5 Steps To A Better Me by Liz

I'm not gonna lie-I'm not too sad to say goodbye to 2010.  While it was a year with some awesome highlights(Lisa's wedding and pregnancy, so many AWESOME authors and giveaways...), it was also a year of transition(new job, juggling blog and aforementioned new job and my daughter's first year of kindergarten...).  And geez, could any more of my fave celebrity couples call it quits?  Even though there's part of me that is sooo stoked my celebrity crush and complete HOTTIE Ryan Reynolds is single again, it always bums me out to see people throw in the towel.  And was I the only one that thought that Courtney Cox and David Arquette were going to make it for the long haul?

But what makes 2011 most special is Lisa's special delivery-due ANY MINUTE.  I wish we lived in the same state so I could bring her over a casserole (Do people still do that anymore?) and a Xanax after the baby arrives.  Just kidding.  She really doesn't like casseroles.

As you might have guessed, Lisa's on maternity leave for the next month or so.  So since she's not available, I made her New Year's resolutions for her.  And I think I did a damn fine job, if I do say so myself!

Lisa's New Year's Resolutions

1. Get baby to sleep

2. Get myself to sleep

3. Mop floors. Again! (Did I mention her cleanliness obsession?)

4. Repeat above steps.

And me? On NYE, our family declared our resolutions for 2011.  My daughter resolved to try to be less annoyed by my son and my son resolved to stop using he words POOP and BOOTY in every single sentence. (See why she gets annoyed?)  And the hubs?  He resolved to win Streak for the Cash-the ESPN online contest that he's obsessed involved with.

But what about me?  I mean, I've got a ton of shit to get done in 2011.  And that means I need more than just one resolution, right?  Right!

And speaking of resolutions, I have an advanced copy of Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda -it's a story about a woman resolved to make some major changes in her life.  It doesn't come out until May but you can win it here!  Just leave a comment and you're entered! I'll choose the winners after 6PM PST on Friday night.

Liz's 2011 Resolutions

1. ROCK my new bangs- So... I'm not sure what I was thinking last week.  But I'm going to make the best of it.

2. Get a literary agent- It's been a long road but I have a feeling that 2011 is the year we go BIGTIME.  Or at least that's what my spiritual counselor told me anyway.

3. Start P90X- Getting six pack abs is the least I can do after I forced asked my husband to meet some creepy guy from Craig's List in the Walgreen's parking lot so I could save $50 on it. Related resolution: Lose the five pounds I've gained sitting on my ass the past two weeks playing the Wii we got for Christmas. Damn you Super Mario Brothers! Related resolution #2: Come to terms with the fact that the Wii has brought out latent "gamer" tendencies in my husband that I had been previously unaware of. *gag*

4. Complete third manuscript- Oh, this one will be easy.  With Lisa's new bundle of joy and my work schedule, I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to do this!  Besides, Lisa and I always work best together when she's sleep-deprived and I'm overwhelmed. *cue girl fight*  I'm just kidding!  I'm actually really looking forward to getting back to writing again.  It will be like visiting an old friend I haven't seen in a while.

5. Learn how to spell resolution-Seriously, what would I do without spell check?  And why do I want it to have two "u"s in it so badly? Clearly, I was absent the week it was on the spelling list.

Happy New Year to each and every and every one of you!  I hope all your dreams come true in 2011.

xoxo, Liz

Birthday Discombobulation by Liz

I've always had a love/hate relationship with my birthday.  Love the anticipation, hate the possible letdown.  And even though I'm not one of those people that needs a huge celebration each year,  I still always dread the inevitable birthday discombobulation. From the L&L  dictionary:

Birthday Discombobulation(birth-day dis-come-bob-you-lay-shun) The heightened sensitivity that one's birthday won't be the best day of the year.  Usually associated with erratic behavior, tears and possible temper tantrums.  Can be intensified by "milestone" birthdays.

C'mon, admit it-you've all had this at least a few times. Especially as more birthday candles keep mysteriously appearing on your cake each year. (How am I thirty-seven already? And when did all these damn wrinkles show up?)  For me, Birthday Discombobulation (or BD as I like to call it), usually starts a few weeks before the big day.  And it's often triggered because the Type A'er in me really, really wants to be in control  what we do that night.  Which should work out fine, right?

Well it would, except for the fact that there's a super secret sensitive beyotch lurking inside me that wants my husband to:

A) Read my mind about what I'd like to do.

B) Then plan it exactly the way I would.

And most importantly:

C) Buy me a gift that I didn't ask for but have always secretly wanted (mind reading also comes in handy here...).

Should be a piece of cake, right?  Um, no.  Not really.  The reality is that many of us make it impossible for our significant others to succeed in pleasing us on our birthdays.  In fact, last year, I had a MAJUH BD meltdown over a necklace (long story!  But you can read about it here).

And the lesson learned from that fiasco?  If you want to have a fabulous birthday, you need to cut the people around you a bit of slack. Well, okay, maybe that's what I should have learned. Because, here we are, less than one week from my bday, and I can feel the BD trying to take hold of me again. And I.  Must. Fight. It. Off.

They say self-awareness is the first step.  And now that I know this sh*t is about to take over my birthday again, I've developed a four-step BD avoidance plan.

Step One: Tell the hubs where I want to go to dinner that night. You know, somewhere fun, but not too loud, but not too quiet, that is really chic, but also not too expensive.  Somewhere with enough beautiful people to make me feel cool about being there, but not  so hawt that I feel fat and old. Oh, and no, I don't have anywhere specific in mind. See? I made it easy.

Step Two: Upgrade from birthday happy hour with the girls to full night GNO.  Well, okay, maybe my super fabulous friends put this into effect.  But either way, birthday GNO is the BEST! Say it with me: G-N-O, G-N-O!

Step Three: Fly your best friend in. Well, okay, maybe Lisa is already flying in that day for something else. But I'm going to pretend it's just for me.

Step Four: Realizing what a complete ass I sound like when whining about BD. And the fact that my husband practically needs a Xanax prescription each September to get through this time?  Not cool.  (In my defense, I do RAD stuff for his birthday every year!  So at least I'm not a BD hypocrite.)

Now I'm clearly ready for birthday success, right?  The first hurdle?  This coming weekend with the hubs. And I can just feel that THIS will be the year that I conquer BD.  And if for some reason I don't, well, I'll drown it in Grey Goose.

And since it's almost my birthday, I feel like giving something away.  How about two signed copies of our debut, I'll Have Who She's Having? It just won best debut novel over at Chick Lit Plus! Leave a comment here to enter and I'll choose a name on Friday night.

And to all my fellow Libra's, here's to BD-free birthdays!

xoxo, Liz

7 Seconds in Heaven With...Robert Rave

We knew when one of our favorite authors and people, Beth Harbison, called Robert Rave's second novel, Waxed, "Charming and hilarious...the perfect summer read and a ton of fun," that we had to check it out. And not surprisingly, Beth was right. Robert's writing is sassy, funny and overall brilliant. And the cover of his book is beyond!  Waxed is the story of three relationship-challenged sisters who work at New York's hottest waxing salon. There's big sis, Carolina, who owns the salon and is caught in a love triangle. Then there's middle sis, Anna, who reluctantly joins the workforce after her divorce. And there's Sofia, a newlywed who doesn't know if she wants the domestic life or the night life. We loved this story about how some women will do anything to look the part. (Um, I think we can all relate ladies! Need we discuss our last Brazilian bikini wax or the endless hours spent getting weaved, plucked and otherwise prodded?) But what we really boned out on was that a story like this was written by a man!

And five of you will be the lucky winners of a copy of Waxed. Just leave a comment and your name will be entered. We'll randomly select the winners this Thursday!

After reading and loving Waxed, we knew Robert Rave would be perfect for our 7 Seconds in Heaven feature. He's a talented writer, funny and, well, easy on the eyes! And we were so right about him! In fact, he had us at Money Can't Buy You Class!

So without further adieu, we'll let you spend 7 Seconds in Heaven with Robert Rave!

1. Quickest way to make me smile? Mention the words “satchels of gold” or start singing "Money Can't Buy You Class" and we’ll be fast friends.  I admit it.  I’m addicted to the The Real Houswives of New York and all of its craziness. Don’t get me wrong, I like high-brow cinema, literature and music too, but sometimes there’s nothing better than a little junk food television.

2. I was raised as a Midwestern “meat and potatoes” guy.  However, within the last couple years I’ve become vegetarian and now I’m pretty much vegan.  I’m not hardcore, but I’m pretty good.  My parents are beside themselves about this.  They think I’ve lost my mind and are completely baffled as to how I could give up a nice steak or cheeseburger.  Theyhave told me repeatedly that it’s time I move out of California and back to the Midwest or at the very least to New York City where I lived for nine years.

3. I have a crazy sweet tooth.  Cakes, cookies, and desserts are my thing.  However, now those sweet-treats are (mostly) vegan.  I make frequent trips to Babycakes bakery for their cupcakes and chocolate-chip cookie sandwiches.  They are seriously incredible—you would never know that they are vegan.  When I feel really inspired, I make their chocolate chip cookies at home.  However, I end up giving most of them away because if left at my house, I will eat every last one.

4. Because of my love of baked goods, you’ll also find me religiously attending Barry’s Bootcamp to work off every last crumb.  It’s probably one of the best workouts that I’ve ever done.  I’ve completely changed my body because of it.  I also have the most random ideas for novels while I’m working out there so I feel like I’m multi-tasking.

5. I have two French Bulldogs that act as my Xanax. I gave them old men names because it totally suits their personalities.  My older dog was named after one of the characters from The Golden Girls.  Completely and utterly embarrassing, I know.

6. I really want to be a Dad. Wow. It’s like I suddenly went from a light-hearted Q&A to filling out a match.com questionnaire. But it is true. It’s one of those things that has really been playing on my mind a lot lately.  I think I would be okay if it didn’t happen for me, but I still like to imagine the possibility.

7. Next up for me is a non-fiction book from St. Martin’s in the fall of 2011. The title keeps changing so become a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to learn more about it.  Right now, I’m writing the outline for a series of books that I’m so beyond excited about I can’t even tell you. I don’t want to say anymore—but I love it.

To find out more about Robert Rave, visit his website and follow him on Facebook. And don't forget to buy Waxed here!

Thanks so much, Robert!