Second Time Around

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

What’s on Beth Kendrick’s Bucket List?

With the kids heading back to school and leaves beginning to fall off the trees, there's no denying it any longer-Summer is OVUH!  And while we love Fall (Liz is SO ready to bust out her new black jeggings!), we're lamenting the end of  "beach read season".  Which is sort of strange since we didn't make to the beach as much as we would have liked and when we did, had zero time to read! But rest assured, we still read plenty of light and fun books we LOVED this summer.  One of them? Second Time Around by the lovely Beth Kendrick- her seventh novel. When a group of old college friends inherit a million dollar windfall, it gives them the second chance to live out the dreams they left behind to pursue more practical things after graduation.  Almost overnight, a professor, a bartender, a copywriter and an administrative assistant reinvent themselves as a novelist, an event planner, a pastry chef, and a bed-and-breakfast owner.  Fun and entertaining, Second Time Around is a perfect escape after a long week. We loved it!

So it's no surprise that we loved Beth's bucket list too!  We're happy to discover that we're not the only ones who secretly dream of being a surf goddess or are fixated by The September issue.  But don't take our word for it-check out Beth's list for yourself!

AND...we have FIVE copies of Second Time Around to give away! Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win! We'll pick the winners on Thursday night.


1. Learn to Surf I took one lesson five years ago and I want more!

2. Acquire matching bedroom furniture When my husband and I first bought our house, this was at the top of our to-do list. But somehow, between re-plumbing the bathrooms, installing new windows and battling the freakishly resilient weeds in the backyard, we lost sight of our goal.

We just celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary and our bedroom is still a hodge-podge of battered antiques, IKEA castoffs, and random piles of books (mine) and half-empty water glasses (his). I’m not even going to get into the curtain situation. (Of course, it goes without saying that my toddler’s bedroom is straight out of a Pottery Barn Kids photo shoot. So wrong.)

3.  Watch the Chicago Cubs win the World Series Actually, I would like to be the Cubs’ starting pitcher for the final game in the series, but I would settle for watching from the bleacher seats. Go Cubbies!

4. Visit Cinque Terre When I was a headstrong lass of 20, I spent a semester in Florence, Italy. While there, I had the opportunity to take a day trip to Cinque Terre, which is a cluster of seaside towns that is supposed to be breathtaking and picturesque and basically a Merchant Ivory film all rolled up with sunshine and gelato.

I wouldn’t know.

I turned down the chance to see it so that I could hole up in my bedroom and work on my grad school applications.

(Bangs head against desk.)

My reasoning was that I’d go see it next time I was in Italy. You know, because it’s always so easy to traipse off to Europe whenever the mood strikes you.

(More head banging. Ow.)

Also on my must-see list: Ayers Rock in Australia, the Northern Lights in Alaska, and the legendary underground jail cell at Disneyland. (Rumor has it that when you get your mug shot snapped, you stand on a pair of painted Donald Duck feet. I’m dying to see it. Yes, I’m eleven years old.)

5. Go shopping with Grace Coddington (the creative director of American Vogue) I just watched the documentary The September Issue, which follows Anna Wintour and her editorial staff as they prepare Vogue’s most important issue of the year, and I have a total girl-crush on Ms. Coddington. She seems funny, spirited, and brilliant--the kind of person who makes high fashion playful and accessible instead of intimidating and exclusionary.

Plus, I need a fashion intervention. Badly. The great thing about being a writer is that I work at home, in ratty old yoga pants if I so desire. The not-so-great thing is, my leaving-the-house wardrobe has been whittled down to a scant 4 or 5 outfits consisting of boring black shirts, dark denim, and flip flops. While the idea of jazzing things up with bright belts and statement necklaces and bad-ass boots appeals, I find excursions to malls to be overwhelming and stressful. (It does not help that I have the aforementioned toddler singing “Help Me, Rhonda” at ear-shattering decibels while I browse the racks.)

The time has come to call in a professional. I want Ms. Coddington to take me under her wing and school me on mixing textures and tell me whether someone with my body type should be caught dead in skinny jeans. If Vogue ever decides to do a feature on author makeovers, I’m first in line. Call me, Grace!

Thanks so much Beth! xo, L&L

To learn more about the fabulous Beth Kendrick, head on over to her website and be sure to check out her Facebook page.