best chick lit of 2012

Lit IT Girl: Debut author Allie Kingsley

Today's guest: Allie Kingsley Why we love her: We love discovering fabulous new authors!

Her debut: The Liar, The Bitch and The Wardrobe

The scoop on it: If you’re going to step on people on your way to the top, you might as well do it in stilettos . . .

. . . Or so she’s been told. Lucy Butler, former wallflower, lands her dream job working for her idol, world-famous fashion photographer Stefano Lepres. But in a world where getting doused in coffee for not getting the order right is the new normal, she isn’t getting any closer to her ideal of being behind the camera herself.
Then a superstar actress generously takes Lucy under her wing and teaches her the ways of the rich and famous—treating her to racks of designer clothes and introducing her to a life of private planes and penthouse suites. Soon Lucy is dating a rock star, attending the hottest Hollywood parties, and dressing the part.
Lost in the luxury, she loses sight of the things that once mattered most. It’s going to take a hard blow from the high life to send Lucy back to the real life she always wanted.
Our thoughts on it: LOVED this book loosely based on Allie's own real-life experiences in Hollywood. So juicy! You will love it too!

Giveaway: FIVE COPIES. Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll select the winners after 3PM PST on Monday, September 10th.

Fun fact: Allie's book is the first ever where the characters have been professionally styled.

Where you can read more about Allie: Twitter, Hello Giggles and Facebook.


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I was days away from signing with the second agent that I queried not because I felt he was 'the one' but because he was very good on paper and well known in publishing. Then, I happened to have met my agent by chance through an acquaintance. She is also very good at what she does but furthermore, we had a connection and our faith in each other was instinctive and mutual from the start. Things got a little dramatic when I made the (right) choice to go with my (awesome) agent. It was very much like The Notebook. Except it was all done sans pin curls. And via e-mail.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? I know that it's not the type of rejection letter that you're referring to, but my favorite line comes from my Mother. She begged of me last year, "Please don't count on this book-thing happening. Please get a real job..." When she said it, once the sting subsided, it was as if she threw a can of kerosene onto my little bonfire. It was the obvious choice to quote her on my dedication page.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel?  Being a starving artist at thirty is not a good look. In order to give the novel my full attention, I made it my full-time job which made me my own full-time unpaid intern. I made so many sacrifices to keep it moving, ie; sold my coveted black patent peep-toe Louboutins on ebay to cover bills (moment of silence), slept on my friends couches for weeks at a time - countless times - to sublet my apartment, at one point lived on a $5 a day budget in one of the most expensive cities in the world - all while watching my friends excel at their jobs and missing out while they got to do lavish, exciting things. The hardest part about it was not knowing for certain whether it would pay off in the end or not. Everyone in my life thought that I was insane taking the risk. And you know what? It was totally worth it.

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? The best advice came from my best friend. She said to me on a regular basis: "Keep your head down", meaning don't look behind you and don't look ten steps ahead either - focus on right where you are in that moment and address what needs to be done today to get you to tomorrow. To this day, I remind myself daily to 'keep my head down' because all of the excitement ahead can feel very overwhelming, daunting even and the best and only thing one can do is to remain present.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? Lots of champagne. Jumped into a pool fully clothed. Got a Penguin tattoo on my forearm. In that order... I think.

6. Who is your writer crush? Hank Moody.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? How to Build A Sailboat Out of Desert Island Material For Dummies

8. What's on your iPod right now? The Doors, Britney Spears, Rolling Stones, Fiona Apple, White Stripes, Jay-Z.  I'm a fan of the random shuffle.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? The best way I know how to quiet my mind chatter is to plug into a loud playlist and walk around aimlessly, whether along the beach or about the streets of NYC. Well that and black tar heroin.

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? My book. And Jesus.

Thanks, Allie! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa

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!




Kathleen McCleary's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Kathleen McCleary Why we love her:  Her writing is honest and heartfelt. We've all been where her characters have been. We love that we can relate.

Her latest: A Simple Thing

The scoop on it: When Susannah Delaney discovers her young son is being bullied and her adolescent daughter is spinning out of control, she moves them to remote, rustic Sounder Island to live for a year. A simple island existence—with no computers or electricity and only a one-room schoolhouse—is just what her over scheduled East Coast kids need to learn what's really important in life. But the move threatens her marriage to the man she's loved since childhood, and her very sense of self.

For Betty Pavalak, who moved to Sounder to save her own troubled marriage, the island has been a haven for fifty years. But Betty also knows the guilt of living with choices made long ago and actions that cannot be undone. The unlikely friendship between Susannah and Betty ignites a journey of self-discovery for both women and brings them both home to what they love most. A Simple Thing moves beyond friendship, children, and marriages to look deeply into what it means to love and forgive—yourself.

Our thoughts: A moving story about friendship and forgiveness.

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, August 5 after 3PM PST.

Fun fact: At age 12 she was briefly considered for the lead role in “The Exorcist,” until her mother found out what the movie was about. (Her mom had a friend who was a casting agent.)

Where you can read more about Kathleen: Twitter, Facebook or her website.


1. No one is really paying that much attention. Do you know how self-conscious you feel? How shy? Let it go. Really. Everyone around you is busy thinking their own thoughts and worrying about the minutiae of their own lives. They don’t notice your pimples (well, okay, maybe that one giant one in the middle of your forehead) or your bad hair days or your bowlegs or that stupid thing you said at a party three weeks ago. And if they do notice all that stuff and tell you about it, they’re not worth your notice. Let them go.

2. Hang on to that friend. Your girlfriend across the street, the one you share most things with, including your biggest crushes, a love of Motown music, and your first taste of alcohol? She’s a keeper. She’ll be the maid of honor in your wedding; you’ll care for her oldest daughter while she’s in the hospital giving birth to baby number two, she’ll cry with you when your father dies, and you’ll still laugh so hard every time you get together that your face hurts. Friends like that don’t come along too often. When you run across one, hang on to her as though your life depends on it. Someday, it will.

3. You get better with age. I’m not kidding. That baby fat will drop away. You’ll lose those chubby cheeks and that awkward way of standing with both arms crossed over your stomach (which believe me, is flatter than you think). You’ll figure out that you are at least as smart as everyone else. You won’t be afraid to express your opinions, to admit it when you’re wrong, or to apologize. You’ll be great at things you never dreamed you’d be good at, like soothing a fussy baby and writing and doing handstands (no kidding!). You’ll learn to love your body for what it can do, and not hate it for what it doesn’t look like. You’ll laugh more easily and without self-consciousness. You’ll understand with your whole being how important it is to be kind. You’ll understand that this is what true beauty is about.

4. It’s okay to be a book nerd. Keep reading. I know you spend a lot of time alone in the library. You know what? One day, you’re going to write books that will sit on those shelves. It’s your little shot at immortality. Grab it.

5. You are worthy. Of attention, of respect, of love, of understanding, of forgiveness—from yourself most of all. You’re a keeper, too. Take care of yourself. Be kind.

Thanks, Kathleen!


Liz & Lisa



Beth Harbison's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Beth Harbison Why we love her: We love her plots, her characters, her book covers... We just love on her, K?

Her latest: When In Doubt, Add Butter (July 17)

The scoop on it: As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

Our thoughts: We are suckers for a great story about the search for true love.

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win- we'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, July 22 after 3PM PST.

Fun Fact: Beth's daughter, Paige Harbison is also an author!

Where you can read more about Beth: Facebook, Twitter and her website.


1. Invent the iPod.  Not the first click wheel one, skip straight to the iPod Touch and reap the rewards of essentially having invented the iPhone at the same time.  Or think of another way to earn money, because financial independence will buy you a lot of peace of mind in your life.  You never, ever want to be dependent on anyone else for anything...and you especially don’t want to be dependent on anyone else for everything.

2. Don’t do things you know are wrong. Even from a young age, lingering regret is possible.  Your parents can’t save you from bad decisions.  No one can.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  And don’t drink and drive.  Had I done the former more often I’d be happier today and had several people I know done the latter, they’d still be alive.

3. Don’t Imagine You Can Save/Tame/Rescue Someone Else.  That’s not you being altruistic, that’s you being a control monkey.  If you find yourself spending a lot of emotional cash trying to fix someone else, ask yourself if you’re doing it for them or if you’re doing it for some sense of accomplishment for yourself.  Then, no matter what your answer, tell yourself to shut up and live the best life you can and let others take care of themselves!

4. Remember What Makes You Happy.  It’s not always possible to “follow your passion” or “do what you love” for a living, especially right off the bat when you’re starting your adult life.  If you’ve always love ventriloquism or - shudder - clowning, that alone is not a guarantee that you’ll make your fortune at it.  But there is no greater treasure than having private hobbies that reliably give you pleasure even when the rest of the world lets you down.  For me this was always reading.  Or writing.  Or painting a room (which I invariably do badly but enjoy nevertheless), or completing some other crafty project (ditto on the sloppiness).  If your Friday Night Date(less) Frenzy can be quelled by a few hours with a good book, you are far less likely to make foolish mistakes in the name of desperation.

5. Do What Makes You Happy.  It isn’t enough to know or remember what makes you happy, you have to do the thing.  Too often, especially as we get older, we hold off pleasure as a “prize” for after we achieve drudgery.  Well, a life of drudgery doesn’t have a lot of room or motivation for pleasure.  Balance your “musts” with your “wants” and if you run out of “wants” don’t feel guilty about finding more!  A truly great life is made of many small happy moments, snapshots along the way, not just big, rare masterpiece moments and prizes.

Thanks, Beth! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa

Gigi Levangie Grazer's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Gigi Levangie Grazer Why we love her:  We fell in love with her after we read her fabulous New York Times bestselling debut, The Starter Wife.

Her latest: The After Wife (July 10)

The scoop on it: L.A. is no place for widows. This is what forty-four-year-old Hannah Bernal quickly discovers after the tragic death of her handsome and loving husband, John. Misery and red-rimmed eyes are little tolerated in the land of the beautiful. But life stumbles on: Hannah’s sweet three-year-old daughter, Ellie, needs to be dropped off at her overpriced preschool, while Hannah herself must get back to work in order to pay the bills on “Casa Sugar,” the charming Spanish-styled bungalow they call home.

Fortunately, Hannah has her “Grief Team” for emotional support: earth mother and fanatical animal lover Chloe, who finds a potential blog post in every moment; aspiring actress Aimee, who has her cosmetic surgeon on speed dial; and Jay, Hannah’s TV producing partner, who has a penchant for Mr. Wrong. But after a series of mishaps and bizarre occurrences, one of which finds Hannah in a posh Santa Monica jail cell, her friends start to fear for her sanity. To make matters worse, John left their financial affairs in a disastrous state. And when Hannah is dramatically fired from her latest producing gig, she finds herself in danger of losing her house, her daughter, and her mind.

One night, standing in her backyard under a majestic avocado tree, in the throes of grief, Hannah breaks down and asks, “Why?” The answer that comes back—Why not?—begins an astounding journey of discovery and transformation that leads Hannah to her own truly extraordinary life after death.

Our thoughts: A hilarious page-turner. It's perfect to take on your vacay this summer.

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment to be entered to win- we'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, July 15 after 3pm PST.

Fun fact:  She's written numerous screenplays including Step-mom starring Julia Roberts.

Where you can read more about Gigi: Facebook, Twitter and her website


(She sent 12 and we loved them all!)

1. That cute, sexy surfer dude you have a crush on who ignores you will have a beer belly, three ex-wives and still be wearing Hawaiian shirts when he’s 40.

2. You will always have a soft spot for Justin Bieber, as I always have for Michael Jackson; your first crush fades but never goes away.

3. Finish college; you are smarter than you think you are.

4. Be fearless when it comes to your dreams; if you don’t feel confident, pretend until you do.

5. Work out regularly. Take a walk. Get outside. Breathe. Eat right 75% of the time, but always have chocolate on standby.

6. 15 is closer to 40 than you think.

7. You will like your looks better as you age – do not waste time lamenting your height, weight, chubby cheeks, bowl legs or curly hair.

8. That mean guy will never change – never will that nice guy, either.

9. It’s all going to be okay. Truly.

10. Don’t be distracted by bad boys, alcohol or drugs. All of them are addictions, and all wreak havoc on your skin and your life’s purpose.

11. Nothing is the end of the world. The end of the world is the end of the world.

12. Your parents were right.

Thanks, Gigi!


Liz & Lisa


Jennifer Weiner's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Jennifer Weiner! Why we love her: Too many reasons to count! (#5 of the "5 Things" she'd tell her teen self is yet another reason.)

Her latest: The Next Best Thing (July 3)

The scoop: Actors aren’t the only ones trying to make it in Hollywood.…At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders left her childhood home in Massachusetts and headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to make it as a screenwriter. Six years later, she hits the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie’s going to be the showrunner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on her boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials.

Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider’s ear for writer’s room showdowns and an eye for bad backstage behavior and set politics, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood roller coaster, a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true.

Our thoughts: LOVED. She just keeps getting better. How does she do it?

Fun fact: She mentioned us when she delivered the opening keynote ay BEA’s 2012 Bloggers Conference! We haven't been this excited about anything since Spanx or Lasik eye surgery or Phillip Phillips...

Giveaway: 5 copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday, July 29.

Want to see Jen on tour? Check out her "Cupcakes Across America" book tour schedule.








1.    It gets better. No, really, it does. If I tell you how much better, you won’t even believe me. So just keep reading; keep writing stories, and some day, all those guys who were mean to you in Mr. Hallas’s American History class are going to ask to be your friend on Facebook. (Never mind what Facebook is. Just trust me – they’re going to want to be your friends. It’s going to be amazing).

2.    Just because it’s your wedding doesn’t mean that everyone’s going to start magically behaving themselves. In fact, it is far more likely that they will magically become even more awful/clinging/self-involved/horrible versions of themselves. Just roll with it. Also, enjoy the appetizers, because you aren’t going to be eating any dinner.

3.    You are not fat. Not even close. In fact, you are never going to be thinner than you are right now. Enjoy it.

4.    It’s all material. Your dad is going to abandon you and your siblings. Your mother’s going to come out of the closet and start dating a woman who wears her wallet on a chain. Your father is going to die, and you’re going to learn about it because the police will call you, and you’ll try to use your Amex to pay for his funeral because you need the miles. It’s all going to be heartbreakingly sad…but it’s going to make you and your siblings so close. It won’t kill you. It will make you stronger. And, someday, you’re going to write about it, and some of the people who read it will feel less alone in the world.

5. Having a book turned into a movie, or hitting the best-seller list, feels wonderful. But nothing feels better than helping someone else’s book take off and find its audience. The sooner you figure that out, the happier you’ll be.

Thanks Jen! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Jen, you can also go to her website, Facebook or Twitter.

Claire Cook's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Claire Cook Her latest: Wallflower in Bloom

Why we love her: What's not to love? She's a bestselling author of 9 fabulous books (always the perfect summer reads). Not to mention she's super supportive of lil ol' authors trying to make it in the big ol' publishing world. Ahem, like two gals you might know.

The scoop: Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.

Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.

Our thoughts: As reality TV junkies, we love the idea of a regular gal making it on a show like Dancing with the Stars. C'mon, how great is that?

Giveaway: 5 copies of Wallflower in Bloom (one of them is signed by Claire!). Leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Monday, June 18 after 6PM PST.

Fun fact: Lisa recently got to meet Claire. She's hilarious. And she has great stories about a lot of things-- including John Cusack.

Where you can read more about Claire: Facebook, Twitter and her website.




Thank you so much for inviting me to do this, Liz and Lisa! And can I say how excited I was to finally meet Lisa in person on book tour – so much fun hanging out with you, Lisa! xxxxx

1. When people show you their true colors, color yourself convinced the first time. Do not give them three or four or twelve chances to redeem themselves. Do not think that if you were a better friend, you would inspire them to be, too. Skip all the drama that’s sure to follow, and get out now.

2. Always do more than the situation requires. When you do just the bare minimum, that’s what comes back to you. And because so few people do more than they have to do in any given situation, it’s a great way to stand out.

3. Karma is a boomerang. Do nice things for people. Lots of people. One day you will find that the goodwill this has generated over the years is the thing that propels you to where you want to go.

4. Hang around with the quirky people. They’re so much more interesting than the cool people.

5. Life is long. If you don’t write a book by the time you’re twenty, you’re not a failure. You simply need to live your life to find your stories. There’s no rush, and you will have soooo much fun and appreciate it more when it finally happens to you at forty-five. Yeah, I know that sounds ridiculously old, but trust me, it feels different when you get there.

Thanks, Claire!



Meg Mitchell Moore's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Meg Mitchell Moore Why we love her: Her debut, The Arrivals, (in paperback now) was one of our favorite books of 2012

Her latest: So Far Away (It's out tomorrow- May 29! Pre-order it here. )

The scoop: The lives of a wayward teenager and a lonely archivist are unexpectedly joined through the discovery of an old diary.

Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents’ ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. She discovers a dusty old diary in her family’s basement and is inspired to unlock its secrets.
Kathleen Lynch, an archivist at the Massachusetts State Archives, has her own painful secrets: she’s a widow estranged from her only daughter. Natalie’s research brings her to Kathleen, who in Natalie sees traces of the daughter she has lost.
What could the life of an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? In the pages of the diary, they will learn that their fears and frustrations are timeless.
Our thoughts: Meg delivers yet again with this riveting sophomore novel. Definitely an author to watch!

Giveaway: 5 copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm EST on Sunday, June 3rd.

Fun fact: No only is Meg's writer crush Elin Hilderbrand, but Meg was lucky enough to get a blurb from Elin for The Arrivals.

Where to read more about Meg: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


1. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. All those people who tell you not to sit in the sun are right. Pale skin can be beautiful. Baby oil is really only for babies.

2. Drive across the country at least once before you have children. I am about to do for this for the first time as our family takes on a cross-country move. The trip will be rushed, the dog will be cranky and I’ll take the shortest way from point A to point B. Oh, how I had wish I had time to take it slowly and do it right! I want to stop in Midwestern diners and eat pie, drive down little main streets in towns I’ve never heard of, hear ten different accents in a week.

3. Appreciate your parents. I guess this is one of the great paradoxes of the world, but truly you do not understand just how much your parents do for you until you are trying to keep little people happy and fed and turn them into productive members of society. Those things you got in trouble for in high school? You deserved it. At the same time, try hard to remember what all of this feels like so that when your own kids go through it you can empathize.

4. Trust your talent, work your butt off. It took me a long time to trust my abilities to write fiction. Turns out the only thing that separated the people who were doing it from me was that they were willing to work for it and take the necessary risks.

5. Honey, Boy George is gay. Take the pictures down from your locker.

Thanks, Meg!


Liz & Lisa


Jill Kargman's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Jill Kargman Why we love her: She's hilarious (and used lots of curse words in her "5 things" see below!)

Her latest: Rock Star in Seat 3A (out tomorrow- May 22!)

The scoop: It's Hazel's thirtieth birthday and she has everything she's ever wanted: a kickass job, a dream apartment in New York City, and the perfect boyfriend—who's just days away from proposing. Hazel thinks she's happy but isn't quite ready to settle down. So when her most far-fetched fantasy enters the realm of the possible, shouldn't she drop everything to see it through?

The morning after her birthday, Hazel boards a flight to L.A. only to get the surprise of her life. When she's bumped up to first class, extra legroom and free drinks are absolutely the last things on her mind when she catches sight of her seatmate: her all-time biggest celebrity crush, rock star Finn Schiller! Only the night before she'd confessed her infatuation with the gorgeous musician, and her boyfriend joked that she had a free pass if she ever met him. Hazel can't believe fate has actually thrown them together.

Even more unbelievable is that during the flight they genuinely connect. Finn likes her uncensored cursing and wicked sense of humor, and that she's unlike all of his groupies; Hazel likes his killer looks, ripped physique, and soulful music. But what started as a fantasy quickly becomes a real attraction, and after a dream date and taste of the rock-star life with Finn in L.A., Hazel is forced to examine the track her life is on. Indulging in a passionate affair with a rock star seems crazy—but could she ever forgive herself if she walked away from her wildest dream coming true? And is her wildest dream the stuff that happiness is made of?

Our thoughts: It's a must-read for any chick lit-lover. You'll love to escape with this lighthearted and LOL funny rock-n-roll Cinderella fantasy. Plus, who hasn't fantasized about who their seatmate would be on an airplane??

Giveaway: 5 copies! Just leave a comment and we'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Tuesday, May 29th.

Fun fact: She has a writing partner and they've co-authored several novels, including two YA books.

Where you can read more about Jill: Her website.


1. It is total bullshit that “these are the best years of your life.” They’re SO NOT! The best is yet to come and do not let anyone make you feel lucky to be young. It’s filled with stress and frustration and waiting to be free in so many ways and I swear it all gets better. Much.

2. Zits clear.

3. You have not yet met all of your bridesmaids. Friendships are tricky when you bond at a young age because often times it’s simply proximity or inertia rather than that organic closeness that comes with growing up and then meeting a parallel kindred spirit rather than just geography class throwing you together. You will meet all kind of incredible women who truly appreciate you for who you are and they will become like sister so don’t let the beeyotches ever be a thorn in your side.

4. It’s so good that you didn’t drink. The partygirls all look like crap now.  And very prescient on the sunblock and tons of water.

5. Love is on the way. Drawn hearts in the margin and romantic stories in your head will one day feel real instead of fantasy. Just hold on tight. There will be douchebags and loneliness and longing so painful you feel like you will barf up your heart, but be patient and most of all, be yourself.

Thanks, Jill!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa


Catherine McKenzie's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Catherine McKenzie Why we love her: She writes  about things that are hot in pop culture. We love this book because it was inspired by the phenomenon of reality TV shows like The Bachelor. And y'all know how we feel about The Bachelor.

Her latest: Arranged

The scoop on it: Anne Blythe's life couldn't be better. She's got a book contract, a great job and a fabulous BFF. She also seems to have no problem in the men department. Well, if you don't count the fact that although she can hook any man she sets her sights on, those men don't seem to stay on that hook for very long. Anne blames this on her mother, believing she is cursed because she's named after the title character in Anne of Green Gables.

After another bad break-up with a man more in love with himself than with her (she's realizing this is a pattern — falling for tall, dark, handsome and self-absorbed), Anne finds a business card imprinted with her namesake, Blythe & Company: Arrangements made. She assumes it's for a dating service and decides to hang on to it. When her best friend announces her engagement, Anne feels envious and, on a whim, decides to make an appointment with Blythe & Company. But she's shocked to discover that it's not a dating service at all — it's a company that specializes in exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriages. Anne decides to put her reluctance aside after she learns of the company's 95 percent success rate. Anne thinks, why not get some professional help? Women around the world do it all the time.

Before she knows it, Anne is traveling to a Mexican resort where she meets and marries Jack. But will her arranged marriage work out?

Our thoughts: A smart and honest novel about a woman's desperate search for love and marriage as she ends up in one disastrous relationship after the next, this book hit home for us!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Leave a comment and be entered to win!  We’ll choose the winners Sunday May 20th after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: On top of being an internationally best selling author, Catherine currently practices law. C'mon!

Where you can read more about Catherine: Twitter, Facebook and her website.


1. You're going to publish a novel! More than one! For reals!

2. Do not date that guy. You know the one I mean.

3. Work a little harder at school. They're trying to teach you interesting stuff, if you let them.

4. Get a guitar. Take some lessons. Spend some time in your room practicing. You'll thank me later.

5. Be nicer to your siblings.They'll thank you later.




Thanks, Catherine! xoxo, Liz & Lisa



Liz & Lisa's Best books for Mom + huge giveaway!

Forget the tired mani-pedi. Or the bazillionth massage gift certificate. Or even the flowers (they'll be gone in a week, maybe sooner). This Mother's Day, we're all about BOOKS. We love 'em and we know you do too. And we've come up with our list of reads that we think will make a perfect addition to any mom's bookshelf. From The Language of Flowers to The B*tch, we've selected a book that will satisfy any mom. So as you're shopping for Mom this year (Mother's Day is just a few days a way) consider giving her a book as a gift.  Or more than one. We'll even help you out with that. Because, today, we're giving away 15 books to one lucky person. Yes, you read that right- 15 (plus a couple of other fun things!) Scroll down for the list of books (and goodies) we're giving away--some from our list of Mother's Day picks and others that we've read and loved along the way...

For the mom with a huge heart...

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Why buy? Elle hailed it as "instantly entrancing" and we couldn't agree more. It's rich with love and emotion as the protagonist fights through her painful past.

The scoop: The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.


For the mom who loves Shades of Grey...

Great Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells by Lisa Cach

Why buy? Why not? Shades of Grey is proving every mom has fantasies. Plus, that *special someone* in her life will thank you! *Even though it won't be released until June 19, we couldn't resist putting it on the list. Pre-order it here.

The scoop: Grace Cavanaugh is hell-bent on proving her Women’s Studies dissertation thesis that beauty only leads to misery. And what better research subject than her great-aunt Sophia, a former B-movie star? Now eighty-five and facing surgery, Sophia has asked Grace for company. . . .Grace imagines a helpless, lonely old woman, forced to turn to a great-niece she barely knows. Instead she finds the aging diva holding court in a Pebble Beach mansion, oozing a bombshell-itude—arthritis and wrinkles be damned—that captivates every male in sight. To Grace’s dismay, her greataunt decides a perfect distraction would be transforming the frumpy feminist into a femme fatale who purrs for her suitors . . . or devours them. She ordains classes in everything from carb cutting to lingerie, culminating in a challenging final exam. The newly svelte Grace must test her wiles—on both devilishly handsome and morally corrupt Declan and sensitive but painfully awkward Dr. Andrew. Newly unleashed desires—and the discovery of a closely held family secret— threaten the bookworm-turned-babe’s entire feminist upbringing. Her thesis gone sadly awry, Grace wonders if her great-aunt is right: Will trusting her heart lead her to find beauty in the most unexpected places?

For the mom who loves a good (and true!) love story...

The Pioneer Woman:Black Heels to Tractor Wheels- A Love Story by Ree Drummond

Why buy? One of the best memoirs we've read this year.

The scoop: That’s when I saw him—the cowboy—across the smoky room. I’ll never forget that night. It was like a romance novel, an old Broadway musical, and a John Wayne Western rolled into one. Out for a quick drink with friends, I wasn’t looking to meet anyone, let alone a tall, rugged cowboy who lived on a cattle ranch miles away from my cultured, corporate hometown. But before I knew it, I’d been struck with a lightning bolt . . . and I was completely powerless to stop it. This isn’t just my love story; it’s a universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompassing love that sweeps us off our feet. It’s the story of a cowboy. And Wranglers. And chaps. And the girl who fell in love with them.


For the mom who loves Chick Lit

Skinnydipping by Bethenny Frankel

Why buy? Whether the mom in your life likes reality TV, Bethenny, Chick Lit or just wants an escape, this book is perfect.

The scoop: Faith Brightstone is an aspiring actress just out of college, who moves to L.A. determined to have it all—a job on the most popular TV show, a beach house in Malibu, and a gorgeous producer boyfriend. But when reality hits, she finds herself with a gig as a glorified servant, a role that has more to do with T&A than acting, and a dead-end relationship. Finally, Faith decides she’s had enough of La La Land and moves back to New York with just a suitcase and her dog, Muffin.

Five years later, Faith has finally found her groove as an entrepreneur and manages to land a spot on a new reality TV show hosted by her idol—the legendary businesswoman and domestic goddess Sybil Hunter. Diving into the bizarre world of reality TV, Faith’s loud mouth and tell-it-like-it-is style immediately get her in trouble with her fellow contestants—the delusional socialite; the boozy lifestyle coach; the moody headband designer; and her closest friend, the ambitious housewife who eventually betrays her. Even Sybil is not what she appears. As the show comes to a dramatic close, Faith discovers that the man of her dreams may have just walked into her life. Will she choose fame or love? Or can she have it all?

For the mom looking for some sass...

The B*tch by Jackie Collins

Why buy? Um, it's a no-brainer. It's Jackie Collins! Plus, she re-wrote and published this e-book herself!

The scoop: Las Vegas. A carousel town set in the middle of the desert. Blazing neon signs promise all the vices known to man, and then some. Devastatingly handsome ladies’ man Nico Constantine hits town to make a killing at the casinos. But instead of tripling what’s left of his dwindled fortune, he ends up losing everything, and owing the mob — big time. Meanwhile, gloriously beautiful Fontaine Khaled has shed her filthy rich husband for the life she really wants: a riotous whirl of champagne, designer clothes, and the hottest, sexiest men. But her never-ending party comes with a price — one even her ex-husband’s outrageous alimony payments can’t afford. When Nico collides with Fontaine, their mutual lust is immediate and intense. Nico will need to use her if he wants to stay alive, and Fontaine fears she’s met her match. Love is the last thing on their minds, but it may be their fate — if their creditors don’t get them first.

Giveaway deets: Leave a comment and be entered to win ALL of the following books. We'll randomly select ONE lucky winner after 6pm EST on Monday, May 14.

Here's what you can win...

Lucky Stiff by Deborah Coonts, More Like Her by Liza Palmer, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins, Brooklyn Story by Suzanne Corso, I, Iago by Nicole Galland, The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman, Spin by Catherine McKenzie, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Thirteen by Susie Maloney, The Bond by Wayne Pacelle, All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson, The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond, Bond Girl by Erin Duffy...

Plus:  You can also win: 1 Gift Card for $10 to Amazon, Lucky Santangelo mug and a Lovers & Players notebook and a copy of Hollywood Wives.

Good luck!


Liz & Lisa






Laura Dave's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Laura Dave Why we love her: She was one of our first ever author crushes

Her latest: The First Husband (Out in paperback tomorrow- April 24!)

The scoop: 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.

Our thoughts: The First Husband not only has one of the best titles and book covers out there, but it's a fresh and satisfying story about something we can all relate to--finding "the one."

Fun fact: Lisa first met Laura at Laura's book signing for The Divorce Party (another of our faves!) and sheepishly handed her a copy of our novel, I'll Have Who She's Having. Laura not only accepted it graciously, but actually read it-- proving herself to be an author who never forgets how hard it is to break into this biz.

Giveaway: 5 copies of The First Husband. Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Monday, April 30 after 6pm PST.


1. Remember that you barely passed your driving test.  No need to celebrate by speeding down Fox Meadow Road and getting pulled over a mere seven hours later.  Cry like they do in the movies.  It is the only thing that will save you.

2. Also remember: This is not an episode of My So Called Life.  Seriously, we know you’d like it to be.  But please stop dating the guys who remind you of Jordan Catalano.  Even Angela Chase realized that Krakow was where it was at!  Believe me: One day, in your not too distant future, you’ll realize this too.  And you’ll meet the kind of guy that puts Jordan Catalano to shame.

3. You know more than you think you do.  Give yourself a break.  You may feel like you’re missing something when your ideas of fun and happiness don’t mesh with everyone else’s, but that’s what makes you interesting.  Welcome the quirky, crazy way your mind works—and welcome it in other people.  What makes us feel left out is often the reason we stand out.  Say it to yourself five times fast.

4. Dance more.  Yes, you can be shy, but you love to dance!  So get onto the dance floor, close your eyes, and enjoy yourself.  It’s not just about the dancing.  If you teach yourself to step out of your comfort zone now, you’ll be less inclined to feel embarrassed later on by the other things you really want to do.  So boogie-down, sister.  (Side note: Just don’t do it in your polka dot taffeta dress.  That is still embarrassing.)

5. Learn to cook.  One day, cooking will bring tons of joy to your life.  Why not start now?  You may think it’s uncool, or that you have better things to do, but you already love hanging in the kitchen.  Your mother is a great cook. Spend time with her while she cooks.  There are things you’ll pick up this way that will take twice as long to figure out on your own.  Plus, there’s a TV in the kitchen.  Put Gilmore Girls on in the background while you sauté.  Luke is a TV boyfriend everyone can aspire to.

Thanks, Laura!


Liz & Lisa

To find out more about the fabulous Laura Dave, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Sarah Pekkanen's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Sarah Pekkanen Why we love her: Her books fit women like the perfect little black dress.

Her latest book: These Girls (Out tomorrow: April 10th!)

The scoop: Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.

Cate’s roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.

Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.

Our thoughts: As BFF's for 25 years, to say we relate to the novel's central theme of friendship is an understatement. Hands down, this is Sarah's best book yet. Our question: How does she keep topping herself?

Fun fact: She was the first author we hosted on Chick Lit is Not Dead over three years ago.

Giveaway: 5 copies! Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, April 15 after 6pm PST.


1. You're not as dorky as you suspect you are.  Stand up straighter and smile and talk to some of the people milling past you in the hallway. I promise they're not all laughing at you behind your back. In fact, many of them are every bit as insecure as you. Even the mean girls. Especially the mean girls! Okay, so don't talk to them, but your high school is bursting with interesting, smart, funny, quirky people. One of them, a blonde girl who also loves to write, will become your best friend two decades after you graduate. Go over and say hi to her - you can do it! (I'm nudging my teen self  in the shoulder now).

2. That spiral perm you're saving up for? Oh, dear God, no - back away from the hair salon, slowly, and your 9th grade pictures won't make you cringe forever. I know you think fun, bouncy curls will make a zippy change from your stick-staright hair. But you're going to end up with a head full of frizz, a look that will not be improved upon when your hair begins to grow out and the top half is stick-straight and the bottom half is a mass of frizz. For the next few months, people will come up to you and say, "Oh... you got a perm." And then there will be a long, painful silence as they desperately try to come up with something positive to say about your new 'do. They will be unsuccessful in their attempts. If you really want a change, put more lemon juice in your hair and sit out by the pool. Yes, I realize that doesn't work, but I'm trying to distract you from the perm horror that awaits you.

3. Keep doing sports. You're on the track team and the field hockey team, and there's no better way for a teenage girl to spend her time. You're checking out the bruises on your shins (admit it, you're proud of them) instead of the size of your ass in the mirror, and that's pretty wonderful. You're learning about teamwork, and commitments, and losing when you want to win more than anything in the world, and giving it your all until you're about to collapse. Those lessons that will serve you well throughout the rest of your life.

4. The local Saks Fifth Avenue that hired you as a teen model? Um, one of the first jobs they're going to call you for will involved you putting on a giant, fuzzy, Winnie-the-Pooh costume. You're not really going to understand why, but they're paying you, so it's all good. Except for the fact that you invited a guy to come see you model, and he will instead witness you lurching around Saks dressed as a bear named Pooh. This may not help your reputation.

5. Stay open, stay hopeful, stay positive. And always follow your heart, kiddo. Like everyone else, you're going to have your share of heartache and sadness. But your'e also going to have a really good life.

Thanks, Sarah! xoxo,

Liz & Lisa

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


Jennifer Coburn's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Jennifer Coburn Why we love her: Her sassy Chick Lit novels make us LOL!

Her latest: Tales from the Crib & The Wife of Reilly

The scoop on Tales from the Crib: Talk about bad timing! When Lucy Klein gets her positive pregnancy results, she’s overjoyed.  She and her husband Jack have been trying to get pregnant for years throughout their rocky marriage.  But before she can tell him the big news, Jack has something he needs to announce – he wants a divorce! Rather than split up, Lucy and Jack decide to live together as friends.  This way, they can share expenses and parenting responsibilities.  Co-parenting is a fine deal for Jack who is back in the dating scene by Lucy’s third trimester of pregnancy, but is a frustrating one for Lucy who has unfulfilled sexual fantasies about every man from restaurant delivery boys to puppeteers. Meanwhile, Lucy’s mother is taking over her life.  The grand dame of Planet Earth, Anjoli frequently visits her daughter to share her own brand of maternal wisdom. As Anjoli leaves her Drama Queen bookstore to “help” Lucy with baby Adam, the new grandmother has an affair with baby’s pediatrician, hosts two weddings (including cousin Kimmy’s wedding to herself), and constantly frets about which kind of pie to serve guests.  With a cast of family and friends from Lucy’s Jewish aunts to Junior League neighbor, Candace, Tales From the Crib is the story of how one baby can bring people together – so they can drive each other nuts!

Our thoughts: Thanks to authors like Jennifer, Chick Lit is alive and kickin'!

Fun Fact: Jennifer has also written The Wife of Reilly -- the story of a woman secretly trying to find a new wife for her soon-to-be ex-husband and it's available for FREE on kindle from March 20-24!  Check out Jennifer's video discussing the most frequently asked question about this book.

Giveaway: 5 copies of Tales from the Crib! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 6PM PST on Sunday, March 25


1. Nothing is more attractive than a girl with a full life.   I feel really good about the fact that my fourteen-year-old daughter, Katie, has taken my advice on this one, but I wish I could have a do-over and take advantage of all of the wonderful clubs, classes and opportunities I had (for free!) as a teen.  First and foremost, life is better when you have a calendar filled with activities that genuinely interest you.  But the secondary benefit is that nothing is more attractive than a girl who has a full life regardless of whether or not there’s a boyfriend in the picture.

2      Don’t compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides.  This is actually an adage from Alcoholics Anonymous, but I think it applies to all of us, especially in our teen years. That seemingly perfect girl who glides through high school looking like she’s got it all figured out is likely just as nervous as you.  I went to a private high school on the upper east side of Manhattan where one student was more loaded than the next.  I was there on a scholarship and utterly terrified that the other kids would discover that I was an economic interloper.  I kept a low profile and didn’t say much, which I regret.  I wish I’d had the confidence to just walk up to people and say, “Hey, good morning.”  The reality is that most of the other students were nice people and probably wouldn’t have cared that I came from downtown on a student bus pass.  People had too much of their own mishegas (neurosis, drama, the stuff that makes us “mishugana”) to notice mine.

3      Eat everything!  I wish I could tell myself that my glorious, fast metabolism will eventually slow down.  (I should have eaten more cake!) I was recently in the supermarket and became annoyed that someone was walking so close behind me.  It was actually my ass.

4      Before wondering if he likes you – ask yourself if you like him.  I have always been a very competitive person.  My varsity sport, however, was boys.  I got  very easily caught up in winning the guy.  I was so busy doing back flips to impress boys that I rarely stopped to ask myself whether or not I really wanted him.  Most of my boyfriends turned out to be terrific guys, but that was more dumb luck than any foresight on my part.

5      Spend time abroad.  When I was in high school, my friend invited me to spend a month with her family in Rome.  The idea was inconceivable.  I didn’t speak the language.  The money was different.  So I declined.  How silly I was to let fear hold me back. My daughter and I have taken several long trips to Europe and they have been some of the best times of my life.  (And I think hers.) We have some amazing memories of sleeping over at the Shakespeare & Company Bookstore in Paris, getting lost in Spain’s Salvador Dali Triangle, and listening to street musicians in Italy.  It has really shaped who we are and I wonder why in the world it took me so long to get my passport.

Thanks, Jennifer!

To find out more about the talented Jennifer Coburn, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Liz & Lisa

Ashley Ream's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Who'd a thunk a book about suicide could be funny, heartwarming and completely entertaining? Not us. Not until we got our hands on a hot copy of Ashley Ream's Losing Clementine--one of the most satisfying books we've read in a while! Here's the dealio on Losing Clementine: In thirty days Clementine Pritchard will be finished with her last painting and her life.

World-renowned artist and sharp-tongued wit Clementine Pritchard has decided that she's done. After flushing away a medicine cabinet full of prescriptions, she gives herself thirty days to tie up loose ends—finish one last painting, make nice with her ex-husband, and find a home for her cat. Clementine plans to spend the month she has left in a swirl of art-world parties, manic work sessions, and outrageous acts—but what she doesn't expect is to uncover secrets surrounding the tragedy that befell her mother and sister. In an ending no one sees coming, will we lose Clementine or will we find her?

Sounds intriguing, right? Well, of course we have 5 copies for giveaway! You know the deal--leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners after 6PM PST on Sunday, March 11. In the meantime, you can read the first chapter of Losing Clementine here. And of course you can buy the book here (it came out yesterday!).

And you can read Ashley's letter to her teen self...


Dear Teenaged Ashley,

The good news is that I’m twice as old as you are now and still kicking. And while we don’t exactly have it all figured out, there are a few things you should be prepared to do in the future. Write these down.

1. Get a passport – The sooner the better on this. Our “places to see” list, even now, is about 20 times longer than the “places we’ve been” one. Time is a-wasting.

2. Buy good running shoes – “Wait,” you’re saying. “We don’t run, like, ever.” Oh, but we will. We will become hardcore runners together. It will be our therapy. Trust me on this. Get the shoes.

3. Move to Los Angeles – You’re fighting me on this one, I know. I thought it was a bad idea, too, at first. But trust me. It will be your spiritual home for the rest of your life. Not to mention your muse.

4. Get a tattoo but only after 30 – This will turn out to be one of our smarter decisions together. And it comes out great.

5. Keep writing – You’re not crazy. You really are good at this. Be patient. Don’t give up. Practice, practice, practice.

Love, Ashley (age 32)

Thanks, Ashley! xoxo, Liz & Lisa

To find out more about the lovely and talented Ashley Ream, visit her website!