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Oct. 28th, 2011

Not even close to 27 dresses

I'm attending a wedding in ... 19 hours. I haven't decided what I'm wearing. For this I need your help. The wedding starts at 6, is being held at Bubby's in DUMBO, and is the union of a former coworker and the lady with whom he has chosen to form a union (I got them the mixing bowls).

This is my first choice. I wore it to the rehearsal dinners to both of the weddings I was in last year (which were in July and September, and which did not feature forecasts of SNOW). It's black and white, but it's enough black that it's not wearing white to a wedding, right? I'm planning to wear it with a red belt and black shoes, because my red shoes are all beat up by the aforementioned rehearsal dinners (there were cobblestones involved in the latter one!). Super sparkly black shoes.

This is option 2. It's the dress I wore to Maggie and Kyle's wedding. It's one of four fuschia dresses I own. There is a chance it might not zip. Also, I bought the super sparkly open-toe black pumps to wear with this.

Option 3 is a similar color to the top of option 2, although you can't really tell in the photo. It's from Anthropologie, Kate found it for me, and I wore it to my cousin Nathan's wedding three years ago. Also not on a day when snow was predicted.

Option 4 is the most comfortable of all the options. I wonder if the beads would clash with the sparkly shoes.

Option 5 is rather nautical. Well, the wedding is near water. I have no idea what shoes I would wear with this.

Your opinions are welcome and will be appreciated. Go Cardinals, huh?

Jul. 13th, 2011

You will always be a loser

I had a lousy, frustrating day that is part of a larger, kind of rotten pattern and now I have to remind myself of all the ways that I'm immensely lucky and should not whine nearly so much. Apparently that is what I use that journal for now.

—My gym, which is a YMCA, is delinquent in many ways, but it is cheap and near my apartment, and most importantly today, the elliptical machines have iPod hookups that actually charge your device, so that if your iPod battery, say, drains all the way to zero while you're at work after being fully charged when you left the house this morning, you don't have to run off some frustration in silence. That was nice. Also, after a period of me wondering if the Armory would ever turn off the heat, they now chill it to a pleasantly glacial level. Which encourages me to go to the gym.

—This turkey tenderloin I grilled yesterday is absolutely perfect. I've been having a lot of difficulty lately with cooking larger pieces of meat properly—the last flank steak I did was so rare it was mooing, and I nearly ruined a pork tenderloin by putting it back on the fire after I cut into it and discovered it was red inside. But I marinated this turkey overnight in olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and grill seasoning and basically threw a no-hitter on the grill pan and it is amazing, juicy, flavorful, like someone else cooked it. I am a little too impressed with myself.

—The heat broke. A little. It's actually really nice outside.

—I have a red tomato on my plant. It is the size of a hazelnut, yes, but it is a TOMATO that I GREW.

—I got to watch, er, listen to the USA-France game today and it delighted me right down to the floor. Honestly, my girl crush on Hope Solo is getting a little out of control. I want to be her when I grow up, which I can say because she is about three weeks older than I am. I'm super, super excited about the final on Sunday and considering making some sort of egg and bacon casserole.

—My Amazon stock is up. Thanks for that, Cristin.

—Shaka Smart! Shaka Smart is back on my TV! I missed him. And Joey Rodriguez suits up good.

This hed Rebecca wrote makes my heart sing.

—I discovered powder sunscreen and it's changing my life. Also ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are just the greatest things.

—Harry Potter is this week. HARRY POTTER IS THIS WEEK.

—The French paid me relatively swiftly this time (and by that I mean I did the work in May), and the money came in at a very opportune time. I've actually been managing my money really well lately, which makes me feel like a grown-up in the good way.

I think that'll hold me for a while. Well, until I get back on the R tomorrow.

Apr. 15th, 2011

Time to be grateful for what you have, asshole.

I've been acting and feeling like a miserable whiner most of the time for awhile now, but despite my pissiness some good things have been happening. I need to reflect on them.

—Today Women's Health had a beauty sale and I got a bunch of expensive face junk for $6. Didn't even have to throw any elbows to get those lovely Yes to Tomatoes scrubbing pads.

—I've been worrying about money kind of a lot lately. But I have a job that gives me a regular paycheck, it's enough to pay my rent and for food and things like pretty earrings, and I have a 401(k) again with 50% matching, so that's nice.

—The chicken and apple sausage from FreshDirect is almost indecently delicious. As is this lentil salad recipe that I made twice this week.

—My mom is doing something great and she sounded happy on the phone today. And I get to see her, and the rest of the family, in a couple of weeks.

—I'm going to see Man U play Barcelona in DC this summer with delightful friends and one of my fun brothers. I am hoping they will all be unaccustomed to the sultry DC summer and will decide to play shirts vs. skins. Not so fast, Rooney.

—I got a seat on both trains this morning. And it's not quite so hot at the Y these days; I think they finally turned off the heat.

—Spent too much money on pretty new underthings. But I enjoy pretty new underthings, and they'll give me another paycheck next week.

—My friends are great. Really, they are. I was not feeling 100% in Atlantic City last weekend, but everybody held up their end and was an adult and it was great and I never felt like finding a corner and sulking.

—Cristin loaned me the Friday Night Lights DVDs and I am going to watch the HELL out of them this weekend rather than working on the Harlequin manuscript that's in my office. Oh, I have an office! I love that.

—I have been mainlining some awesome new-to-me authors in the past two months or so, mostly due to the influence of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and I have been so entertained lately reading everything I can get my hands on by Jill Shalvis, Julie James, and Courtney Milan. My to-read pile is the size of a small terrier at this point, and that makes me really happy. Also, I have access to two enormous public library systems, and that is a great thing.

Ok. Feeling slightly better about the dark cloud that's been hovering over my head for the past three months. It appears to have shrunk a bit.

Jan. 14th, 2011

Scavenger Hunt

I need two more recipes for the recipe cards section of my upcoming project. Here are the criteria. The recipes have to:
  • Have fewer than 400 calories per serving
  • Be able to be made in 20 minutes or less
  • Have an appealing photograph
  • That we own the rights to and don't have to pay for
  • Be previously published in Prevention or a Prevention property

And I need one chicken and one beef. And I suppose it goes without saying that we need to own the rights to republish the recipe itself for free, too. Oh! And our miserable online content archive won't let me search by more than two of those criteria.

This has been the longest week ever and I want to put my head down on my desk.

Aug. 31st, 2010

Hi there, reality

So today my brother told me that he was unhappy with me for quitting my job because in seven years he'd like to have a couple of kids whom he would like to take to Disneyworld for free. I managed to convince him that maybe in seven years Disney would own a magazine I might like to work for again, so maybe that dream of his could come true. Or ESPN could hire him as an analyst. Or he could pay 2017 money to get into Disneyworld, which would surely cost like a billion dollars per two-year-old. My brother is all about other people, y'all.

Aug. 26th, 2010

The encyclopedia is your friend!

So. Venice went to Remington. While he was there he got all bankrupted and had to (spoiler alert!) become a man whore, which may or may not have been arranged by Alberta who lives in Vancouver's syphilitic father. And now that she's a 22-year-old spinster, Remington is back to compete for Victoria's hand! Except he's poor now.

Grayson sighed. "What are you worth anyway? Hm? Out with it. You never told me."

Jonathan seethed out a breath, not wanting to think about it. He was worth less than a forth of what had once been. "If I were to convert everything from lire? Approximately three hundred pounds a year. More than enough to ensure Victoria an excellent living in Venice."

"Three hundred pounds a year?" Grayson let out a long whistle. He shook his head and kept right on shaking it. [Forever.] "Bleed me, you will have no choice but to live in Venice ... but." Grayson pointed at him, a slow grin overtaking his lips. "If Victoria marries you, all of your financial woes will be at an end and you can live wherever the hell you want. I'll have you know, she is set to inherit my uncle's entire estate. Almost a hundred thousand pounds worth."

Sigh. Two things. First, the lira was the standard unit of currency in Italy from 1861, when the various nation-states of the region were unified by the Sardinians, to 2002, when the euro kicked in. In 1829, which is when we are right now, Venice was under the control of the Austrians and so its unit of currency was the Lombardy-Venetia pound.

Second, Victoria is an unmarried 22-year-old woman in England during the reign of George IV. She would not be allowed to own property until 1882, and then only as a married woman. She cannot inherit her father's estate.

Research! Not just for nerds.

Aug. 25th, 2010

Comprehensive sex ed, Regency style

The writer of my latest is an insufferable twat and I'd like to stab her fingers with my copyediting pencil. But I won't. Because this is a single title and it's going to earn me a lot of money, unless of course I blind myself before page FOUR HUNDRED AND TEN with said pencil.

(Seriously, it is so, so long it makes me want to scream.)

So this one's a historical. Unlike the last historical I did (which I swear I wrote a blog post about but can't find, which is really weird), the author is relatively good at avoiding linguistic anachronisms. What she's not good at is avoiding homonym confusion, writing concisely, creating interesting characters, or not formatting her book like a pretentious Ren Faire snooze. Instead of "Chapter One" and "Chapter Two" she is insisting on "Scandal One," etc. I guess I should be glad it's not "Scandale." (And come on. That is not her real name. That is the name of a Victorian stripper.) So far, Scandale Two has been entirely epistolary, which is a pain in the ass because of all the formatting, the italic small caps, the subheads, blah blah. I wouldn't be surprised if the typesetter quits in frustration.

Also? There's this. Please stop eating or drinking now. (Remington is in Venice. Victoria is in England. They are in lurve. And writing letters. They are also 19 and 17.)

My darling Victoria,

When I mentioned my bed [in his last letter], I was referring to the art of love. It involves no pretenses and consists of breath, passion and pleasure that in time will lead to the creation of precious life within your womb. There is far, far more than this, I assure you, but I am unwilling to scorch the tip of my quill or this parchment. Simply know that I am looking forward to our wedding night and think about it more often than a gentleman should. As a result of this restlessness within me, I have been distracting myself in many new ways.

Yes. Also, she has decided to italicize thirty straight pages. Because that won't get a little rough on the eyes or anything. Ugh. Did I mention this manuscript is four hundred and ten pages long, printed on both sides of the paper?! 

Jul. 22nd, 2010

Stupidity, briefly

Working on a Harlequintrigue murder mystery. Main characters are a jumpy psychic widow and the detective (DETECTIVE MACK STEELE, oh no, I am not kidding, and I don't think Michael Scott wrote this book) who's been in love with her since before her husband died. I'm 50 pages in. They're making out in the front seat of his car.

When she slipped two fingers inside, he dragged in a sharp breath.

Inside his shirt, unfortunately.

Also, this author is so fossilized that one of her characters made a Happy Days reference when describing his wretched childhood. If someone doesn't say, "Straight to the moon, Alice" later, I will be disappointed.

Jul. 14th, 2010

I'll take clumsy, tin-eared banter for $200, Alex.

So this is happening. The Outward Bound–with–cows program has headed out on their little character-building cattle drive—incidentally, there's been no explanation of if the juvenile delinquents are paying for this delightful experience, or if this is some sort of New York City taxpayer–funded extravaganza—and right now the hero and heroine are trying to assemble their sleeping spaces at the campsite. They are...attempting to pitch their tents. Yes. Which is a phrase the author was diligently avoiding, perhaps because she knew it would give me one single second of amusement, and then this happened:

Maggie* smiled. "Everyone seems to be busy with their own tents, so let's work on yours, shall we?"

He grinned. "Thanks."

"No problem." She ran an index finger over the directions. "You appear to be on number two, letter c. 'Inserting the pole into the center.' See?"

Joe caught his breath, trying to corral his wayward, wandering thoughts.

"Extend main pole and place in position ready for insertion," she read.

His mouth went dry as he looked at Maggie.

"Extend the main pole and slide it into the main hub," Maggie continued.

He was feeling warm all over. Please, no more reading.

"Did you get that, Joe? Extend the main pole and slide it into the main hub."

She couldn't have read that, could she? Funny, when he was reading the directions, there was nothing sensual about them in the least.

He ran a finger around the inside of his collar [No, really, it actually says this.] for more air. "Yeah, I got it."

"Are you going to extend your pole...?"

"Read on down," he said curtly.

"Find another main pole and insert one end into the smooth opening on..."

Dammit. How long was this going to go on? His jeans were getting uncomfortable. "Read on down," he repeated.


"Skip that one, read on down."

"But Joe, we're skipping everything. We need to get together on this."

We need to get together.

He swallowed hard. "Let's forget this whole thing and see if Cookie needs some help," he said abruptly.

The editor's rather dry note at the beginning of all this nonsense: "This is not really appropriate banter—it's not suited to these two adults, and readers won't go for this."

*Apologies to all the Maggies in my life. You deserve better.

Jun. 8th, 2010

Small things

This has been a surprisingly pleasant day. That occurred to me when I was walking home through the park, laden with bags like a freaking pack mule. (Of course, this is going to appear above that other post, the weepy drunken rant to end all weepy drunken rants, which I now find kind of funny. Now that I have my clothes. And am at home. Meh. Comme ci, comme ça.)

I got in a good workout this morning. Had a delicious breakfast. Got a goddamn ton of work done, which means I'll get paid a handsome sum of money in a few weeks. On my way home I stopped to do some shopping, because I need a shower present for Marisa, and I was planning to wear a dress I already own to both rehearsal dinners this summer...but White House Black Market was just there, and then I found something perfect and it makes me look adorable, and one of my bosses gave me a very nice compliment this afternoon, and also there were earrings and a bracelet...so that was that. And do you know what size that dress is? The actual size that I am, J.Crew, not the two sizes bigger imaginary size that you would like to tell me I am. Bastards.

And then I went to Barnes & Noble and picked up a new mystery novel and a copy of Origami Yoda for my cousin's kids, because they'll love it. Then I got some food and walked through the park listening to country music and the sky was clear and the air was cool and it was all just very excellent. And when I got home there was just the most beautiful wedding invitation in my mailbox and everything seems so very happy right now.

Now I have to cook that food and then plow through 150 pages of a Harlequin to pay for my little spree this afternoon. Think I'll sing while I do it. God, sometimes my life is great.

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