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!




Time Zone Trauma by Liz

As you most of you know, Lisa and I have been, well, inseparable since we met our freshman year of high school. (What can I say?  I knew anyone that could pull off red eyeglasses and an LA Gear jean jacket would make a good partner in crime!) And with few exceptions, we've stuck by each others side for the past, *gulp* TWENTY THREE YEARS. And since that fateful day in 1989, we've been like peanut butter and jelly.  Milk and cookies.  Or Grey Goose and olive juice!

So we totally get it when people are a little freaked out by the parallel lives we've been leading since then.  It's even baffled us at some point or another.  Maybe because:

  • We went to college together and lived in same house for years without killing each other! (but just barely, there was an incident involving hand-bending and The Fugitive movie...)
  • We joined the same sorority. (how else could we have scored our fake IDs?)
  • We had the same major AND took all our classes together even after most teachers started calling us BOTH Lisa! (cue my junior year identity crisis...)
  • We have parents that STILL live a mile from each other in San Diego.(My mom is her dad's real estate agent! Does it get any more incestuous than that?)
  • AND, back in the day, we *coincidentally* both dumped our good-for-nothing boyfriends the same week. (Because, of course, we both used to love dating jackasses!)

But that all ended last July when Lisa left me to be with her super fabulous fiance.  And although we didn't actually SEE each other very much when we lived five miles apart(Lisa was always working and Liz was drowning in dirty diapers), it was nice to know that happy hour with her was just a phone call away. (Or an email-in those days her blackberry was permanently glued to her hand.)  Now even trying to talk shit about The Real Housewives of New Jersey requires a major calendar synchronization!

So it's been a tough transition for us.  Because not only are we friends, but we're co-authors and business partners too.  And with Lisa waking up a two hours earlier than me each morning, that leaves a whole lot of emails that I'm opening sans caffienation.

Got an early morning workout in Chicago? I really want to hear about your new yoga class, I really do. But you do realize it's f*cking 4am here, right?

Just can't wait to Facebook about who gets the final rose each Monday night? Hey beyotch!  It's bad enough that PSTers can't even log on to Twitter for fear of spoilers. Now you're doing it too?  Is this because we enjoy sun all year round?

So yes, communicating properly has become a whole lot harder since Lisa headed down Route 66 on her way to her new life.  But the bright spot?  We actually talk live a lot more then we used to when she lived here.  And absence really does make the heart grow fonder-I think I may have actually written "Love you!" on a text the other day (a gesture which very clearly breaks our robot friendship bylaws).

But like any great friendship, we'll make our differences(time differences, that is...) work until we can get in the same time zone once again. And the moral to this story?  Call up your BFF and ask her to meet you for a glass of wine this week.  you never know where life will lead you-take time to enjoy your friendship today!

The Zen Test (or: Karma's a Beyotch) By Lisa

If you've been following along lately, you know I'm doing the whole "zen" thing. I've become a yogi (OMMMM and all), ditched gluten (after a ferocious two-week battle, I've accepted my fate) and write my daily affirmations requests to the Universe. In a nutshell, I'm trying to be freakin' positive!

So why am I attracting so many "angries" a.k.a. angry people? You'd think in my new rose-colored, glass is half-full state of mind, the the only folks who'd approach me would be presenting flowers or offerings of peace and good fortune. Not spewing profanities and giving me the universal sign for f**k  you!

I believe in karma. And when they say it's a bitch, I believe 'em. (Whoever they are.) So I can only think that back in my angrier days (and there were MANY of them) I went a little too far. And now maybe I'm getting my payback... But even though I've been there (believe me- giving up gluten can make you want to go on a rampage taking out every wheat eater in your path) I still have to ask, what the hell are people so damn angry about? You angries are really testin' my zen!

Incident #1 happened at Whole Foods. Whole. Foods. You know, the organic, healthy store full of everything from yoga mats to things I'd never heard of until two months ago, like kale? I mean you can hardly push your cart two feet without running into a book on meditation or  some beautiful fresh flowers.  Call me crazy, but shouldn't the shoppers fit the store? Here's the 411:

The angry perp: She was blonde and beautiful. Upon first glance, you'd think she was a former JCrew model. But when she opened her mouth, she became the ugliest person on the planet.

Let's call her Angry Annie.

I started to back out of my parking space, but upon further consideration, pulled back in and shoved it into park. I needed to program my beloved Gabby GPS. I heard a honk. I glanced over my shoulder to see Angry Annie behind the wheel of her SUV. I went back to my GPS figuring she'd move along to one of the FIFTEEN SPACES just next to me. When I finally started to back out, there she was, walking toward me. "Just back the f**k up, lady!" she screamed. Well, I did what any self-respecting person in a parking lot war would do. I rolled my window down and in my sweetest voice asked her, "May I ask what's wrong?"

"I waited for you to back out and you never did!!!!"

Staring at her in disbelief, I was half-amazed at how wildly unattractive she became in the span of five seconds and the other part amazed that someone could be so mad about a parking space. But as I stared into her black eyes, we both knew it wasn't about the space. It never is.

I told her I was programming my GPS and she scoffed, "Yeah right!" (What did she think I was doing, Facebooking? Um, it's been known to happen, but not that day!) And then she stormed off.

I rolled down my other window and called after her, "I sincerely hope you find peace in your life." And I actually really meant it. Either that, or I hoped she'd get an enema and then have someone pull the broom stick out of her ass.

Incident #2 happened while I was pulling out of the gym. And I'm embarrassed to admit, again involved poor Gabby GPS.

Here's the 411: I was leaving a yoga class and turning right onto a busy street. There was a long stream of cars coming my way so I took the opportunity to program Gabby. A few seconds later, I heard honking so I promptly pulled out onto the road. Suddenly, a car swerves around me and cuts me off, blaring the horn all the way. When I saw the car pulling into the gas station, I couldn't help it, I broke into an evil smile. Looked like we had the same destination.

The angry perp: He was in his mid-thirties and actually pretty cute. But just like Annie, as soon as he opened his mouth, looked like The Mask.

Let's call him Mad Max (or Mask)

"You need to get off your f*****g cell phone!" He screamed at me as I stepped out of the car.

I was suddenly frozen in place. To his right, appeared his four-year-old son. And when Mad Max opened the back door of the car, I heard wailing screams from his two-year-old strapped in the car seat.

"You should be ashamed of yourself" I heard myself say. "Driving like that with kids in the car."

"Whatever!" he scoffed.

Later, I ran into him and his two sons after they got their car washed and were shopping for snacks. (So, um, Mad Max, you were in such a fervent rush to get some TWIZZLERS?) So, I dug deep and pulled out something nice to say to the man who had clearly taken his bad day out on me. "I sincerely hope your day gets better." And I meant it. No one, not even Mad Max, should be that mad.

I was on my way to an acupuncture appointment when the Mad Max incident happened. As she stuck needles in my body, I asked my acupuncturist why, with everything I've been doing, I'm attracting this type of negativity. She simply said, "It's not about you."

And I know she's right. But it's hard not to let stranger anger get to me. It's so much easier said than done to, like it says in THE POWER OF NOW, not let the negativity go through me. But I'm working on it. And in the spirit of good will and staying present and not letting my ego take over and all that jazz, I say to angry people like Max and Annie who feel the need to attack perfect strangers to feel better, I hope you find happiness. Or at the very least, a better way to release your frustration. Might I suggest getting laid?

(Sorry, but the zen will always be tempered with sarcasm and humor.)

xoxo, Lisa

Oh Wheat, How I Miss Thee By Lisa

Acupuncture, yoga even Feng Shui. No, I'm not talking about the hobbies of some spiritual yogi , I'm talking about me. I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I've recently turned into a sage burning, crystal buying, lavender spraying, wheat free eating, universe asking optimist!

I've even *gasp* meditated!

Me. Lisa Steinke, er, Dannenfeldt. She who used to be, well, a lot more intense and would have never thought she could lie still for five seconds, let alone five minutes. But there is one problem I have as I lie on my blue mat, arms outstretched, breathing in and out.  I can't seem to keep my mind from wandering. And no matter how hard I try, one thought keeps creeping in. No, not Josh Duhamel without a shirt on. Or my baffling girl crush on Kara DioGuardi.

I keep thinking about...


And even with my new "zen-itude", it's hard to remain peaceful and calm and focused on your freakin' breath when you're slowly but surely STARVING TO DEATH on your new gluten and wheat-free diet.

And I can be one angry bee-yotch when I'm hungry.  And there ain't a crystal or a lavender tea on this planet that can save anyone in my path when I haven't eaten. (Sorry, honey!)

Because, P.S., EVERYTHING has wheat in it. Everything.

Which you don't realize until You. Cannot. Have. It.

Want a hamburger? Sor-ry. The bun isn't in compliance.

Craving a sandwich? Oh well. That would require bread.

Want pasta? Too bad. Unless you want RICE spaghetti. YUM-ME!

And don't even get me started on going out to eat. Um, waiter, I'd like the tuna fish sandwich, hold the bread and mayonnaise please. (Yup, it's in mayo too).  Woo, hoo!

So why am I putting myself through this wheat-free hell if it's so, well, hellish? Because I do feel better. And I am starting to find things that I can consume other than fruits and vegetables (if I even look at another banana I might hurt someone). I've discovered wheat-free a.k.a. "rice" tortillas that I make with rice cheese (um, yeah, I don't do dairy either) and black beans (no wheat in those!). Ooh, how exciting! A tortilla-free, cheese free quesadilla!

But did I mention my skin looks great?


xoxo, Lisa