Remodeling and Romance
Marriage is a series of compromises—where to eat, where to live, kids. It’s never ending. Some compromises stand out above the dull roar of everyday tacos-versus-hamburger negotiations. Some failures also stand out. For instance, this fridge.
This fridge is currently in my family’s living room. It stands, a dirty white symbol of our failure to compromise, not to mention my husband and myself. It’s aging poorly as the kids slowly destroy it. It freezes all my lettuce, not to mention my warm feelings towards my spouse. Before we can move the fridge into the kitchen, we need to purchase: 1) a smaller refrigerator and 2) and a new oven.
Today, the husband and I dragged the kids to Sears with moderately high hopes. I selected an oven while my husband was in the restroom. It took me three minutes. When he came out, he gave me a dirty look and asked the Sears guy about a stove with duel fuel and a split oven (ironic when you consider he only makes tacos).
We did however stop and spend a lot of time looking at this thing:
Crazy good deal, huh?! I’m not sure what it is. Husband thinks it’s an air purifier and will save us from dying of mold-related complications. I think he’s considering going back for it.
Last year the same thing happened. We went shopping for appliances to solve our fridge-in-the-living room problem. We couldn’t agree on a fridge, but we did buy this:
It’s some sort of high-powered fan. Harley was impressed with its large motor and it was only $90. Note that it’s still in the original packaging. Photo was taken today. Harley also purchased a fake Christmas tree on one of these trips, ironic given that we can’t have a tree until we move our fridge.
HGTV is like a crack dealer and we’re all a bunch of crack ho’s, strung out and binge watching International Househunters. When compressed into a twenty-three minute show headlined by the undeniably cute-times-two Property Brothers, remodeling looks like a great idea. Not to mention, there is an underlying romance to the idea of remodeling. There’s the American dream, picket fence piece, but more fundamentally, a house is a nest. No one wants a half-assed bird nest. In reality, remodeling is a dirty white Maytag stuck in the living room for a decade. Property Brothers, I’d be mad if you weren’t so cute. (I hope that wasn’t too many metaphors for you. I know it was a lot to keep up with.)
Needless to say, remodeling will make it difficult for me to write a romance novel (slotted for November-ish). How am I supposed to think romantic thoughts with the refrigerator of marital doom looming in the background? Maybe I’ll get one of those cute little Chinese screens to hide it.
I’m signing off now to spend quality time with my husband. We’ve successfully compromised on a television show. Actually, we’re watching a sci fi, but he told me I’ll like it because Halle Berry is in it.
Until next week,
Beyond Ted: Naming Characters and/or Your Children
Confession: I name all of my male characters Ted, at least until I think better of it. Sometimes Todd. My current MC is Roy. My brain is a Ted factory. All Teds come prefabricated with a vague resemblance to Keanu Reeves. I must have seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure at a highly formative moment. Three weeks ago I had a baby, my first boy.* I spent weeks working on lists of names. Naming my baby, who I did not name Ted, gave me some insight into picking a name.
Baby name websites are helpful. My favorite is Nameberry. I created my son’s list of potential names from Nameberry. I particularly like this website because of its carefully curated name lists. Examples of name lists include: cowboy names, antique baby names ready for restoration, and “the exoticizer” (a guide for making normal names exotic). It even generates a handy list of names similar to Ted or whatever your go-to name might be.
Most people don’t want their kid to be one of five Khaleesi’s in the kindergarten class (a surprisingly popular name this year). Likewise, most writers don’t want their main character to have the same name as every other MC in the agent’s inbox. In my many hours spent stalking agents on Twitter, I’ve seen plenty of comments such as, “OMG! Why is every character named Bailey today?!” Sure, the agent’s decision will be based on writing quality, concept, salability, etc. Still, it can’t be helpful if your MC is one of twelve Bailey’s in the submissions inbox. I recommend plugging potential character names into Baby Name Voyager. The site will show potential name’s popularity over time graphically.
A few weeks ago I went to see Rainbow Rowell speak. She shared some naming advice of her own. Rainbow (I’m on a first-name basis with her in my head), mentioned that she picks out character names before she starts writing. Once a character has a name, he or she becomes more real. Rainbow also mentioned that she doesn’t use “find and replace” to change names because a different name changes the way sentences sound. The names, she said, become an integral part of each sentence. The “th” in Beth is a soft sound that can’t be replaced to her satisfaction with a name like Peg or Katrina. The new sound changes the landscape of each sentence and undoes carefully constructed prose.
Crowd sourcing can also be fun. You can help your friends procrastinate and get a helpful reality check. Here are a few baby names from my list with comments from my friend Carol. (I ended up picking a baby name from her approved list.)
Maynard: Yes. But you must raise him in Georgia.
Maurice: Some call him the space cowboy.
Dalton: Dalton. Kind of sexy. Sorry I just called your baby sexy.
Nicolai: Russian ballet will love him!
Finally, I recommend picking a name that most people can pronounce. You don’t want readers stumbling over complicated names, unless you’ve written a 250,000-word sci-fi. In that case, all bets are off.
*Baby is now one and a half. I’m reposting this sucker because I took Labor Day off! 🙂
The Play House, An American Horror Story
I had a BBQ at my house yesterday. Some of my writer friends came over with their kids. The night kicked off when the swing set in my backyard half collapsed. Then, two kids went through some rotted boards in the playhouse. In an incident unrelated to the play house drama (a screaming/weight lifting contest mishap if you’re wondering) one child called her mother and insisted on immediate pick-up. She ran screaming from the home as soon as her parents pulled up (Hi Cristina!). Besides that it was fun. We drank a few glasses of wine and chatted. Seriously, though, next party’s at your house Kristi.
My cat brought his own meat to the event.
The play house, though. It had such a grand start. My daughter drew up the plans and my husband and kids built it together. So much love and energy went into making that thing. Then, the kids enjoyed it for approximately one weekend. Now, three years later it’s rotting in the backyard. Tonight, the husband shored it up a little. He didn’t want to finish fixing it in the dark, so I’m sitting next to him while he watches a show called Monster Hunters. The hunters are looking for a Florida Skunk Ape. They’re trying to lure one in with a scent cocktail of human and orangutan vaginal bacteria. I would like to blame this programming selection on Harley, but it was the result of a compromise. He wanted to watch a sci fi show. I wanted to watch a documentary, so we let Lila pick. According to Netflix, someone at our house already viewed this program. No one is willing to admit to it, but I can say with 100% confidence it wasn’t me.
Anyway, we have some serious Griswold action happening. In between episodes of Monster Hunters Harley tries to make the American dream come to life in our backyard. Every now and the I snap an adorable photo and post it on Facebook or slide it in the photo album. Now, this physical manifestation of our American dream is crumbling before our very eyes. It’s sort of like the rose in Beauty and the Beast. The boards rot one-by-one in an echo of our actual deferred home maintenance. If I sound a little dramatic, it’s probably because I went to the State Fair yesterday and I haven’t had an hour of adult time in about five days. As a family with young kids it’s seriously hard to keep all the balls in the air. There are so many people that need to be taken care of. We need to feed them, teach them useful skills, take them to the fair, make them eat vegetables, and pay to have their teeth straightened. Not to mention, the adults are supposed to stay happily married. Seriously, who thought up this shit? I bet they didn’t have kids. That plan needs more funding and more people. I’m beat.
For me, reflecting on the play house explains why Family Vacation resonated so deeply with so many people. It is such a perfect portrayal of our quest for the American dream. Most of us are in the family truckster with Aunt Edna strapped to the roof and a dead dog tied to the bumper. And Wally World is closed. That movie came out twenty years ago, but I’m still right there with it. The play house is our Wally World.
Before: Look how cute it was!
Three years later.
This doesn’t even do it justice. The swings are hanging off at an odd angle and my six-year old dangled out the window and added some graffiti to the front. It says, “To Daphne. To Silas.” Some of the letters are backwards.
Here are Kristi and I enjoying the party as we watch our children incur minor injuries on unsafe, even by German standards, play structures. I guess the lesson might be that with good friends and a sense of humor we can make it through anything. Still, I would also like a trip to Hawaii. I picked up a brochure at Costco last week. Apparently, it’ll take more than a crumbled play house to beat the Griswold out of me.
Summer, I Can’t Wait to See You in Pictures
I have two more weeks before my kids go back to school. On the one hand, I want it to be over. I’m wiped out and need a breather. We’ve been partying hard for three solid months and have ridden all the rides and seen all of the bears. No one ever sleeps at the same time. Seriously, the kids sleep in shifts.
On the other hand, I’m sad (weepy sad because I’m exhausted). Summer is filled with precious time with my kids. There is at least one moment each day when I can’t believe how lucky I am, snuggling with the baby, reading a book with Daphne, or being surprised by something cool they did. They are the kind of moments I imagined when I thought about having kids way back when. Here’s the rub: In my pre-child musings, those moments were sandwiched between other activities that I recognized as sane. Here’s a possible line-up of moments: 1. dishes, 2. reading on the couch, 3. child playing with toys while I read the newspaper.
Here’s a more realistic string of activities: 1. Kids screaming at each other because they can’t agree on a Netflix program, 2. Me yelling, “TURN OFF THE TV.” 3. A really sweet moment reading with Daphne that is interrupted because I realize the baby is coloring on the toilet with a mascara wand (high quality department store mascara, by the way). 4. Everyone is suddenly starving. It will tun out they were only hungry enough to eat a stolen popsicle while I cooked something they won’t eat. 5. Daphne finds the mascara I should have thrown away. I think about googling the dangers of using mascara that has been previously dipped in the toilet, but decide it’ll probably be fine.
As you can see, number three was really nice. I love reading with the kids. However, those sweet moments are almost never framed by anything other than chaos, housework, or guilt because I’m letting them gorge in front of the TV. That’s why you have to have a photo album. You can see the sweet moments in isolation without a soundtrack of Katy Perry and screaming in background. I need to update my photo album so I can relive summer in silence this fall. It’ll probably make me cry.
Summer is just one more example of how life is out balance, at least my life. Why do we still have a school schedule that follows the harvest? I bet France doesn’t do that anymore. I wish my kids could go to school for four hours a day most of the year with a couple of weeks off here and there. That wouldn’t be ideal for people with full-time jobs, but I doubt summer is either. For my part, I’d have more energy for them and time for work every day. That isn’t going to happen, though, so I’ll send them off to school with a quivering lip in two weeks, sad because I want a break, but not that much of a break, until we do it all again next summer.
Book Launch Hangover
I know that book release is supposed to be really fun, but truthfully I’ve been feeling a little despondent about the whole thing. A book launch involves a lot of self-promotion and sharing that doesn’t come naturally to me. In the midst of my online promotion frenzy, I took a quiz titled, “What should your hungover name be?” In response to Buzzfeed’s prompts, I said I’d prefer to puke in a KFC bucket, move into a cave, and watch Netflix.
Buzzfeed spat out a paragraph-long description of my hungover self. When I read it, everything clicked into place: I have a book launch hangover and my name is Timothy.
According to Buzzfeed:
Timothy gets existential hangovers. Booze makes little Tim sad the next day. “Why did I say that?” “What was even the point of last night?” “Who even am I anymore?” Chill Timmy. It’s OK, you had fun last night and now you have to pay for it, that’s how the world works. Have a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea, you’ll be just fineee.
This perfectly descibes my feeling about book launch. I might have released a book, but I can’t shake the feeling that I did karaoke in my underwear. Worse yet, all my family and friends were there, plus some strangers. Today it’s all over the internet and they’re rating me. In the foggy hungover light of morning, I’m like, “Why did I write a chick lit book?” “What’s so-and-so going to think?” “I wish I’d never written a book!” I’ve been yo-yoing between grandious success delusions and hoping that no one will ever read the book. I am Timothy.
If it was a real hangover, I’d try and sleep through it, but because it’s a book launch I have to write a lot of blog posts and promote myself online. Everyone keeps telling me “Congratulations!” It feels weird.
Now that Buzzfeed has officially diagnosed me with book launch hangover, here’s my strategy going forward:
- Do the stuff I need to do. Write blog posts. Promote myself. Shut off the critical self-examination part of brain. Maybe if I turn on some distracting flashy lights I’ll forget to mentally flog myself.
- Keep my eyes trained on the horizon. I have two manuscripts I’m really excited to revise and a sequel to edit. And I’m submitting another book proposal this week. There’s lots of work and I don’t want to be behind when the hangover fades.
- Don’t forget to feed the kids. It’s summer and they don’t care that I’m writing books. Also, we have some memories to make: road trips, swimming, picnics. I don’t want to be questioning my existence and staring at the computer through the whole thing. Maybe they’d get to write a good memoir about that in the end, but I’d prefer they come out of childhood with a happy scrapbook and hopefully a scholarship because writing doesn’t pay jack.
- I’ll also drink a lot of coffee for good measure.
If you want to take the Buzzfeed hangover quiz, it’s here. I hope you come out as Beatrice. She sounds more fun than Timothy.
More Life Lessons From Disney
Last week I watched Beauty and the Beast with my two girls. I hadn’t seen it for quite some time.
As a bookworm, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. Belle was the first heroine I could really relate to. Sure, all those other princesses were cute, but Belle had a brain. As a kid, I thought the movie was a breakthrough, a moment when Disney broke free from the standard stereotypes and created a unique and special female character. She read and she scorned the advances of the handsome, yet boarish Gaston. More than Cinderella or Snow White, Belle was my people. If you go on Twitter, it’s obvious that a lot of other women feel the same. Belle graces more than a few headers.
Before rewatching Beauty and the Beast, it brought to mind thoughts like: 1. Smart, 2. Academy Award, 3. French castle, and 4. Angela Lansbury.
Then, I rewatched it. From my thirty-six year old perspective, the glaring lesson is: He might seem like a jerk, but if you love him enough, he’ll change. And I was like, “What the what, Disney!?” The disturbing thing is, as a I kid, I bought the story hook, line, and sinker. I wanted to be Belle.
If you forgot, here’s a little before and after of the Beast. Before Belle works her magic Beast:
- Lives in the dark,
- Walks on all fours,
- Puts Belle’s father behind bars and leaves him to die,
- Often roars and growls,
- Bullies Belle into going on a date with him (“If you don’t eat with me, you won’t eat at all!”),
- Not to mention that he kidnaps her, which is funny in its own right. I mean, how often do kidnappers take away all of your choices and make your life better than you could have ever imagined? I’m a big fan of the kidnapping trope, but in any light other than candlelight, it’s one of the least realistic romantice tropes.
Here’s the Beast’s before picture:
After Belle loved him enough he:
- Turned on the lights,
- Dressed in a royal blue Little Lord Fauntleroy-type suit,
- Behaved like a genleman,
- Walked on two feet,
- Took her dancing and ice skating, and,
- Let her leave the house now and then.
- For the grand finally, he physically transforms into a handsome prince.
Here’s his after picture:
If you play this scenario out in real life, it looks like this: A woman walks into a bar, sees some drunken oaf playing darts and stumbling around on the peanut-strewn floor. He grunts out some horrible pick-up line and takes her back to his cave-like apartment. Based on her internalized lessons from Beauty and the Beast, she’ll believe deep-down that if she loves him enough he’ll put on a suit and take her to the ballet. I think I know some people this has happened to.
One final problem with the movie—in order to have any freedom, Belle has to earn Beast’s trust. Within the world of the movie, that seems fine, but it is part of a larger infantilization of female characters that is problematic because it normalizes that type of power dynamic. Still, it’s a really pretty movie. That candlestick could talk me into anything too.
And then there’s The Frog Prince. It’s the same damn lesson! So, if you’re married to a grunting fool, you can blame Disney.
Author Gina Henning and the Perfect Apple Pie
I am very excited to welcome the lovely and talented Gina Henning to the blog today! Her books are adorable, romantic, and on sale for .99 cents. Seriously, that’s less than a candy bar, people! Gina also bakes a great apple pie, I assume! Gina, it’d be such a scandal if you couldn’t bake!
For selfish reasons I asked Gina to share her recipe for the perfect apple pie. I love pie. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I might need to sedate my kids to cook it, but it’ll be worth it. The recipe looks delicious. You’ll find a recipe card at the bottom of this post.
First, here’s a bit about Gina and her book:
Gina Henning currently resides where bluebonnets line the highways in the spring, but she prefers the rock flower anemone from under the sea. Above the ocean’s surface Gina likes to dance with her three boys and travel to exotic places like the grocery store with her husband. Her pooch Schatzi is a mix between German Shepherd and possibly pig. One of Gina’s favorite pastimes is running. She recently completed her one-and-done marathon. At the end of the day her glass of wine is always half-full.
And the book…
How to Bake the Perfect Apple Pie
A scrumptious pie. A long distance guy. 4th of July fireworks guaranteed.
Lauren Hauser has it all…nearly. With a shiny new job and sparkly new engagement ring on her finger, the only thing she’s missing is her gorgeous new fiancé by her side. Should she be worried? Jack’s kisses are as sizzling as always and, sure, long distance is hard but, she and Jack are solid, right?
Of course the stress of planning a wedding—or not—is nothing compared to the stress of baking an apple pie. Because it’s not just any apple pie that Lauren must bake for the 4th of July contest; it’s her grandmother’s famous, award-winning apple pie! Yet Lauren is determined to make this pie her own and a little apple pie should be no problem for the Hauser clan dessert queen…!
But with her new job taking up so much time, a prize pie to perfect and the growing distance between her and Jack, Lauren begins to wonder if she can really have it all… Only one things for sure, there’ll be fireworks this 4th of July!
As promised, here’s the recipe! I included the recipe card and the typed-out version. 🙂
I hope you enjoy the pie and the book!
Until next week,
Pastry for 2 crusts
8 cups sliced, peeled assorted baking apples – about 3 lbs. (Granny Smith)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon milk
1. In a large bowl, toss the sliced apples with lemon juice.
2. Combine sugars, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg; add to apples and toss well to coat.
3. Fill pastry lined 9 inch pie pan with apple mixture. Dot with butter.
4. Place second crust on top of pie filling, cut slits in top of crust to vent. Seal the edges of the crust with a fork or by hand.
5. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk and milk. Brush mixture over top crust.
6. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
7. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 40-45 minutes more or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.
8. Share with the ones you love!
*Tips for coring and slicing an apple for equal-sized pieces:
1. Peel first.
2. Hold the apple upright, try to judge where the core is, and slice off two opposite sides as close to the core as possible.
3. Rotate the fruit and slice off the two remaining sides to get a rectangular core piece and four flat-sided pieces of fruit (two wide and two narrow).
4. The side pieces now lie obediently on your cutting board for slicing or dicing.
Book Release Week
Book release week was weird. The morning Ruby came out I took the kids to Costco to buy groceries. They had a playdate in the afternoon so I stood around with some other moms and watched the kids do their thing. I made a fancy dinner—I already forget what. No one ate it. It’s probably still in a tupperware in the back of the fridge. In the real world, it was sort of like nothing happened.
Meanwhile on the internet, people posted congratulations and “squees” and loaded confetti cannons. A lot of people shared links to Ruby’s Amazon page and posted reviews. Thanks for all that, by the way!
Two days later, I had my release party at Barnes and Noble. By that, I mean that I had an online party while I sat silently at Barnes and Noble. Thankfully, my friends Kristi and Kristin sat with me. We all typed in the same Facebook events page without speaking much. To those around us, it probably didn’t look like a party, except for the times we were laughing and staring at our computers at the same time. We probably looked like weirdos.
It was a real party, though. Over a hundred people showed up online. A bunch of fabulous authors gave away copies of their books. My high school friend, Brett Foley, offered to give away a statistics text. I don’t why no one wanted that, Brett! No one at Barnes and Noble had no idea it was happening.
It’s also weird that no one can see the book. You can buy print copies on Amazon, but it’s mostly an e-book. So far Amazon has sold six print copies, one to me. Hopefully, I sold more e-copies or writing will be a worse investment than that time I sold Avon.
To most of the world, I’m a mom of three who tends to run late and drinks too much coffee. My real world persona is almost completely divorced from my writing career. I wish I’d known I was developing a dual identity because I would have made my online self a lot sexier. With almost no overlap between my worlds, none of you online people would have know any better.
This is pretty much the same as a lot of other jobs, I guess. My husband goes to the bank every day. When he comes home, he throws off his banker self and is a husband and father. His identities are separated by geography, though. He puts on a suit and takes a shower before driving to the bank in the morning. I, however, don’t have a special place or time to work. I’m a writer and a mom at the same time in the same room with the kids and whoever else stops by. Also, my husband makes money. I could be wrong, but I don’t expect to be out shopping for diamond tennis bracelets anytime soon.
Being a writer in the internet age is strange. Being anything in the internet age is probably weird, though. We all have multiple identities to some extent. Some of us are better parents on Facebook than we are in real life. Some of us are writers. Whatever. My one-year old is climbing on the table so I give up. More on online promotion next week. That is also strange!
Until next week,
Let’s Talk about Magic Mike
Tomorrow is my book release. You probably already know that if you’re reading this blog post, unless I greatly underestimate my blog readership (Hi, Mom!). The book release stresses me out, so let’s talk about Magic Mike instead. Really, if you’ve seen Magic Mike recently you probably won’t even be able to focus on Ruby anyway. In the opening scene, Channing Tatum moves furniture with his clothes on. Ninety minutes of that alone might have been worth paying a buck at Red Box. Only a few minutes later, he started dancing with a screw gun and some furniture. And by dancing, I mean he pretended to make sweet sweet love to the furniture. I don’t think this film required much choreography besides commands like, “Thrust to be beat, Channing!” or “Hold that woman’s butt closer to your face.”
I loved every second of it. I laughed so hard. Everyone should see it. I mean, three eighty-year olds, one of whom had a walker, attended the showing I went to.
Besides being filled with total total hard body actors, Magic Mike XXL even has some feminist tendencies, part of the reason I think it is worth seeing, in addition to being a pretty sweet film.
The first and most obvious way Magic Mike is feminist: the film gives women the opportunity to objectify men in the way we’ve been objectified since B.C. It’s our turn, ladies! Steven Soderbergh has offered us Channing Tatum and company and I’m not gonna say no.
Second reason Magic Mike XXL is feminist: It shows strippers giving equal loving to women of all sizes, shapes, and colors.
Third reason Magic Mike XXL is feminist: The men transform from typical alpha male firemen and cops (at least in their stripper acts) to more sensitive roles (yogurt makers, hot grooms, and candy makers, and get this … healers. The biggest moment of the movie besides … insert joke about someone’s g-string…. was when Andre and Ken decided that strippers were actually healers (in the front seat on the way to the stripper convention, mind you). Strippers were put on this Earth to undo the damage done by badly behaved men. It’s so preposterous and funny, but it was sweet. I loved it.
The only problem I had with the movie was Channing Tatum’s love interest. As far as I could tell, her character only existed so Channing could “heal” her like a sexy shaman in rip-off pants. All the good roles went to guys, except some awesome cameos by Andi McDowell, Elizabeth Banks, and Jada Pinkett Smith, which reminds me that I’m so relieved she and Will Smith haven’t gotten divorced yet. Thanks for saving one relationship for us, Hollywood!. Magic Mike XXL, obviously, is just a big showcase for hot actors, same as most other films.
Now, I’m going to include a message just for Channing Tatum (in case he’s reading my blog): Channing, I hear that you want to talk to Roxanne Gay about her thoughts on the movie. If you’re interested, I’m also available. I’m probably a better option because I’m not famous and I could meet anytime.
Now, we get to the eugenics part of this post (unrelated to above commentary). I think population control is important, but even if we are at the tipping point where one more person would sink all of humanity, I still think that Joe Manganiello and Sophia Vergara should have kids. Same goes for all the other actors in the movie. I say this even though I legitimately think that human beings are probably the Chinese Crested Terriers of the animal world. If there is anyone watching Earth from afar, our vanity and self-absorption must be comical. Still, Joe’s probably the cutest one of all. He should have some kids asap.
To sum up: Magic Mike XXL is definitely worth a watch. And my book is coming out tomorrow. I’ll let you know how that goes after it’s been in the world for a few weeks. Currently, I’m feeling like pretending it isn’t happening. I bet you already got that, though.
Until next Monday,
Playing Dress Up with Fancy Pantsie
Guest Post!! Amelia Wagenknecht, a bona fide fashionista and fashion blogger, agreed to create a day-to-night wardrobe for my main character, Ruby. As usual, she picked the cutest clothes. Next month I might make her dress me up. Here’s Amelia, looking totally gorgeous, I might add:
Enough intro. Here’s Amelia’s post. I promise that I didn’t pay her, except the $25 I gave her for babysitting last week…
Before I get started, let me preface with this: I loved this book. It had humor, it had romance, and it had that element of mystery. The main character, Ruby O’Deare, reminded me of Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions Of A Shopoholic (minus the crippling credit card debt, of course). If you are looking for a book that will not only delight, but keep you on the edge of your seat, this is that book.
I made it my missions to dress Miss Ruby. She has an eclectic style, and I was drawn to that. The biggest challenge I found with dressing her was that she has bright, effervescently red hair. However, strict fashion convictions wouldn’t have stopped Ruby. She’s a risk taker. So we decided to take a risk.
Ruby works as a Lawyer in the picturesque town of Emerald City, most of which is kept at climate-controlled perfection. Ruby doesn’t have to worry about bringing coats or sweaters to work, unless the fashion forecast calls for such a need. With this in mind, I decided on a blue toned watercolor print shift dress that would hide all of Ruby’s imperfections while highlighting her assets, such as her waist and, ahem, assets. If she was feeling like dressing it up, she could always throw a black blazer over the top to complete the look, but that felt too strict for Ruby’s free spirit.
Next, I focused on the accessories Ruby would wear. Her office has a strict no open-toed shoes policy, and pantyhose are required, so I gave her close-toed black heels with black matte pantyhose. This would not only act to lengthen her leg (keeping consistent color create the illusion), but it would also be professional enough for the office. I tossed on a long silver necklace to bring attention to the cinched waist, and tear drop earrings to lengthen her neck.
The nighttime look was the easy part. I took out the black pantyhose, and traded the plain heels for some cut-out wedges. Not only are these shoes a statement, but they’re comfortable enough to go out dancing, or wherever the night takes you! I switched out the cool toned silver jewelry for a gold pair of teardrop earrings to mimic Ruby’s fiery personality. If Ruby was feeling so inclined, she could bring a brightly colored chiffon scarf with her for an added accessory, or as a way to keep warm if she got cold walking around town that night (even though there is climate control).
Hopefully this outfit post inspired you to pick up a copy of this book yourself! The hardcover copy will be available July 14th everywhere books are sold online.
For full outfit details, visit my blog at www.FancyPantsie.blogspot.com.
A bit about Amelia:
Amelia Wagenknecht is the writer for Fancy Pantsie! She’s a science major with an affinity for all things fancy and beautiful. Tomboy turned fashionista, she traded in her sneakers for heels, and regular pants for pants of the fanciest variety. She’s turned my affinity for writing into an outlet for creative expression in the forms of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle related topics.
Side note: Amelia will be moving to Duluth, MN in a few short weeks. I’m very excited to hear how she plans to dress fancy on the arctic shores of Lake Superior. Seriously. I can’t wait for her fashion instagrams from Duluth next year!