Sunday, January 23, 2011

Contest Winner Revealed

Wow. This is going to be so hard to pick one winner! First let me say thank you to everyone who participated and put such awesome thought into coming up with really good ones. I was nervous people would be too embarrassed to put their ideas out there, but you guys rock! I have the best readers/family/friends!

So now to the hard part. First I'm gonna break down the ones I loved in categories:

The Funniest:

--"This Ain't Forks" and "A Stones Throw From Twilight" by Rach. Purely awesome.
--all of Bryan's well-researched historical factual suggestions. Totally made me laugh.
--Oh, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. You know I love your entire list, you heard me howling as I read it. My particular fave is "Daleesha's Memoirs. And "Ball Splitter".
--Marcus and Ashley's (not sure who came up with it) "Clowdy With a Chance of Love." Love it!!

It's too hard to pick my favorite serious ones, especially cause most of them were really similar. I'll pick a few though:

"Moving Darkness" (Alison)
"Darkness Shining" (Noelle)
"Shot In The Dark" and "Love Under the Umbrella" (Lyssa)
"Emerald Flame" and "Brilliant Haze" (Marilyn)
"Dark Love Rising" (Ashley)

Honorable Mention definitely goes to Lyssa for the most ideas given. You are awesome!

I had too many favorites to pick just one, but obviously I have to narrow it down somehow. Since I didn't see any suggested titles that screamed out at me, "THAT'S IT!! THAT'S MY TITLE!" (sorry guys, no offense, I promise!!) I'm going to have to pick the one that sparked an idea in my head that turned into me finding the first title I think I could really use. Only it was two people, actually. I took one part each of one of their entries. And the tied winners of my Book Title Contest are...........drumroll.........................................................................................

Bryan Davis and Marilyn Lott!!!!!

Bryan said "Maynard Town" which made me think to use a nickname for Seattle ending in City. Then Marilyn said "Emerald Flame" and there it was: Emerald City. Ya know, from The Wizard of Oz? Seattle adopted the name a long time ago. And while I'm not yet officially choosing it as my title, it's definitely the first one to go on the Possible Titles list. And since the whole point of this little competition was to help me come up with title ideas, I think it's an appropriate way to pick the winner(s), don't you?

So, Bryan, Marilyn, you will now be written as characters in my book. Aren't you excited??? You'll be famous! (ha. ha.) As for the rest of you, again, thanks so much for playing along. I loved it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Title Contest

It's 2 in the morning, I'm wide awake, and I took my sleeping pill an hour and a half ago. You know what that means...It's Super Crazy Idea Time!!! (Picture me saying that like Oprah saying it's her birthday.)

Yes. I have had yet another ingenious idea that may or may not still be ingenious in the morning, but let's just go with it, shall we? So here's today's Super Crazy Idea. (My last one had me heading up a monthly book club the following morning.) I think it would be wicked cool to have a little contest involving my book. (Let's just hope there's no microscopic print in my contract prohibiting me from doing this.) See, I'm having trouble coming up with a title for it. So I thought it would make a great blog contest for my readers to come up with one! Now, I realize virtually all of you have no idea what it's about, but that's ok. It will make it all the more fun. But, because I'm cool like that, I'll give you a couple hints to help you along:

1. It's a love story. 2. It's kinda dark 3. It takes place in Seattle.

So, taking your newfound wealth of information, think up a fabulous title and put it in my comments. I'm not in any way saying I will use any of the suggested titles, but, you never know. However...............drumroll...............the person who comes up with the title that I like the best WILL be written into my book. As in their first name as a character in my book. Wouldn't that be awesome??? I think so! I'd write myself into it if it wouldn't be totally ridiculous! Leave as many titles as you want, I want a ton! The contest will go from now (cause I know you're all reading this right now at 2 in the morning) until Saturday night at midnight, PST. The winner will be announced on Sunday.

I'm so excited! Get brainstorming and commenting! Ready......set.......GO!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Featuring: a cake, a book, a movie about cooking, and orange salad

Remember when my blog posts had a theme or a topic? Yeah, those were the days.

On Saturday I made what I like to think was the best cake of my pretend cake career. (I say pretend because you can't call it a career until someone is willing to actually pay you for it.) I wish so much I could put a picture of it on here, but for some reason the good people at Blogger (or is it Apple? I never know who to blame in these situations) decided they didn't want to make it possible for me to be able to post pictures on my blog from my phone. A plague on both their houses. Tomorrow, though--nope, strike that. Later today--when I'm not laying in bed in the pitch dark I'll get on my actual computer and post a picture of both my super cool cake AND the most amazing, thoughtful gift my husband gave me for Christmas. I promise they won't disappoint. Okay, I can't promise that, but if you're disappointed you're lame.

I just finished The Book Thief. Firstly, let me say how much I love the Kindle app. Secondly, how is it that a book all about death is not horribly depressing? Something to ponder.

Bill and I watched Julie and Julia for the first time over the weekend. I loved it, and here's why: 1) because it features two husbands, both of whom are incredibly loving, affectionate, and unswervingly loyal and supportive of their wives. A rarity on the big screen. 2) because the entire movie is about 2 women doing something for themselves that they are passionate about, to have that "thing" that makes them feel significant, to do something--anything--that truly matters to them and is just for them. This strikes a chord with me. I have always, always felt the importance of this for people, specifically women, more specifically moms, even more specifically stay at home moms. We need to not just be moms. We have to retain some sense of self, something outside of carpooling and washing dishes and (thinking about) making dinner. My sister pointed out to me the other day how, between us 3 sisters, we each have our "thing." She plays the cello and loves it, my other sister digital scrapbooks like it's going out of style and even has her own online store, and then there's me with my writing. So very cool.

I had my first really serious temptation last night at Sunday dinner at my Mom's: orange jello salad. You know, with the cottage cheese and mandarin oranges? Heaven in a bowl. I loooooove it, can't get enough of it, and there it was in all it's lumpy splendor on my Mom's counter, just begging me to take a heaping spoonful. But I didn't. I couldn't. Because then it would all. come. undone. So I sighed and moved on to the broccoli. That's almost as good, right? (You can't see it, but I'm gagging.)

Well, it's almost 1:30 so I guess I better sign off. time, whenever that may be.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Little of This and a Whole Lot of That

Blogging two days in a row?! That's insanity! But I've found something I can do as I lay here waiting for sleep to find me. Plus, Rachael, you've totally inspired me with this everyday blogging. I wish I was reading The Book Thief, but, you know, I wouldn't remember anything I read in the morning. I'm gonna do my favorite kind of post: totally random things I've been thinking about.

-- If I was gonna break my No Rated R movies rule, it would be for Black Swan. It completely intrigues me and it kills me that I can't see it. But never fear. I will stay strong and abstain.

-- On Tuesday I got my hair done, and I went darker. It's like a really light brown. Or maybe a dark blonde is more accurate. Either way it's the darkest I've ever been in my entire life. I'm completely torn between loving it and missing the blonde so much it hurts. But it's closer to my natural hair color now that I've gotten older (blech. Why can no one stay blonde forever?) and for that reason I think it's better. Maybe. The crappy thing is that no one outside of my immediate family has seen it! I'm so curious to know what everyone will think.

-- Something that's not fun, is going through all the "friends" that Facebook suggests for you, and seeing names of people you could have sworn you were already friends with.

-- I can honestly say that learning Verizon will have the iPhone next month and not being able to switch from loathsome AT&T for another 7 months when my contract runs out is causing me physical pain.

-- Watching my kids play the Kinect gives me immeasurable amounts of joy. There is nothing like seeing their little bodies jump and twist and spin like that. I, on the other hand, have only attempted it in complete solitude, and the results weren't pretty. I think I even saw my Avatar personal trainer laugh at me when he thought I wasn't looking.

-- We made a family goal this year to read the entire Book of Mormon, and to read it every day. I am proud to say we haven't missed a day yet.

-- I didn't think I could possibly hate a reality tv star whose show I've never watched more than Lauren Conrad. Enter Snooki.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Every day I think about blogging; sometimes I even have something specific I want to write about. (I can never remember if the word after a semi-colon is supposed to be capitalized or not. I'm gonna say no. Please don't correct me if I'm wrong. No one likes a know-it-all.) But I just cannot seem to find the time. And by that I mean I have been sooooo lazy lately. Which is why I am blogging in the wee small hours of the morning as I lay in bed--the only time I am motivated to do anything. The only problem with this is that I take a sleeping pill before I go to bed. If you've ever paid attention to sleeping pill commercials, they warn against taking a pill and then not going to sleep. Which is exactly what I do. Every night. Why do they discourage this? Because there have been many reports of people doing things they don't remember later, like eating, or driving (???). So, let's just say I've sent many an email, updated many a Facebook status, even sent a few embarrassing messages that I don't remember in the morning, until I get a reply and it all comes flooding back. (It's the closest I'll ever get to experiencing getting wasted and remembering nothing the next day.) So...what I'm about to write may sound fantastic in my head right now, but in the morning, who knows? Guaranteed I won't remember that I posted at all until I see a comment in my inbox. It'll be a fun surprise in the morning. "Ooh, what did I write?!"

So there's lots of stuff I want to update on or talk about, and plunking it out on my phone is sure to be tons o' fun. What else am I gonna do all night? Sleep? Ha!

--Year of No Sugar is still going strong. I am on Day 13 and loving it. I feel so good about myself. And although physically I'm not doing too hot, emotionally and mentally I feel amazing. It's hard to tell if my physical problems are STILL my body's reaction to being cut off of sugar, or due to other unrelated factors but I just keep telling myself it has to get better. At some point I will be rewarded for this. The cravings are completely gone. I don't bat an eye at my kids' sugary snacks. The few times a day I want something sweet, I eat an all-natural, no added sugar fruit strip thing. (I have no idea what they're really called but they taste exactly like the homemade fruit roll-ups my mom used to make in her fruit dehydrater when I was a kid, that we called Fruit Leather). Or, I'll have an apple with peanut butter. Those are my desserts and they totally get the job done. I feel like I can do this forever!

--The unrelated factors I was referring to are med changes. Those two words alone make me want to run away screaming. But it was time, and necessary. But terrifying all the same. Trying a new medicine is scary enough. Coming down off the old one is downright petrifying. I am trying to go as sloooooooow as I possibly can with it to avoid getting sicker than a dog, but avoiding all the withdrawal side effects is virtually unheard of, so I'm just trying my best to grit my teeth and forge ahead. I could be in for months of nausea, dizziness, and basically wanting to curl up and die, but I'm willing to do that if it means finally finding a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. And, whether it be from the no-sugar or the med changes, something is definitely working, cause I haven't felt this good in a long time. The fog has lifted, the walls are lowering, and I'm remembering what it feels like to laugh.

--Still making cakes and loving every minute of it. Now I'm just looking for excuses to make them and use my Cricut Cake! Want to be my first official customer? Drop me a line.

--And the best is saved for last. Imagine, if you will, a knock on your door. You go to answer it, and standing there is someone who says, "Hey, you know that lifelong dream you've had? Well, today it's coming true." Only in fairytales? Not so, my friend. This very thing happened to me 3 days ago on Monday, January 10th, 2011. A day I will never forget. The day I was told that the contract to finish my book was happening now, not whenever I got it done, as originally planned. Today I signed a contract with a publishing company who will publish my book when it is finished come May. It will be on a bookstore shelf near you come fall. My book. Me. Published. Author. Dream. Coming. True. I still can't believe it. Seriously, I keep waiting to find out this is all some sick joke. Jen, if I haven't said it yet, I heart you.

And that is my life at this point in time. Thanks for hanging in there. My thumb is now permanently indented, and I'm going to attempt sleep now. If somehow in this drug-induced rambling I've said something horribly offensive or self-incriminating that will come back to haunt me in the morning, please don't hold it against me. I blame the pharmaceutical company entirely.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

I feel like someone's laughing at me. Oh, right, that's because someone is--my husband. He gets quite a kick out of watching me freak out over things that only happen in blockbuster movies. Until now...

See, I have a lot of fears, but I'm really only truly afraid of about three things: 1) vomiting 2) public humiliation and 3) the end of the world. Yup, I said it, and you can laugh all you want but when you're all blindsided by visitors from another planet, running and screaming for your lives, I'll be the one locked in an indestructible bunker with my tin foil hat and baby monitor. Who's laughing now, suckas?

Before you think I've truly lost my grip with reality, let me enlighten you on some recent events that might have you watching the skies for shiny round objects, if you haven't heard about them already. It's all over the news nationwide, so, it's real, and it's FREAKING ME OUT.

Fact 1: Some night last weekend (we can't remember exactly which night), Bill came home from somewhere and told me that on the way here he saw some crazy red and blue lights up over the airport. At first he assumed they were planes, but then they suddenly dipped super fast and started flying all over the place, way too fast for any airplane. He said it was crazy, he'd never seen anything like it. I didn't think too much of it until yesterday, when he said everyone's talking about them and no one knows what they were. I demanded to know who "everyone" was, because he likes to throw that term around and it usually means one or two guys he works with. But he said dj's on the radio station. Like, news, sort of. And the panic sets in.

Fact 2: It's all over the news, nationwide--mass amounts of animals are dropping dead and no one can tell why. It started on Dec. 30th, with 10,000 fish showing up dead on the banks of a river in Arkansas. Panic increasing. A day later, New Year's Eve, around 5,000 birds dropped dead out of the sky, their carcasses spread out over a mile radius. This was also in Arkansas, about 125 miles away from the fish. Panic really increasing. Then Monday, around 450 birds dropped dead out of the sky in Lousiana. An entirely different state. Panic approaching dangerous levels. And...just when I thought I couldn't handle anymore accounts of birds mysteriously dying for no apparent reason, today the news reported that last night in SWEDEN 50-100 birds fell dead, out of the sky, and no one knows why. Sweden. A different country. A DIFFERENT CONTINENT!!!

Each incident has everyone baffled, no one knows what's going on, no one can explain it, although of course, they've thrown out their "theories." Every "theory" has already been disproved, logically, if not evidently. Bottom line is, until they get the test results back from the dead birds and fish, which they say will hopefully be less than a week, they won't know.

Mysterious blue and red lights in the sky? Mass amounts of animals dropping dead for no apparent reason? Call me crazy (I know you're thinking it) but all I have going over and over in my head are scenes from Signs and War of the Worlds. Seriously, FREAKING OUT HERE. So, my beloved readers, our time together may be short, I just wanna say it's been a pleasure blogging with you. And no, there's no more room in my bunker.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Year of No Sugar

Oh my. Where to begin? Christmas is over, and that's depressing, but I have to admit it's nice to be done with the craziness and non-stop go go go and be back on a schedule. I had a wonderful Christmas, and got quite possibly the sweetest, most thoughtful gift anyone has ever gotten, ever. Or maybe I'm biased. Either way, I hope to post a picture of it soon.

The New Year is here. My sisters and I and our families had a mini party, playing games and grubbing on a pretty dang good feast. We knew we had to make it good, since it would be the last junk food for most of us for a long time. We had a blast, until Macy got one of her migraines around 11:30 and we had to hightail it out of there before her feast came back up. Bill and I rang in the New Year together with Ryan Seacrest and Kesha.

I've sort of given up on New Year's resolutions because if there's one thing I am, it's honest to myself. And me, myself and I all know that I am notorious for making grand announcements about making changes, and believing 100% that I will make them, and then not doing a single thing to make it happen, but expecting it to happen somehow on its own. I've accepted it, you should too. But this year I decided, very spontaneously, to make the grandest, most unattainable resolution of them all: No sugar for a year.

I KNOW, RIGHT??? Totally ridiculous. But I am bound and determined. I have toyed with the idea of going off sugar for a while now, and the new year seemed like the perfect time. It is going to be, arguably, the hardest thing I will ever do, and although I have resolved to go an entire year, I am taking it each day at a time and really just hoping to go as far as I can with it. I plan on documenting my journey here on my blog, with the hopes that by putting this out there, I will feel more accountable and more pressured to stick with it. I'm going to be brutally honest, detailing all of the highs and lows, slip ups, cravings, challenges and successes.

But first, a few things you should know. 1) I am totally, without a doubt, convinced that I am addicted to sugar. I don't mean mentally, I mean physically. (It's real, look it up.) So this is me, trying to quit, trying to detox myself and break free of my addiction. 2) When I say "no sugar" I obviously don't mean no sugar whatsoever because if you start reading labels on things, you'll see that's virtually impossible. EVERYTHING has sugar. And if it doesn't, it most likely has something in it that will turn to sugar in your body. I'm not worrying about that kind of sugar, at least not right now, because I'm realistic and let's face it, I would starve to death. Nor am I swearing off natural sugars, like fruit and stuff. I'm talking the kind of sugar you think of when you think of sugar, like desserts, my beloved sugar cereal, sugar pop, candy, etc. This is hard enough for me, trust me. When I feel like I have that under control, I am going to attempt to cut out processed, white flour stuff. We'll see how that goes. So, I hope you'll be here to cheer me on because, believe me, I will NEED it.

Today was Day 3 of no sugar. It has already been difficult, but so far I have managed to stay strong, a lot due to the fact that I announced it on Facebook, a strategy that proved inspired. But also because I would hate myself for failing three days into it.

Day 1 was a breeze. I was so pumped, so motivated, nothing was going to bring me down. I did, however, bring home a bunch of cupcakes from our New Year's Eve party, and they were screaming at me from their platter on the counter. Plus, we still have Christmas candy here, not the leftover kind that nobody wants, but some of the really good kind that I love. I know what you're thinking, "Get that crap out of your house." But I have another weakness, and that's that I absolutely cannot throw perfectly good stuff (food) away. Plus, it's my kids' candy. And I took a long time making the little fondant snowflakes on top of the cupcakes, so I cant' throw all that work in the garbage. Don't worry, my kids are taking care of it all, and soon it will all be out of my house.

Day 2 was a little harder. Not during the day, cause it was Fast Sunday, but at night, that's always the hardest. Especially because we often sit and watch Food Network at night, which is the dumbest thing you can do. I compensated by eating other junk food that I like, the non-sugary kind, like chips. I know, not the smartest thing, but it's the ONLY thing that is going to get me through this first little while, and I'm okay with that. I think when the cravings aren't so strong I'll be able to just say no.

Day 3 (today) was, well, crappy, but I'm pretty sure it's because of my non-sugar indulgence just before bed the night before. Chips and dip right before bed--not so smart. I woke up with a headache and heartburn that was so bad I was completely sick to my stomach and stayed in bed all day. I did get up to eat something so I could take some Advil, and those wretched cupcakes were literally jumping off the counter at me. But...I prevailed!! It took iron will, but I did not have one, and that, my friend, is the most monumental feat I have accomplished in pretty much forever. You seriously have no idea. But I do. Here's why: 1) Because they were cupcakes. 2) We had no other food in the house, which would, in the past, have been all the justification I needed to eat them for lunch. 3) When I don't feel good, my diet is always the first thing to go out the window. I don't care about being healthy, I just want to eat whatever is going to make me feel good. For those reasons, I'm a freaking rock star for abstaining.

So that's my first three days without sugar. Besides feeling lousy today, I haven't noticed so much of a change in the way I feel, other than my self-esteem, which is awesome. I think as soon as I stop substituting greasy, fatty food for sugar I will noticed a big difference. And I'm already trying to do that, especially after the Revenge of the Chips and Dip today.

So, cross your fingers that I can keep this up. So far so good. I will conquer you, sugar, I will.