Janelle Brown

Diana Spechler's 5 Do's and a Do-Over

We're giddy with excitement. Our cheeks are flushed with joy. Our hearts are beating faster. Because we've fallen in love- yet again. Diana Spechler is our latest crush. When we read her latest novel, Skinny (out today!) we were beyond impressed. And we're not alone. Some of our favorite authors, Allison Winn Scotch, Laura Dave and Janelle Brown have all given Skinny majuh praise! What especially intrigued us about Skinny is it's loosely based on Diana's real life experiences making it an even juicier read. Synopsis: In the aftermath of her Orthodox Jewish father's death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating. Desperate to stop bingeing, she abandons her life in New York City for a job at a southern weight-loss camp. There, caught among the warring egos of her devious co-counselor Sheena, the self-aggrandizing camp director Lewis, his attractive assistant Bennett, and a throng of combative teenage campers, she is confronted by a captivating mystery: her teenage half-sister Eden, whom Gray never knew existed. Now, while unraveling her father's lies, Gray must tackle her own self-deceptions and take control of her body and her life.

Watch the book trailer here.

And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win one of five copies of Skinny! We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Thursday, April 28th.

We're thrilled to have Diana on the site today and love her 5 Do's- especially #3. Neither of us ever thought we'd be ever see the inside of a yoga studio but Lisa started yoga when she was pregnant and has fallen in love with it and Liz has recently started getting her downward dog on and isn't lookin' back!



1. DO change things up. At 31, I’ve lived in more than ten towns and cities, sometimes just for brief stretches. My mother, who, despite infinite electronic alternatives, still keeps a Roll-A-Dex, has a dozen “Diana’s address” cards.

I’ve loved the adventures—traversing the country, living for days on gas station snacks and Subway veggie six-inchers, learning that one region’s rummage sale is another region’s garage sale is another region’s yard sale, and turning every place into my comfort zone. And then leaving.

Recently, I was shocked to open my mailbox and find a jury duty summons. I pressed a palm to my chest and whispered, “How did they find me?” as if I were a Wild West outlaw on the lam. I wondered if it was time to move again.

2.  DO give yourself permission to do the art you want to do. So many of us, yearning to be creative, take jobs that promise “opportunities for creativity,” when what that really means is that you’ll write memos.

If you want to dance, dance. If you want to do a leaf rubbing, grab a leaf. If you think you have a book in you, take a writing class at night and get started. Everyone’s entitled to create freely. The nicest thing I do for myself is ignore the voices in my head that yell, “You suck! Get a job! No…a real job!”

3.  Do yoga. I used to think that yoga was for wimps, that if I didn’t bench-press, I wasn’t worth my salt. Okay, I never bench-pressed. But I must have fancied myself some kind of jock, running for miles and miles as my bunion grew and whined and protested. Yoga is a sanity-saver. A bunion-saver, too. Also, it’s not for wimps.

4.  DO own red high heels. I just got a pair. Peep-toe. They make life better. (Don’t lecture me about my bunion.)

5.  DO buy books. If you are a voracious reader (yay for voracious readers!), I understand that you might not be able to afford three new books a week, but at least buy one every month or two. Books are my go-to gifts for birthdays and holidays. Even when there’s no occasion, if I love a book, I buy a few copies and give them to friends. If I feel like doing something nice for myself, I buy a guilty-pleasure book—one of those I have no business reading if I still haven’t read Mrs. Dalloway or Crime and Punishment.

Just buy books. We can’t let television win!


DON’T go through your twenties without learning how to properly apply makeup. I made this mistake, and now I don’t have the patience to learn. Old dog, new tricks, or something like that. I have no idea what to do with my face, except stare at it in the mirror and wish I were married to a makeup artist.

For more information about the lovely and talented Diana Spechler, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks, Diana!




What's On Janelle Brown's Bucket List?

We've been reading fiends over the past few months- in search of books that make us happy, that engage us and resonate with us long after we've finished reading them. And that's exactly what happened when we found Janelle Brown's latest novel. This Is Where We Live is set against a backdrop of hard economic times as we follow a young married couple, Claudia and Jeremy through ups (they're aspiring artists, both on the verge of making it) and downs (Jeremy's manipulative ex appears on the scene AND they can't pay their bills). When their inability to pay their mortgage starts to crush the possibility of realizing their dreams, they begin to question their future. It's a book that makes you think, that reminds you what's important and challenges you.

And three of you will win a copy! Just leave a comment and we'll randomly select the winner tomorrow night.

And, btw, if you haven't had a chance to check out Janelle Brown's brilliant debut novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, definitely put it on your TBR list! Liz had already read and loved it, but Lisa hadn't. And after devouring All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Lisa snatched up Liz's copy and was again in awe of Janelle's talent.

We could go on and on, but we'll stop gushing and let you read Janelle Brown's bucket list. That just like her writing, is inspiring.

Janelle Brown's Bucket List:

1) Go to Africa. When I was 20 years old, my parents took me on a safari in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Watching hippos play and listening to lions roaring at night outside my tent and drinking sundowner G&T: Paradise. Been dreaming of returning ever since.

2) Learn to speak Spanish. It's ridiculous that I live in Los Angeles– and in a neighborhood with a strong Mexican population to boot-  and my year-old child speaks more Spanish than I do. (I learned German in high school, which turned out to be a fairly useless language in my everyday life.)  2b) Learn how to roll my "r's" – a necessity skill for Spanish, and one I have never mastered.

3) Eat at The French Laundry. It's the best restaurant in America (or so the critics say), up in Napa. A foodie paradise. Actually, let's amend this to: Eat at the five best restaurants in the world. Why settle for just one?

4) Read all the great French and Russian authors. I've never read War and Peace, nor Remembrance of Things Past. This shames me.

5) Visit the bottom of the ocean in a submarine. I'm too chicken to scuba dive (even snorkeling makes me panicky), but I'm fascinated by the ocean. I would love to see the ocean floor close up without having to, you know, swim with sharks and eels and octopi.

To learn more about the talented Janelle Brown, visit her website and follow her on Twitter.

Thanks, Janelle!


Liz & Lisa