BTB Celebrates 2nd Edition With Jenny Feldon, L.A. Private School Mom, Author of “Karma Gone Bad”

I’m reading the just-released book, “Karma Gone Bad” by Jenny Feldon, a mom at an L.A. private elementary school.  It’s mesmerizing. The book begins with Jenny saying goodbye to her beloved NYC and moving to India for her new husband’s job promotion. To say that nothing is what she expected would be an understatement. Culture shock hits her like a bolt of lightening. Her belief that she’d be the perfect expat wife is shattered over and over again. At night, she “clutched Lonely Planet: India, but was too lonely to read.” Then, something changes…Karma?

On Wednesday morning, Porcha and I along with a group of about 20 authors, moms, bloggers and friends gathered at Akasha Restaurant to talk about getting published. Of course, we missed Anne Simon, my step-mom and co-author who lives in Virginia. From Blogs To Books was the theme of the event I co-hosted with Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, who writes the eco-lifestyle blog, Mommy Greenest and is one of the new authors who spoke about publishing.


Over coffee and scones, we heard Jenny Feldon tell us about the ups and downs of signing her first book deal. Her blog, Karma Continued, is one of my favorites and is what led to her book deal for the just-released memoir, Karma Gone Bad.

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(L. To R.) Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Jenny Feldon, Christina Simon and Sarah Maizes

Jenny is friendly and articulate. We met a few years ago through our blogger group.  She’s wanted to be a writer since she was a child and her passion shines through every word. Her insight into finding a book agent, dealing with rejection and landing a publisher were invaluable. But, that was just the start. Writing the book was an intense, all-consuming process for Jenny that began every morning at 4:00 a.m. before her young kids woke up.


Karma Gone Bad begins with Jenny reluctantly leaving NYC and her life as a newly married Upper West side urban professional, because her husband has taken a job promotion in Hydrabad, India. Upon arriving in India, she is hit with extreme culture shock…loneliness, food poisoning and months of subsisting on peanut butter sandwiches. Her visions of life as a glamourous expat wife are squashed immediately, like the gigantic mosquitos she must constantly swat away when her husband is bitten within the first week and contracts a life-threatening illness.  After a tumultuous first few months, that almost ends her marriage, Jenny realizes that it is not “India that needs to change, but her.” This memoir is absolutely captivating, an I-can’t-put-down book for any mom and a work of non-fiction that will also make a great book club selection, holiday gift or vacation reading for a girls getaway. Visit for more information. Buy the book at Chevalier’s, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

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At the event, #BlogsToBooks at Akasha Restaurant, Culver City

My friend, author and parenting humorist, Sarah Maizes has just published her second kid’s book, On My Way To Bed, a lively, hilarious story about getting her daughter, Livi, to bed. The second in a series, Sarah told us how she found a publisher for this beautifully illustrated book. She described the numerous book signings, author appearances and pressure to write the next book. She’s been on the Today Show! What’s next? A Livi doll to go with the third book! Go Sarah! The preschool-early elementary school set will delight in this topsy-turvy bedtime story. Visit for reviews and author information. Buy the book at Children’s Book World, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

(L. To R.) Sarah Maizes, Susanna Morgan, Laura Gerson, Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Christina Simon, Porcha Dodson
(L. To R.) Sarah Maizes, Susanna Morgan, Laura Gerson, Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Christina Simon, Porcha Dodson

I think I’ve already told you that the Second Edition of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles is a lot thicker than the First Edition. That’s because we’ve added 3 new chapters, more sample written applications, more letters of recommendation and new test questions. We’ve expanded the list of school and added a chapter on the Pasadena region. Throughout the book, you’ll hear Anne Simon’s voice, her calm wisdom that only comes with 30 years as a private school headmaster. So what are you waiting for? Get your copy now at Chevalier’s, Children’s Book World or Amazon.


Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is a former magazine editor, mom of three and the founder of Mommy Greenest, a popular eco-friendly lifestyle blog. But what I love most about Rachel’s blog is her balanced, nonjudgmental approach to how we can all eat more healthfully, use chemical free products and avoid damaging our beautiful earth. Rachel’s new book, The Big List Of Things That Suck: An Essential Encyclopedia Of Eco-Information To Help You Shop, Talk And Live Better Without Annoying Your Friends, is a funny guide about how to live an eco-friendly, sustainable life without becoming a “sustainabully”. How cool is that? Visit to buy the book.

Four authors. Four books by L.A. moms and writers.
Four books by L.A. moms and writers.
True Goods Sea Scrub
Thank you to True Goods for supplying our guests with several products including this all natural sea scrub soap. My house smells like a spa!


Thank you to Emi Jay, Gaia Herbs and The Wonderseed for your fabulous gift bag donations!

Weekend Links: Hoops B-Ball Charity Event, Pasadena Waldorf Elves’ Faire, The Oaks School’s Holiday Bazaar and more!


My son plays for Pacific Elite Club Basketball team, host of this event. It's open to the community. We'll be there!
My son plays for Pacific Elite Club Basketball team based at Pan Pacific Park, one of the event hosts.  It’s open to the community.

One of our wonderful readers sent us the information about The Oaks School in Hollywood’s Holiday Bazaar. She’s one of the event co-chairs:

“The event is December 6th, 2013 from 2:30-7:30 p.m.  is open to the community.  It would be a great opportunity for families to see the school, our fantastic kids and meet parents.  The very special thing about the Oaks is the sense of community we have and aside from our weekly parent coffee on Fridays, the Holiday Bazaar is one of the best times to witness this.  Our students are very much a part of the Bazaar- we start after school and have an array of fun activities for the kids including a workshop by The Actor’s Gang, crafts, games and a photo booth.  The children also have two booths at the Bazaar- one for crafts they have created and another for baked goods made by students.  They staff the booths with the help of a few parent volunteers and sell their handmade items.   In addition to terrific vendors, Loteria Grill will be serving dinner.” The Oaks School


Interesting article in The Atlantic which says black boys fit in more easily in white suburban schools than black girls and gives reasons as to why social acceptance of black boys happens more easily. (The Atlantic)


Pasadena Waldorf School’s 28th Annual Elves’ Faire. Sat. Nov. 23, 10 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Open to the community. Pasadena Waldorf School. 


Start your weekend with these heartwarming, adorable photos of Momma’s Gone City’s toddler and their rescued puppy together daily at nap time. Love.



Three Types of Private School Admissions Directors You’ll Meet


Elizabeth Street Logo



Private elementary school directors can be powerful gatekeepers or distracted notetakers. You’ll encounter them when you tour schools and/or have a parent interview at a private elementary school. Here’s a piece I wrote for Elizabeth Street about 3 types of admissions directors you’ll meet. –Christina


Here’s a previous post: Admissions Directors, The Keys To The Empire

Now Available! Second Edition of “Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles”

BTB 2nd Edition Cover FINAL
Click on photo to buy book

It’s here! The Second Edition of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider’s Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles is now available.


Here’s what’s in the Second Edition:

  • 3 New Chapters (including the Pasadena Region)
  • 4 Updated Chapters
  • More Sample Test Questions
  • More Sample Written Applications
  • More Sample Letters of Recommendation
  • Expanded List of L.A. Area Schools and List of Pasadena Region Schools

Anne, Porcha and I are extremely excited to release the Second Edition of Beyond The Brochure.  Since the summer, we have been working on what can truly be called a labor of love: the second edition. When we began the book and the blog in Sept. 2009, we had no idea where it would take us. It has been one of the most wonderful and rewarding parts of our professional lives. We’ve read every email you’ve sent us, we read all your blog comments and we answer your questions whenever possible. As always, our goal is to help parents better understand the competitive private elementary school admissions process in Los Angeles.


THANK YOU, thank you, thank you, to each and every one of you for your support for our book, for reading our blog and for continuing to encourage our work with your kind words. We’ve enjoyed meeting many of you at preschool speaking events, as we talk about kindergarten admissions. To those of you who have become personal friends as a result of this book and blog, we are lucky to have met you.


The Second Edition of Beyond The Brochure is available now on Amazon and is also at It’s A Children’s World and Chevalier’s on Larchmont. Look for it in Barnes & Noble in about 6-8 weeks.


All our best,

Christina, Anne and Porcha