Friday, December 23, 2011

The Anatomy of a Christmas Card

Full disclosure: I HATE CHRISTMAS CARDS.

Yes, I know my amazingly talented sister creates gorgeous custom creations for me every single year. Yes, I know most people love sending and receiving cards every year.

But I am not most people.

And I suck at Christmas cards.

And yet, my husband LOVES them. He hangs every single card lovingly on our fridge and yells at me when I try to sneak cards from people I don't like in the trash.

I've been thinking a lot about my hatred of Christmas cards and I think it has to do with my innate laziness and complete lack of organization skills. I am HORRIBLE about keeping track of addresses and it drives my amazingly talented sister who prints all of my envelopes CRAZY. She seriously hates me and I don't blame her one single bit. Last year I sent her a list of 23 people and she had to add 40 additional names for me. I think I even forgot my parents.

But the single worst thing about Christmas cards is trying to get a semi-usable picture of my children. It's a NIGHTMARE.

So naturally I made Stacey take a bunch of pictures of my kids only to get this text the next day:

"I have no idea how it's possible for one little girl to have so many different awkward expressions."

Yes, that's right. Mia has inherited the anti-photogenic gene directly from The Regulator and The Regulator-in-Training (aka me). Ah, Mia. Your future is full of double chins, horrible profile shots and moments captured while you're stuffing cake in your mouth.

You're welcome.

So, the concept for photo shoot #2 was simple. Put the kids in embarrassing Christmas pajamas and cobble together a decent picture.

This isn't going to be easy. Mia is already doing shifty things with her eyes.

Mia looks cute so that means Jack has to give the camera a good old fashioned sideways glance. Or maybe he's just coming to the staggering realization that he's WAY too old for footie pajamas. Anyone care to take bets on how much therapy this little photo shoot is going to result in?

And we're back with Mia looking like she's angry and constipated.

Ken gets involved in the fun and immediately gives up because I scream at him for distracting the kids.

Ben refuses to sit still. Ah, Mia, I feel your pain.

And we're channelling Maculay Culkin.

Cutest picture ever, sadly Ben is kind of an afterthought.

Wonky eyed Ben and exhausted Mia. Now we're cooking with gas!

Yet another exasperated Mia shot. In her defense, I'm pretty sure Ken was saying something like, "Mia you're ruining the Christmas card. SMILE!" Poor kid.

And now we've moved to downright angry. Totally understandable given all of Ken's heckling.

Ben is eating a candy cane and putting his sticky fingers in Mia's hair. Nice.

Finally get a decent shot of Jack and Mia and cut off Ben's head. I'm guessing the fact that it took me 96 pictures to get one usable shot for a Christmas card has way more to do with my photography skills (or lack thereof) as opposed to my children's inherent inability to take a decent picture.

And somehow, the master managed to take all of that and create this:
I think it does a good job of capturing the day-to-day chaos of our existence. And it definitely helps that my sister is a genius. Thank God for Stacey and Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I've learned the second time around...

It's been 3 1/2 years since we've had a newborn in the house. Not a huge amount of time, but enough to re-learn a few things.

  • Big sisters take their role very seriously. Well, some do. Lydia is one of them. It's super-cute.
  • Big sisters who take their role very seriously spend approximately 99% of their awake hours approximately 1 inch away from baby's face. It's kind of annoying.
  • How long does it take for said big sister's barking cough to be transferred to 4 week old? 2 days. Licking a newborn's face = bad idea.
  • James is a pokey eater and can give or take food. Lydia survived on very little food for a large portion of her early days. Lisa says I produce children who could survive the Apocalypse.
  • The 3 AM pokey feeds are semi-exhausting. But then again the house is quiet, the room is dark and I get to rock my little man while he stares at me like I'm the best thing in the whole wide world. It's hard to complain.
  • Someone asked me at 9 months pregnant if I was afraid I wouldn't love my second as much as I love my first. I looked at them like they were crazy. It never occurred to me. Now I know for sure that there is plenty of love to go around. Maybe just a tad bit less while Lydia licks James's face or James spits out his pacifier like it burns.
  • I'm waiting for that "my family is complete" feeling Lisa promised me I'd get when I looked at my new (and eventually final) addition. Haven't had it yet. I love newborns. I love the possibility and the promise and the hope that comes when you glance into the bassinet at the hospital and admire what you've created. And I can't imagine not doing it all over again. I'll get back to you when he's two.
Oh...and most importantly, I've learned that Thursday comes really, really quickly and reading a book right now is virtually impossible. I did finish HOW TO SAVE A LIFE though so be proud of me. It was incredible, by the way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. I was up until 1:30 AM last night finishing up some actual work for my actual day job. Bet you forgot I even had one of those, didn't you?

2. It took me 20 minutes to muster up the energy to remove myself from my bed.

3. Today was supposed to be my first day of vacation, but someone scheduled a meeting at 11:30.

4. So, like any good employee, I'll take an hour out of my vacay for one last meeting.

5. But first, I'm crawling right back into bed for a long, long morning nap.

What's your truth this Tuesday?

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19th

December 19th is never an easy day for me. 8 years ago today we lost someone who was very close to us. It's not something we're ever going to get over. It's not something we're ever going to understand.

But as time goes on I'm learning that loss is part of life. Things happen that you don't think you'll be able to survive. There will be days you don't want to get out of bed. Days you think your marriage is over. Days you would do anything to turn back time and go back to the before.

But eventually there are incredible days in the after. Days that ring with your husband's laughter. Days that smell of new babies and beginnings. Days that remind you that however scary and sad life gets, there are still so many reasons to smile.

Life is never perfect. Not in the before. Not in the after. But we have to live in the now. And sometimes the now is kind of amazing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tell The Truth Tuesday - The Home Edition

I'm back! Kind of....

Right now my life is like one long episode of Trading Spaces, only instead of the ever chirpy Paige Davis annoying the shit out of me, I have three children, a job and enough publishing drama to fuel at least 10 chapters in our tell-all publishing memoir that will drop Spring 2060.

In case you're curious here's what I've been up to:

I made this chalk board wall calendar for the kitchen.

Cute, right? Also helps me keep tabs on the increasingly crazy holiday schedule.

Cute, right? Also helps me keep tabs on the increasingly crazy holiday schedule.

Sadly, there is a rather sinister truth to go along with this little DIY project. Laura brought James over to help me hang it. James was sleeping soundly in his infant seat in the dining room while I was pounding nails into the wall in the kitchen. A picture on the other side of the wall went hurtling toward the ground and missed James by at least a foot. Ok, maybe it was more like a few inches. But he slept through the whole thing, so I feel confident I haven't scarred him for life. Yet.

Next I tackled the back room. The people who lived here before us used this room as their family room. We've always used it as a play room/office/room that mostly remains empty and useless.

Here's what it looked like:

Feel free to judge this sad little room. It really was kind of awful. You can't really tell from this picture, but there was nothing hanging on the halls. No desk. Just some random toys and a couch.

Here's the after. I dragged a sofa table into the room to create a little desk and painted the entire room a bright, blue-ish green. My plan is to move the cedar chest into the family room and add some white Ikea bookshelves for toys and games, so it will look like a full wall of built-ins.

My proudest project to date are the cornices that I made myself using foam board, Waverly Modern Essentials fabric and a prayer. Honestly, I was shocked when I woke up the next morning and they were all still hanging from the windows.

True story: I had to call my dad to figure out how to get the cap off the staple gun. There was no cap. Let's just say it's a good thing they have a safety feature on those bad boys otherwise I'd have approximately 5 staples in my left cornea.

I'm in the process of recovering my dining room chairs with this fabric. It's a Dwell Studio outdoor canvas that was 50% off at Joann Fabrics. Super cute, bright and even better, stains will wipe right off.

I staged the bookshelves with color coordinated vintage books. (Thank you Laura for letting me borrow from her collection!)

You can't really tell in this picture, but I spray painted coffee beans silver and put them in bud vases to act as book ends. I also spray painted a couple of cardboard L's and threw them next to the books.

Ken gave me a framed Liar Society cover flat for my birthday, so I paired it with two of my favorite pages from the book on either side.

And now for my real truth this Tuesday....

THIS is what my couch looks like.

Yes. That is clean laundry that I've completely neglected to fold because I've been slightly distracted by my redecorating efforts.

On the plus side, at least it's clean! that I've completely bared my soul, you better leave me some juicy truths in the comments.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bookanistas: FAIL

No, FAIL is not the title of a must-have new young adult novel. FAIL describes my bookanista posts as of late. I had plans, people, PLANS.

"I'm going to schedule a bunch of bookanista posts ahead of time. Leave the worrying to me!"

Um...yeah. I wrote one, incomplete post last week and forgot to a. complete it and b. schedule it.

I have four books stationed around my house that I'm really enjoying if it weren't for my heavy eyes and the mini-alarm clock that sounds approximately three times in the middle of the night. Luckily he's pretty cute.

I promise to get back on track next week, soon, eventually, some day. Poor, poor Lisa.

Does this help any?

At least one of us is getting some sleep.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday

1. I have 5 minutes to write this post because it's almost 1 AM and in spite of the cup of coffee I downed 45 minutes ago, I'm TIRED.

2. I'm helping Stacey out assembling her GORGEOUS Christmas cards and she scares the crap out of me. She's such a perfectionist that I'm taking like 10 minutes pasting a picture onto a card because I'm scared it won't be straight and she'll be mad that it's not straight and instead of telling me she'll just re do all of the cards and lose all this money and Poochie Prints will go under and it will be ALL MY FAULT.

Whoa. Did I mention I get a little dramatic when I'm tired? Because I totally do. (Truth #3).

(P.S. Holy crap her holiday cards are AMAZING. And even better there's still time to order your own custom cards. Just think I might be the one pasting your pictures! Or not. You can totally request that I don't have anything to do with the construction of your cards. I'd understand completely.)

4. I haven't folded laundry in almost 2 weeks. I'm in house staging mode, we live out of laundry baskets these days.

5. I think it's really weird that Justin Bieber is hawking perfume for girls. Me = confused. Yet another sign I'm getting old.

OK, you know the drill. Spill your guts in the comments while I collapse, semi-caffeinated into bed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What I've Been Up To: The Kitchen

OK, so I've written about a million insightful blog posts about how staging a house is almost exactly like writing a book and submitting it to agents and editors, but I'm too high on paint fumes to put my thoughts together.

Instead a preview of what I've been up to the past week:

Here's what my kitchen has looked like for the past 6 years:

Not a bad kitchen, but the red was definitely a little dated and probably made the space look smaller than it already is.

Here's the after: (Forgive my craptastic photography. That noise you hear is Stacey weeping.)

Stacey helped me pick a light neutral grey color for the walls which I LOVE. I used Behr paint and did it myself because my husband thinks all of this house staging business is complete nonsense, so I'm on a strict budget.

For the curtains I bought a Dwell Studio shower curtain from Target ($27) and cut it in half. I hung it on the existing curtain rod using shower hooks. I loved the colors and the linen lets tons of light in. 

Instead of curtain hooks (or whatever the hell they're called) I bought two spoons at Target for $1.99 and bent them. We had Yavuz (the best handy man on the planet) over to fix a broken window and he drilled holes in the spoons and mounted them for me free of charge!

I'm stealing a lot of these ideas from Pinterest. Click here to follow my board. I'll post more pictures as I finish staging the dining room and complete some wall art for the kitchen.

Lucky (or not so lucky) for you guys, there will be a lot more where these came from because I'm tackling the living room and family room this week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Friday!

This made me laugh so hard that I peed a little. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that I didn't realize this was a doctored spoof until the porcupine clip showed up.

Of course, there's a small chance this isn't really funny at all and I'm still high on paint fumes.

Either way, HAPPY FRIDAY!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Bookanistas: How to Save a Life

On my quest to find the perfect book to pack in my hospital bag, I remembered seeing a copy of Sara Zarr's newest gem HOW TO SAVE A LIFE. After reading the cover copy, there was absolutely no way I was passing it by. Check it out.
What the back cover has to say:

Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends—everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.
Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted—to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?
As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy—or as difficult—as it seems.

What Lila has to say:

Okay, full disclosure...I had no idea today was Thursday. I also had every intention of finishing this book. In fact, I had this particular post ALL ready to go, spot left open for my impending review. But then I fell into a half-sleep state some time around last Wednesday and haven't completely woken up. BUT, I will say, the first thing I will do when I do wake up is finish this book. It is good. Like, good good. And not because it involves a pregnant girl--I'm not pregnant anymore!--but because Sara Zarr has officially grabbed me with those first few chapters and cannot possibly let go.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending upon how you look at it and if you really care about these reviews, which I'm not sure anyone does), this little guy has grabbed me too. He's currently being held by The Regulator giving me the chance to actually open up my computer.

But, if you know what's good for you, you'll order the book for yourself. I cannot wait to work out what's actually going on. It's fascinating.

The Bookanistas: How to Save a Life

Hmm...well, here's what I know about HOW TO SAVE A LIFE. It has about a bazillion starred reviews. Laura is currently reading (and loving it) and considering she nodded off in the middle of our conversation yesterday the fact that she can stay awake long enough to get through more than a paragraph is worth more than any fancy schmancy starred review.

The other thing I know about HOW TO SAVE A LIFE was that Laura was supposed to write a Bookanista review about the book today. But she's probably a sleep in a pile of diapers or something equally new-momish. So, um, INSERT LOTS OF GLOWING, WELL-WRITTEN OBSERVATIONS ABOUT HOW TO SAVE A LIFE HERE.

I can't wait to read this book as soon as my paint fumes contact buzz subsides. If you're looking for some real book reviews, be sure to check out what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to today.

Shannon Messenger raves about CINDER--with an ARC Giveaway!
Megan Miranda spreads the love for UNTRACEABLE
Corrine Jackson falls for UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Stasia Ward Kehoe celebrates MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE
Debra Driza sings the praises of EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS
Katy Upperman gets swept away by THE SCORPIO RACES

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Things I Learned While Painting My Kitchen

1. If you call Stacey more than once a day she starts screening your calls.

2. You really can get a contact buzz from paint fumes.

3. The aforementioned buzz is not a fun buzz but more of a mind bending, dizzying, groggy type situation that leads to you painting entire walls the wrong color.

4. Centrifugal force is not your friend when using a paint roller.*

5. The Regulator does not like hearing about me doing things half-assed. For example:

Me: Hi Mom.
The Regulator: You've called me like 5 times today.
Me: I know. Laura just had a baby and Stacey isn't picking up. You're the only one who never screens my calls.
The Regulator: Real nice, Lisa.
Me: I'm a terrible painter.
The Regulator: You're already painting? What room did you start with?
Me: The kitchen.
The Regulator: I thought you liked the red. (Translation: I've always hated that color, thank GOD you're finally doing something about it.)
Me: Yeah, it's just sort of dated.
The Regulator: I hope you're not cutting corners.
Me: I'm cutting every corner possible.
The Regulator: *Deep, tortured, sigh that roughly translates to this: Why God, WHY did  I birth such a lazy, worthless daughter who can't even be bothered to properly slap up a coat of paint on her hopelessly out of date home?!?*
Me: Awesome. Talk to you later.

Tonight I'm painting the dining room. Pray for me.

*Per Josin L. McQueinYou have incited the wrath of my inner science geek. It's CENTRIPETAL force. "Centrifugal force" doesn't actually exist the way most people think. 

Thanks Josin! I'd like to blame the paint fumes, but the truth is I just suck at science. Thank God we have smart blog readers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. I've done almost all of my Christmas shopping online. And by all, I mean buying toys for the kids. I'm officially the worst Christmas shopper EVER.

2. My laundry room has been de-hoarded. I'd post pictures, but I'm WAY too embarrassed by the "before."

3. I'm adding real estate agent to my resume. That's right. I'm going to sell this house my own damn self. This has disaster written all over it.

4. As much as I love James, I'm not pleased with how time consuming his day-to-day care has become for Laura. Stacey almost always screens my calls and The Regulator, while well versed in publishing gossip, can't really be relied on for fashion advice.

5. I was slightly bitter when Dan Humphrey created a faux fan account on Twitter and had over 1,000 followers in less than 24 hours on last night's Gossip Girl.* It took us a really long time to get that many followers. Stupid fictional Dan Humphrey just gliding his way through publishing. Bastard. What's next a blog for Serena? Oh that's right, they did that already and her blog is the toast of NYC. Naturally. Damn you, CW.

*It occurs to me that the fact that I still watch Gossip Girl is actually a truth unto itself. I seriously think I'm the only person over 13 who still watches this crap. Judge me if you must.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

So. Thankful.

Thanksgiving came early for the Roeckers this year.

At 10:10 AM November 22nd to be exact.

James Michael weighed in at 6 pounds 13 oz and he's gorgeous. And Laura is high on percocet absolutely glowing. Best Thanksgiving EVER.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. I got bangs hoping to look like this:

Instead I look like this:

My hair officially clashes with my face. It also doesn't help that Laura told me I look "fancy." What does that even mean? Nothing good.

2. My neck/shoulder injury is feeling much better. But I think I'll probably still take a muscle relaxer tonight. You know, just in case.

3. We sent the first chunk of a totally new manuscript to our agent and we're terrified. Well, actually I'm terrified and Laura is in this really weird, about to have a baby zen stage. 

4. I am beyond excited to meet my new nephew tomorrow! Stay tuned for pictures as Roecker watch 2011 continues.

5. I've refreshed my email 29 times while writing this blog post. Yeah. So much for relaxing over the holidays....

What's your truth this Tuesday? Spill it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Gonna Be a Piece of Cake

On Tuesday I thought it would be a good idea to do some kickboxing in spite of a sore neck.

I was wrong.

Oh so, terribly, horribly wrong.

On Wednesday morning I could barely move. I had to call my husband to come home from work because I couldn't lift poor little Ben out of the crib. I went to a chiropractor who caused more pain (and lots of cracking) and then finally this morning I went to the urgent care to score some drugs.

The doc prescribed a hefty dose of Motrin and a muscle relaxer. I'll admit that I started giggling a little when he asked me if I'd ever taken a muscle relaxer before because every John Hughes fan knows that THIS is what happens when you take muscle relaxers:

Sadly my reaction involved a lot less giggling and a lot more passing out on my couch for 3 hours while Ken fed and bathed the kiddos for me. Honestly, I think I like my version better.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Bookanistas: My Maternity "Vacation" Reading List

First and foremost, we're 2 chapters away from maternity leave!!!! HOORAH! And THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is at the very top of my list. I'm not a huge fan of fantasy, but there's just something about this concept that calls to me. I love that there's an unexpected heroine and the setting sounds extraordinary.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another $%*&^$@ Idea

So remember my master plan about doing absolutely nothing while Laura is doing new Mama duty for the next few months?

It sounded totally blissful, right? I was going to read books, watch amazing movies and do some serious house renovations in preparation for putting this bad boy up on the market. It was going to be ah-mazing.

And then I had this dream.

About a manuscript that we shelved two years ago.

A manuscript I might have finally figured out how to fix.

Hold me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. I don't care what all the haters say, The Hunger Games trailer rocked my socks off. This movie is going to be EPIC. So epic that I have big plans to talk The Regulator, Dad Roecker and Laura into a midnight screening event of some sort. If you're wondering why the 3rd Roecker sister isn't invited it's because she has a strict rule against movies with battle scenes.

2.  I saw this link on Twitter about cats giving you incentive to write. I'm not gonna lie. I sat at in front of my computer and wrote "What the $%&* is this?" 20 times to see what would happen. Suffice it to say that I was extraordinarily unimpressed with the outcome.

3. I watch Pan Am. And oh my good God you guys, it is 31 flavors of AWFUL. By far the most ludicrious show on television and yet it makes the perfect background for day job writing. And so on my DVR it shall remain.

4. I'm a floor-o-rexic. That's right. I use clean kitchen floors as a means to maintain control of my life. Laura just diagnosed me with this terrible disease last night when I confessed to her that I've been washing my kitchen floor on my hands and knees almost every single night. Bear in mind, the room directly next to my kitchen looks like a hoarders paradise of clean, yet unfolded clothes, backpacks and approximately 300 pairs of shoes. I have no idea why the kitchen floor is so important to me, but there is nothing that makes my blood boil like watching Mia bite into a graham cracker. I get chills just thinking about it.

5. I have yet to purchase a single Christmas present. I'm in holidenial. (See what I did right there? I'm the queen of word mash-ups this week.)

6. While Laura is on her maternity leave I plan on doing nothing but reading for 6 weeks straight. It is going to be AWESOME. So many books. So much slacking. I can't hardly wait.

OK, spill your guts. What's your truth this Tuesday?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Unborn Deadline

Laura is due to pop. Literally POP. Any day now. And I'm completely terrified.

Sure, you might say that since I'm not the one actually delivering a child, I should be sitting back, sipping Diet Coke through a Twizzler straw and dreaming of holding my new nephew. But instead I'm sitting in front of my computer with burning eyes and a pit in my stomach. 

We have 9 days.

9 days left to finish the first 10 chapters of a manuscript that absolutely has to be finished before Laura has the baby.

9 days left to sit on the phone for 3 hours discussing the rise and fall of our Amazon rank.

9 days left to engage in endless Skype conversations speculating on what the cover for The Lies That Bind might look like.

9 days left to send Laura links to my Pinterest boards to get real time feedback on paint colors for my massive house staging project.

So...yeah. 9 days before our lives change forever and a new little Roecker enters the world.

I can't wait.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Celebstalking with LiLa (the afternoon edition)

Yeah, yeah, I'm late. But there are probably only two people who really care:

1. Kim Johnson from the Regulator's office. She is probably our single most loyal blog lurker. (Hi Kim! Hopefully you'll be able to see this on your lunch break. We still never had a chance to discuss my hatred of John Travolta, but hopefully soon!)

2. Matthew MacNish the only person who is awake early enough to almost always score first comment. Sorry Matt. Hope you're having a great weekend. Maybe you should spend it polishing your super awesome manuscript that agents are already salivating over? You rock.

Moving on....

Isn't it strange that Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson kind of have the same face? Also I really, really want whatever lipstick they're wearing. It's so pretty and natural.

This picture explains so much about Kanye West. I mean, clearly he is rocking some MAJOR Little Man Syndrome. If only someone had alerted the media that he's roughly 5'3 before that whole VMA debacle, MTV could have saved Taylor Swift a whole lot of heartache and arranged for Jay Z to tuck him safely into his pocket for the evening.

Is it just me or is Ashley Simpson LOVING the fact that J. Simp is all swollen and pregnant? I have this theory that Ashley is behind every single one of Jessica's problems including but not limited to:

- Her complete lack of style ("OMG Jess, those high waisted jeans are SUPER flattering. Your ass looks amazing!"
- Daisy getting eaten by a coyote ("Look Daisy! A friendly dog has come over to play with you. Why don't you take this piece of raw meat over there to share with him....FETCH!"
- Her new reality show ("Oxygen is totally the new MTV and look at all the amazing things Newlyweds did for you and Nick!"

This is a Lifetime movie waiting to happen.

Ah Gwynnie. Love the dress. I'll admit it. You've got flair. But was it really necessary to post a picture of the donuts Mario Batali made for your kids in your GOOP holiday guide? I mean, honestly. It's not like they're for sale and name dropping is (theoretically) beneath you.

Yup. Jessica Alba popped out a baby like half an hour ago and now she looks like this. I think I might actually hate her more than Gwyneth. I'll go eat another fun sized Snickers and mull it over.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bookanistas: VIRTUOSITY

There is absolutely nothing like a stunning book cover. Especially a book cover for young people. Take a moment and consider walking away from this cover. It's just not gonna happen. I don't care what kind of book you're in the store searching for, if this were to catch your eye, you would pick it up, read the back and buy. Right? Right. The black and pink and hair flipping goodness. It just doesn't get any better. Well, until you actually read the book.
What the back cover has to say: Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?

Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall.... 

What Lila has to say:
I could not put this book down. Virtuosity was beautifully written and completely engrossing. Stage mothers, raw talent, crazy rich grandparents and romance combine to bring the world of concert violinists fully alive. I loved watching Carmen's awakening from a scared, controlled girl into a self-possessed woman forced to make a life-altering decision. Fans of Simone Elkeles and Sarah Dessen are going to fall head over heels for Jessi Martinez and I predict Virtuosity is going to earn her an army of fan girls.
Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Elana Johnson gushes about THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

Shelli Johannes-Wells praises Addison Moore's books

Rosemary Clement-Moore gets all wrapped up in WRAPPED

Jessi Kirby talks VIRTUOSITY

Nikki Katz screams for LEGEND

Katy Upperman sets us all up for BEFORE I FALL

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm Single and There's an NBA Lock Out

Not gonna lie, Andy Samberg's Kris Chris Humphries made me pee my pants a little.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daylight Savings

So remember when it was March 13th and we were all supposed to set our clocks ahead an hour for daylight savings time?

Well, I was so bitter about losing an hour of sleep that I refused to set the radio in my car to the correct time.

For the first few weeks, I wanted a daily reminder that I should have still been fast asleep in bed when I was schlepping the kids to school in the morning. And then throughout the summer I just sort of got used to being an hour behind whilst navigating the streets of suburbia.  It gave me the illusion of actually being early.

And now, finally my stubborness has paid off. While the rest of you losers were messing around with your car radios, trying to set your clocks back, I was laughing. LAUGHING. Because yesterday, I was right on time and I never even had to touch a button.

Suck on that daylight savings.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Celebstalking by LiLa

This picture inspired me to get down on my knees and say the Act of Contrition. I may be a lapsed Catholic, but I'm not that lapsed.

I really, really wish I had some rudimentary photoshop skills to put a big old red X right on Gisele's perfect face. I didn't think I could hate her any more after her assanine stance on childbirth and breastfeeding and then she did this. Maybe Padre Kardashian can perform an exorcism.

Every time I see a picture of Ann Hathaway with a new boyfriend, I get a pit in my stomach. Girlfriend has extraordinarily bad luck with men.

Really, Zach Effron? REALLY?

I was skeptical when SJP tried to convince us that she rolls around in a minivan and this pretty much seals the deal that she's a big fat liar. I mean, that hat and a minivan don't even exist in the same universe. Nice try, SJP. Nice try. Try a sad beret from Target next time and then maybe I'll believe you're rocking out in an Odyssey.

Happy weekend everyone! If you happen to live near Ohio come see us at The Buckeye Book Fair tomorrow. We'll be there with The Regulator and the 3rd Roecker Sister. I don't want to brag, but we're staying in a hotel with a free breakfast buffet and we might swing by the Smucker's factory on our way home. Not gonna lie, those are two things that legitimately get me very excited.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


First of all, a HUGE congratulations goes out to Rebekkah Ford who is the proud new owner of 3 creepy books in the Past Midnight series by Mara Purnhagen! NOT read these books if you are alone at night. You've been warned. Rebekkah, email us your address and we'll pop them in the mail for you ASAP.

Okay, moving right along. Pay attention because the following is extremely important.

Stop what you're doing. Click here and use 1-click to purchase a copy of this book. Better yet, purchase a few copies to give away as holiday presents. You will not regret this decision. Have we ever been wrong before?

Okay, so you already know how we feel about ARE YOU GOING TO KISS ME NOW by Sloane Tanen, well SIRENZ gave us a very similar feeling except it involves MYTHOLOGY! You guys...who doesn't love mythology?! This book is the absolute perfect break from some of the darker, more serious YA we've been reading as of late and takes a completely different take on a story involving Gods and Goddesses.

Here's what the back cover has to say:
Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when the fashionistas find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes-with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades, Lord of the Underworld himself. To make them atone for what they've done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld an individual whose unholy contract is up.

Finding that delicate balance between their fashion addiction and their new part-time job in the eternal hellfire biz turns out to be harder than Meg and Shar expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there's the matter of the fine print in their own contracts...

Lila's Take:

If the Shopaholic Series/Bridget Jones Diary and the Percy Jackson books had a girl baby, her name would be SIRENZ. And yet this book is completely original with absolutely HILARIOUS modern imaginings of immortals. Hades will make you snort. And yet there's so much more to this book than pee-your-pants-one-liners. Meg and Shar swith POVs, which we love, and are dealing with issues beyond answering to Hades and his manipulations so there's a ton of growth throughout the book.'s entertaining without being inappropriate, dirty or over-the-top. So freaking refreshing. Plus, the perfect gift for ALL girls. How often can you say that?'s written by TWO authors. Two amazing authors. We get them! They get us! This makes us happy. Very, very happy.

So I hope we've convinced you that you need this book. Because you do. Go. Click. Buy.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Elana Johnson is crazy about Crossed and Shatter Me

Christine Fonseca interviews Kids Inventing! author Susan Casey 

Shelli Johannes-Wells dishes on Become (Desolation Book #1)

Beth Revis celebrates books for which she’s grateful – with gigantic signed book giveaway

Jessi Kirby applauds Virtuosity

Megan Miranda marvels at How to Save a Life
Rosemary Clement Moore is wild for The Iron Witch

Veronica Rossi is amazed by Shatter Me

Don't call this a comeback

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