Friday Favorite – Self-photography

I noticed recently that I take an awful lot of pictures of myself. Well … maybe that would be better stated that my percentage of self-photographed pictures is rather high. But I love a good self-photograph! And I’ll tell you why. It’s all about the angles.

You see, when you take a picture of yourself, you tend to hold the camera up high. The picture points down, and bada bing, bada boom, any potential double chins or weird face issues are destroyed. And so, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite self-portraits.

Me and Mom at the Third Day/Brandon Heath show in Phoenix. Rockin' good time!
Me and Mom at the Third Day/Brandon Heath show in Phoenix. Rockin' good time!
Former roommate (and friend-extraordinaire) Amy and I at a Brandon Heath concert in 2009.
Former roommate (and friend-extraordinaire) Amy and I at a Brandon Heath concert in 2009.
My sister and I at our recent Bluebird adventure!
My sister and I at our recent Bluebird adventure!
Jess Barnes, Jess Lacy, and me at the Golden Bee just before I left Colorado Springs.
Jess Barnes, Jess Lacy, and me at the Golden Bee just before I left Colorado Springs.

So the next time you’re looking for someone to take your picture, remember that all you need is an extended arm and a tight hug with everyone you want in the picture!

Yay for hair cuts!

My hair has been driving me CRAZY! I mean, completely, absolutely nuts! To the point that was ready to just pull it out. But when I realized that might hurt, a lot, I opted to go get it cut instead. But a new city means finding a new stylist. Well it turns out nearly everyone I work with goes to the same person, so today Nikki worked her magic on my hair!

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Okay, so I know it’s not an originally new haircut, but it’s so nice to have it cleaned up and soft and light and EASY. I’m all about the easy hair in the morning. 🙂

Friday Favorite – 30 by 30

I’m almost 30. Well, to be completely forth-coming, I’m almost, almost 30. That’s right. I’m about to turn 29. This Sunday to be exact.

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about making a list of things that I might want to do by the time I’m 30. I started asking questions like, Have I accomplished the things that I want to by the time I hit 30? What do I want to do with this year?

So, what I came up with is below … a list of 30 things I want to do in the next year. Some are a little silly. Some are meant to stretch me. And if I add up all the hours it’ll take to accomplish these, I might have to quit my day job. (Hmm … well, I can’t finance my trip to the Harry Potter theme park if I quit my job. Bummer.)

Without further ado, I present …

Liz’s 30 by 30

  1. Complete the Nashville Rock and Roll ½ Marathon
  2. Write 2 novels
  3. Read all of Jane Austen’s Books
  4. Go to an NFL game
  5. Save $1500 toward a trip to Scotland/Ireland
  6. Finish Caleb’s fire truck cross stitch
  7. Visit 3 Civil War battlefields
  8. See Brandon Heath in concert
  9. Visit Boone Hall in South Carolina (Mount Royal Plantation)
  10. Donate $1000 to World Vision for Micro-loans
  11. Get a contract for a 3-book deal
  12. Find a place to serve at my new church
  13. Take a cooking class at Whole Foods
  14. Give away 20 of the books on my shelves
  15. Buy flowers for a friend for no reason
  16. Eat something with mushrooms
  17. See a show at TPAC
  18. Read the Bible in a Year
  19. Take an adult beginner dance class
  20. Visit the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando
  21. Catch up on the TV show Chuck
  22. Volunteer at least 10 hours at a local food bank/shelter
  23. Read a #1 New York Times Bestseller when it’s #1
  24. Go a week without eating out
  25. Host a dinner party for at least 4 friends
  26. Write a Christmas short story
  27. Drop 2 dress sizes
  28. Sing karaoke in public
  29. Drink only water for 2 weeks straight
  30. Vacation on Prince Edward Island

And wouldn’t you know … that list actually looks like it’ll provide material for at least 30 blogs! Score! I’ll keep you all up to date on my progress, and in a year, we’ll revisit. 🙂

(And, yes. Technically my trip to PEI is already planned and mostly paid for, but I’m still going in my 29th year, so that still counts, right?)

Did/do you have a 30 by 30 list? What was on it?

The reviews are coming in …

Well, folks, the reviews for Vanishing Act are starting to roll in … very slowly. But still.

The first official review (ie, posted on the interwebs) is up at Tammy’s Book Parlor. And according to Tammy’s blog, it’s also going up on ReadersFavorites.com. It’s just not there yet.

Here’s a snippet of what Tammy had to say:
A fast, sweet, intrigue with romance and great suspense. I enjoyed reading this book because of the suspense but I also liked the way the author put God as the main source of life and joy. Yes, I believe, a good suspense story can include a God who loves us and takes care of us. If you’re looking for a great read that doesn’t have cuss words or inappropriate bedroom scenes but instead is a story of people somewhat like you and me who trust the Lord during difficult times then this is a book for you.

Thanks for the review, Tammy!

Monday Movie – Julie and Julia

julie-juliaI discovered something pretty amazing last weekend. I think that my enjoyment of this movie was absolutely a product of the person I watched it with!

Sure, Julie and Julia is an interesting and unique dual bio-pic, based on the book by Julie Powell, which is actually based on her blog the Julie/Julia project. In a small apartment in Queens, would-be-writer Julie decided that she’d start a blog chronicling a year of cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Childs cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

The movie jumps back and forth between Julie’s life in post-9/11 New York and Julia’s story of learning to cook in France. Julia’s relationship with her husband, played by the amazing Stanley Tucci, is wonderfully rich and colorful. Julie’s … well … maybe not as much, but it was still interesting.

So the movie was enjoyable, but sitting next to my sister, my wonderfully rich and colorful sister, made the movie just that much more enjoyable. Every time Julia said said something that tickled my sister, she’d say the line over in her really terrible Julia Child impersonation. We had more fun laughing at my sister than anything else. And then we’d start laughing harder because one or the other of us that had snorted because we were laughing so hard.

That’s my favorite part about watching a movie with my sister. She’s wickedly funny, and watching amovie with her just makes every movie better. 🙂

ACFW Carol Award Finalists

If you’re familiar with the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, then you’ve maybe even heard that their Book of the Year Award has recently been renamed the Carol Award. And this weekend, they announced the finalists (5 and sometimes more) in categories across the board.

I thought I’d share and give a shout out to some really excellent authors, especially those from Steeple Hill!

And yes … that’s my name in the debut author category. I’d like to thank the members of the academy and … wait! That’s not right. 🙂 But in all seriousness, I’m really humbled and honored to be recognized among these really amazing authors. Thanks, ACFW judges.

Carol Award Finalists

Debut Author

Bonnie Grove – Talking to the Dead (David C. Cook Publishing)      

Liz Jonson – The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn (Steeple Hill)

Kirk Outerbridge – Eternity Falls (Marcher Lord Press)

Jill Eileen Smith – Michal (Revell)

Dan Walsh – The Unfinished Gift (Revell)

 

Contemporary Novella

6 Finalists due to a tie

Barbara Cameron – One Child (Thomas Nelson)

Barbara Cameron – When Winter Comes (Thomas Nelson)

Debra Clopton – A Mule Hollow Match (Steeple Hill)

Susan May Warren – The Great Christmas Bowl (Tyndale House)

Beth Wiseman – A Change of Heart (Thomas Nelson)

Beth Wiseman – A Choice to Forgive (Thomas Nelson)

 

Historical Novella

Victoria Bylin – Home Again (Steeple Hill)

Vickie McDonough – A Breed Apart (Barbour Publishing)

Vickie McDonough – Beloved Enemy (Barbour Publishing)

Janet Tronstad – Christmas Bells for Dry Creek (Steeple Hill)

Carrie Turansky – A Shelter in the Storm (Barbour Publishing)         

 

Long Contemporary

6 Finalists due to a tie

Christina Berry – The Familiar Stranger (Moody Publishers)  

Mary Ellis – A Widow’s Hope (Harvest House Publishers)

Joyce Magnin – The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow (Abingdon Press)    

Susan Meissner – White Picket Fences (Waterbrook Press)   

Marlo Schalesky- If Tomorrow Never Comes (Multnomah)    

Susan May Warren – Nothing But Trouble (Tyndale House)  

Long Contemporary Romance

Candace Calvert – Critical Care (Tyndale House)        

Denise Hunter – Seaside Letters (Thomas Nelson)      

Jenny B. Jones – Just Between You and Me (Thomas Nelson)

Beth Wiseman – Plain Promise (Thomas Nelson)        

Cindy Woodmsall – The Hope of Refuge (Waterbrook Press) 


Mystery

A.K. Arenz – The Case of the Mystified M.D. (Sheaf House)   

Mindy Starns Clark – Under the Cajun Moon (Harvest House Publishers)   

Darlene Franklin – A String of Murders (Heartsong Mysteries)

S. Dionne Moore – Polly Dent Loses Grip (Heartsong Mysteries)      

Janice Thompson writing as Janice Hanna – Pushing up Daisies (Heartsong Mysteries)

 

Long Historical

Deeanne Gist – A Bride in the Bargain (Bethany House)

Robin Lee Hatcher – Fit To Be Tied (Zondervan)         

Maureen Lang – Look to the East (Tyndale House)

Siri Mitchell – Love’s Pursuit (Bethany House)  

Allison Pittman – Stealing Home (Multnomah)  

 

Long Historical Romance

8 Finalists due to a tie

Amanda Cabot – Paper Roses (Revell)   

Mary Connealy – Cowboy Christmas (Barbour Publishing)    

Mary Connealy – Montana Rose (Barbour Publishing)

Laura Frantz – The Frontiersman’s Daughter (Revell)  

Ann Gabhart – The Believer (Revell)       

Julie Lessman – A Passion Denied (Revell)      

Janice Thompson writing as Janice Hanna – Love Finds You in Poetry, Texas (Summerside Press)

Kathleen Y’Barbo – The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper (Waterbrook Press)

 

Short Contemporary

Debra Clopton – His Cowgirl Bride (Steeple Hill)

Myra Johnson – Autumn Rains (Heartsong Presents) 

Vickie McDonough – A Wagonload of Trouble (Heartsong Presents)

Mae Nunn – A Texas Ranger’s Family (Steeple Hill)   

Glynna Sirpless writing as Glynna Kaye – Dreaming of Home (Steeple Hill)

 

Short Contemporary Suspense

6 Finalists due to a tie

Jill Elizabeth Nelson – Evidence of Murder (Steeple Hill)

Sandra Robbins – Final Warning (Steeple Hill) 

Virginia Smith – Murder at Eagle Summit (Steeple Hill)           

Virginia Smith – Scent of Murder (Steeple Hill)  

Jenness Walker – Double Take (Steeple Hill)    

Lenora Worth – Code of Honor (Steeple Hill)

 

Short Historical

Lyn Cote – Her Patchwork Family (Steeple Hill)

Laurie Alice Eakes – The Glassblower (Heartsong Presents) 

Laurie Kingery – The Outlaw’s Lady (Steeple Hill)

Lynette Sowell – All That Glitters (Heartsong Presents)

Dan Walsh – The Unfinished Gift (Revell)          

 

Speculative (includes Science Fiction, Fantasy, Allegory)

6 Finalists due to a tie

Kirk Outerbridge – Eternity Falls (Marcher Lord Press)

Donita K. Paul – The Vanishing Sculptor (Waterbrook Press)

Steve Rzasa – The Word Reclaimed (Marcher Lord Press)     

Stuart Vaughn Stockton – Starfire (Marcher Lord Press)        

Fred Warren – The Muse (Splashdown Books)

Jill Williamson – By Darkness Hid (Marcher Lord Press)         

 

Suspense/Thriller

Terri Blackstock – Intervention (Zondervan)

Colleen Coble – Lonestar Secrets (Thomas Nelson)

Brandilyn Collins – Exposure (Zondervan)       

Harry Kraus – Salty Like Blood (Howard/Simon & Schuster)

DiAnn Mills – Breach of Trust (Tyndale House)

 

Women’s Fiction

7 Finalists due to a tie

Julie Carobini – Sweet Waters (B&H Publishing)

Kathryn Cushman – Leaving Yesterday (Bethany House)     

Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck – Sweet By and By (Thomas Nelson)  

Rene Gutteridge & Cheryl McKay – Never the Bride (Waterbrook Press)

Deborah Raney – Yesterday’s Embers (Howard/Simon & Schuster)

Deborah Raney – Above All Things (Steeple Hill)

Lisa Wingate – The Summer Kitchen (New American Library/Penguin)

 

Young Adult

Shelley Adina – Who Made You a Princess? (Hachette FaithWords)           

Brandilyn & Amberly Collins – Always Watching (Zondervan)

Jenny B. Jones – I’m So Sure (Thomas Nelson)           

Jenny B. Jones – So Not Happening (Thomas Nelson)

Booker T. Mattison – Unsigned Hype (Revell)    

The Carol Awards will be presented at ACFW’s Conference in Indianapolis, September 17-20.  There’s still time to register at www.acfw.com/conference.

Friday Favorite – Old Spice Man

Once upon a time there was a commercial. It was a silly commercial, intended to make viewers giggle with glee.

It did it’s job well.

And then one day, the Old Spice Man began responding to twitter and facebook comments. Random comments illicited random responses.

These made me giggle, too.

And then they made me giggle (and by that I mean, laugh so hard I nearly peed my pants) again.

Well, I hope these made you giggle too. If they didn’t … well, that simply will not do.

My sister is so cool!!!

So this weekend my sister Hannah came for a visit. She left her family for a long weekend of relaxing with me Nashville-style. Now I’m certain that she missed her kiddos–and her husband, too! She called them daily, tucked her girls in by phone every night, and took lots of pictures for them. And her picture-taking prowess is your gain!

We did a lot of really fun Nashville things! Like breakfast at the Pancake Pantry, which is a Nashville tradition of the best kind! We got two speciality pancakes and shared them, so that we could have more variety. And let me just say that the cherry pancakes are AMAZING!

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And then, of course, there’s the really, really amazing syrup. I love this stuff!

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After the Pancake Pantry, we ran back to get a picture of this fire station. While the station was really cool, the run through the rain to get the picture was worth a thousand laughs. As we were running across the street to get a better angle, she was grabbing for my hand. Apparently she doesn’t give up being a mom of little girls very fast. We giggled about it for days!

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Then there was the Bluebird Cafe, featuring some really amazing songwriters singing in the round. What I love about the Bluebird is that there is nothing like it anywhere else. It’s such an intimate night of incredible music!  

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Hannah and I sat on the park bench in front of the church pews (as all good venues should have). It was a hoot! And so fun!

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And then we celebrated my birthday with a rousing trip to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch on Sunday. Let’s just say that where was eating of cheesecake gallor! Pretty amazing stuff!

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Well, that’s a start on the trip. I’ll share more stories and more laughs later. So let it suffice that my sister is awesome, and we had a riot!

Oh the places … my new shoes will take me!

When I was in 8th grade, my English/lit teacher, Mrs. Leggett, read our class the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! We were about to graduate into the big, bad unknown–also called high school. And we needed a bit of encouragement, a bit of reminding that big things were in store for us.

Namely having Mrs. Leggett again for freshman English. (Oh, so painful, but I can’t thank her enough for the foundation of grammar she gave me.)

And I still remember that book.

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.

So if I have feet in my shoes for this grand adventure, I better have wickedly cool shoes, eh?

Enter the Dr. Seuss-inspired Converse All Star. That’s right. Chuck Taylors. In a Dr. Seuss design.

Could there be anything cooler? I contend not. Which is why I was forced to buy a pair. And in 7-10 business days, my feet are going to be rocking these excellent pieces of footware, which, of course, I can’t seem to get a picture of. So check out this link. You’ll be glad you did. You pretty much have to smile when you see them.

Oh, the places they’re going to take me!

Movie Monday – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Have you seen the new trailer for the final Harry Potter movie? When I first saw it, I believe my initial reaction was “SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!”

I couldn’t say anything else. I couldn’t do anything but shake violently with anticipation and pure joy! Harry is back! And it would appear, better than ever!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m miserable over the decision to split the movie into 2 parts. But not enough to keep me from the theater at midnight on opening day. Save a seat for me because this one isn’t to be missed. Check it out!