Georgia Bockoven's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Carly's Gift book coverToday's guest: Georgia Bockoven Why we love her: We love the way she writes. Her novels pull you in and hold you tight!

Her latest: Carly's Gift

(Out September 17th!)

The scoop: What's in the past is over and done with . . . or is it?

Sixteen years ago Carly Hargrove made a decision that would irrevocably alter her life. With little comprehension of the life-long consequences of her actions, she trades her own future happiness to protect the man she's loved since kindergarten, David Montgomery.

With an ocean separating them, Carly builds a life for herself without David. She's the mother of three, lives in a beautiful house, and is married to a man who comes home every night—even if most of those nights he drinks too much. What more could she want?

Her answer arrives on a cold fall day when David shows up at her door. In town for his father's funeral, he has come to see Carly one last time, hoping to rid himself of the anger that still consumes him.

Instead, he is drawn into a web of secrets that rekindles the fierce need he once felt to protect Carly. He becomes caught up in her life in a way he never could have imagined—a way that will bind him to her forever.

Our thoughts: A beautiful story!

Giveaway: ONE copy. Just leave a comment to be entered. We'll select the winner on Sunday, September 15th after 12pm PST.

Where you can read more about Georgia: Her website and Facebook.


Georgia Bockoven author photo


DO--hug a tree. I don’t mean this as flippantly as it sounds. If you do it right, you’ll be there long enough to hear a songbird calling, or a breeze rustling the leaves. You’ll feel the texture of the bark against your cheek and smell a woodsy fragrance that, for a moment, sends you back to a childhood where climbing trees made perfect sense. If you’re a writer, and the day ever comes that you write about a young woman fighting to keep the city from cutting down the tree her father planted the day she was born, you can draw on the feelings you had the day you hugged your own tree.

DO--avoid reflective surfaces on a bad hair day. Why would you want to be reminded of something negative that you already know and ruin a perfectly good day? This can be adapted to fit a lot of situations--like deleting from your address book all those crazy-making people who drag you down. Where is it written that you have to spend time with the crazies when you hardly have time for the friends who brighten your day?

DO--expose yourself . . . to new things. (With your clothes on, preferably.) I thought I didn’t like country music until I wrote a book about a country music singer and spent almost an entire year in that world. I was convinced I hated brussel sprouts without ever having tasted one. Come on--a vegetable that looks like a mini cabbage and makes the house smell like dirty socks when it’s cooking? How could this be a good thing? It was, and is.

DO--buy the orchid you saw in the grocery store. If you’re having trouble rationalizing the indulgence, run the numbers. Fifteen dollars over three months works out to sixteen cents a day. A bargain! This works with other purchases, too, like shoes, and jewelry, and for me, cameras.

DO--venture out of your comfort zone. While there’s no way I’m going to take up tight-rope walking--I was born with a really poor sense of balance--I will never forget sitting in the middle of a herd of forty wild elephants, some of them less than ten feet away. Gift yourself with an adventure. Explore. Make a new friend. Live, don’t just exist.


I think Maya Angelou has this one down pat. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Thanks, Georgia!

Erin Duffy's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Today's guest: Erin Duffy Why we love her: She wrote one of the juiciest books of 2012. Speaking of...

Her latest: Bond Girl (Out in paperback now!)

The scoop on it: While other little girls were fantasizing about becoming doctors or lawyers, Alex Garrett dreamed of conquering the high-powered world of Wall Street. Now she's grown and determined to make it big in bond sales at Cromwell Pierce, one of the Street's most esteemed brokerage firms. Though she's prepared to fight her way into an elitist boys' club, she starts out small, relegated to a kiddie-size folding chair with her new moniker, "Girlie," inscribed in Wite-Out across the back.

Always keeping her eyes on the prize (and ignoring her friends' pleas for her to quit), Alex quickly learns how to roll with the punches, rising from lowly analyst to slightly-less-lowly associate in no time. Suddenly she's being addressed by her real name, and the boys' club has transformed into forty older brothers . . . and one possible boyfriend. But then the apocalypse hits, and Alex is faced with the most difficult choice of her life: to stick with Cromwell Pierce as it teeters on the brink of disaster . . . or to kick off her Jimmy Choos and go running for higher ground.

Our thoughts: We loved it just as much the second time around. Click here for our thoughts when we hosted her on our site when Bond Girl was released in hardback. (Then add even more gushing and oohing and ahhing!)

Giveaway: 5 copies of the paperback! Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 3pm PST on Sunday, August 5.

Fun Fact: Duffy used to work on Wall Street and wrote Bond Girl after being laid off after a decade long career. Way to make a come back!

Where you can read more about Erin: Facebook


Well this is a first for me! It’s not often that I get a forum to blog about Dos and Do Overs, mostly because no one seems to ever really care what I think about, well, anything. Typically, when I give my thoughts to friends or family I’m greeted with polite smiles, not-so-polite eye rolls, and then I’m entirely ignored. It’s hard for me to be surprised by this, because Lord knows, I never really take my own advice, either, so I guess I can’t blame them.  I will say though, that I’m beginning to wish that I could sit down with the younger version of me and smack her in the face before imparting these brief words of wisdom. Writing Bond Girl has been an amazing experience, proven by the fact that I get to be on Chick Lit Is Not Dead! I don’t know that writing it makes me qualified in any way whatsoever to give my thoughts to other people, so I promise if you all want to skip over this entry, I’ll forgive you. But, as I’m trying to think more positively these days, I’ll at the very least give it a whirl. In no particular order, here they are!

1. DO save your money. I’m thirty-four now and I wish I had been a bit more frugal in my twenties then I was. Here’s the thing about recessions: you don’t really appreciate what the word means until you live through one. Maybe you lose your job, or maybe you take a pay cut, or maybe you watch friends struggle to find work month after brutally long paycheck free month, but whatever is, you realize you’re your money can dry up fast! I myself have yet to find my money tree (but I’m still looking, really hard, and I’ll report back if I find one), and I want to kill the younger, dumber Erin for taking a steady paycheck for granted. If I had gotten up a little earlier and had time to take the subway to work instead of a cab over the years, I’d have more money saved and maybe wouldn’t worry quite as much about having to move home to my parents to avoid paying rent. Basement living isn’t really my thing. And at thirty-four, if I’m going to cohabitate with someone,  I really prefer it not be with my mother. No offense, Mom.

2. DO think long and hard about dating guys who already have loads of baggage in their twenties. Relationships are hard enough when both people’s crazy quotients are within the realm of reason. I can’t tell you how many girls I know who invested years of their lives with guys who due to any number of unfortunate life events, were simply too crazy to possibly be considered good dating material. I can’t think of a single instance in this case where things ended well, or where the girl wasn’t left saying to herself, “what was I thinking?” The answer is, she wasn’t, (and in the interest of being honest, yes, ladies, I’m one of them), so this one I would like to stress. I’d put this whole paragraph in capital letters to prove that point but then it would look like I was screaming at you.

3. DO spend quality time with your girlfriends. One of the worst parts about getting older, aside from wrinkles, sagging boobs, and a slowing metabolism, is that your friends will inevitably get married, move away, have babies, and begin their own busy lives. It becomes harder and harder as time goes by and life gets in the way to maintain those all important female ties. Sometimes, it seems easier to let weeks go by without checking in, but thanks to facebook, emails, texts, and various other forms of electronic communication, it’s infinitely easier than it used to be. You will need your girlfriends at times in your life, and when you do, make sure you know where to find them.

4. DO take time to take care of yourself. It’s so easy to get caught up jobs, families, friends, ect that we can forget to take a few minutes to make ourselves presentable to the outside world.  I once went an entire week running around like such a lunatic that I actually managed to go four days without brushing my hair and the resulting self-loathing was strong enough to crush an elephant. Now, let me be clear here, no one is talking about being Marcia Brady and brushing your hair 100 strokes a day while gazing fondly at your appearance in the mirror, but a multitude of sins can be cured with a hairbrush and a hot shower.  If nothing else, it will help your mental state to know that worst case scenario, if you do end up in the emergency room somewhere, your mom will be proud to know that you are, in fact, wearing clean underwear.

5. DO take some chances in life. I worked in finance for twelve years before I published Bond Girl, and sure, there are days that I am terrified that switching careers was maybe a bad idea. The truth is, if you don’t at least try new things, and work hard at something that you love, you’ll never know what you are capable of achieving. No one is saying to start walking tightropes over highways or swallowing fire or anything, but a few well thought out risks in life will make you a braver, and I’ve found, happier person. And hey, if things don’t work out, you probably will at least have some really funny stories to tell your kids one day.

And last but not least, here is my do over…drum roll, please? Thank you.

DO NOT beat yourself up over every mistake you make. There are enough people in this world who will relish the chance to make you feel like an idiot at every possible opportunity. You don’t need to join them, they’ll do just fine without you, trust me. I wish I had been a little easier on myself at certain times over the last few years, and didn’t punish myself whenever I failed to do something perfectly. (Or at least, as close to perfect as I can possibly be. The truth is, I’ve accepted the sad reality that perfection is something that will elude me for the rest of my days on this earth.) I don’t care what Dr. Oz or anyone else says, ladies, if you ask me, sometimes it’s okay to lie on your couch, eat pizza, and watch bad reality TV for eighteen hours a day. Think of it like a reboot for your system. I think there’d be a lot less neurotic people running around out there if they would just take a day to chill out!

Well, it seems that that’s all the time we have for today. Thanks so much ladies for letting me blog today, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! I have to run, there’s a Real Housewives of New Jersey marathon starting, and my pizza just got here.



Thanks, Erin!




Robyn Carr's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We have to admit, we were a little sad when we put 5 Do's and a Do-Over on the shelf a few months ago. Not that we haven't enjoyed 5 Loves and a Dud- we have. It's just that 5 Do's and a Do-Over was one of our all-time faves and it will always have a special place for it in our hearts. So that' why you're going to see it pop up from time to time, starting with today. And who better to share her list than the fabulous New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr? She's only written like a gazillion books! We absolutely loved  Bring Me Home for Christmas--book #16 in her Virgin River series (and not just a book to be read at Christmastime, btw). Here's the skinny on Bring Me Home for Christmas:

This year, Becca Timm knows the number one item on her Christmas wish list: getting over Denny Cutler. Three years ago Denny broke her heart before heading off to war. It’s time she got over her silly college relationship and moved on. So she takes matters into her own hands and heads up to Virgin River, the rugged little mountain town that Denny calls home, as an uninvited guest on her brother’s men-only hunting weekend. But when an accident turns her impromptu visit into an extended stay, Becca finds herself stranded in Virgin River. With Denny. In very close quarters. As the power of Christmas envelops the little town, Becca discovers that the boy she once loved has become a strong and confident man. An the most delicious Christmas present she can imagine.

Read an excerpt from Bring Me Home for Christmas.

So much fun, right? Well, we've got one copy to give away. Just leave a comment to be entered. We'll randomly select the winners after 6 p.m. PST on Sunday, January 29th.

Oh, and be on the look out for the launch of our next feature...coming very soon in honor of our THIRD ANNIVERSARY (woo hoo! Can you believe it? Three years already?!) brought to you with the help of a fabulous author you all love!

And now, without further adieu....


DO'S 1.    Do spend real money on nice under-things and pajamas – you never know when the ER will be staffed with adorable hunks in your age range.  Okay, we don’t want you in the ER, but while you’re at home just slaving away, nice unders will make you feel important; nice sleepwear will make you feel decadent and desirable. 2.   Do give up on reading a book that’s just not doing it for you.  Life’s too short and reading is one of the greatest pleasures.  Nancy Pearl, Uber Librarian, suggests giving a book 50 pages until you reach the age of 50.  Then you can subtract a page for every year over 50.  Ditch the guilt.  There’s an old saying – No two people read the same book; if it’s not for you, that’s all right. 3.    Do live with a glass half full; do vow to be relentlessly happy.  It’s a choice, that’s all.  Negative thinking and acting becomes habit forming and brings negative results.  Likewise, a positive attitude and looking for the silver lining in everything seems to bring good luck!  I remember saying to one of these positive gurus “Bad things do happen to good people, you know.”  And he said.  “Bad things happen to all people, and so do good things.”  Life can be tough.  It can feel less traumatic if you believe everything will work out as it’s supposed to. 4. Do go to your closet and find that one outfit that you loved on the hanger but has never looked good on you and get rid of it.  Pitch it.  Yes, you do have at least one – maybe something that was going to be perfect for you ten pounds from now.  Maybe a color you love but that unfortunately makes you look ill.  A style that never flattered you.  Let it tempt you no more!  Make it go away! 5. Do get a flu shot.  If you don’t, you’ll regret it.

DO-OVER? Can I please go back to the very first writer’s conference in 1980 at which I was actually a speaker?  Can I please make that Ladies Room run once more and pay closer attention and not tuck the back of my skirt in my panty hose?  Please? Rbo

Thanks, Robyn!



To find out more about the fabulous Robyn Carr and her gazillion books, head over to her website.

Claire LaZebnik's 5 Loves and a Dud

It's a new month. A new season. And before we know it, it will be a new year (WTF?).  So as much as we (and you!) loved our feature 5 Do's and a Do-Over, we've decided it's time for something else new. So-Beyonce style-let's get up on stage, shake our asses and reveal our newest feature...

5 Loves and a Dud!

Your favorite authors will be dishing about the things they can't live without and the one thing they can do without-- forevuh.

And we couldn't be more thrilled that Claire LaZebnik is the first author to take the plunge and share her list (a must-read. We especially love the bit about sleeping with a dog!). Claire has written several fabulous books including Knitting Under the Influence, If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now and the just released Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts - a hilarious novel about a quirky family...

Keats Sedlak is the sanest member of her nutty nuclear family, but that isn’t saying much. Even though she’s in her twenties, she’s still constantly being summoned back home to help out her brilliant and eccentric parents.  Her two genius siblings are useless: her older sister’s long gone, and her younger brother hasn’t left the house in years.  The one constant in her life is her devoted long-term boyfriend, Tom, who provides a safe port during every familial storm.

Keats always knew that her parents’ marriage wasn’t ideal, but they’d managed to coexist in misery for so long that she assumed they’d stay together forever, so she’s pretty stunned to find out her mother’s filing for divorce and putting their beloved old house on the market.  Even more of a shock is the discovery that her mother has already plunged headfirst into the midlife dating pool, with three different men in her rotation and an unnerving tendency to stay out until the wee hours of the morning.

As her family falls apart, Keats has to reevaluate everything she’s ever assumed about her parents, her siblings, the life she’s made apart from them all, and, most importantly, the kind of love she wants for herself

Sound like a book you'd love? Well, lucky you! Because we have five copies to give away. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the 5 winners on Tuesday, September 6th after 6pm EST.  And now on to Claire's loves and a dud...



1. PRETZEL M&Ms.  You've got your salt, you've got your sugar, you've got your chocolate--all of life's essentials in one round, crunchy package.  I buy them in bulk, which is thrifty, and then I eat them in bulk, which is probably a mistake.  But if loving them is wrong, I don't want to be right.

2.  PANDORA: I'm still amazed at how the little people in my computer can read my mind once I load Pandora.  All I give them is one little song--one tiny clue to my taste--and then they play hour after hour of music I like.  The rare clunker only makes me appreciate how often they get it right.

3. THRIFT STORES.  Going to a thrift store is like going on a treasure hunt:  you hunt through racks and racks of stuff and suddenly stumble on something valuable.  Nothing costs more than a few dollars, even the good stuff, and what little money you spend goes to a good cause.  My all-time favorite is the OUT OF THE CLOSET chain.

4.  REREADING A FAVORITE OLD NOVEL.   I can't tell you how often I'll start a new book with high hopes only to give up halfway through.  When I start to wonder whether it's me--whether I just don't like to read anymore--I head to my bookshelves and pluck out an old favorite, something romantic and engrossing and inspiring.  And then I lose myself in it and remember that reading can be a pure joy.

5.  SLEEPING WITH A DOG.  And, no, I'm not talking about my husband.  I have two very sweet pups, a big gentle labrador and an energetic little poodle mix.  The big one's a good companion when my husband's out of town and I need someone of (almost) comparable size to take his place next to me, but the little one sleeps with me every night.  He curls up with his back against mine and that cozy warmth helps me drift off to sleep.


L.A. TRAFFIC.  Such a bummer.  The traffic on the West Side is like this BEAST in our lives.  It's like the troll who lives under the bridge--you know you're going to encounter him and you know that when you do, it's going to go badly for you, but sometimes you have no choice: you just have to cross that freakin' bridge and pay the freakin' toll.

To find out more about the funny and talented Claire LaZebnik, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. And if you're a YA fan, definitely check out her debut YA novel, Epic Fail.

Thanks, Claire!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa



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.


Mary Kay Andrews' 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We're beyond excited to have the fabulous New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews on CLIND today! *cue bells, whistles and music*

Her latest novel (this is her eighth!), Summer Rental is the perfect beach read that we suggest you snap up immediately before summer ends. Because we don't know about you, but we're clinging to summer as long as possible! Just read the description of Summer Rental and you'll be wanting more...

Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction….

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. Ellis, recently fired from a job she gave everything to, is rudderless and now beginning to question the choices she’s made over the past decade of her life. Julia—whose caustic wit covers up her wounds–has a man who loves her and is offering her the world, but she can’t hide from how deeply insecure she feels about her looks, her brains, her life.  And Dorie has just been shockingly betrayed by the man she loved and trusted the most in the world…though this is just the tip of the iceberg of her problems and secrets. A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what they each of them needs.

Ty Bazemore is their landlord, though he’s hanging on to the rambling old beach house by a thin thread. After an inauspicious first meeting with Ellis, the two find themselves disturbingly attracted to one another, even as Ty is about to lose everything he’s ever cared about.

Maryn Shackleford is a stranger, and a woman on the run. Maryn needs just a few things in life: no questions, a good hiding place, and a new identity.  Ellis, Julia, and Dorie can provide what Maryn wants; can they also provide what she needs?

Five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life. Five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness. Five people who each need a sea change, and one month in a summer rental that might just give it to them.

We told you it's a great novel! Just leave a comment for a chance to win one of five copies! We'll randomly select the winner after 6pm EST on Sunday, August 28th.


1. Dream big. Your reach should always exceed your grasp. Don’t hang around waiting for your ship to come in. Swim out and drag that sucker back to the dock!

2. Invest in your dream. Whether your dream is to start your own business, leave your day job, become a painter, or write the great American novel, you’ll need the proper tools. I didn’t have a computer at home when I started writing my first book, and I had to sneak back to the newspaper I worked for to use their computer, until I talked my husband into buying me my first home computer. Now, I don’t hesitate to budget money that will further my career, whether it’s buying a decent digital camera to use for blogging, or hiring a marketing professional to help spread the word about my books. Mama always said you have to spend money to make money.

3. Follow your passion, and figure out a way to make a living doing that. When I started college, my father wanted me to get a teaching degree, so I’d “have something to fall back on.” I stubbornly insisted on getting a journalism degree. I never expected to make any money at writing, but I knew I’d at least enjoy the work. And when journalism became drudgery, I made the jump to fiction, again, following my passion. I’ve never regretted any day I spent writing.

4. Be flexible. If you bump up against a brick wall in your career, back up and find a new path. I was heart-broken when I finally figured out my 14-year journalism career was going nowhere. It wasn’t until I sold my first book that I discovered I hadn’t failed at journalism at all---I’d just had a really long internship as a novelist. Now, I wouldn’t take anything for the lessons I learned as a big city newspaper reporter.

5. Be nice! You’ll always catch more flies with honey than vinegar. So say pretty please. Admit when you’re wrong, and keep it quiet when it turns out you were right. It’s just as easy as it is to make a friend as it is to make an enemy, so why not make a friend? And always, always, write thank you notes.


I wish I’d had more time with my parents. My mom has been gone almost seven years, my dad died five years ago. In what turned out to be the last years of their lives, I was so focused on my children and my career, I didn’t get to spend quality time with them. Now I so wish that I’d asked them more questions, listened more closely to their answers, and let them know how much I appreciated all the sacrifices they made for me and my siblings.

To learn more about Mary Kay Andrews, visit her website, stop by her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter. (Or all of the above!)

Thanks, Mary Kay!


Liz & Lisa

Kim Wright's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

So what do you do when one of your all-time favorite books comes out in paperback?  Um, duh!  You beg the author to share her 5 Do's and a Do-Over! It was love at first sight when we read Love in Mid Air last year.  In fact, Liz named it as one her fave books of 2010.  Kim writes masterfully about the complexities of marriage and friendships and what could happen when you meet a hunky stranger on a commuter flight. And we weren't the only ones who loved it.  People Magazine said, "Astute and engrossing, this debut is a treat!"

Here's the scoop on Love in Mid Air:  A chance encounter with a stranger on an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the community. She finds herself cutting through all the instincts that say "no" and instead lets "yes" happen. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. There are consequences for Elyse, her family, and her circle of close friends, all of whom have an investment in her life continuing as normal. But is normal what she really wants after all? In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find—and follow—her own path to happiness.

Sounds fab, right?  We have FIVE copies to give away!  Just leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win a copy.  We'll choose the winners on Sunday, August 7th after 6pm PST.

And we think you'll love her 5 Do's too...we definitely agree with number three!


5 DO'S

1. Do dance.  I took up ballroom dance three years ago and it quickly zoomed from hobby to obsession.  Now I dance six days a week – tango, waltz, quickstep, and rumba - and it’s the primary joy of my life.  Next to writing, that is.

2. Do try lots of things.  Life may not be long, but it’s wide, and we can sample many experiences in the course of a single day.  I think it’s especially important to try new things as you get older, whether it’s learning to speak Italian, make the perfect crepe, get certified in scuba, or even just drive to work via a different route.

3. Do cut your hair whenever you feel like you need a change.  It’ll grow back.

4. Do go straight to Trader Joe’s and get the truffle cheese ($7), Epicuro red table wine ($6), and Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds with Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar ($5).   Eighteen dollars and eighteen million calories, but I promise you’ll be a happy camper.    In fact, if you want to rip open the almonds and start eating them on the way home, I won’t tell.

5. Do read books you don’t expect to like.  Give them a chance.   If you’re a romance girl, check a mystery out of the library.  If you’re into self-help, read a thriller.  Or go back and tackle one of those classics you missed in school, like Moby Dick or David Copperfield.  Reading a book is a chance to be, for an hour or two at a time, completely outside of daily reality.   It’s the most accessible form of magic, so don’t be afraid to use reading as an escape chute that heads straight into some part of yourself you’ve forgotten, or even leads someplace that you’ve never been at all.


I don’t regret many things in my life but one that’s definitely in the what-the-hell-was-I-thinking category was my decision to follow some sorry-butt boyfriend to another city.  He had a good job offer there, but I ended up waiting tables at a medieval-themed fondue restaurant located off an interstate exit.  I had to wear a lace-up bodice and short frilly skirt and greet people by saying “Hi, I’m Kim and I’ll be your serving wench.”  Why do women put their lives on hold to follow men all over the place – especially men who aren’t worth the sacrifice?  Thirty years later I still can’t bear the sight of those awful little fondue forks.

Thanks Kim! xoxo, L&L

To read more about the lovely and talented Kim Wright, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Katie Lee's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We think Summer is the best time of year for guilty pleasure reading(aka GPR).  And we love our GPR to have lots of celebrities, some naughtiness and at least one good man that takes his shirt off regularly.  So when Katie Lee's Groundswell landed on our doorstep last month, we had a feeling it would be REALLY good GPR.  And we were right! That's why we're totally stoked to have Katie sharing her 5 Do's and a Do-over on the site today. We have a feeling that many of you are really needing a little GPR yourselves!

Katie's multi-talented- she's also a fabulouso chef that has written TWO cookbooks. (Even Paula Deen loves her!) Another Katie Lee fun fact?  She hosted the first season of one of our fave shows, TOP CHEF!

Here's the skinny on Groundswell: Sometimes the biggest ripples come from the smallest events. Like the day that Emma Guthrie walks into world-famous movie star Garrett Walker’s trailer. When she steps through the door, she’s a novice PA who’s just dropped out of college after losing her scholarship. When she walks out, she’s on her way to becoming Mrs. Emma Walker—wife of an A-list actor. Soon, Emma has made the transition from nobody to red-carpet royalty, trading jeans and flip-flops for closets full of Chanel and Birkin bags, swishing past velvet ropes to attend every lavish party and charity gala on both coasts. With her husband’s encouragement, Emma pens a screenplay based on her life, Fame Tax, which becomes a blockbuster sensation. Through it all, Garrett is her ally and her mentor . . . until their relationship is thrown into question by an incriminating text message that Emma discovers on Garrett’s phone the night of the Met Costume Institute Gala.

Devastated by her husband’s infidelity and hounded mercilessly by the paparazzi, Emma must flee New York City to get away from it all and clear her head. Her destination? A sleepy coastal town in Mexico where no one recognizes her and there is nothing but unspoiled beaches for miles. Here, she meets Ben, a gorgeous, California-born surf instructor, who teaches her about the healing powers of surfing, shows her the joys of the simple life, and ultimately opens her up to the possibility of love.

Sounds super fun, right?  Good thing we have FIVE copies to give away!  Just leave a comment here and be entered to win.  We'll choose the winner on Sunday July 31st after 6pm PST.  Good luck y'all!


5 DO'S

1.  Breathe. I do yoga a few times a week, and it’s done wonders for reducing my stress level.  If yoga isn’t your thing, “zen-out” while running, spinning, meditating, or allocating 15 minutes of quiet time with a cup of tea.

2. Ask questions about your food. I call it “conscious consumption” – being aware of what you’re eating, how it was raised, and how it affects the environment.  Ask questions wherever you buy your food, and also at restaurants.  The more interested people are in having ethically raised food, the more it will be available.

3. Travel somewhere new every year. I like to take a trip once a year to somewhere I haven’t been and take myself out of my usual “comfort zone.”  Last year, I went to Morocco, and this year I’m planning a trip to India.  But it doesn’t have to be somewhere totally far-flung and exotic, going on a road trip to a state park you’ve never visited is a great way to expose yourself to something totally new, too.

4. Take on a new challenge. A few years ago, I decided to try surfing.  I was in the midst of a divorce, and I wanted to do something out of character to get out of my own head.  I had always been afraid of the ocean, so I decided to try surfing.  Not only did I gain new confidence, the idea for Groundswell was born from it.  A real win-win!

5. Keep a clean house. I can’t think when my house is disorganized.  Keeping a neat house will help you function better, and is also a way of appreciating what you have and honoring your home.


Go back to high school, just for a day, and realize that all the petty stuff didn’t matter one bit, especially the mean girls!

Thanks Katie! xo, L&L

To read more about Katie, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter!

Gwendolen Gross's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

It's such a treat to find a great book.  We usually can tell there's something special about them on the first page-like love at first site!

That's how we feel about Gwendolen Gross and The Orphan Sister-she had us at page one!  So we're jumping up and down that she agreed to share her 5 Do's and a Do-over with us today.  We think The Orphan Sister should be on your short list to read this summer-it's a fun read that also has some weight to it-a perfect balance! And we HEART the cover too!

Here's what it's about: Clementine Lord is not an orphan. She just feels like one sometimes. One of triplets, a quirk of nature left her the odd one out. Odette and Olivia are identical; Clementine is a singleton. Biologically speaking, she came from her own egg. Practically speaking, she never quite left it. Then Clementine’s father—a pediatric neurologist who is an expert on children’s brains, but clueless when it comes to his own daughters—disappears, and his choices, both past and present, force the family dynamics to change at last. As the three sisters struggle to make sense of it, their mother must emerge from the greenhouse and leave the flowers that have long been the focus of her warmth and nurturing.

For Clementine, the next step means retracing the winding route that led her to this very moment: to understand her father’s betrayal, the tragedy of her first lost love, her family’s divisions, and her best friend Eli’s sudden romantic interest. Most of all, she may finally have found the voice with which to share the inside story of being the odd sister out. . . .

Doesn't that sound great?  Leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies of The Orphan Sister!  We'll choose the winners on Friday July 15th after 6pm PST.


5 DO's

1 .Do listen-to your children ("what if a dog flew up on a stage and ate a battery and then he farted and then the sky exploded and then..."), to your spouse or love in whatever format, to your friends, your neighbors (who provide so much fascinating material), your parents as much as you can bear, your siblings, the woman at the Trader Joe's checkout, your own needs and desires, the birds.

2. Do become comfortable with silences-they're rare. There's a Tom Lux poem about the voice you hear in your head when you're reading; the brain does so much work all the time, I think it's okay to stop talking and pay attention sometimes. I'm thinking, in particular, about when I was first teaching writing and I'd ask a question and there'd be two seconds of silence and I thought that meant I had to leap in and fill the quiet with more information. Sometimes waiting, instead, gives other people a chance to articulate. Sometimes the best thoughts come from temporary respite-or even temporary discomfort.

3. Do walk the dog. If you don't have a dog, walk your ferret or your goldfish. Maybe not a stuffed animal; that's just weird. I suppose I'm saying both be kind to animals and remember that you have feet. Sometimes it's more important to get rained upon and be out in the world than to catch up with your Twitter feed.

4. Do be as supportive as you can. Of other writers. Of your best friend breaking up with the boyfriend you thought had impaired personal hygiene skills at the get-go. Of your husband's new interest in vintage Mustangs, your daughter's crappy fight with her best friend-and subsequent defense of said best friend when they make up. Of your mother in her bad-hair phase-it's her hair and says nothing about you. Of yourself. Don't beat yourself up over food, or the shirt you thought looked fantastic but is now too tight, or your resume, or your parenting skills. You get a do-over every tomorrow.

5. Do remember you don't always get what you signed up for. Sometimes you end up in the jazzercise class you wanted, but sometimes you tick the box for Art in Contemporary Japan and find yourself in Practical Auto Repair. Stay or go, but don't fight mistakes too bitterly unless you cannot live without a particular resolution. No one in auto repair wants to hear you rant, and maybe you'll learn to change your own oil.


I wish I'd been a better learner in high school and part of college; I'd know more. I've always loved learning, but I was impatient, and I didn't really know how to study until senior year of college. I think I finally realized the power of cumulative work-that I didn't need to write all my papers in one day, and that studying happened over time. This learned patience works well for novelists-three pages a day and you have a first draft in 100 days. Then you can fall in love with revision. I used to want to put the roof on the house by bedtime.


To read more about the lovely Gwendolen, head on over to her website or find her on Twitter.

Laura Spinella's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Have you ever wondered what happened to that bad boy you were madly in love with?  Even after you had moved on with your life and even gotten married to the nicest guy EVEH? That's okay, you don't have to answer.  But we have a feeling it happens more often than you'd think.  And it makes a damn great premise for a book.

We're excited to have Laura Spinella sharing her Do's and Do-Overs on the site today-her list is one of our all-time faves!  And we also think you'll flip for her debut novel, Beautiful Disaster.

Mia Wells's eco-friendly career goals are about to become a reality-but her life-altering moment is interrupted when an unexpected call ushers in her tremulous past. A man who's never left Mia's memory: Flynn, the enigmatic, passionate man whose disappearance broke her heart, has mysteriously resurfaced.

Now back in her life and in the hospital, Flynn is gravely injured. Mia keeps a bedside vigil-terrified that he will die, awestruck at the prospect of his survival. In a story filled with sweetness and suspense, Mia's what-ifs are endless. And Flynn's return ignites an achingly powerful tale about the most enduring love, one that is greater than honor, or friendship, or the passing of time.

Sound good?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies.  We'll randomly choose the winners on Wednesday July 13th after 6pm PST.


5 DO'S

1. Do something naked! And I don't mean in the usual places or even skinny dipping.  When you step out of the shower, don't reach for your robe, keep going. Make your bed, dry your hair, eat your breakfast, if you dare, in the all together! It's an odd combination of empowerment and humility. Yeah, you'll pass by a mirror or two and see the flaws, but you'll also feel a burst of boldness-or maybe that's just the breeze!

2. Do allow your children to be disappointed. Parenting has swung too sharply toward making Susie's world bright and shiny at all times. While nobody wants to see their child hurt or upset, that's life. Let your kid be on a team where everyone doesn't get a trophy, and if they earn a D on an English paper, tell them to make a better effort next time. If you let them fall down once in a while, they'll work harder and appreciate their achievements all the more.

3. Do turn your favorite TV shows and movies into comfort food. (I think I've lost ten pounds with this method)  Let everyone in the house point and howl, but don't let it stop you from indulging in episodes of Bewitched or watching Apollo 13 for the hundredth time.  It's soothing to know that, in some circles, catastrophe can be solved with the twitch of a nose. It can also make problems seems comparatively small. Whatever it is, take solace in the fact that you're not stuck in outer space on a crippled space ship, leaking oxygen, with walls no thicker than sheet of tin foil.

4. Root for a team! (Unless you're Mike Lupica, it's the ultimate writer's escape) I'm a three-fisted fan: Red Sox, New England Patriots and, of course, my Georgia Bulldogs. You'd be amazed how popular you are at parties, (no one expects that flaky writer chick to know squat about the AL Standings) and it's fun to be part of that rush of enthusiasm-like it really will make a personal difference should the Pats win another Super Bowl!  On the other hand, you get to experience the euphoria of being part of a team, even if it's from the cheering section.

5. Do consider your karma, because what goes around comes around. It's also something I more or less suck at. As a writer, I see myself as ridiculously self-absorbed. I spend most of my waking hours with people who don't exist. I convince myself there's terrific reward in that, namely a book on the shelf.  Actually, nothing could be further from the truth, and I constantly have to remind myself of the bigger picture. So do take care of your karma; it benefits most from what you do outside that solitary circle of writing or whatever it is that commands your time.


Hmm, I'm not sure I'd share my true do-over-it may adversely affect my karma. I suppose my overall do-over would be to take chances I previously passed on and tempt the unknown.  In other words, if I were to walk down a steamy street in Athens, Georgia, and a stranger tapped me on the shoulder, asking if he could buy me a beer... Well, in hindsight I probably should have said, "Yes." (-;

Thank you so much for having me!!  This was very cool and great fun!!

Thank YOU, Laura! xoxo, L&L

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

Michelle Toth's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Forget the Summer of Love, this is the summer of great books!  We are struggling to keep up with all the awesome titles out there and are secretly wishing that we could just head out to the beach and curl up with one.  A girl can dream, right? Today we have the lovely Michelle Toth sharing her 5 Do's and a Do-Over.  Her latest, Annie Begins is a fun read that will have you tuning out all that freakin' noise at the pool this summer-and that's a tough thing to do! (PS it's probably one of our kids screaming, sorry about that!)

At almost 29, Annie Thompson is as brilliant in business as she is disastrous in relationships. It's the dawn of the dot-com boom, and Annie is determined to make it big. But her single-minded focus on work is put to the test when the man of her dreams announces that his wife is divorcing him, and designates Annie "the best listener he knows." Suddenly she's juggling his mixed signals and her entrepreneurial ambitions--not to mention a complicated friendship with her new supervixen of a roommate.

Annie's pursuit of Mr. Tall, Dark and Barely Available takes a turn for the unexpected when her young, terminally ill cousin, April, makes it her mission to find Annie a husband. But the fiancé April picks is definitely not the kind of man Annie would have chosen. Now, Annie has to ask herself what exactly she wants and values most deeply in a man--and in herself.

Sound good?  Great-we have FIVE copies for giveaway.  Just leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Tuesday July 5th after 6pm PST.


5 DO'S

1. Do find your community. When I think about the happiest phases of my life, they almost always involved a vibrant network of friends, with overlaps and interconnections, and a sense of belonging.  My best example is when, almost a decade ago, a writer friend introduced me to Grub Street, a nonprofit writing center in Boston.  I ended up joining the board of directors, which I’ve served on for the past eight years, and in addition to working together for a good cause, I found the most wonderful community of friends and like-minded and creative people I ever could have imagined.  It’s an experience that has added to my life so significantly that I wish it for everyone.

2. Do expand your worldview, whatever it takes. Whether through traveling, reading, education, a varied career, diverse personal relationships, or actually trying to understand your brother whose political views are the precise opposite of yours (such fun at Thanksgiving!), keeping an open mind and heart is such a key to always learning and becoming a wiser, more thoughtful person.

3. Do take care of yourself financially. I grew up without much money, and spent most of my twenties living on next to nothing while in grad school, or while working at a low-paying job, or when I started a company on my credit cards.  I don’t have regrets about the risks I took then, and there was something exhilarating about living on the financial edge, but in my early thirties I got myself a financial advisor who explained that it didn’t matter how much or how little money his clients had, most overextended themselves and caused great stress in their lives. So, as unsexy as it sounds, I sat down to make a budget, plan for the future, and get some financial stability.  For anyone not already there, I highly recommend it!

4. Do embrace adversity. Although none of us consciously seeks out problems or crises, in life some are simply unavoidable.  Yet on the positive side, when faced head on, adversity tends to bring about clarity and a resetting of priorities.  To state the obvious, people who learn and change as a result of adversity have much better lives than people who are crippled by crises or go to unnatural lengths to avoid dealing with them.  This is a theme I touch on with Annie Begins and is the center of my next novel, about a crisis in a marriage. In my own life and those of my friends, we’ve all noticed that the worst things that have happened to us (cancer, divorce, losing a job) actually brought about deep reflection and self awareness and ushered in periods of major personal growth.

5. Do learn from other people’s mistakes. We know experience is the best teacher, but it isn’t necessary to directly experience everything to learn from it.  I’ve always tried to listen to people who’ve lived longer and objectively know more than I do, to absorb their stories about successes and failures, and adopt their life lessons as my own.


Of course I have my share of embarrassing moments and failures, but not too many actual regrets.  But there is a pattern I wish I’d broken long ago. I have historically been the queen of volume and aspirational shopping, especially if things are on sale (I’ll take it in purple, too!) and/or they almost fit (I just have to lose a few pounds and this will be perfect). I almost always regret it, and have come to realize that my favorite clothes are things bought at the last minute for some special event, where I had no choice but to pay what it cost and make sure it fit.  So, I have slowly been transforming myself into one of those principled, decisive shoppers who behaves this way all the time -- buying just a few high-quality pieces per season, sometimes even at full price. But if I’m honest, I still have far too many “bargains” and items that are one size too small that have never or rarely been worn!

Thanks Michelle!  xoxo, L&L

To read more about Michelle, head on over to her website and her blog.

Allison Winn Scotch's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We love Allison Winn Scotch. Plain and simple. She's definitely our girl. Loves mindless TV. Admits to wearing not just acid washed jeans but high-waisted acid washed jeans. And she writes damn good novels. Her third, The One That I Want, was just released in paperback and it's the perfect summer read. If you haven't yet devoured it (or even if you have) we suggest you immediately treat yourself to a copy (avail everywhere from Amazon to Target to Costco), sit back (preferably poolside with a cocktail in hand) and enjoy. Because you will. The One That I Want is the story of Tilly Farmer, a girl who’s seemingly perfect life begins to fall apart after an old childhood friend gives her the gift to see into the future. Doesn't it sound juicy? Well if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of five copies! We'll randomly select the winner on Friday, July 1 after 6pm EST.

And now just another reason we love Allison. Her Do's and Do-over list...



1) DO let yourself feel nostalgic. One of the questions I’m most often asked, when discussing my books, is if I relate to my characters, who often get tangled up in their past memories. And my answer is always the same: of course. I love tugging out old photos, laughing at people’s ridiculous ‘80s (and ‘90s) hair on Facebook, hearing a song on the radio and remembering an old love. I think there’s a lot of value in honoring your past and preserving the good memories that came out of it. But that’s about where it ends. Allowing yourself to feel those twinges, and then taking them and finding a way to make your current life more fulfilled. Stalking your exes on Facebook isn’t going to get you anywhere other than on the road to unhappiness.

2) DO find someone who accepts you for you. I wrote an essay recently about an old boyfriend, for whom I tried to change everything about myself. And what struck me most about it was how grateful I am to have found someone for whom I haven’t had to change one iota. I sing as loudly as I want in the car (it indeed annoys him, but he lets me do it), I look like all hell broke loose in the morning and he doesn’t care. More importantly, he’s never made me doubt who I am, what my instincts are, or what I’d like to do with my life. It’s not that our marriage is perfect, but certainly, when it comes to criteria that should top the list of a healthy relationship, I’ve learned that acceptance has to be number one (or at least top three).

3) DO embrace your light side. In other words, if you watch the Bachelorette and other insipid reality shows, raise your hand and be proud! Damn proud! Okay, maybe not that proud. Maybe let’s just whisper it to each other. But still *quiet voice*: I love mindless TV, and I’m not afraid to tweet about it. Here’s the thing: I work really hard, I take care of my family, I read A LOT. And if at the end of the day, I want some escapism, I say, bring it on! And if, even after that, I want to read every single thread on Television Without Pity, analyzing all the ridiculous antics and sure-to-disappoint spoilers, well, bring that on to. Why? Because I’m worth it.

4) DO let yourself screw-up. I bet I’m not the first person to say this here, and I certainly hope I’m not the last. One of the most valuable lessons in my career has come from failure – the first book I wrote (which in hindsight was just totally and completely wretched) never sold, and it forced me to either step up and suck it up and do the work to write a better one, or quit. You know which one I chose. And ditto this for all of my relationships: all of my break-ups lead to where I am now, and sure, those break-ups were fraught with emotion and anxiety and certainly pain, but each was a valuable lesson for who I was becoming and who, eventually, I’d become.

5) DO go with the flow. For those of you who know me as an author, this one might surprise you because I am very, very anal about my job, but when it comes to everything else, I’m actually pretty laid-back. I’ve found that stressing out over things that I can’t control just leaves me...more stressed, and that not being flexible or able to accommodate life’s changes also just leaves me...more stressed. What’s the purpose? There isn’t any. I try to let the little stuff slide. There is, after all, a reason that they call it “the little stuff.” It’s easy to forget that when you’re in the thick of it, but at the end of the day, I promise, none of the smaller (albeit annoying) obstacles matter nearly as much as the big picture. So I’ll end with that one, actually. DO think big. Always.

DO-OVER: Gosh, I’m pretty comfortable with my life choices, even when they were total catastrophes (because, to be clear, there have been plenty of catastrophes), but we do probably need to discuss my fashion choices in my younger years. The 8th grade perm. The ill-advised double-dose of Sun-In that summer at camp. The acid washed jeans that were pulled (and belted!) just under my boob line. Oh dear. With all due respect to Esprit and Benetton and Guess...really? You couldn’t have made me look at least semi-okay during my formative years? I guess not. Oh well. Back to my first DO: I guess the good news is that I can reminisce, but then, I can also log off and try to pretend that (fashion) period never existed in the first place.

To find out more about the fabulous Allison Winn Scotch, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks, Allison!



Amy Hatvany's 5 Do's and a Do-over

As much as we love us some light, fluffy reading to escape from the week, we also really appreciate when a book tackles heavier issues with just the right tone.  In fact, it's usually those books that resonate with us for long after we read the last page. That's why we're pleased as punch to feature the lovely  and talented Amy Hatvany and her latest novel, Best Kept Secret today.  It's a story about a mother struggling with alcoholism and trying to put her life back together after her world falls apart-it's a summer must-read!

Cadence's drinking snuck up on her - as a way to sleep, to help her relax after a long day, to relieve some of the stress of the painful divorce that’s left her struggling to make ends meet with her five-year old son, Charlie.

It wasn’t always like this. Just a few years ago, Cadence seemed to have it all—a successful husband, an adorable son, and a promising career as a freelance journalist.  But with the demise of her marriage, her carefully constructed life begins to spiral out of control.  Suddenly she is all alone trying to juggle the demands of work and motherhood.

Logically, Cadence knows that she is drinking too much, and every day begins with renewed promises to herself that she will stop.  But within a few hours, driven by something she doesn’t understand, she is reaching for the bottle - even when it means not playing with her son because she is too tired, or dropping him off at preschool late, again.  And even when one calamitous night it means leaving him alone to pick up more wine at the grocery store.  It’s only when her ex-husband shows up at her door to take Charlie away that Cadence realizes her best kept secret has been discovered….

Sound good?  Well, we have five copies to giveaway-just leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday June 12th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


5 DO'S


1.  Do make a gratitude list. I used to snark at this idea, but after practicing it for a while, it has literally become impossible for me to feel grateful and irritated at the same time. In moments of stress, shifting my focus to all the wonderful things in my life lessens the weight of the negative and reminds me how blessed I actually am.

2.  Do wear red. It’s a power color! I always feel so confident and strong when I slip a red piece of clothing on. I even got married (ahem – the second time) in a blood red dress (Go figure: the only person not wearing white in the wedding party was me.) Find the shade that works for you and embrace your inner sassy minx!

3.  Do help someone else out when you’re having a bad day. It can be something as simple as telling a co-worker how great she looks in a particular outfit, or even making surprise dinner for a friend and delivering it to her house. Helping others lifts my spirits so much, and gets my mind off my own “stuff,” even if it’s just for a little while.

4.  Do get to bed early one night a week. Whether you’re single or have a partner, the extra rest or additional “quality” time is a must. In our busy, busy lives, moments filled with wonderful conversation, or just snuggling beneath the covers alone and reading a book in peace and quiet – pure bliss!

5.  Do speak kindly to yourself. Negative self-talk has been so damaging to me in the past. I would NEVER speak to someone I care about with the same judgment and disdain I have used on myself. Several years back, I made a commitment to knock it off, and wow, what a difference! No one deserves your love and compassion more than you.


If I could, I’d convince the little girl I used to be that exercise is pleasurable, not punishing. That way, it wouldn’t feel like I’m being forced to walk the plank on my way to the gym!

Other than that, there is very little I would change about my life. I’ve had a few wishes for “do-betters” for mistakes I’ve made along the way – a few hairstyles come to mind (anyone else have the 1980’s Wall O’Bangs?) - but overall, I believe everything  I’ve done, mistakes included, has led me to the woman I am today. And I’m pretty okay with her.

Thanks Amy!  xoxo, L&L

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

Laura Dave's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

There really are no words left to describe our deep love for Laura Dave. We'll simply say she's the best and that her writing is some of the very best out there. And that we will always look forward to her next book with child-like anticipation. She's just that damn good. So first order of business? Don't even think. Just get your hands on her latest fabulous, insightful, emotional, nail biting, passionate, fantastic novel, The First Husband.(Officially out today!) And if for some crazy reason (because you'd just have to be crazy) you haven't read her other books yet, you must immediately buy, download, check out, whatever your method my be, her debut novel, London is the best City in America and her second book, The Divorce Party. (Both uh-mazing and each optioned to be made into movies by some serious A-listers. Um, can we say Reese Witherspoon & Jennifer Aniston respectively?) Synopsis of The First Husband: Annie Adams thinks she has it all. Her longtime boyfriend, Nick, is on the verge of becoming a successful film director, her travel column is nationally syndicated, and they've got a great dog. Her life finally feels like it is falling into place. Until, out of nowhere, Nick announces that he's reconnected with a woman from his past and he's moving out.

Reeling from Nick's exit, Annie stumbles into her neighborhood bar and finds Griffin, a down to earth chef who seems to be everything she didn't know she wanted. Three months later, they're married. And Annie finds herself in a small Massachusetts town -- completely unmoored and wondering if she's picked a life on the rebound. When Nick returns, wanting a second chance, Annie's stuck: truly torn between her husband and the man she may have been meant to marry.

Sound like your kind of book? Hells yeah it does! Well you know the drill...just leave a comment here and be entered to win one of five copies of The First Husband. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm EST on Wednesday, May 18th.

And we're lovin' Laura even more after reading her 5 Do's and Do-Over (especially after discovering we have a mutual soft spot for that show from the late nineties, Felicity! How hot was Ben???)



1.     DO Take a Road Trip

I will grant you: The world is full of incredible places to explore. But my favorite kind of trip is one where I never have to see an airport.  My greatest adventures have involved getting behind the wheel of my car (or a friend’s car—I’m not picky!), putting on some great music (recently I’ve found it’s hard to beat The Avett Brothers), and seeing where I end up.  I’ve driven the California coast a dozen times since moving to Los Angeles three years ago.  And one of the most awe-inspiring moments of my life remains driving into Moab, Utah for the first time—and finding myself surrounded by all that orange mountain rock.  There is just something about seeing the world while driving through it. It is a great way to explore somewhere new—and the absolute best way to revisit a place that matters to you. And a person that matters to you.  The great windfall of a road trip is often all those borrowed hours with the person riding shotgun.

Just make sure to establish beforehand that you’re in charge of the soundtrack.

2.      DO Cook For The People You Love.

I came to this lesson late: Cooking can be an act of total and complete joy.  I’m not talking about dishing out six course gourmet dinners every night—unless you are so inspired, in which case, do you want a new friend?

But I’m sincerely saying that I’ve found making something wonderful and nourishing for the people that matter most to me has added a serious contentment to my life.  From heading down to the farmers market for an early-morning run to navigating a new pasta sauce (may I highly recommend this yummy number from Jessica Seinfeld, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment putting a healthy and comforting meal on the table. Added bonus: This contentment often results in someone pouring me a glass of wine.

(Oh, and this is a side DO: when you cook, someone else better clean.)

3.       DO Walk It Off

During a pilot episode of a TV show that will remain nameless (Felicity! Don’t hold it against me—it was a great show!), the main character offered a piece of wisdom that has always stayed with me.  She said: I'm learning little by little that we decide what our lives are gonna be. Things happen to us. But it's our reactions that matter.

I think this is beyond true.  We often face adversity—sometimes in small ways, sometimes in larger ones—but it is how we handle what is in front of us that determines our happiness.  As much as possible, I try to enjoy the good.  And, when the tough comes breaking in, I remind myself: this too shall pass. And it often passes faster (or at least it feels like it is passing faster) if I find a way to walk it off.  Actually taking a walk—tying up some soft sneakers, breathing in the fresh air—is often the best start I find.

4.   Do Make New Mistakes

For a long time I thought if I played my cards just right, I could avoid making mistakes: No more keeping my mouth closed when it matters most, no longer saying yes when I mean no.  No more unnecessary parking tickets because me and quarters apparently have issues.  But the hard lesson to learn is that if you are going to be involved in your life, you’re going to make mistakes. You simply can’t avoid it, at least some of the time.  But I’ve tried to follow a mantra I recently learned: since you’re going to make mistakes the key is to make new ones.  Learn and explore and forgive in an entirely new ways.  (As an example: just yesterday, instead of the keeping my mouth closed, I spoke up and said the exact wrong thing!)  In all seriousness, this is what I try to do now, as much as possible: I try to learn from what’s happened, truly learn from it.

And then go screw up in brand new ways.

5. DO Agree With Each Other Whenever Possible

One of the greatest things about writing the kind of books I do is that I get a chance to sit down and talk to so many amazing people about their relationships and families.  When I started working on The First Husband, I visited with a couple who I’d first met years ago while finishing my first novel.  I knew this couple was special from the start.  Not only had they been married for forty years, but they still loved and enjoyed each other so much.  I asked them what their secret was.  The wife told me very simply: “Well I listen very carefully and whenever possible, I look for reasons to agree with him.”  Then her husband said: “I do the same.”

In honor of them, this is my final DO.  Agree with each other whenever you can.   Not only does it make the world a little easier, it makes it a whole lot better.


Don’t Expect One Size To Fit All

I don’t mean this in terms of clothing.  When I was younger, I used to think that there was a right way to go—a safe college, a safe path.  It was just a matter of picking correctly.  But, I’ve learned that what is right for one person can be completely wrong for another.  It isn’t about what makes sense on paper, or makes sense to the group at large, it’s what makes sense to you.

So, for my do-over, I’d tell my teenage self this in a way she could hear it.  (I’d probably have to get her on the phone.)  And, when I did, I’d tell her to trust herself more.  She could make a decision—or several—that might be confusing to the outside world—but, if it felt right, she should be brave enough to follow it freely.

Oh, and while I had her, I’d also tell her not to buy that enormous striped sweater just because the saleslady promised her it only came in one size.  Even if she was telling the truth, she also wasn’t. So I guess I also do mean this in terms of clothing.

To find out more about the incredibly talented Laura Dave, head over to her website, follow her on Facebook and Twitter. And don't forget to BUY HER BOOK.

Thanks so much, Laura!










Jennifer Belle's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

The Seven Year Bitch is back bitches! This time in paperback! And if you didn't read it the first time 'round (or even if you did), it's time to snatch up a copy and dive in. We loved, loved, loved this sassy novel. And we thought our favorite magazine, EW, summed it up perfectly: “A fun ride...The heroines of Jennifer Belle’s wry comic novels often feel like a cockeyed cross between Cosmo girl and Woody Allen muse, and...Isolde Brilliant is no different. [Isolde] flirts with infidelity and navigates satiric set pieces (fertility-challenged nannies, bad playdate mommies) like a Baby Bjorne-toting Alice in a kook-infested Wonderland.” Entertainment Weekly

Synopsis: What’s a fabulous New York City girl supposed to do when she finds herself fantasizing about the grim reaper more than she fantasizes about her husband? When she can’t help but give him the finger on the set of Sesame Street? And when she doesn’t exactly hope for a safe landing when he goes away on business?

No, ex-hedge fund manager and new mom Isolde Brilliant hasn’t got the seven-year itch — taking care of her baby and husband and having a growing suspicion that she’s living life in captivity has turned her into a seven year bitch.

That’s New York author Jennifer Belle’s deliciously provocative phrase for the boredom, anger, and hurt that can creep into even the best of marriages — and affect even the most saintly of wives. Belle delivers a dead-on, raw, and hilarious novel about motherhood and marriage, and discovering the life you have is exactly the one you wanted.

Want to win a copy? Well you know the drill by now. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of five copies of The Seven Year Bitch. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm on Monday, May 16th.

We love Jennifer- the way she writes and the way she thinks. Like coming up with the ingenious idea to create buzz for her book by paying actresses to read her book in public! Check out the video here. And the way she approached her 5 Do's and a Do-Over which, just like her books, are a must-read. (Liz can especially relate to #4! You might recall her post entitled, birthday blunder.)



"I will never understand people who say they have no regrets. I have a million regrets. I would have rather written Five Do-overs and one Do, but here is what I’ve come up with"- Jennifer Belle

1.      DO travel as much as you possibly can and put yourself in as many miserable, uncomfortable and even dangerous situations as possible. Along the same lines, but having nothing to do with travel, DO date at least one sociopath for the great sex, but don’t let it last more than a year.

2.      DO something you’ve never done like learn to drive or learn to ski. I never did either and I’m constantly made to feel guilty about it. Every single time I go to a party my husband finds a way to tell people that I don’t know how to drive.

3.      DO try never to hold a grudge. I personally am a terrible grudge-holder, and can’t forgive or forget anything sometimes for years. In fact, an old boyfriend gave me the Indian name “Chief Holds-A-Grudge.” I have also let go of friendships I should have fought harder to keep. Recently I was on a radio show with Alex McCord from the TV show Real Housewives of New York and she said the key to her great marriage was never going to bed angry. I said, “Really? I go to bed angry almost every single night.”

4.      Along those lines, DO tell your husband or boyfriend exactly what you want for your birthday or anniversary. I always ask for a night alone in a hotel. I mean, alone without him. On my last anniversary, we couldn’t afford a hotel, so I made my two sons sleep in bed with my husband, and I slept in my son’s bed all by myself with the door closed. Heaven!

5.      DO save your money and don’t waste it on restaurants and clothes and cabs. I have absolutely no money in the bank because I spend it as soon as I get it. DO however invest in a great Norma Kamali bathing suit and LuluLemon workout clothes so you’ll feel good on the off-chance you decide to go to the beach or work out.


DON’T let your dog sleep in bed with you. My husband can’t even give me a two-second backrub without my dog thoroughly investigating what’s going on in his bed. This is why my dog plays an unfortunate part in all of the sex scenes in my new book.

Watch the book trailer for The Seven Year Bitch here. And to find out more about the hilarious and very talented Jennifer Belle, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Sarah Dessen's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

In case you haven't noticed, May has been a HUGE month for great books. (Which is appropriate considering it's also International Chick Lit Month-head on over to that site if you haven't already for tons of giveaways!)  So it's understandable that we are crushin' on a TON of writers right now! One of them is the wonderfully fantastic NYT bestselling author Sarah Dessen-her latest novel What Happened to Goodbye(her first in two years!) just came out and we have a feeling it's going to shoot up the bestseller list faster than Lindsay Lohan's next stint in jail.  We LOVED it and have a feeling that y'all will too.  It's the kind of YA that us old people(ie people over 18) like too!  And the fact that she's a fellow Fanilow and reality TV addict?  Totally. Awesome.

In What Happened to Goodbye, Dessen tells the story of Mclean, a high school senior who has taken up the practice of assuming a new identity in each of the four towns she's lived in since her parents' bitter divorce. Living with her Dad and estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Want to win a copy for yourself? Then just leave a comment and be entered to win!  So freakin' easy, right?  We'll choose the winners on Monday May 16th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


"When I first got this assignment, I immediately went all neurotic. (This isn’t hard for me, as my default setting is partially neurotic.) Five Dos and One do-over sounds simple, but I am more full of things I wish I hadn’t done than those that I have. Maybe this is because I am so neurotic?

Anyway. Despite my issues, I love a challenge. So here we go…" - Sarah Dessen



1.  DO trust your gut. While I often waffle with indecisiveness about everything from what to eat for breakfast to which shoes to wear, when it comes to the Big Stuff I’ve learned to listen hard to that one, true inner voice. When I was eighteen, I was a hot mess in so many ways. High school was not a good time for me, which is probably why I’m still writing about it. All I wanted was to get out of my hometown as fast as possible, so I accepted the first college admission I received and headed off to a state school forty-five minutes away, where I promptly decided to be an advertising major. Within a week or two, I knew I’d made a mistake. I was miserable, hated my classes, and yet I knew that leaving would signal the biggest failure of my life. (It’s bad enough to drop out of college, worse when your parents are academics. The shame! I can still taste it.) In the end, though, I decided that admitting I’d made the wrong choice was better than wasting a year of my life, so I returned home. There, my parents insisted I sign up for a class at the local university. I’d always liked to write, so I picked creative writing. From the moment I sat down in that class, that first day, and looked at my professor, Doris Betts, I knew I was in the right place. Finally. It just took a detour---and being quiet---to realize it.

2. If you really want something and fail the first time getting it, DO try again, even if it scares you. This is a huge one for me. A few years ago, after much thought, my husband and I decided to try for a baby. Like most people who had spent a bulk of their lives worrying about preventing pregnancy, I figured this would require very little effort on my part. I was wrong. A year later, we’d had no luck, and I started making the rounds of specialists. Eventually, I got a little help from a fertility drug and got the little plus sign on the stick. Success! I was so happy, I immediately told all my friends and family and began making preparations. At eight weeks, I went for my first ultrasound. I peered at the screen, so excited but there was…nothing. The pregnancy hadn’t progressed past the first couple of weeks. I was devastated. It seemed so unfair to try to hard for something and finally get it, only to immediately have it slip away. It was almost embarrassing, although I know that doesn’t make sense. Anyway, I swore I wasn’t going to try again, that I didn’t have the strength for another disappointment. But then, as the weeks passed, I couldn’t shake this image of me with a baby in my arms. I wanted it so much, enough to---just barely, sometimes---outweigh the fear. Two months later I got pregnant again. And while it often felt like I was holding my breath the entire nine months, the day my daughter was born was hands-down my happiest. I cannot imagine my life without her, and I’m grateful every day that I faced down everything that scared me to get her here.

3.  DO have boundaries. Although my parents are from New York and Baltimore, respectively, I was raised in the South. Somehow---although clearly not genetically---I ended up with the Disease to Please that is very common around these parts. You know the symptoms, even if you are from the Arctic Circle: you have trouble saying no, want everyone to like you, and thus often resemble a doormat. This wasn’t a huge problem for me until my late twenties, when I began teaching undergraduates at my alma mater. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my students. But I needed to be an authority figure, not a friend, something I figured out too late once they started interrupting me in class, handing in everything late, and sobbing on my office couch about their boyfriend problems. When it comes to teaching, you can come in hard and then soften up, but if you start soft, you never recover. It look me a few semesters---and a few verbal smack downs---to realize this, but once I did, I think we were all better off. I will admit, though, that even at age forty (gulp!) this is one I still struggle with. It is one thing to draw a clear line between myself and a class full of students, another to do it with friends, family and work colleagues. Each time I waffle, however, I think of the chaos of my classroom that first semester and know the alternative is much, much worse.

4.  DO take pride in the things you love. I’ve spent a lot of my life---or maybe it just seems that way---feeling like I have to justify my various guilty pleasures. One example: television. I love it. I have a weakness not only for really good shows, like Friday Night Lights, Modern Family and 30 Rock, but also for morning TV (I’m a Good Morning America junkie) and just about every franchise of the Real Housewives on Bravo. And don’t even get me started on America’s Next Top Model and Jersey Shore. (Really: I could go on for DAYS.) For a long time, I felt like I had to keep all of this quiet, since Real Writers and Serious People only watch PBS, if they even have a TV at all. They are certainly not on the treadmill, talking back to some woman in Orange County who is all blinged out, driving her Range Rover. But what I have learned, over time, is that life is short. If something makes you happy, don’t question it: just be glad it’s there and soak it up. This same thinking allowed me to finally expose my iTunes music library, which I had always hidden from my music hipster friends when they came over. “Is that Barry Manilow?” they say, and while I used to die a little inside, now I proudly nod and crank up “I Write the Songs” even louder. We can’t all like the same things. How boring would that be? So give me my Housewives and Barry, and you can have Masterpiece Theatre and Bright Eyes. Everyone wins!

5.  DO embrace your flaws. For years now, I’ve been embarrassed about my teeth, which are slightly crooked. They’re not awful, but not perfect like most of my friends who, unlike me, had braces. For years, I was so self conscious that I never showed my teeth when I smiled, opting instead for a close-mouthed look that always made me look both smirky and like the Hamburgler. It was worse than my crooked teeth, not that I was willing to admit this. In fact, it took my officemate at UNC, Phyllis, a straight-shooter from West Virginia, to set me straight. After a photographer came to take my picture for a campus magazine, she shook her finger at me. “Smile!” she said. “Really smile! You look so much better when you do!” I did not want to believe her, but she insisted, even taking some shots of her own when I wasn’t posing to try and prove her point. My insecurity about my teeth persisted, though, to the point that I even went for consultations about getting adult braces. But when they pushed the paperwork at me, all I could think of was Phyllis, who by then had passed from breast cancer. The last time I’d seen her, she pointed at me with that same finger and said, “You keep smiling.” So I do. With my mouth open, crooked teeth out there for the world to see. Do I love them? No. But they are part of me, and will stay just as they are.


Whew! Okay, that wasn’t so hard. Now for the Do-over. I have a lot to choose from, but top of my list is this: I wish I’d traveled more. I’ve always been a homebody---I still live in my hometown---and for years I was afraid to fly, which limited where I could go even when I did get up the nerve or money to leave. But I wish, WISH I had done study abroad when I was in college, backpacked across Europe, or drove across the country with my girlfriends. I wasted so much time being afraid of anything other than what I knew! It makes me crazy.

I know, I know. I can still do all of that, and most likely I will, when my daughter is older. But I’m a mom now, I have a career, a mortgage, responsibilities. I missed that window when all I needed was a passport, a duffle bag and courage. If I could go back, I’d shake my finger at myself just like Phyllis, insisting I go to Italy, Rome, Greece, see all the places I’ve only visited in movies and books. Maybe I’m able to say that because I am older, and have forty years behind me now. But I believe that given the chance, I’d take that other path, the one that led over an ocean to somewhere far, far away. At least, I like to think so.

Want to read more about Sarah?  Then head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks Sarah! xoxo, L&L

Beth Kendrick's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Seriously you guys, we are drooling over all these books about food!  We don't know if it's because we've both been practically starving ourselves for Liz's vow renewal in Vegas later this month or if we just have a major food book fettish, but some of our faves in the last year have been delectably delicious to read! And The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick is no exception. We fell in love with her last year when she sent us Second Time Around and couldn't wait to get our hand on her latest.  It's yummy fun that we highly recommend you indulge in! (It's fat free too!)  Run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy today for your next weekend getaway.

And the best part?  Beth has written a ton of books so if you are just discovering her, you'll have lots to choose from to read next!

Suburban soccer mom Amy has always wanted to stand out from the crowd. Former child prodigy Linnie just wants to fit in. The two sisters have been estranged for years, but thanks to a series of personal crises and their wily grandmother, they've teamed up to enter a national bake-off in the hopes of winning some serious cash. Armed with the top-secret recipe for Grammy's apple pie, they should be unstoppable. Sure, neither one of them has ever baked anything more complicated than brownie mix, but it's just pie-how hard could it be?

Want a copy?  Then leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  We'll choose the winners randomly on Monday May 16th after Noon PST.

And we think you'll love her Do's and a Do-over.  And having had the pleasure of meeting her, we can attest that despite what she claims in her Do-over, she is a VERY cool girl.



1. Try making a cake from scratch. Break out the eggs, butter, flour, and channel your inner confectionista. I could barely boil water when I started writing The Bake-Off, and by the time I handed in the manuscript, I was making apple pies that could rival Martha Stewart’s. If I can do it, anyone can—trust and believe! Plus, you can tell yourself it’s “more healthful” than store-bought pastry or cake from a mix because there are no artificial flavors, colors, or unpronounceable ingredients, and therefore, you should feel no guilt about helping yourself to a second piece. Bon appétit! (Cookbook suggestions for beginners: Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, Cindy Mushet’s The Art and Soul of Baking.)

2. Host theme parties. Suggestions to get you started: “fashion victims”, “hideous holiday sweaters”, “famous couples from cinema”. This takes the pressure off guests feeling like they have to look red-carpet ready, plus the themes encourage mingling. And it’s a great excuse to force your significant other to don a trenchcoat and re-enact the Lloyd Dobler boom box scene from “Say Anything”.

3. Find something to nurture. A garden, a dog, a child, a friend in need, an elderly relative…anything that clicks with your personality. Caring for and tending to another living being benefits you both in so many ways.

4. Spend a day being a tourist in your hometown. Put on some comfortable shoes and hit the museums, landmark restaurants, and tourist traps. (And don’t forget the souvenirs. You can always host a “tacky shot glass party” later.)

5. Cultivate weird holiday traditions. When my husband and I first got engaged, we would spend Christmas and Easter dashing around to 4 or 5 different family celebrations. By the end of the day, we’d be frazzled and hungry, so we’d hit a fast-food drive-through on our way home. Our holiday schedule has changed over the years, but we still like to cap off the festivities with French fries. (And nothing says Mother’s Day like a chocolate milkshake!) Holidays are all about rituals, so go ahead and create your own—even if they make no sense to anyone outside your family.

Do Over: When I was a sophomore in college, I got my bellybutton pierced. (This was during the height of the late 1990’s piercing and tattoo craze.) For reasons that remain unclear, I thought poking a little hole through my flesh would somehow transform me into a cool girl. My roommate had hers pierced, and she was the last word in cool, so I figured I’d follow her lead. Except, my roommate was also the kind of girl who could get away with wearing black leather pants and furry leopard-print jackets to her 8:30 a.m. geology seminar, and I…was not. I was the kind of girl who spent her Friday nights doing statistics homework in the library. But somehow, I got it into my head that a little steel ring would imbue me with irresistible magnetism and mystery. I had to take out the ring when I was in grad school, because I was working in a neuropsychology lab doing MRI studies, and you can’t wear any metal near the MRI machine. (Again, not a problem an actual cool girl would have.) The hole in my skin never closed up. But I’ve come to love it, because it reminds me to be true to myself. Leather pants and leopard print is just not who I am. I wasn’t a cool girl in college, I’m still not cool today, and you know what? I’m cool with that.

To read more about Beth, check out her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks Beth!  xoxo, L&L

Wendy Wax's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Can we just pat ourselves on the back for a second and say that we're really lovin on our 5 Do's and Do-Over feature? It's been uhmazing to get such great advice from some of our favorite authors including Sarah Pekkanen, Kristin Hannah and Jen Lancaster. And now we get to add the immensely talented Wendy Wax to that list! (And she has some powerful advice- more on that in a minute.) But first...since The Accidental Bestseller, we've been hooked on Wendy's writing and are always giddy with anticipation as we wait to see what she comes up with next. And with Ten Beach Road she wowed us again. First of all, when we look at the cover of Ten Beach Road it makes us think of Summer- in a good way! Not in the OMG, we have to sqeeze our booties into bikinis way, but in an I'm excited to lounge by the pool with a cocktail and pretend I don't have a spare tire (Lisa) kind of way.  And then when we read Ten Beach Road, a powerful novel about friendship, trust and love, we were inspired and excited to tell y'all all about it.

Synopsis: Madeline, Avery and Nikki are strangers to one another, but they have one thing in common.  They each wake up one morning to discover that their life savings have vanished, along with their trusted financial manager…leaving them with nothing but co-ownership of a ramshackle beachfront house.

Madeline Singer is a homemaker coping with empty-nest syndrome and an unemployed husband. Avery Lawford is an architect—or was, until she somehow became the sidekick on her ex-husband’s TV show.   And professional matchmaker Nikki Grant is trying to recover from her biggest mistake…

No on is going to save them but themselves. Determined to fight back, they throw their lots in together and take on the challenge of restoring the historic beach house to its former glory. But just as they begin to reinvent themselves and discover the power of friendship, their secrets threaten to tear down their trust, and destroy their lives a second time…

And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of FIVE copies of Ten Beach Road. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm on Wednesday, May 11.



1.      Do try to see the positive. I didn’t come wired this way, but my goal is to become a ‘glass is half full’ person instead of a ‘half empty’, or ‘always-holding-a- dribble-glass’ kind of person. I’m drawn to positive people, and I’d like to be one of them!

2.      Do study or travel abroad if you get the chance. My six months in Florence as a college student were filled with constant challenges, but I learned a lot, much of it about myself. And if you’re single, go ahead and date that Italian guy that you need a dictionary to communicate with. I still remember my Italian boyfriend, Umberto, with fondness and, frankly, sometimes not knowing what they’re saying is a plus.

3.      Do embrace change. Life is too short to settle for less than you want or deserve in either your professional or personal life.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert was right! After years of being attracted to ‘bad boys’ I finally said yes when a ‘nice’ guy asked me out. We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and based on my father-in -law’s maxim that ‘the first forty years are the most difficult’ we’re only fifteen years away from Nirvana.

4.      Do listen to your mother – at least on occasion. I spent a lot of my life rebelling and, in fact, when my entirely suitable husband asked me to marry him, right after I said yes I may have actually added that I hated to make my mother that happy.

It’s amazing how much smarter your mother seems after you become one.

5.      Do open your mind. Step outside your comfort zone. Find new things that interest you. It sounds so obvious, but it can be hard to do. I doubt I’ll ever take up wildlife medicine or hang gliding, but I’m thinking about finally learning golf (one of the many things I rebelled against as a teenager) or rowing, or... I don’t know, but just thinking about what I might try next is invigorating.


For me, this ties in to becoming a ‘glass is half full’ person. I think we all need to be able to appreciate and accept ourselves right now, in the moment. This photo was taken on Pass-a-Grille beach (where Ten Beach Road is set) about 25 years ago. Today I think, hmmm, not bad. (Okay, actually I would kill to look like this now!) At the time I was wishing my thighs weren’t so fat.

To find out more about the lovely and talented Wendy Wax, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks, Wendy! xoxo,


Rachel Gibson's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Today we're ecstatic to have New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson.  Her latest novel, Any Man of Mine is the perfect book to throw in your tote the next time you go on vacay or staycay. Think beachside on Memorial Day Weekend or while lounging on your own lanai (a.k.a. your back porch!). It's sassy, fun and the perfect book for anyone craving a little romance. Synopsis: What happens in Vegas...doesn’t always stay there...Autumn Haven’s Las Vegas “to-do” list said to catch a show and play the slots-not wake up married to a sexy jerk like Sam Leclaire. The first moment she saw him eyeing her like a luscious piece of the dessert buffet, her usually responsible self told her run. And she did-right into the wildest fantasy weekend of her life. But Monday morning jolted her back to reality and before she could say “pass the coffee” Sam was gone.

Now a successful wedding planner, Autumn hasn’t clapped eyes on the heart-breaking hockey superstar for over two years… until she organizes his teammate’s “Special Day,” where Sam makes a BIG play to pick up where he left off! But she has vowed any man of her plays for keeps. Is Sam the man for her or does she banish him to the sin bin forever? Read an excerpt of this juicy novel here. And also check out her THIRTEEN other novels here.

And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of five copies of Any Man of Mine! We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm EST on Friday, May 6th.



1. Do drive with the top down and the music up. Driving on a country road with the top of the car down and the music cranked up feels like freedom to me.

2. Do take time to celebrate.  Some times when life hands me a gift, I am so wrapped up in my day to day life that I forget to stop and celebrate.  A month or two passes before I realize that I forgot a milestone.

3. Do remember the camera and snap a lot of photos. I love to look at old photographs, and a forgotten camera is a missed opportunity to relive great memories. An opportunity that you can never get back . Snapping a lot of photos is equally important because if you’re like me, you only look good in one out of ten pictures.

4. Do splurge on shoes.  I am a shoe-a-holic and love beautiful shoes.  My weight might fluctuate. My jean size might go up and down, but my shoes always look good on me and never make my butt look big.

5. Do fill your home with flowers. Filling my house with deliciously fragrant flowers makes me happy.


The zebra print dress, fishnet stockings, anklets, and five-inch pumps I wore in the eighties.  I thought I was hot, but sadly I was not. One of the few  times I wish I’d forgotten the camera.

To find out more about Rachel Gibson, visit her website and follow her on Facebook.

Thanks, Rachel!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa

Jen Lancaster's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

There's a reason why the fabulous Jen Lancaster has a bazillon-million Facebook fans.  She. Rocks!  And we're as giddy as little schoolgirls at a Justin Bieber concert about the fact that she's sharing her Do's and a Do-Over today here at CLIND! Jen's bestselling memoirs are freakin' hilarious.  Now, with If You Were Here, she makes her fiction debut and we couldn't be happier about it.  In fact, when we discovered that If You Were Herehad more John Hughes's references than a VH1 special-we were SOLD.  Because nothing makes us happier than waxing nostalgic over the movies we grew up with.  And we gotta love anyone that, like us, drooled over Jake and that damn Porsche in the movie Sixteen Candles.  Too bad our "Jake Complex" led us to make some very unfortunate dating choices growing up!  But hey, we don't know about you, but there's still a spot for him and his Porsche on our short list. *wink wink*

And we loved If You Were Here-it's a fun read that will have you LOLing in every chapter!  A perfect pick-me-up after a long week!

If You Were Here follows Amish-zombie-teen- romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) through the alternately frustrating, exciting, terrifying-but always funny-process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that John Hughes's movies made famous. Along their harrowing renovation journey, Mia and Mac get caught up in various wars with the homeowners' association, meet some less-than-friendly neighbors, and are joined by a hilarious cast of supporting characters, including a celebutard ex- landlady. As they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings- with Mac taking on the renovations himself- Mia and Mac will discover if their marriage is strong enough to survive months of DIY renovations.

Sounds fun, right?  We have FIVE copies to give away!  Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.  Doesn't get much easier than that, people.  We'll choose the winners on Friday May 6th after 6pm PST.  Good Luck!



5 DO'S

1. Be prepared. No one will fight harder for what you want than you.  Doing your homework gives you the confidence to fight.  Take job hunting, for example.  When people are asked to come interview, most applicants read the employer’s website and can parrot back the company’s mission statement if asked.  But if you want this job, dig deeper.  Work harder than your competition.  Research the organization in-depth.  Read trade journals.  Gain some perspective on how this employer has the competitive advantage, or what they might need to improve it.  Become well-versed in how legislation/lobbyists are changing the corporate landscape.  Take inventory of your personal strengths and practice explaining how these skills dovetail into the organization’s very specific needs.  Yes, it’s a lot of extra effort.  But if you’re properly prepared, the employer will snap you up if for no reason other than to keep their competitors from hiring you.

2.  Be charming. The above only works if you can do it all with a genuine smile on your face.  Life is a lot like one of my favorite reality shows - Survivor.  Yeah, it’s important to excel at challenges and carry your own weight around camp, but ultimately positive social interactions win the game.  Boston Rob always goes far because he’s smart and he’s strong, but being funny and cute has been of equal importance.  (Maybe he hasn’t won the million yet, but his charm is what keeps CBS asking him back.)

3.  Embrace failure. Despite your best efforts to be both prepared and charming, bad things still happen.  Learn that failure doesn’t define you; recovering from failure does.  When I was laid off from my executive job, I thought my life was over.  Yet during my jobless tenure, I discovered that I didn’t actually like working a boring corporate desk job.  If I hadn’t failed at being an executive, I’d never have had the opportunity to pursue a more creative line of work.  To pass the long, empty days home alone, I wrote scathing blog posts about being unemployed, only to discover that the act of writing fueled me.  Documenting the story of my failure turned into writing Bitter Is the New Black and the rest is history.

4.  More Ferris, Less Cameron.  Ferris Bueller said it best – sometimes you need to take the day off.  Life does move pretty fast sometimes, and if you don’t, say, steal your dad’s vintage Ferrari to cruise around the city on occasion, you might miss it.  Goof off once in a while.  Spend a long, leisurely afternoon with Real Housewives on the TiVo and some Ben & Jerry’s.  You might be surprised at how productive you’ll be if you allow yourself a minute to recharge your batteries.

5.  Charlie Sheen is not #winning.  Ever. Despite Sheen’s deplorable behavior, there are still women out there – clever, confident, capable women – who honestly believe they can change him.  And yet his string of unhappy ex-wives and girlfriends begs to differ.  Sure, it’s always exhilarating to date the Charlies of the world, but ultimately the stress of loving a bad boy is going to break your heart and make you wrinkle prematurely.  A nice guy will give you a happily ever after whereas a bad boy will make a few unhappy months feel like an eternity.  Choose wisely – there’s only so much Botox can fix.


Do not do it yourself. You know how your hairdresser makes a simple bang-trim look effortless?  Like, so easy that anyone could do it?  Including yourself?  And so you tried?  And had to wear a hat for a month?  You see, your stylist is a trained professional and she cuts bangs all day, every day, for fifty-plus weeks a year.  You cannot replicate this.  Do not try.  A while ago, my husband and I took this lesson to heart, only instead of cutting our own hair, we wanted to rehab a house after watching HGTV.  We rationalized, “Hey!  That’s not so hard!  We could rehab a house!  And I could write a memoir about it!”  And then I remembered the last time I cut my own bangs and those were the longest eight weeks of my life, so we didn’t buy the fixer-upper.  Instead, I let my character Mia give home renovations a whirl in my novel If You Were Here.  And when the first toilet came crashing through the ceiling in her office, I bet Mia wished she’d heeded my advice.  Leave it to the professionals.  You’ll thank me later.

To read more about the hilarious Jen Lancaster, head on over to her website or find her on Twitter and Facebook!

Thanks Jen!  xoxo, Liz & Lisa