29.3.13

The Nail Files: Just Me And My Peeps


The Nail Files Link Up


I love holidays! YAY FOR HOLIDAYS!


And the best part about holidays is the excuse for a themed manicure!! Especially when I can use one of my favourite seasonal treats as inspiration!


And PEEPS are my most favourite Easter treat!! YAY!!


Here's what I used:



And here's the mani!


Since Peeps come in two shapes: bunnies and chicks, I felt that I needed to have equal representation. A thin nail art brush and a dotter were my tools and they were essential in creating this mani. The grass is a mix of two colours, which gives it some dimension and I may have cheated with the Peeps writing and used a blue marker after countless issues of bloppy letters. And by "may," I mean "totally did."


And to see another Easter-themed mani of mine, one that's prettier and has rhinestones, please head on over to Still Blonde After All of These Years, where it's being featured! DOUBLE YAY!!


Happy Easter, everyone, if you celebrate, if not, Happy Friday!


And, as usual, thanks to Tara and Vicki for hosting!



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25.3.13

Guest Post: Elisa Lorello's Literary Crush



Hey Guys and Gals! It's Monday! BOO! But to make your Monday better, I have a special treat for you: A guest post by my newest favourite author (and Twitter pal), Elisa Lorello! I've read three of her novels, Faking It, Ordinary World, and Adulationand think that she's pretty much the bomb so I'm super psyched to have her here today (virtually, anyway, she's not in my basement or anything creepy like that). 

Sp please, let's all make her feel welcome!

*sets out plate of cookies and cushy pillows*


Picture

First up: Thanks, Jennie, for allowing me to be a guest on your blog. I’m also very grateful for your kind (and entertaining) reviews of my novels.

So allow me to fill in some details of how I came to write this post.

How Jennie and I met: via #chicklitchat on Twitter.

What is Chick Lit Chat, you ask? A fun hour on Thursday evenings (8p.m. EST) for readers and writers to get together and discuss all things chick lit—favorite characters, stories, writing advice, you name it. Occasionally the conversation gets derailed to Colin Firth. No one seems to mind.

How Jennie and I bonded: Mostly through tweets about glitter.

We also have other things in common, like writing commercial women’s fiction, living in the north (although I’m currently residing in New England, and I don’t say “wicked” or “eh”), and wishing for winter to finally be over. (Yeah, I know technically it is. I want the temperatures to match.) In short, she’s someone I would share my pop tarts with. (No, that’s not a euphemism.)

Topic of this post: literary crushes.

Jennie’s idea, and it’s a great one. Really made me think, too. I mean, I can rattle off a number of fictional characters for whom I’m jonesin’—Sam Seaborn, Neil Caffrey, and Patrick Jane, to name a few—but you’ll notice they’re all characters from television, not books. So I went to my bookshelf, and as I perused the spines, my eyes fell on one, and it all came back to me.

Mark Darcy.

((le sigh))

Let me say for the record that I fell in love with Mark Darcy long before I saw the film adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Diary. (Meaning I read the book first.) And while I concede that he was well cast, Mark Darcy and Colin Firth are two separate crushes. Let me also say that had I read BJD during my twenties, I likely would’ve been Team Daniel. But that’s the price to pay for being stupid when you’re twenty-something. (In my teens, I’m sorry to say, it probably would’ve been Tom.) Fortunately I read BJD at the perfect time in my life (mid-late 30s…I know, what took me so long?) and thus fell in love with the perfect man. (Well, almost perfect. He does have that slight flaw of being fictional.)

So what makes Mark Darcy so lovable? Let’s start with his name: Mark. Darcy. Forget the allusion to Pride and Prejudice. It just rolls off the tongue so well. It’s precise. It makes you feel like what you see is what you get. And that’s exactly Mark Darcy—he doesn’t pretend to be anyone or anything other than who or what he is. He may make apologies, but he never compromises himself. Even when caught wearing the ugliest sweater on the planet. He’s humble to the end, despite Bridget believing the contrary. We see his potential way before she does, which makes rooting for him more fun.

What also makes Mark Darcy so appealing to me is that he’s not impossibly gorgeous (not that I’ve never had a crush on impossibly gorgeous characters—hell, I’ve written them: see Devin in Faking It), but he’s attractive all the same. Awkward and attractive and intelligent and a nice guy. And at my age, I find those qualities so much more appealing than the alpha male, both in fiction and in real life.

I remember reading an excerpt of Faking It to my students, before the novel was published. Not even halfway through, one of my female students blurted, “Oh yeah. I’m in love with him.” And upon reading a scene drafted by my Why I Love Singlehood co-author, I immediately emailed her and said, “You totally made me fall in love with Kenny, dammit.” Literary crushes are fun. They’re fun to have as a reader, and they’re even more fun to create as a writer. But ultimately, what makes us long for him to be real is the connection they feel with him. And those are the best characters, crushes or not. Their humanity is so real you forget they’re not. The magic is not only that you believe in their realness, but in the hope that some form of them actually exists.

And they do. You only need to know where to look.


 Thanks so much for guest posting, Elisa! What a great pick! (Mmmmm...I do love me some Mark Darcy). And if you haven't read any of Elisa's books yet, what the heck are you waiting for?


If you'd like to know who my literary crush is then head on over to Elisa's blog (although I'm sure that if you're a regular follower, you'll be able to guess who he is).

22.3.13

The Nail Files: Creative Confetti


The Nail Files Link Up



Here's what I used this week:




And here's the mani:


Two coats of 15 Minutes of Frame and Creative Fantasy, followed up with one coat of Collage Overlay and Whirled Away


I love Creative Fantasy and Collage Overlay but the combo of 15 Minutes of Frame and Whirled Away has left me with much less time on my hands (ha) because all I do is stare at the beauty. The black and white confetti really POPS against the green, and it really is confetti, as the bits don't have any shine. Yeah, I'm just as surprised as you are that I'm in love with a non-sparkly mani (well, two non-sparkly fingers, anyway). ;)


And here's a tip if you're using a polish with larger chunks: Wait until your base coat is completely dry so you can move the confetti bits into place with a toothpick as they don't want to cover evenly. If your base coat isn't totally dry, then it'll smudge and leave streaky lines (grrrrr). 


Thanks to Tara and Vicki for hosting!


And Happy Friday, everyone!


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Book Club Friday: I'm A Guest Co-Host! *snaps*





Remember when I was all: I've never guest posted or been featured on anyone else's blog? Err...you probably don't because why the heck would I talk about it? Well, when it rains, it pours, and after having my nails featured on Still Blonde After All Of These Years (which made me feel quite George-like, if you're a Seinfeld fan) Heather, one of the hosts of Book Club Friday asked me if I'd guest co-host for her. ME! 


*spins*


So this week, my review can be found on her blog. Click here to read it and then make sure you go through some of the pictures of Heather's daughter, Skeeter, as she's just about the cutest child on the planet. Also, Heather's pretty darn funny. And by pretty darn, I mean super mega. 


Happy Friday, everyone!


21.3.13

Throwback Thursdays: The Worst Haircut I've Ever Had




I remember the day well it was one where I was feeling kinda blue. I had a hair appointment to do my standard cinnamon highlights and trim but when I got to the salon, my usual stylist wasn't in. In his place was a young guy who was fashionably dressed and somewhat flamboyant. My sixteen-year-old self fell in love with him on the spot so when he suggested that I opt for something a little more cutting edge, I was just vulnerable enough to agree.


And that's when he cut off all of my hair.


All.Of.My.Hair.


It was bad. Oh, so bad.


The next day at school, my friends were all: "WHY DID YOU DO THIS?!?" And as unsupportive as that sounds, it was a valid question as I'd gone from having shoulder-length hair to a GI-Jane-wannabe. It was a rough day, but then I came up with a fantastic plan to make my bad haircut better. It was simple: I'd bleach the front.


Yup, this was the nineties and the Spice Girls were all the rage and if Geri could sport red and blonde chunks then so could I! So, off to the drugstore I went, because why would I pay a professional $50+ to safely lighten my hair when I could do it myself for less than ten bucks? (My adult self does a *headdesk* to this train of thought.)


And that's when it got worse.


It was bad. Oh, so bad.


Because I'd dyed my hair before, the bleach didn't lift my hair to the same blonde: it was a chunky nightmare to say the least. However, my sixteen-year-old self thought that it looked awesome. I was fashion-forward and killing it...in my own mind, anyway. 


Just how many colours of blonde can you see? I can count, like, at least three. And WHY DID I BRUSH IT BACK LIKE THAT? Bad move, Jennie. Bad move.


As you can tell, I DO NOT have the facial bone structure to pull off this hairstyle. Like, at all. But, I think that every gal cuts all of her hair off once, just to see what it would look like and, really, I guess it's a good thing I did mine during a time where there was a lot of bad hair going around. And by time, I mean high school. 


About a month later, I had to come up with a way to style my hair in a fancy way for a formal. You know, because everyone else would be rocking ringlets or something. Naturally, I did what any nineties teen would do and took inspiration from Gwen Stefani. A few bobby pins later, I had twisted all of the blonde hairs into little pinwheels...and then dumped mass amounts of gold and silver pixie glitter all over them. 


This was the end result:

My date was thrilled with the insane amount of sparkles that ended up all over him and his suit (not really).


And can we talk about my outfit for the formal? Only in the nineties would you wear a sheer, oversized dress-shirt over a fitted black dress. *additional adult headdesk*


Even my pal is laughing at this ensemble. Not that I blame her as it's not a great look. And doesn't my date's tie just SCREAM nineties? Love it.


I'll admit that I've had questionable hair cuts throughout my years but this was, hands down, the worst.


Thanks to Ady, Julia, and Jennifer for hosting Throwback Thursdays! I'm loving the opportunity to go through all of my old photos and checking out everyone else's!


And click here to follow my blog with Bloglovin!


17.3.13

My Nails Are Famous!


Hey! Wanna know something cool?


A St. Patty's Day-themed manicure of mine is being featured on Shelley's blog, Still Blonde After All These Years!




This is the first time that I've been featured on someone else's blog and I'm feeling prouder than Penelope, my rhinestoned peacock bracelet. 


So click here to hop on over and take a look! I'm at the top (hee hee)!


And since Google Reader is kaput, you can click the link below to add me to your bloglovin list. 


15.3.13

Book Club Friday: The Glass Castle: A Memoir







Holy schmoley, The Glass Castle was total insanity. And by that, I mean that everyone in it was insane. Well, not everyone…actually, yes. I stand by my statement that everyone was insane. Different degrees of insanity, mind you, but insanity was all over the freaking place.


It was the kind of book that I wished were fiction because the fact that children lived through such a situation was painful as it was hypnotizing. I read the entire book in one sitting because there was never an opportunity to put it down. Every time a particular story would end, there was no feeling of relief. Instead, it was more like: Are you freaking kidding me? Which quickly progressed to: She must be fucking kidding. And eventually settled on: Holy fucking fuckballs. (Yes, the multiple fucks are more than appropriate).


Jeannette Walls is an astounding individual as she managed to survive not only an extremely impoverished childhood but also two parents who didn’t seem terribly interested in behaving as traditional parents. They were two very selfish and out-of-touch people who just happened to have children. That said, Ms. Walls manages to evoke just enough sympathy for them that I was able to see them as people and not horrific abusers. And trust me, that was no easy task. In fact, I’d even call it an impossible task, so that’s a testament to Ms. Walls incredible talent.


The Glass Castle was a non-stop ride, and not only because the Walls family drove around a lot. From close-calls with sexual abuse, running out of hospitals to avoid paying the bills, countless bouts of near-starvation and raging alcoholism, it’s a miracle that Ms. Walls survived, let alone had the constitution to write about her life. But that’s the truly wonderful thing about this book. The resolve of Ms. Walls and her siblings to make the most of the shitty cards they were dealt was, at times, almost super-human.  And how Ms. Walls was able to write this book and not trash her parents is unbelievably unbelievable.


So, look. This book isn’t a fun read. It’s not a cry-your-eyes-out book either, but more of a read-in-silent-shock kinda deal. I didn’t quite know what I was getting in to (I really need to start reading descriptions of books before I start them) but once I got going, I simply had to finish. If you like memoirs that showcase the tenacity of humanity, then you’ll be all over this one, but I will caution that  you may want to throw the book at times, so if you live in a glass house, you may want to read it outside.



Thanks to Heather and Katie for hosting!


The Nail Files: What A Pretty Polka


The Nail Files Link Up


Earlier this week, I was going through my Instagram feed when I saw a GORGEOUS polish in Holly's account. I'm a massive fan of Sinful Color's Frenzy and the OPI polishes she got from the Euro Centrale collection had a to-the-max version of it so, naturally, I ran out of the house in my dressing gown to drive to my nearest Avalon decided that I needed it. And boy oh boy, was that an awesome decision.


It's called Polka.com and it's the bomb(.com) The other two are staples: Man Hunt and Don't You Lilac It?


Two coats of Man Hunt and Don't You Lilac It? and then one coat of my new obsession Polka.com.


Now, I'm not sure if Polka.com is the kind of polish that could be used without a coloured base, even with a ka-zillion coats, but I don't care. Next time, I may do a coat of Frenzy underneath because the mini sparkles are much denser but even with the sparse mini sparkles, Polka.com has all of my favourite colours and the teal is so pretty that it brings a theoretical tear to my eye whenever it catches the light.


Happy Friday, everyone!


And thanks to Tara and Vicki for hosting!






14.3.13

Throwback Thursday: The Foreshadowing of the Inevitable End of My First Relationship


Two things inspired this post: my upcoming wedding anniversary, which has gotten me thinking about my lovers from years gone past, and an email I got from Ady, reminding me of Throwback Thursday. Now, I love TT on Instagram so why not take it to the next level and write a little story, right? And then everything really came together when The Hubs and I were going through our storage boxes and I found a bunch of pictures from high school. 




Let's take it back to the mid-90s. I was in grade eleven, playing softball, working as a camp counselor and pretty much loving my life when I met my first real boyfriend, Ryan (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent), for the second time.  


Second time?


Yes, the second time. As fate would have it, we'd gone to elementary school together at a Montessori school, which has three different grades in the same classroom, hence why there were a couple of years between us but we were still in the same class. During our childhood frolicks in the schoolyard, he managed to both be my friend, and my first kiss. But then we moved and had to change schools so that was the end of that.


Flash forward seven-ish years later and Ryan ended up being my brother's counselor at overnight camp. Because I was in what I like to refer to as the Dawson's Creek Years, meaning I was watching Dawson's Creek and was convinced that the show WAS MY LIFE, I took the chance reuniting as a sign that we were meant to be. Better yet, Ryan felt the same way. He wrote me a ton of letters that summer (what gal doesn't like getting letters) and when September rolled around, we met up. 


And it was love at first sight. Err...a fifteen-year-old's version of love, anyway. Did I mention that he was a seriously talented guitar player who composed songs about me? I'm sure you can see how I didn't stand a chance.


Over the course of three months, I went to his school's semi-formal, spent an inordinate amount of time at his house, wrote him poems about our love (*dies of embarrassment*), and eventually, he ended up being another first. Yes, the BIG first. My mother was less than thrilled. In fact, so were my friends, but the blinders of teenaged love were FULLY on and I was convinced that we'd be together forever. 


As you can imagine, it didn't take much longer for things to go bad.


Quickly after I gave him access to my special places, I learned that he was bisexual. And by learned, I mean he let it slip one night, totally accidentally. Not only that, but he didn't seem to think that it was a big deal. Frankly, it's not, but what WAS a big deal is that I started hearing he'd been cheating on me with guys, only he didn't consider it cheating because it wasn't with girls. 


*cue extreme teenaged angst*


Now, I'd like to make it clear that I'm totally pro-gay. Repeat: PRO-GAY. That said, I am very much ANTI-CHEATING. Especially cheating that was going on under my nose, that everyone else knew about except me. Throw in some intense hormones, feelings of betrayal and confusion because he said that he loved me, and I'm sure you can understand how I dove head-first into a deep hole of devastation. I mean, he was my first kiss, my first BIG thing, and he'd been cheating on me the entire time we'd been together (and not only with guys, by the way, which I found out about later). 


Blah, blah, blah, because I was a glutton for punishment, I decided that I'd try and work it out with him. Oh how I wish I could go back in time and talk to my silly sixteen-year-old self (we were still dating when I turned sixteen).


"Jennie!" I would say. "Lace up your silver Doc Martens and RUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!"
'
It was the 90s and Doc Martens were all the rage. Don't judge. Okay, you can judge a little.


Luckily, I came to my senses not too long afterwards and since then, this VERY BAD first relationship story has won me many-a-drinks at the bar (there's more...way more, but this post would be stupidly long if I went through the whole thing). 


As it turns out, though, the writing had been hanging on the wall (literally) long before everything went to hell in a flammable hand basket. I'll just let the picture I found speak for itself.



Aside from my Casper-like skin (which can be distracting, I know), can you see the foreshadowing? 


It's the guns, guys... 


THE GUNS ON THE WALL ARE POINTING AT HIS HEAD!!


Bahaha!!! Ah-mazing. This story really just gets better and better, doesn't it?


Thanks to Ady, JuliaJennifer, and Yesi for hosting the linkup that reminded me of this story and has kept me laughing since last night!



8.3.13

Book Club Friday: Ordinary World





A few weeks ago, I read Faking It by Elisa Lorello and freaking loved it. So when I saw there was a sequel, I was all about it. And, just like I suspected, it was awesome. Not in the same way that Faking It was awesome, mind you, but awesome nonetheless.


Ordinary World


Err…if you haven’t read Faking It, but plan to, you probably don’t want to read this review. I didn’t read the back blurb of Ordinary World before purchasing it, so I wasn’t quite prepared for the severe left turn that the plot from Faking It took and I don’t want to spoil anything for you so STOP READING HERE.


Okay, are they gone now? Good. Let’s get down to business.


Ordinary World takes place six years after Faking It ends. Now, I’ll admit that I wasn’t too psyched on Faking It’s ending, but it was fitting so I was satisfied.


And then the first chapter of Ordinary World left me wondering if I’d accidentally picked up a Kristin Hannah because it was full of ALL THE SADS. Basically, and this isn’t a spoiler because it’s in the blurb (if you choose to read it, which I didn’t), Andi is a widow.


 

Yes. A widow.


The opening chapter has Andi trying to write Sam’s eulogy, which is promptly followed by his funeral. Yeah, I really meant it when I said it was full of ALL THE SADS.


To say that Andi doesn’t take Sam’s death well is a serious understatement. At first, her grief is all-consuming and just when she thinks she has it together, she kind of...well...loses her shit in the worst possible place and basically makes everyone around her think that she’s one small move from falling off the cliff of sanity that she'd been desperately clinging to with her fingertips. Nope, it’s not good, people. Not good at all.


Did I mention that I was on a plane while reading this book and had to stop more than a few times to actively force myself not to cry because I was in public? Well, it happened, so you’ve been warned. This is sooooooo not a book to read in public.


Anyway, just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore of the sads, the book turned around. Not all the way around, but things started to look up. Mind you, this is when it got heartfelt and if there’s something that I just can’t help by cry about, it’s heartfelt scenes. So basically, the book made me cry during the sad scenes and left me borderline hysterical during the heartfelt ones. 


To sum up, I bounced from this...



to this...



and then back to this...



But it was worth the sore nose and pile of tissues. For reals. 


Andi goes through a whole lotta changes throughout Ordinary World and Elisa Lorello is smart enough to recognize that profound changes mean one step forward and three hundred steps back. When Andi meets back up with Devin, in the most unlikely of places (literally) my poor heart nearly leapt from my chest. I was all: THANK GOD THEY’RE BACK TOGETHER, but that joy was short lived because Andi was way too much of a hot mess to simply slide into a relationship with him and although I was half-disappointed, it made complete sense. 


After I finished Ordinary World, I read some reviews and more than a few stated that Andi was too much of a sad sack (I’m paraphrasing) for them to connect to her but I couldn’t disagree more. I’m fortunate enough not to be a widow, nor to have any widow friends, but I found Andi’s reactions to Sam’s death to be more than appropriate. And Ms. Lorello’s talent was proven over and over because there’s not a whole lot of action in the first third-ish of Ordinary World but I was so emotionally involved in Andi’s plight that I couldn’t have cared less. Plus, it would have been very easy to make Andi’s grief too difficult to relate to, but Ms. Lorello walked that line like a pro and I never found Andi to be a non-sympathetic character (which is saying a lot because the grief is so thick at times that it was difficult to breathe).


So here’s the deal: you should totally read this book. Actually, you should read Faking It first and then read Ordinary World. The tone of the two books is totally different, as you won’t laugh while reading Ordinary World because you’ll be too busy crying your eyes out (seriously, I’m a bit of a Grinch in that department and I was a disaster) but the writing is superb and the story is one that hits so many emotional high notes that it doesn’t matter you wind up partially dehydrated by the end.


Happy Friday, everyone!


And thanks to Heather and Katie for hosting!