Monday, March 31, 2008

Story: Home Again

What follows is an analysis of a recent Woman's World story with suggestions and observations for people who want to sell stories to WW. I throw in a little personal opinion, too. :)

If you truly want to get the most from this post, it's best to have a copy of the story in front of you. (And no, I don't get a kickback for pimping the magazine here!)

Story: "Home Again" by from the April 7, 2008 issue by Lauren King.

Tagline: Melody hadn't visited Mountain Pine or seen Garrett for years. All that was about to change.

In A Nutshell: Melody visits the town where she spend her childhood summers. The "boy" she had a crush on is selling her grandma's old house. She goes to look at it and when she makes an offer to buy it, he accepts, no questions asked. They then go out and discuss it over chili.

Teaching Points: In this story, the heroine has a problem. She is unhappy with her life and is "ready for a big change." In longer stories, we can put obstacles in her way, but we only have 800 words to work with. Therefore, it behooves us to just hustle her along toward her happy ending where she gets the boy and the house. LOL

Woman's World Standbys: A deceased grandma, an old flame.

Best Part: "Garrett set his brush aside and gave me his full attention." Oh, that got me. A man who gives you his full attention is worth something!

In My Humble Opinion: "...being here feels like walking into Grandma's arms." This line was a little too corny for me. Sorry, Lauren!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Artist: Bernie Hou

While searching for a Starbucks image last week, I came upon this photoshopped piece at Alien Loves Predator and loved it. (As you might or might not know, in my spare time I tend bar at Starbucks.)

It's based on a piece ("Relativity" below) by M.C. Escher, a Dutch graphic artist. According to Wikipedia, "He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture and tessellations."


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday 3: On Location

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

Here are three places you can visit in order to revisit some of your favorite movies. That's assuming you liked these movies in the first place.

1. The Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel from Pretty Woman. Remember how absolutely wonderful Hector Elizondo was as Barney, the hotel manager? He stole every scene he was in.

2. The Philadelphia Museum of Art from Rocky. I recently rented Rocky Balboa, and in the special features of the DVD, it showed tourist after tourist mimicking Rocky as he jogged up the steps and turned in a circle, arms upraised, triumphant. And when Sylvester Stallone himself approached was hilarious.

3. Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg, Austria from The Sound of Music. I was in Austria once, and saw the famous gazebo and the "Von Trapp" estate, but didn't visit these gardens. Alas, maybe someday. There weren't any stone benches in the gazebo, otherwise you can be sure I would have leaped them Liesel-style!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Question: You Can Call Me...

In the past, I have had many nicknames. Half of which my sister gave me. All her good friends in high school had alternate names that she used so much my mom and I would forget their real names! When she was about four she up and decided that she was not Trish anymore. She would only answer to Pooh. And she kept this up for quite a while.

Anyway, here are all the aliases I've had that I can remember. If it has an asterisk, people still call me by this.

Hooty (6th grade club name, not a reference to my chest!)
*Lil Kim

What are your nicknames?


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Love Is: Wet

Love Is is a feature on my blog in which I offer ways to add a dash of romance to your life. Who couldn't use a little more romance? I sure could!

The next time it rains, grab an umbrella, rain coats, and your love. Then go outside and kiss in the rain. If the spirit of the kiss moves you, remove the umbrella and kiss 'till the two of you are soaked.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Story: One Step at a Time

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with suggestions/observations for people who want to sell stories to WW, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :) If you truly want to learn, it's best to have a copy of the story in front of you. (And no, I don't get a kickback for pimping the magazine here!)

Story: "One Step at a Time" by Beverly Giroux from the March 31, 2008 issue.

Tagline: Paul knew in his heart that it was time to move on...

In A Nutshell: A widower meets up again with his late wife's friend. They become each other's walking buddies, and eventually more.

Teaching Points: This story is told in an omniscient point of view, as if by a narrator outside of the story but able to see inside the characters' minds. This is rarely seen in longer romance fiction, but perfectly acceptable in a WW story.

Also, "One Step at a Time" follows a classic three act structure.

ACT ONE: You get the backstory in the first three paragraphs: Paul is a widower who has let himself go to pot. He runs into Julie, a friend of his late wife's. They agree to be walking buddies.

ACT TWO: They spend several months this way. We see their relationship grow and change.

ACT THREE: Paul goes out on a limb. There's a moment of tension where we worry about the characters, and then, of course, everything works out. They make a date for dinner.

Woman's World Standbys: A widower and a divorcee, plain names (Margaret, Paul, Julie, Karen)

In My Humble Opinion: The transition in the second column from the shopping expedition to the high school track was very abrupt. However, with the recent drastic reduction in word counts (from 1000 to 800), maybe this isn't Giroux's fault. Also, I feel meh about the ending. If it had been my story, I'd have made this be the last line, "He would always love Margaret, but he had room in his heart to love again." Much more poignant.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Artist: Rama Hughes

This is a Very Cool Blog called The Portrait Party. This artist, Rama Hughes (left), has been drawing portraits all his life. His family gets together and has portrait parties, where they all sit around and draw each other. He now maintains a blog on which he posts people's portraits. To participate, you find a partner and draw each other.

Now, I have always maintained that I can't draw people worth squat, but I am a very harsh judge of my own work. However, I could certainly do something as good as this one.

If anyone wants to participate with me, email me! We'll swap photos. :D C'mon, it'll be fun! When you're eighty, you can look back at your life's accomplishments and say, "I swapped portraits back in 2008 with Kate Willoughby." LOL

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday 3: Back To School

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

I'm one of those weirdos who loved school. It's probably one of the main reasons I went into teaching. I used to play school at home and if, at the end of the year, one of my teachers was giving away leftover workbooks or textbooks, I was in HEAVEN.

Anyway, I still enjoy the school setting and if I went back to college, here are three subjects I would love to take classes in. (The photo is of the Oviatt Library at Cal State U, Northridge, my alma mater.)

1. English - I had always really resisted reading literature in school, but now with my writing career, I think it would be nothing but beneficial for me to be more well-read.

2. I would so love to learn to speak Italian. I love that language so much. I love listening to it more than French, which is a truly beautiful sounding language.

3. I would take more painting classes and not care so much about what the other students or the teacher thought. I was so uptight when I took painting I produced crap. Of course, it might have helped if we got actual INSTRUCTION.

What would you like to get further education in?


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Up, Homeys?

Not only am I tardy today, I'm also feeling lazy. Here's a photograph posted at, a photography website. I'm pretty sure it was photoshopped, but I like it anyway. There was also a caption with it that said, "Wax on, wax off."

You have to be a certain age, probably, to understand that joke.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Joke: Meaningful Communication

Two deaf people got married. During the first week of marriage, they found they were unable to communicate in the bedroom when they turn the lights off because they couldn't see each other using sign language.

"Honey," she signed after several nights of fumbling around and misunderstandings, "Why don't we agree on some simple signals? For instance, at night, if you want to have sex with me, reach over and squeeze my right breast one time. If you don't want to have sex, reach over and squeeze my left breast one time."
"Great idea, and if you want to have sex with me, reach over and pull on penis one time," he signed. "And if you don't want to have sex, reach over and pull on my penis....fifty times."


Monday, March 17, 2008

Recipe: Samosas

My sister made me try samosas a long time ago. They're little Indian pastries filled with curried potatoes and veggies and they're delicious. I was excited to find a very simple recipe for these from Real Simple Magazine. I made them for my grandma's 95th birthday and they were fabulous!

I don't make mashed potatoes, so the fact that you could use the pre-made kind appealed to me.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 cups (about 16 ounces) refrigerated mashed potatoes
1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
1 15-ounce package refrigerated piecrusts
1 jar mango chutney (optional)

Heat oven to 375° F.Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 8 minutes.

Add 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the potatoes and peas.

Unroll the piecrusts and cut each into 6 triangles. Place a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture in the center of each piece. Gather the corners of the dough and pinch to form a point. Pinch the seams to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake the samosas until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve with the mango chutney, if desired.

Yield: Makes 12

CALORIES 216(50% from fat); FAT 12g (sat 4g); SUGAR 2g; PROTEIN 3g; CHOLESTEROL 7mg; SODIUM 518mg; FIBER 3g; CARBOHYDRATE 26g


Friday, March 14, 2008

Gee, It's My Genome!

Interesting artwork, eh?

Guess what! It's someone's DNA. Isn't that fascinating?

You, too,can hang your genes on the wall. DNA 11 is a company that specializes in making art out of YOU, your dna, fingerprint, or lip print. The DNA portraits ain't cheap--they run almost $400, but it will be one of a kind artwork that's sure to spark conversation.

My decor doesn't support this type of artwork, but I still think it's pretty neato.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday 3: The "Perks" of Starbucks

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

I've been a barista at Starbucks for almost two years. Part of the reason I enjoy my job so much is that Starbucks is a great company to work for. Here are three reasons why:

1. Medical insurance was costing my family of four $700 a month. Even though I am a part time employee, Starbucks provides full medical, dental, and vision benefits. Now I only give up $83 per paycheck. That's a HUGE savings.

2. We get 30% off everything sold in the stores. Sometimes stuff goes on sale, and you can get it for dirt cheap! I got these darling snowman mugs with top hat lids for $1.50 last year.

3. I love coffee and we get one free pound every week. Or, if you don't like coffee, you can get a box of their Tazo tea.

Tell me something you like about your company/job. :D


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My New Zen Mantra



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Chocolate That's Good for You!

I have been told by my doctors I need to take more calcium and vitamin D. My mother recommended these vitamins to me and they're fantastic! I don't taste anything vitamin-like at all when I eat one. They're like eating a tiny little dessert, but it's filled with all the stuff your bones need. I plan on needing my bones for a long time, so I want to keep them healthy. You can get a coupon for a dollar off at Viactiv's website.


Monday, March 10, 2008


Aisle or window?

I recently made reservations for a flight to San Francisco and I prefer the aisle. I HATE having to bother someone to go to the bathroom and would much rather be the one who moves out of their way.

What about you?


Friday, March 07, 2008

Artist: Gustav Stickley

I recently took the second step toward giving the interior of my house an exciting look. My dear hubby and I love the Arts and Crafts style, also known as the Mission style. If you're a frequent visitor of my blog, you might remember my post about the Gamble House, one of the most beautiful examples, inside and out, of this American movement in art.

I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful cousin, Janene, who has a fantastic eye for interiors. She and I had a great time furniture shopping and saw a reproduction of a very famous chair designed by Gustav Stickley (1858-1952), a furniture maker, architect, and leader of the American Arts and Crafts movement. This is a reproduction of his drop arm slat Morris recliner, and it sells for $3800. And that was just for the chair, not the ottoman! Yowsa. Clearly way beyond our budget. (I also so a dining room set that I adored. The table was narrow enough to fit our small dining room and it was just breathtakingly beautiful. However, upon asking for prices we found the table was $1300 and the chairs were$700 EACH. Again, not in our price range. At all.)

About a month after our shopping expedition, Janene emailed me a photo of this chair. I really liked it. And the best part was it was on sale at for a mere $800. SOLD! At this very moment, this chair sits three feet away from me. It's very comfy and the leather is distressed, which you can't see in the photo. I adore this chair. Everyone in my family loves this chair. If you sat in it, you'd love it, too. So, come on over. Put your feet up. Or put of $800 and you can have your own!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday 3: 1981 Classic

There's a popular meme called Thursday 13 in which every Thursday you make a list of thirteen things. I did this for a few months, but I don't have time for thirteen! So, I whittled it down to Thursday 3.

Sometimes I like to see if you can recognize a movie from three quotes. These quotes are all uttered by the same character.

1. "I've taken the liberty of anticipating your condition. I have brought you orange juice, coffee, and aspirins. Or do you need to throw up?"

2. "Normally, someone would have to go to a bowling alley to meet someone of your stature."

3. "Good afternoon. If you and your undershirt will take two paces backwards, I could enter this dwelling."

Hint: The movie title is one word long.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Single In More Ways Than One

My friend, Dana Belfry, turned me on (no pun intended) to the personals at Craig's List. They were very amusing, but this one in particular grabbed my attention.


Girly Girl Site

I don't wear that much make-up, but when I saw this Beauty Addict blog featured in Real Simple magazine, I had to check it out. I ended up browsing its various pages for a good twenty minutes.

Okay, correction. I just went back and cruised for another ten and now I want to go shop for nail polish. LOL

Check this blog out for all things beauty.

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Crack Spiders

It's Monday. I have the day off, which doesn't happen often. I usually have to open the store bright and early at 4:30 a.m. Hooray for sleeping in. Here's a great video you should watch.