Allie Larkin's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We've had a TON of fun the past few months with 5 Do's and a Do-over.  Some of our fave authors have given us pearls of wisdom and a few things they wish they could have done over.  But the seasons are changing and you know what that means...time for a brand spankin' new feature!  Look for it later this week with a FABULOUS author to kick it off. Speaking of FABULOUS authors, we've got one for you today.  We simply adore Allie Larkin and her debut novel Stay.  It's fun, touching and made us want to adopt a another dog!  Run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore and pick yourself up a copy of this feel-good story.  Trust us, you'll be so happy you did!

The skinny on Stay: Savannah "Van" Leone has been in love with Peter Clarke since their first day of college. Six years later, Peter is marrying Van's best friend, Janie. Loyal to a fault, Van dons her pumpkin-orange, maid-of- honor gown and stands up for the couple, struggling to hide her true feelings even when she couldn't be more conspicuous. After the wedding, nursing her broken heart with a Rin Tin Tin marathon plus a vodka chaser, Van accidentally orders a German Shepherd puppy over the Internet. When "Joe" turns out to be a hundred-pound beast who only responds to commands in Slovak, Van is at the end of her rope-until she realizes that sometimes life needs to get more complicated before it can get better.

Doesn't that sound good? Leave a comment and you'll have a chance to win one of FIVE copies!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday September 4th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


1. Do lean on your friends.  I have a bad habit of squirreling away when the going gets tough.  In the past year, I’ve pushed myself to reach out more when I need a shoulder and a kind ear.  It makes all the difference.  None of us are in this alone, so there’s no point in being stoic.

2. Do make time to move.  I am a better friend, writer, wife, and dog owner, if I take the time to exercise every day.

3. Do savor success.  When life gets fast paced, it’s really easy to move on to the next thing without taking full stock in accomplishments.  Celebrate, even if it’s small, like a good glass of wine, a favorite food for dinner, or even just an hour or two of quiet time to take a bath and read a book.  A little celebration goes a long way.  My celebration usually comes in the form of chocolate.

4. Do live with dogs.  Our German Shepherds, Argo and Stella make my life better.  Sure, I am constantly picking dog hair off my clothes, but I laugh every day, feel loved and appreciated every single second I spend with them, and always have someone to play Frisbee with.

5. Do what you love.  It’s kind of a cliché to say do what you love.  Actually, I’ve never liked how that statement gets thrown around in a way that ignores the constraints we all have in our lives. Not everyone can throw caution to the wind, ignore responsibilities, and just do what they love whole hog.  Life is more complicated than that.  But we can all find a way to put elements of what we love into our day, even if it’s something simple like playing music or writing or painting for twenty minutes in the morning, or after dinner.  Just because you might not be in a position where you can follow your passion with reckless abandon, it doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to sneak things you love into your day.


Don’t be afraid of rejection.  I spent a lot of time in my twenties too afraid to reach for the things I wanted because I might get rejected.  I didn’t try, because I didn’t want to fail.  I’d aim low and I was rarely surprised by the result.  But, once I got over my fear of rejection, my whole life changed. I wish I’d gotten over it much much sooner.

Rejection is nothing more than one person saying, “Hey, whatever you’re offering isn’t what I’m looking for.”  It doesn’t devalue you as a person and it doesn’t mean you or your work isn’t worth believing in.  All it means is that a specific person with their own specific set of likes and dislikes is saying no right now.  Of course, it feels better to hear yes than no, and it’s okay if you need a moment to collect yourself and move on from rejection (ice cream and romantic comedies help).

Very few people ever get exactly what they want by just sitting in standby and hoping something great will happen.  Getting rejected means you put yourself out there.  That’s something to be proud of. Don’t let the fear of no keep you from trying. And if you keep trying, maybe next time you’ll hear yes.  I saved every single one of my rejection letters.  To me, they are a badge of honor – I put myself in the game.

Thanks Allie! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Allie, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook or Twitter.