Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book Review: Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

I was up until 2 am and last night and no it wasn't because Bravo had a Real Housewives marathon. The truth is, I was midway through Belong to Me and I just could not put it down. I honestly can't remember the last time that I read a book cover to cover in one day, but this was definitely one of those books. I started it yesterday at 11 am and read the last sentence early this morning at 2 am.

Belong to Me continues the stories of Cornelia and Teo from de los Santos' debut, Love Walked In. We follow them as they navigate the complex dynamics of suburbia and are introduced to new and engaging characters along the way. Love Walked In, is one of my favorite books, so it's no surprise that I found this novel captivating and gorgeously written.

The prose is pure poetry, beautiful, unexpected and carefully written. De los Santos has created a world where instead of boxes shutting with a click they close with a "soft, smoky thunk, like the sound of a moth hitting a window, a toe shoe on a wood floor." Instead of being well-off, her characters rest uneasily on their "green, regularly mown patch of the upper-middle class." Kids don't lie in heaps or even a tangle on the same couch when they watch a movie, rather they're "draped over each other with the gorgeous indifference of children who haven't yet learned that it matters where one body ends and the next begins."

The world that de Los Santos has created is our world, only more beautiful, like a room after you've put a colorful scarf over the lamp or a city covered in snow. The characters are so real, yet somehow more kind, more generous, just more. Even their flaws hold a certain kind of beauty and grace. As I read about Cornelia's struggle to fit into upper-middle class suburban society or Piper's journey to free herself from the strict rules that govern their little corner of the world, I found that I could relate to the characters and their daily losses and triumphs. This book moved me to tears and made me laugh out loud. This is a book about people and how we adapt and how we love. About learning that "if you insist on goodwill, if everyone insists on it together, goodwill comes...Love can be a decision. Forgiveness too."

I can think of a few people on my Christmas list who will be getting both of de los Santos' books this year. Like one of the many classic films referenced in both Love Walked In and Belong to Me, these books will leave you with a smile on your face and the deeply satisfying belief that in spite of the sadness and loss that permeates our world, there is beauty and love all around us.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Book Review: The Luxe


It's official. The faceless suits that run Alloy Entertainment are geniuses. I just finished The Luxe and it was like eating an entire package of Dove bon bons all by yourself - delicious, completely decadent and totally devoid of substance. Just what the doctor ordered.

The Luxe follows the lives of the rich and famous in late19th century NYC. Masked balls, secret letters and late night trysts abound. I think it was pitched as the historical version of Gossip Girl, and that's exactly how it reads. We meet the pristine Elizabeth Holland (Serena, if you will) when she has returned from a summer abroad. Her family is well-respected, but suddenly poor and she's forced into an engagement with the rakish Henry Schoonmaker (ie Chuck Bass), in spite of the fact that she's banging the stable boy. See, it's good already, and it gets even better.

Her best friend, Penolope Hayes (definitely Georgiana. I hated that bitch) spent her summer trying to land the very eligible Mr. Schoonmaker, and is none too happy about the news of the engagement. She sets out to do everything in her power to stop her friend from marrying Henry. What she doesn't realize is that Henry has fallen in love with Elizabeth's younger sister Diana (totally Blaire. Slightly bitchy, but very fun).

This book is a fun read, but I'll admit to being a little bit bored by Elizabeth. She reminds me way too much of Serena. Too good hearted and perfect to be any fun. I loved the dynamic between Diana and Henry and found myself looking forward to the chapters written from their perspective. Penelope was a good villain, but a little too predictable and whiny for my tastes. Honestly, I think the real standout in the book was Elizabeth's maid, Lina. It was fun to read her perspective on the wealthy. She was sympathetic because obviously it would suck to be a servant, but also totally evil because she's hell-bent on destroying Elizabeth. I have a hunch that her ambition will land her on the society pages in later installments of the series and I can't wait to see what vile plans she comes up with to thwart the high society princesses she so despises.

Save the publishing industry and buy yourself a copy of The Luxe today. It's the perfect book to get you through the cold month of December.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, I have so much to be thankful for this year, so you know what that means...yes! Another top 10 list! Yeah, I know you're probably getting sick of these, but I'm sort of obsessed, so you're just going to have to live with it. OK, fine, how about a compromise....a top 5 list? Done. Drum roll please...

The Top 5 Things I'm Thankful For This Year:

5. Trashy TV. Honestly, without trashy TV I'd have nothing to blog about and I'm not really sure what I'd do at night when the fam goes to sleep and I'm left with a few hours of downtime. I can't honestly say that Gossip Girl has made me a better person, but it sure does make Mondays a little more fun. They just released some study that claims depressed people watch more TV than happy people. Whatever. I'm happy, I love TV. Deal with it.

4. Good books. I will admit that I've significantly slowed down as a reader since we began work on The North Shore, but prior to my foray into authordom I read about a book a week. I love to read and even when I have next to no free time, I'm always reading something. From trashy romance to literary fiction, I love it all. So thank you to all the authors out there who continue to astound me with their genius. Books like Love Walked In, Beach Music and pretty much anything by Stephen King are so good they make me want to cry. I honestly don't even aspire to ever be as good as these authors, but I'm sure as hell going to continue to work at being the best I can be. Thank you for the inspiration.

3. Our book. Laura has compared writing our book to having a baby, we honestly can't remember what we did before we started seriously writing. I have loved every single part of this process. The writing, the editing, the critiquing, the submitting, the WAITING, OK fine, maybe I don't love the waiting...but I will say that this is the first time I've ever truly attempted to fulfill my dream of being a published writer and I can't help but relish every second. Even the waiting. I wake up every morning and can't wait to see what the day will bring; requests, rejections, a new idea for our next book? All of it is new and all of it is exciting. And I love it. I'm so proud of us, Laura! However this turns out, we've written an amazing book, and even better, we're going to write more!!

2. Our friends and family. When we finished our book, we were terrified of letting anyone read it, but our friends and family have been so incredibly supportive. My best friend Tara and her mom read the whole thing from cover to cover about 30 times giving us tons of helpful edits along the way. Our brother-in-law, who prefers books by Ayn Rand and Stephen King, read and re-read the book (and about 50 different beginnings) and provided us with honest, critical and encouraging feedback every step of the way. Our loyal blog (and book) readers Casie and Sarah who faithfully read our random thoughts on a day-to-day basis. Our mom, who thinks we're really funny, pretty much because she's forced to by the laws of nature. Our sister Stacey who is about 8 million times more talented than we are and managed to whip up a website for us out of thin air. And, of course, our youngest reader Kelsey, who devoured the book in less than 24 hours. An Austenite and the only actual young adult who has read our book, every rejection we get, we remind ourselves of her rave review and keep going. Thank you.

1. My kids and husband. I can't imagine life without Ken, Jack and Mia. They drive me crazy, make me laugh, and bring out the best and sometimes the worst in me. I love them more than anything and thank God for them every single day. They are without question the best things that ever happened to me. Did I mention they also drive me totally insane?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

They're baaaaaaacccccckkkkkkk...

Recession, what recession? The REAL Housewives of Orange County are back and they're making those bitches from Atlanta and NYC look like the cheap knock-offs that they really are.

Ok, I'm not going to lie, I took notes while I watched the premier tonight. And yes, I do find this confession troubling on many levels, but I can't get into all that right now because I have WAY too much to talk about.

Some random thoughts on the episode:
  1. First things first, they got rid of Quinn the Cougar! Thank god. She was so wrong on so many levels. That golf pro she practically devoured with desperation, the whole faux-Christian facade and her man-hunting ways were just a little much for me. Anyways, thank you, producers for ridding us of her annoying presence. She was tres miserable.
  2. Ahh, but the good news is we have a new, new girl. Gretchen is in the house! She's roughly 18-years-old and is engaged to marry a man that's 4-years younger than her father and looks like an older, weaker version of Kenny Rogers. You can't make this stuff up. She's about to become wifey number five and subtle she is not. Not only did she break out "for realz" when dealing with her future hubby's kids who are approximately 2 years younger than she is, but she also did a little strip tease for the cameras when she was prepping for the jet ski ride that her husband was too old and too frail to join her on. This is one to watch ladies.

  3. Yeah, Shane is HOT, but I feel like they might have replaced him with a new actor or something. Is it just me or did he look totally different?? Hot, but different. Hope he hasn't jumped onto some scary performance enhancing bandwagon....
  4. Oh Laurie and George, they make me nauseous. We wouldn't need a stimulus plan if we forced George to invest a dollar every single time Laurie said "babe." Eeew.
  5. Tamra's boobs are frightening and should be considered as the 6th and 7th housewife. Also, I totally forgot how creepy her relationship is with her "son." Here's to hoping we'll be seeing a lot of him this season.
  6. And the scenes for the rest of the season were riveting. Did I hear Vicki refer to the fact that her husband once "filled her love tank" and now has left it "depleted?" There is something so wrong with that terminology, and you know that it cost her about $500,000 in therapy to come up with it.

Real Housewives of Orange County, you fill my love tank. And I seriously hope I can attend a live all-male review version of your show at some point in the future. This has to exist, right? If not, you heard it here first. Best. Idea. Ever.

Trainwreck Tuesday

Just came across a couple of tidbits that I had to share.

Britney, Britney, Britney. This is disturbing on so many levels. Does she have a publicist? Shouldn't someone tell her that she should not be sharing anecdotes like this with the press? Couldn't she just make something up about baking cookies instead?

And my favorite housewife speaks out. I can't believe she really thinks that anyone believes she's 29 or even 30. Seriously, Kimmy? You look like you've got a lot more than 30 years of hard living under your belt. Anyways, set your TiVos girls because the reunion is on Bravo tonight. Fingers crossed that the infamous Big Papa is revealed.

All I need is a miracle...

Not much to report aside from the fact that I just started our Christmas Miracle short story. The Knight Agency recently posted this call for submissions, and we have a fabulous story idea, if I don't say so myself. And no, it does not involve two sisters getting an agent for their fantastic debut novel on Christmas morning. In spite of the depressing state of the publishing industry, I still don't think that would qualify as a miracle, ok?

Honestly, it feels good to write something new. As much as I love The North Shore after all of these edits, I'm ready for a little break. Anyways, the deadline for submissions is December 24th (totally appropriate, no?), so we feel like this is the perfect holiday project. The best part is that it's going to get us warmed up for starting on our second book in January.

We still haven't definitively decided what we're going to write next (umm...hello? agents? any guidance would be appreciated...), but we have a few exciting ideas percolating. Not sure how much we'll be sharing via our riveting blog, but I'm sure our loyal readers will hear bits and pieces as we go.

Oh and for the record, it appears that I'm literally incapable of going to bed before 1 AM. I seriously don't know what's wrong with me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Mumblings...

  • Are they stocking botox at the Craft Services table on the set of Lipstick Jungle? Seriously, what happened to Mary Tyler Moore? She literally can't move the top half of her face and she sort of looks like Michael Jackson. And poor Vanessa Marcil couldn't even move her cheeks to cry. By the looks of things, the last time most of the women on that show were able to squint was sometime in the mid-90's. It's tragic.
  • Ok, it's twisted and weird and I could never recommend it to anyone for fear they'd think I'm a crazy lover of Vamp porn, but I sort of love True Blood. I even like the theme song. The finale was awesome and I can't wait to see what the next season brings. Tres bizarre, but also tres addictive. I'm definitely going to add the books to my to-be-read pile.
  • Is it rude to bring my own stuffing to Ken's Thanksgiving? I haven't had my grandmother's stuffing in years and I miss it. I'm seriously considering making it and bringing it with me. What do you think?
  • My hair has finally faded to a normal color, hurrah! I'm proud to say it is now a pretty auburnish shade, although I must confess I sort of miss the goth, angsty version of me. That was fun for a couple weeks.
  • Hotmail is officially the devil's e-mail. We sent a revised version of our manuscript out to an agent this morning and the e-mail was apparently unreadable. Laura officially hates me.
  • I'm feeling very blah today. I have tons of work to catch up on, the dreaded parent/teacher conference is in an hour, Gossip Girl isn't on tonight, and hotmail has officially betrayed us. Thanksgiving week is not off to a good start.

I'll be back later if things turn around...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Hour

Ahh...it's that magical time on a Friday night where I've poured myself a huge glass of wine and am taking some time to reflect on life. Tonight, I've come to the conclusion that as a mother, I have good mom days and bad mom days and today was definitely not a good one. Now I know we have readers that adore kids (Casie) and others who are more or less terrified of the messy little creatures (Sarah), and truthfully I can understand both sides of the argument. I love my own kids, but I really don't like other people's children. I mean they're messy, high-maintenance, and they rarely (if ever) listen. I've never been a "baby person," so maybe that explains my bad mommyitus.

Anyways, a full glass of white wine, an undying love for all things Top 10 and a long, long day have inspired me to compose:

The Top 10 Signs You're Not Having a Good Mommy Day

10. You feel totally guilty for not doing [insert name of horribly tedious game/activity/destination here]. I've come to the conclusion that being a dad is like being a mom only without all the guilt. Seriously, do you think Ken feels bad when he opts to read Sports Illustrated instead of playing yet another round of hide and go seek where Jack inevitably hides in the tent and berates you if you don't get up and do the "I see Jack! He's in the toy box! Oh no...not in there..." routine. Well, he doesn't.

9. You find yourself dragging your ass to the gym just to have 2 hours of uninterrupted time to yourself. Hey, I hate the elliptical as much as the next girl, but usually my need for an peaceful shower wins out over my innate laziness.

8. Your kids yell at you and you yell back. This is the worst. I have to admit that there are definitely times in our house where it's hard to tell who is the adult and who is the child. Sometimes when Jack tells me that he doesn't like me and I'm not his best friend anymore, I find myself saying to him, "well, mommy doesn't really like you right now either." Yeah, doesn't look like I'm going to be up for mother of the year anytime soon.

7. Your children start reciting the Cable on Demand Menu like it's their fave nursery rhyme. I wish this was an exaggeration, but a couple of weeks ago I went to turn on a show for Jack at my mom's house, flipped to the On Demand channel and he goes "Time Warner Cable...On Demand." He even mimicked the announcers voice. Uh..do you think this is a sign he watches too much tv? Ouch.

6. You start threatening. "If you don't stop hitting your sister, you're not getting a vitamin today." This is one of my classic threats and almost anyone that speaks to me on the phone on a regular basis has heard a form of this. And yes, everyone thinks it's hilarious that I threaten with vitamins, but they taste like candy and Jack really doesn't know the difference. Hey, whatever works, right?

5. You can actually sympathize with the poor mothers on Nanny 911. Ok, before I had kids and even when Jack was under the age of 2 1/2, I thought these women were terrible mothers. I remember thinking to myself, that my children would never behave in such a way, and even if they did my superior parenting skills would have them whipped into shape in no time. I was wrong. And for the record, the naughty chair SO does not work.

4. It's nap-time and you're napping too. It all stems from when you've had a baby and people tell you to sleep when the baby is sleeping, well as long as I don't have a conference call or an insane amount of work to be doing or something really good on TiVo, you can always catch me in bed for a little cat nap.

3. You start counting. Yeah, it's official. I'm one of "those" moms. The ones who for some reason think that counting to 3 is going to force their obnoxious, misbehaving, children to listen to them. This technique almost never works, and yet, I often catch myself screaming the numbers out so loud that I'm sure I look completely unhinged.

2. You find yourself doing the walk of shame. Oh, and I WISH I was referring to that glorious walk home after some torrid one-night stand. Oh no, this walk of shame consists of me leaving the book store, Target, Children's Museum, etc dragging one or two screaming, twisting children who are acting like they're being abducted. Typically this is preceded by Jack nailing some kid in the head with a Thomas the Train toy or attacking me or Mia because he didn't want to leave. Seriously, mascara stained cheeks and an evening look at 7 am are WAY more attractive than a screaming, hitting, and spitting toddler. Trust.

1. You're living in fear of parent/teacher conference day at the preschool. I'm scared. Seriously, seriously scared. It's next week and Jack is very verbal. I'm sure he's told them all about my vitamin threats and how I sometimes say I don't like him and he STILL can't put on his own shoes and socks. His school had a whole newsletter devoted to kids putting on their own shoes and socks, and I couldn't help but feel like they were singling us out. This is really not going to be good.

So, here's the thing. I can make lists and complain, but for some reason I totally forget all of this stuff when Jack crawls up into my lap, gives me a huge hug and says "I love you, Mommy." Or when Mia falls asleep on my shoulder at night when I'm putting her to bed. Or when Jack tries to do Mia's hair says things like "head down!" "don't move!" "if you move, I'm going to have to start all over!" He sounds exactly like me, only for some reason Mia actually listens to him and she never pays any attention to me. It's hilarious and cute and totally worth it.

Or maybe that's just the wine talking...

Love/Hate

LOVE: The song in that Miss Dior commercial. Have you guys heard it? It's in French and the adorable 60's looking model floats away with balloons. It seriously makes me want to move to Paris and wear pearls and perfect little day dresses with tiny nipped in waists and a-line skirts for the rest of my life.
HATE: All the new Target commercials. I miss all the trippy ones with the fun music.

LOVE: Danielle on Stylista. Can't imagine how hard it would be to pursue a career in fashion when you're not a size 2. Clearly, she was chosen to fit a certain stereotype on the show, and yet did an admirable job. She should have won.
HATE: Every other single contestant on Stylista. They are heinous, vile, people, and honestly I enjoy seeing them fail. And note to producers, could it be more obvious that you're keeping the girl lovingly referred to as "Boobs" around for the sole value of her unintentional comedy.

LOVE: The actuaries I work with. Apparently that little e-mail regarding doing an actuary "rush" was a joke. Who knew actuaries were so funny?
HATE: The powers that be at my company who laid-off over 180 people right before the holidays. This happens every year and the timing is heinous.

LOVE: Form rejections that are somehow written in such a way that they actually sound encouraging. I've been analyzing this work of art all afternoon and it's officially the perfect form rejection. I've tentatively decided that signing off with a "warmly" at the end that seals the deal.
HATE: Personalized rejections that are inadvertently so completely discouraging that I would have preferred a one-liner - "no."

LOVE: The previews for the Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion. Faking cancer! Girl fights! Bad wigs! I. AM. SO. IN.
HATE: The final episode of the show. So anti-climatic. I was hoping for some more drama. Blah.

LOVE: That Toby is back on the Office! And getting busted for possession of a Caprese Salad. Love.
HATE: That Holly is gone for good...I miss the whole thing about her thinking Kevin was "special." That was one of my favorite running jokes because he didn't really have to act any differently. Hilarious.

LOVE: Katherine Heigle's hair. I covet that hair. The perfect shiny curls. Ab fab.
HATE: Denny's ghost. Has Grey's officially jumped the shark?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh Hotmail...

Lisa took the liberty of creating a joint email account for us to use while querying. When I heard it was Hotmail, I was a little disappointed. I apologize to those of you who use and enjoy Hotmail, but I think it sucks for a few different reasons.

1. We weren't issued the standard @hotmail.com, they must have run out, so we got stuck with @live.com. It doesn't even look like an email address.

2. You can't open up two messages at the same time. Every time you make a move to leave a message, you risk sending it or having it erased.

3. If we had opened up a Gmail account or Yahoo Mail account, we could have used IMs, which would have saved me the $250 I paid to Verizon for going over on my minutes this month. There is no excuse for this--Lisa has Verizon, but calls me on her house phone. I'm an idiot.

4. Lately, when clicking refresh, instead of refreshing the email account, this scary message comes up regarding "Harmful and malicious software." It says I have to download "Antivirus 2009," which has the same icon as Microsoft Windows. I think Hotmail is sick of being refreshed and is fighting back with a virus.

5. Our inbox is often empty, which I guess isn't really Hotmail's fault, but it annoys me nonetheless.

But there's no turning back. We're in too deep. Hotmail it is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Chucking Thanksgiving...


I am not happy. For some reason my TiVo'd Gossip Girl had some horrible echo thing going on. Did this happen to anyone else? I'm so annoyed.

Anyways, it was sort of like watching a show where everyone had a really thick cockney accent, meaning, I only understood about 35% of the words, which was no problem for following the plot (duh, not like this is a Charlie Kaufmann movie or something) but was v. tricky for my weekly Chuck Bass quote. Anyways, after wearing out my instant replay button, I got one, but I'm sure I missed some far better quotes.

And without further ado...when Serena asked Chuck to keep her party girl past a secret, he responded,

"You have my word, whatever that's worth."

And I love a man of his word...especially if it's not worth much.
P.S. Hope Little J. is planning on eating lots of pie and playing a few rounds of some wholesome family Charades at her Turkey Day this year. Admitedly, I couldn't understand 99% of what she was saying throughout the episode, but I can attest to the fact that she's starting to look like a very hungry underage hooker.

This just in!

Thanks to loyal blog reader, Sarah, I just found out that Lipstick Jungle might be saved! Either that or Brooke Shields is having some sort of psychological break. Either way, it's all very exciting.

Check out this article for all the deets.

Some things that concern me:
  1. Fans are sending tubes of lipstick!? How did I not know about this effort?

  2. Umm...really Brooke, you think the show is #1 as far as DVR ratings go? I'm no genius with the Nielsens, but somehow that doesn't seem remotely possible.

  3. Public outcry? Really? That seems to be a little bit overstated, don't you think? I mean, how much lipstick are we really talking here?

Well, regardless, this could be good news for the 10 of us out there actually watching this trainwreck of a show. I mean seriously, can you imagine a life without seeing Kirby sans shirt at least once a week? That guy is unbelievable.

Overeager much?

Just re-read what I thought was a request for our full manuscript yesterday, but in retrospect I'm 99% sure that the agent was really just telling us that she was excited to read the 3 chapters that were already attached.


Ahh...our complete lack of experience and our overenthusiastic tendencies surface once again. Well, she's got the full manuscript now, and no one can ever accuse us of apathy.


What can we say, we love our work and we'll find a way to get you to read it....one way or the other. Agents beware: Show even an inkling of interest and you too will have our full manuscript in your inbox in 5 minutes or less.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The art of procrastination...













Yeah, I'm procrastinating. I have a ton of work, all of which has to be done tonight, but I'm just not in the mood...
So, a few things I've learned while procrastinating:

1. Laura and I are super cute. I created little avatars for us...see! Yeah, I'm desperate for something to do that isn't related to M&A consulting, ok?

2. I hate the term "ack!" Whenever anyone writes it in an e-mail or posts it on a board it makes me cringe. Totally reminds me of when Andy Samberg does his Cathy the Comic Strip bit on SNL.

3. 30 is the new 15. Here, I was worried about wrinkles and suddenly I have a huge zit on my cheek. It's official, I'm Angela Chase. So, here I am, maroon hair, random zit on my cheek, really the only thing that would make my adult onset adolescence more real would be if I had either picture day or prom tomorrow. I wonder if Ricky has any concealer I can borrow?

Ok, I'm off to go pick a huge fight with my mom and get grounded. Ooh, better yet, maybe I'll sneak out to go see Jordan Catalano sing "I Wanna be Sedated." God, I'm so moody and filled with angst. I'm totally ditching my conference calls tomorrow to hang out with Rayanne.

Random Monday Musings...

I didn't have time for my random thoughts post last night, so had to push off until today. I'm sort of happy because now I get to use alliteration in my title, and I adore alliteration. Ok, I just re-read that last sentence and realized that I'm the biggest dork ever, and for the record, I'm totally ok with that. Onward.

  • Justin Timberlake has better legs than me...ouch. Did you see him in that Beyonce skit on SNL? Pretty funny.
  • I'm officially sick of seeing Denny show up as a ghost on Grey's Anatomy. I love Denny, but enough already, he's dead.
  • I have no motivation to do anything today, which is really, really bad because I have lots of work to do.
  • I watched the interview with the Obamas last night and I had a goofy smile on my face the whole time. They just represent such hope and they're so relatable. I especially love hearing stories about how they operate as parents. I am so excited for him to officially take office and can't wait to see all of the positive change that he brings to our country, because we really need it.
  • Jack woke up this morning and ran into my room screaming "Mommy, it's winter time! It's winter time!" We got our first snow last night and he was so excited. Tough not to be in a good mood with a wake-up like that.
  • The decline of our economy is so depressing and every day that I read another article in the paper about how we're in the midst of an Economic Armageddon I can't help but wonder if the media is doing more harm than good with all of their economic coverage. The reality is that in order for the economy to turn around people need to spend more, but when we're constantly faced stories about the end of capitalism as we know it shoved down our throats, no one wants to spend a dime. My family is a great example, at this point Ken and I are both gainfully employed (thank God), but even though our income levels haven't changed, lately I've stopped spending the way I normally do, and I imagine other people are doing the same. Not good. One of my hopes for Obama taking office is that he'll increase consumer confidence and things will finally start to turn around. Wow, deep thoughts for a Monday, huh?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

For the love of Jen...

Dear Ms. Aniston,

So, it's been a while. I saw you in that horrible Vince Vaughan movie and after that I just sort of felt like we needed a break, you know? I mean you were cute, but whiny, and the whole movie was a little depressing, particularly given the fact that you had recently gone through such a public (and sort of humiliating) break-up yourself. It was just a little soul-crushing, ok?

Anyways, lately you're turning up everywhere. I saw you on Oprah and was entranced by your shiny, golden highlights. You seemed so happy, so balanced, so TONED, and I sort of wanted to touch your hair. Even when you said soiree incorrectly and Oprah corrected you, I admit, I laughed a little bit, but I totally forgave you because you were so glowy, and I really, really, loved your boots. Anyways, Marley and Me looks fabulous. SO not depressing. Just watching clips made me go out and buy the book. Such is the power of Aniston.

And then to top it all off you show up on one of my fave shows, and are totally funny and cute. So, yeah, I love you again. Girl crush ON. I'm sure you're totally relieved.

XOXO,
Lisa



P.S. Now that we're besties again, do a girl a solid and text me the name of your plastic surgeon. The dude is a miracle worker. Seriously, you look amazing and I'm sure 99% of it involves you working your ass off, but the oh-so subtle work done on your face is a masterpiece. Well played nameless plastic surgeon. Well played indeed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

RIP Lipstick Jungle

I remember the day when I heard that Darren Starr and Candace Bushnell were creating competing television shows. Apparently, it was supposed to be one fabulous show when the two were living together, but then they stopped living together and suddenly we had two pilots marketed as Sex in the City for network television. I couldn't wait to watch either show, but initially I ended up on team Cashmere Mafia. Pat Fields did the wardrobe for the show and Lucy Liu had some really horrible/fabulous ensembles a la Carrie Bradshaw. Plus I found all of the characters surprisingly entertaining. Of course, it turns out I was one of 5 people watching the show and it got cancelled about half-way through it's premier.

Anyways, I was sort of forced onto the Lipstick Jungle bandwagon. Initially Brooke Shield's constant pinched expressions freaked me out a little bit and Andrew McCarthy's shrunken, wrinkled face made me want to re-watch Pretty in Pink. But this season they must have given Brooke some Xanax and Andrew a mini-face lift because I found myself sort of loving the show. And all for naught when they cancelled it yesterday.
Hmm...looks like a spot on my esteemed TiVo list has opened up, anyone have any suggestions on how to fill it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

10 Reasons I'm pissed off today...

10. My hair is still maroon looking and I get a lot of puzzled "compliments" along the lines of "Oh, you changed your hair. That's fun. It's so different." Awkward.

9. I forgot my flip flops in my gym bag today, so I had to shower barefoot. (Did you hear something? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was my mother shrieking in terror as she's reading this) Sure, I could have just skipped my shower, but it came down to a choice between risking some sort of foot fungus or showering and getting ready with Jack and Mia clawing at each other inside the bathroom the entire time. I truly believe I chose the lesser of two evils here.

8. I have to write something about how the economic environment should inspire you to buy human resource effectiveness consulting. Any ideas? Yeah, me neither.

7. Don't tell Laura, but it's possible that I sent a partial requested by a HUGE agent to the wrong e-mail address. I know, I know, but it's not as bad as it sounds. They have two e-mail addresses, one for queries and one for requests and I mistakenly responded to her e-mail requesting, so it went to the wrong address. At least it was only sent a couple of days ago...*ducks*

6. We're in the process of editing the book based on some suggestions we've received from agents that want us to resubmit and they have significantly improved the book. So frustrating that we have all of these fulls and partials out to agents that are the old version. I'm officially depressed.

5. Have you heard? The publishing industry is about to implode. I'm so happy we chose right this moment to attempt to get our first novel published. Awesome timing.

4. Mia just woke up from her nap. She slept approximately 45 minutes. Ouch.

3. I'm tired and crabby. I've been staying up late to work on edits and do actual work for my actual job (ha!). I know I need to go to bed earlier, but there never seems to be enough hours in the day...Sure, I could cut out tv, but what is a life without tv? A life without the emaciated cast of 90210 and that uber annoying new NARC character? A life without another episode where nothing happens on the Hills? A life with out the Real Housewives of Atlanta and the crazy country singing lady who spelled cat "k-a-t?" No thank you.

2. My house looks like a bomb went off in it and I have no desire to clean up at all. I wonder if other moms go through phases where they just don't feel like doing mom stuff AT ALL. I'm so sick of going to the grocery store, cooking dinner, picking up toys, breaking up fights, doing laundry and etc. When we were little Laura and I would talk about my mom behind her back, wondering why she was always in a bad mood and trying to figure out why she had kids in the first place. In retrospect, she had a full-time job and 3 daughters calling her throughout her entire workday screaming things like "Laura dumped my entire underwear drawer out the window!" and "Stacey ate the entire box of Ho-Ho's in one sitting and now there's no food." Karma is a bitch.

1. Our inbox is remaining stubbornly empty and it's driving me slowly insane. DAMN YOU HOTMAIL. DAMN YOU TO HELL.

End rant.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chuck you...

Sadly, Gossip Girl was a little light on the Chuck Bass this week, and that made me feel a little empty inside. Empty like our damn inbox, but I digress...

This week Chuck said the most shocking word I've ever heard him utter on the show:

"Please."

Forced to beg Dan Humphries to save his family. Ouch. But hey, at least he got a hockey game with his dad out of it. Awww...I love little rich boys with Daddy issues.

TV Slut Says...



I've decided to start a new feature on our blog where I tell all of 3 of my loyal blog readers what they should be watching on tv. As you all know, I watch pretty much everything and I think we can all agree that my standards aren't high. However, I know good tv when I see it, so let me help you program your DVR. I promise not to let you down.

So, for my inaugural TV Slut Says here are the Top 10 Reasons You Should be Watching "How I Met Your Mother" every Monday night at 8:30 EST on CBS.

10. The dad from the "Wonder Years" was on tonight's episode, and seriously, who doesn't love the "Wonder Years"?

9. Robin Sparkles. They make fun of Canadians regularly. If there is one thing that is always guaranteed to make me laugh it's Canadian jokes. I honestly can't tell you why, I don't even know any Canadians personally, but I've always found it hilarious. Anyways, when they made Robin Scherbotzky a former Canadian 80's pop princess who dated another Canadian pop star, played by the one and only James Van Der Beek (yeah you know the guy from Dawson's Creek with the insanely large noggin?), they earned their TiVo season pass. The music videos alone are worth your viewing pleasure. Click here and here to see what I mean.

8. Marshall's hair. Not sure what's going on with his hair this season, but it's riveting. Umm...producers, can we please fix this? Marshall is way too cool for a mullet/combover and yet I sort of love it. I apologize that I can't find a picture to sufficiently illustrate just how bad this hair is, so you'll just have to watch and see for yourself.

7. It's a sitcom! And when is the last time you watched a real sitcom with a laugh track and everything (and no, Seinfeld and Friends re-runs do NOT count)? Honestly, the laugh track threw me off a little bit at first. You don't realize it, but very few shows have laugh tracks anymore. Anyways, I love that it's a 30-minute show that requires very little thought, but is still fun and witty.

6. Bob Sagat is the voice of the Dad. The whole premise of the show is that a father is telling his kids all about how he met their mother, so every week is a new story about his life in NYC in his late 20's early 30's and they all lead up to the big reveal. The voice of the grown up dad is Bob Sagat and he like knows the Olsen Twins PERSONALLY, not to mention Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey.

5. It's a mystery...well, it's sort of a mystery anyways. Basically, everyone is always trying to guess who the mother is and we get little clues every now and then and it's really fun I promise. The mom has a yellow umbrella and is not Robin. Uhh, not that I'm keeping track or anything.

4. It's based on a true story. One of the writers is Marshall! No, not the actor who plays Marshall, but the actual guy. He based the character off of himself and that means that all of the Marshall/Lily stuff actually happened. They are such a cute couple and I love knowing that some version of them actually exists in real life.

3. This show made me cry and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Ok, fine, I was sort of ashamed to admit it, but still...Suffice it to say, that there are lots of Ross and Rachel type moments in the show that would make people like my mom really happy.

2. Barney Stinson. Barney is hands-down the best comedic character on tv. Screw Dwight Schrute. Suck it Ari Gould. I'm Team Barney all the way. In tonight's episode alone Barney taught us about something called the "cheerleader effect" defined as the phenomenon of girls out in a group always looking attractive, but take the girl out of the group and she's a dog. Seriously, it's inspired. He then creates "Not A Father's Day" when he finds out that he didn't knock-up one of his one night stands. This led to him giving Marshall a "Thai you would actually wear" in celebration. Comedic. Genius.

1. Neil Patrick-Harris. Ok, so technically he's the actor who plays Barney, so this is sort of cheating. However, he's so awesome that he truly deserves to be mentioned twice. This is the man that brought us Doogie Howser M.D. The man who did the funniest cameo I've ever seen in a movie. In Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, he was snorting lines of coke off hookers and using his Doogie status to steal cars. Legen....wait for it....wait for it....dary!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Random thoughts on a Sunday...

* I hate the word haunches.

* Has everyone watched Grey's? I just watched it last night and I can't believe this was Dr. Hahn's last episode. Rumors abound that ABC was hating the whole lesbian storyline and decided to make some changes. I really hope that's not true and I'm tempted to remove Grey's from my sacred TiVo list now that they've pulled a stunt like this. I, personally, was loving the Dr. Hahn/Callie storyline and I'm really pissed off that they've presumably left so much up in the air with the two of them. If last Thursday was her last show, does her car explode or something? I'm seriously annoyed. There better be an influx of gay doctors stat, or else Grey's will soon be suffering the same fate as Ugly Betty and Heroes and will be blacklisted from this TV slut's TiVo.

* Anyone else watching Life on Mars? It's like Lost meets CSI meets Dazed and Confused and I'm digging it...

* On a scale of 1-10 how bad do you think it is that I accidentally spilled wine on one of the moms from Jack's preschool class last night? My wild hand gesturing grows exponentially with each glass of wine I drink. Oh well, at least no one can accuse me of not being fun.

* I'm reading The Luxe and it's absolutely fabulous. It's official, I'm a 16-year-old, Gossip Girl obsessing, Hills watching, Luxe reading, teeny bopper stuck in the body of a 30-year-old woman with Angela Chase's hair. Now, if only this hair color guaranteed me a shot with Jordan Catalano...

* Speaking of my hair, every time I log into the blog I'm totally distracted by the picture I posted to show off it off. I look like Marilyn Manson or something. V. disturbing. Wondering why this is such a long post? I'm hoping to push that thing further down the page so I don't have to look at it anymore. Also, the hair is so NOT fading. Let's just say the kids won't have problems finding a crayon that matches mommy's hair anymore.

Lots on the TiVo to catch-up on tonight, so you may be hearing more from me later.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My so-called hair

A pic for my loyal blog readers. It's even more red in person. Shocking.

I look like Claire Danes circa My So-Called Life. Teenage angst is so last season, especially when you're 30.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Do redheads have more fun?

So, lately I've been booking my hair appointments for Friday nights, and it's really great. My appointment is usually around 7ish, so I leave Ken at home with the kids and get my hair cut and colored. The salon I go to does complimentary mini-facials and make-up applications, which is fabulous because I'm totally inept with make-up. Bottom line, I come out of that place looking fabulous, if I don't say so myself. Well, better than I normally do anyways. Inevitably I come home all excited to show off my new look and Ken is always dead asleep. Tonight he didn't even move when I turned on the light. So here I am sitting at my computer in full make-up with brand new RED hair, and no one here to admire it.

P.S.
Truthfully, I'm a little nervous about the red hair. I mean it's REALLY red and we have a silent auction for Jack's preschool tomorrow night. I really hope I don't look like a hooker, because, well, that would be bad. I think there is some sort of law about room moms not looking like hookers. It's probably in the school hand-book. I need opinions people and no one is going to get a glimpse of my new do until tomorrow. This sucks.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UPDATE:

Umm...so it turns out that the whole thing about having more fun with a haircolor must only apply to blondes. Ouch. Ken hates the hair. I think the word despise was even used at some point. And in the broad light of day it is a little, well, drastic.

And the truth is I've been down this road before. I might not have mentioned this earlier, but I'm a little adventurous when it comes to my hair. The sort of adventurous that tells hairstylists "just do whatever you think will look good." Now this has lead to some great styles in the past and some really not so great styles. In my defense, I totally qualified my statement last night with "as long as it doesn't make me look like a hooker."

I'm still hopeful that it will fade and look absolutely fabulous in a couple weeks, but this is really not a good development for this evening's festivities. Instead of a soccer mom, I'm going to look like Diablo Cody, and probably not in a good way. The worst part is that my in-laws are coming over to babysit, so there is inevitably going to be the "oh, your hair...it's..um..different. Did you do it yourself?" Ugh.

In happier news, I had a dream that Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) was performing in a concert and totally coming on to me. WITH red hair, I might add. Of course it was not happening at the benefit tonight. Even my subconscious recognizes how unlikely that would be.

30 Rock ROCKS

Ok, you need to know that I'm taking my own life into my hands by even typing this, but I'm here to inform you that Oprah was not the best thing about tonight's episode of 30 Rock.

Now, we all know that Oprah has probably assigned Gayle the regrettable task of monitoring all quasi-negative comments posted about her on-line and arranging for said commenters to be immediately executed via sniper fire. Regardless, this needs to be said. Oprah was fabulous (please don't shoot me! please, I love you and I always love your favorite things!), but the three best moments of tonight's show don't include her.

So, since I'm sure you're all sitting on the edge of your seat, the top three 30 Rock moments of the night are as follows:

3. When Kenneth the Page is looking at the autograph of the faux tether-ball silver medalist and says, "'Believe in the stars,' it's like that doesn't even mean anything anymore."...wait for it...wait for it...ha! I always end up laughing at lines like this 30 seconds too late, but they totally kill me.

2. Liz Lemon decked out in her Princess Leia outfit for jury duty, "I don't think it's fair for me to be on a jury because I can read thoughts." This is right up there with her time spent in bird museums when she studied abroad. Seriously, who thinks of this stuff? They totally deserve an Emmy...oh right, they already got an Emmy. Well, whatever. The show is hilarious.

1. The funniest quote of the night has to go to Kenneth the Page, "I don't believe in hypothetical situations they're like lying to your brain." He goes on to try to convince the lucky folks he's taking on a tour to kill him in an elevator and eventually ends up stealing cable. Good times.

Bottom line: if you're not already watching this show, you really need to start.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Not off to a good start...

It's sort of like the perfect storm of crappy mornings today.
  1. I was up at 6:30 am after a really creepy dream.
  2. Then just as I fell back asleep at 6:45ish, I hear "Mommy, mommy, I'm HUNGRY!" Yes, that's right my kids literally wake up begging for food.
  3. When I had the audacity to give my 17-month old daughter cheerios directly on the tray of her highchair, she threw a fit, ripped off her bib and threw everything on the floor. Apparently she prefers things in bowls now. Probably to make it more efficient when she wants to throw things on the floor. In a bowl she only has one thing to throw.
  4. Once Jack caught Mia throwing her food on the floor he decided to make it a party and dump his entire bowl of cereal with milk on my freshly cleaned floor. Fabulous.
  5. And finally, the icing on the cake is that our inbox is still EMPTY. It has been empty for days. No requests. No rejections. Nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, I actually sent myself an e-mail just to see if it was working and that came through just fine. Yes, I've sunk to a whole new low of sending myself e-mail. This is truly a sad state of affairs.
  6. Ooh, and this just in while I was busy posting about my crappy morning. I just got an e-mail from work that we're not having a holiday party this year, instead they're doing some type of "fraternity rush" at some dude's house where everyone is supposed to bring a job candidate and we'll all meet later to discuss who gets an offer. I sort of feel like writing back a one word response: "Seriously?" This has the potential to turn out like a particularly hilarious episode of The Office, only excruciatingly awkward.

Is it too early to start drinking at 9:15 am? I mean really with the time change it's actually 10:15, right? RIGHT?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You can all Chuck off


Don't worry dear readers, while my Gossip Girl viewing may have been delayed this week due to election mayhem, I didn't forget my weekly inspiration from Mr. Bass.

This week, Chuck was being propositioned by a 13-year old girl. When the little Lolita suggested Chuck take a ride on her, our favorite piece of Manhattan man-meat responds:

"Looks like you just hooked yourself a bass."

Let's face it, the man never disappoints.

The woman of my dreams, Michelle Obama

Ok, I need to start off by saying that I have a non-sexual crush on Michelle Obama. I mean, I think we can all agree that she's pretty amazing. She's extremely intelligent, a high powered career woman, and an unbelievable mother. And of course it always helps that she's totally gorgeous and has incredible fashion sense. I love that she mixes designer pieces with things off the rack from J.Crew and White House Black Market. It gives hope to those of us without the clothing budget of the GOP.

Anyways, Obama gave one of the most inspirational speeches in modern history, but I couldn't help but sort of hate Michelle's dress. I considered writing about it last night, but it just seemed too soon. While I hate to be some sort of fashion killjoy, after looking at pictures again this morning I can remain silent no longer. I admit that I might have been a little biased against black and red combos as a result of some poor wardrobe decisions I made back in 1989. Bottom line: love the message, love the lady, hate the dress. Call me shallow for caring, it won't be the first time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We have a new president!!

Watching Obama win the presidency tonight was like watching a live broadcast on the History Channel. It's amazing to live through something you know will be written about for years to come, particularly something as positive and exciting as watching Obama win the presidency. I'm so proud to be an American tonight. I know this is one of those moments that I'll be sharing with my grandchildren someday and I'm trying to memorize every detail.

Election Day Heaven



I have to say (and I hope I'm not tempting fate here) that today has been a fabulous day so far. It all started with a dream that Pacey Whitter (aka Joshua Jackson) was my boyfriend. He was super smart and prickly sort of like every single character he's ever played, turns out my subconscious is not all that creative. Anyways, we had just started dating and were getting in fights all the time, but he kept trying to win me back. It was one of those uber realistic dreams, so I now sort of feel like we have actually dated. Anyways, I'm pleased to report that Pacey is just as gorgeous and funny in real life as he is on TV. Dreamy.

Unfortunately, my dreams were crushed when I was woken up by Jack who was completely naked and required help getting dressed. Talk about a buzzkill. However, he didn't wake up until 7:30 and that's sleeping in around here, so I couldn't be too annoyed.

Next at 9:15 I placed my vote at a local middle school. I didn't have to wait in line, the volunteers were extremely helpful and it was all very easy. It was funny though this is the first time I've ever had a nervous stomach when I was voting. I just want to see Obama win so badly, and I was a little nervous that I'd accidentally vote incorrectly or something. It was a little scary to see my ballot eaten up by the electronic scanner thing, so let's hope Ohio comes through and doesn't screw up the tallying. Our system here is totally antiquated and I'm sure there will be some sort of issue. We'll see...

Finally, on a whim I ran to the store to look for a pair of black riding boots and I found the perfect pair in 10 minutes! I was even home with time to spare for my 11 am conference call. So really, a fantastic day so far. Pacey Whitter, sleeping-in, hassle free voting and a new pair of fabulous boots.

Now I'm just waiting for my cell phone to ring with an enthusiastic agent on the line...

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's a little dusty in here...

Fine, I'll admit it. How I Met Your Mother made me cry a little bit tonight. Whew, I feel better now that I've got that off my chest.

Hey, at least it wasn't Gossip Girl or the Hills. You just can't come back from that.

Election Day

As I was checking out directions to my voting location for tomorrow, I couldn't help but remember one fateful election day back in the late eighties/early nineties. My mom piled my sisters and I into the minivan and explained that she only had to run in. We soon became bored and decided to climb into the very back of the van--can't quite remember what we were doing back there, but I'm sure it was fun. When we heard the driver's door open, we assumed our mom had returned and we would be on our merry way. But upon closer inspection, a strange man had climbed into the car. Sure we were being kidnapped, we sat stone silent. Apparently, instead of our PE teachers encouraging us to create fire escape plans with our parents, they should have covered what to do when a strange man climbs into your mom's minivan while she is voting, because I'm pretty sure, "be quiet as a mouse" wouldn't be a suggested tactic. One of us must have finally blown our cover because the man eventually turned around, checked out our stunned little faces and said, "Oops, wrong car" and climbed on out. A classic election day memory.

The Pollyannas of Publishing

The roller coaster ride that is our quest for publication continues. As you all know, we've been at this for about a month now and it's tough. Laura compares having agents and editors read your book to having a teacher who hates your guts grade one of your papers. It's totally subjective and every person who reads the book has a different opinion. I'd go into the whole thing about opinions and assholes, but I think you get the idea.

One agent thought our concept was great, but the execution was flawed. Another agent loved the writing, but didn't think the concept was marketable. Some agents have requested fulls peppered with phrases like "love it" and lots of exclamation marks. Other agents have sent us pathetic form rejections limited to three words "not for me." One day we're over the moon that an agent requested the full and indicated that they're excited to read it based off the 50 page excerpt they read. The next day we want to cry because we got a form rejection on a query.

The bottom line is this. Writing a book is hard. Finding an agent is even harder. And getting the book published is about as likely as winning the lottery. But here's the thing. We're determined. We know our book is good, and we also know that the right agent or editor can help us make it better. We will work our asses off to make our book the best it can possibly be, so, that's our story and we're sticking to it. You love our concept, but hate the execution? Tell us what the problem is, we'll fix it. You hate the concept, but love our style and voice? Tell us what's marketable and we'll write it.

At this point, there is no edit we won't consider, no concept we won't explore. Our goal is to be successful writers and we'll do whatever it takes to make it happen. Today we decided to be the Pollyannas of the publishing world. The glass is always half full, your thoughts are always welcome and we'll even read your rejections with a smile. The truth is, we love this. Every single part of it. Even the rejections. So bring it on agents and editors. We're ready.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Random thoughts on a Sunday....

* I think I've consumed over 150 pieces of candy in the last 72 hours. Sick and wrong. My only excuse is that I think it's possible that they lace the mini-Kit-Kats with crack.

* I love Obama, but I'm really sick of him calling my house and waking up my kids. Dude, I'm voting for you, but you're killing me with the nap-time calls.

* I miss Mad Men.

* I bought a pair of red shoes today. Hot!

* I also bought the same jeans as my mom. Not hot.

* I'm 99% sure that I'll be woken up at 6 am every day this week by the kids. Damn you daylight savings time. DAMN YOU.

* Am I the only person watching The Lipstick Jungle? It's a terrible show, really. On Friday they had a fashion designer smear red wine and glue gun feathers on her finale dress and then wear it down the runway. Yup, this is the craptastic stuff that I'm proudly watching every week. If I had a Nielson box it would probably implode with shame.

Big week this week. A new president and maybe an agent for us? Dare I hope? Of course I do. Blind optimism or masochism, either way I just can't help myself.