society, and particularly excelled at Language Arts, I was uncomfortable in a traditional classroom situation. I would rather have been in a tutu, or riding the Bieber bus back and forth to Manhattan, which I started doing at the age of twelve. That’s when I fell in love with New York for the first time.
After a series of retail jobs in my early twenties that barely paid for my leotard and tights, I decided at 24 that I would go back to school. After a bad break-up, I packed my bags and my cat, pilfered used furniture, and moved to the City of Brotherly Love. I attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia to major in interior design and study the art of drinking red wine. I graduated in 1993 and then asked myself, “What’s next?”
After a brief stint in London, I returned to Pennsylvania for about 18 months where I perfected my residential design skills while working for a small business. In 1995, I moved to Atlanta Georgia to cook delicious food and decorate historic homes, which I did for 12 years. I met my husband Michael in there somewhere; we renovated houses and managed to stay married through all three of them, and I became a certified professional oenophile. I also transformed myself into an avid gardener after more than 30 years with a black thumb.
In 2007, the economy started to tank and Michael had several opportunities to work in Manhattan. I needed a change of scenery and began packing immediately. We sold our 2800 square foot Victorian bungalow, headed north with a dog and two kitties in tow, and landed in New York City. I started writing upon arrival, and hoped that one day I could do it full-time.
After several sales jobs in Manhattan, and the purchase of a new wardrobe, my dream came true and I now work out of my pajamas and commute two feet to my desk. This is one of the few advantages to living in a New York apartment, and well, so much for that wardrobe.
I am currently a columnist/freelancer for Metro.us, a contributing editor for The West Side Rag, and I write for small businesses and on my own personal blog---Tracy’s New York Life.
I live in Manhattan with my husband, our neurotic Chocolate Lab, Bogey, and our food-obsessed cat, Mimi. I am also working on my first book, so check back later this year for details. I promise you’ll love it.