Tag Archives: guilty pleasures

Prepare Yourselves, #Keanuthon is Coming

The Husband and I have been planning to have a movie marathon for months now. A themed marathon. A celebrity-themed marathon.

A Keanuthon. 

We all have our celebrity crushes and idols. My husband’s is Keanu Reeves.

And Jane Fonda. But we’ll host her party later.

So, we’ve decided to host a #Keanuthon. A Keanu Reeves themed movie marathon for the month of September!

BEHOLD…

#Keanuthon

Here’s the scoop. 

Starting September 2nd, we’ll watch one Keanu Reeves movie every wednesday. And we’re going to live tweet the movie using the hashtag #Keanuthon. Find me on Twitter @jesswitkins and let’s talk all things Reeves-related.

Feel free to dive in the fun using whatever your favorite social media hangout is, just use #Keanuthon so we can find you.

At the end of the month, I’ll share a wrap up post featuring the funniest and best tweets and photos from #Keanuthon.

So tell all your friends! Head to the movie rental store (AKA: Netflix), and get ready for #Keanuthon!!!

It’s all starting with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Spread the word! #Keanuthon starts in one week! 

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Go Ahead, Let’s Get Fangirl

FangirlI’ve been known to achieve ‘fangirl’ status now and again. You can pretty much count on it whenever anything Jane Austen or Anne of Green Gables pops up. I know those aren’t the popular characters that teens fangirl over today. But, I can get down with those too.

I am Team Edward. A Gryffindor. Divergent. And Team Gale (in the book). Team Peeta (in the movie).

Oh and I’m a full-fledged member of Team Christian Gray needs a restraining order.

I have made real life, lasting friendships through joint fangirling. My pal, Misty, and I became soulmates after discovering a mutual love for the film Singles. And Reality Bites. Talking with Misty is like that scene where Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo are in the gas station and their jam comes on.

Yah, it’s like that. AND, that’s why I can send her a chalkboard thought bubble and she can send me a kabuki bottle opener and a cup with a Gremlin on it. We just GET each other.

Thanks to fangirling.

But back to my obsessions. It’s true, I can fangirl over just about anything. I have a loud, energetic, and passionate personality that friends euphemistically call “quirky.” Thanks, friends.

We all go back to what we know, right? And when I was growing up there were two things I came to know very well. Jane Austen movies and Anne of Green Gables.

And Rodgers and Hammerstein’s showtunes. So, three things.

Well, and Shirley Temple movies, so four. Four things.

And then came Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman…

I’m basically a WEALTH of nerd know-how! Like, if it involved singing, Regency Englanders or the fucking prairie, I knew about it.

What can I say, I was raised by old people.

These things haven’t left me. I still love all of them. Because I am a fangirl and my love does not wane.

My sole purpose of having a Pinterest account is a place where I can pin pictures from Jane Austen movies and Anne of Green Gables, losing hours upon HOURS of my day. You can check them out on my pinterest boards So Austentacious and You May Call Me Cordelia.

Here’s what you will find there:

I’m thinking of starting a new board called “Sashay-Bronte” where I can pin things from Wuthering Heights.

I recently scored a new addition to my collection of fangirl swag. I purchased a copy of Shirley Temple’s autobiography Child Star. It’s out of print and you can only get used copies now. Plus Target released the Little Darling Collection of her films, which is to date the most comprehensive of all the sets. I was pretty psyched about this. And I displayed my little “Good Ship Lollipop” of joy for my husband to see.

Shirley Temple

He wasn’t that amused. In fact, I think he may have been frightened.

No worries. His lack of excitement and psychiatric concern could not put a damper on my spirits!

Because I am a fangirl! 

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What do you fangirl about?
Do we share a propensity for all things Austen, Anne, or Shirley?
What are your favorite fangirl crazes that stick out from your childhood?

Pseudo-Spring Not Here Soon Enough For You? Try 22 Things to Do While it’s Still -22

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring. Really ready. Like I’m willing to try anything to MAKE it spring.

Expelliarmus!

Expelliarmus!

So conquer the unending winter blues with me!

Things To Do While It’s Still -22

1. Sleep in. Hibernate if possible.

2. Get cracking on your To Be Read Pile. Seriously, start reading!

15529618834_b5d3b2db37_o

3. Catch up on your Oscar Noms.

Several of the Oscar nominated films are out on DVD, including Best Picture winner, Birdman, so queue up Netflix or head to the movie rental and see what all the fuss is about!

4. Make the most amazing Grilled Cheese ever (shared by Myndi Shafer).

5. Got some time to spare? Find out your Klout score (Jenny Hansen has the details).

6. Attend a local VDay event.

February – April is when countries around the world host VDay events to end violence against women and girls. Want to learn more or get involved? I guest blogged at The Indie Chicks with 5 Ways You Can End Violence Against Women and Girls. Please stop by and join the movement!

VDay 2015

7. Check out the Beauty of a Woman Blog Fest hosted by August McLaughlin that happened last week! Tons of great reading in there. I participated!

8. Start an Instagram account – see what people around the world are up to.

15371829500_25831b9a47_zDrink coffee. Be epic.

9. Make a mix cd. Use only songs with the word ‘sun’ in the lyrics. 

10. Check out my pal Victoria’s new book, Dancing in the Fire, and her play by play reaction in gifs to being a published author – it’s priceless. 🙂

11. Build a blanket fort.

12. Write a letter to a loved one via snail mail.

13. Wear fleece pajamas; they will change your life.

14. Follow Women Writers Ink on Facebook for writing prompts and inspiration.

15. Try out Stitch Fix personal stylist for some new spring looks! Get started here!

Stitch Fix collage

16. Go out to eat. But mind your manners.

17. Rent a TV series and watch every season. (It’s cold out, what else is there to do? I just picked up The Mindy Project.)

18. Take a day trip and explore a new town.

photo

Joe and I spent this past Saturday exploring Winona, MN’s bookstores, music shops, and eateries.

19. Catch some winter sports on TV or hit the slopes yourself. Wear a muff. 😉

20. Freeze colored water in different shaped containers and build an ice sculpture.

21. Redecorate a room in your house. You have to be indoors anyway.

22. Wanna be naughty? Crank the heat up and watch a surf movie while wearing short sleeves. *gasp*

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What other ideas do you have for surviving the Winter-pocalypse?

 

The Ultimate Mix CD Project 2014

Listening to MusicHey Peeps!

With Christmas just a month away, I’ve got to get cracking on my go to gift for my mum and sis.

The Ultimate Mix CD Project

Since 2007 I’ve given them each a Phenomenal Women’s Mix CD, a compilation of all female artists and the songs are usually upbeat and dance-worthy. A few years ago I added in what I call a Cafe’ Mix – mellow music for hanging at home and which allows male and female artists. Since 2012, I’ve enlisted YOUR help with creating those awesome playlists.

I need your brilliant ideas again now!

And to thank you, I’ll pick 2 commenters at random to win copies of the 2 cds!

I’m guessing no one wants my fake NaNo album – created in a black hole of stress rage. I called it Blames it On the Hormones.

Blames it on the Hormones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No takers? None? Ok.

Then here are some ideas to get you thinking about types of songs to suggest!

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For the Phenomenal Women Mix:

My Silver Lining ~ First Aid Kit

This is the song I keep playing on repeat. Lurve!

Hideaway ~ Kiesza

She did this music video in one take. One take!!!

Enough ~ The Mrs

The ladies behind the magic talking mirror. Had to be included!

For the Cafe’ Mix:

Paper Cup ~ The Shoe

Did you know actress Jena Malone has a band? And it’s awesome! This video is flippin’ weird, but I love this song, and every other song on their debut album I’m Okay.

Poison & Wine ~ The Civil Wars

Haunting and beautiful. Hurt and yet thankful. Haven’t we all felt this way at some point?

Stay With Me ~ Bernhoft

A great male addition to my mix. Love the song, and hadn’t heard much buzz about him before, but found this song via my Songza app.

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What do you think of these tunes so far?
What other songs should I add? Share your favorites!

What I’ve Been Reading About – Sex, Lies, and Murder

Hey Dudes and Dudettes,

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about my progress with the To Be Read Pile Challenge, so I thought I’d better “update my status.” You see I’ve been reading a lot about relationships lately, so I have three titles of love advice for anyone to enjoy.

And as a refresher, if you’re unfamiliar with the TBR Pile Challenge, it’s a reading contest hosted by Adam over at Roof Beam Reader. The goal is to complete in 12 months time 12 books that have been sitting on your bookshelf for a year or more. You know the ones, they linger in the ever-looming “to be read” pile. At nine months in, I’m just two books away from completing the challenge this year. Holla!

What have I recently crossed off my list?

TBR book collageBonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Roach - BonkLittle known fact about me, or maybe it’s no secret, I love learning about sex and sexuality. I minored – and only because it wasn’t offered as a major at the time – in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I’m passionate about women’s issues and rights, and I’m thrilled to be working at a reproductive health clinic in my town. Reading about the history and science of sex research was right up my alley.

The author, Mary Roach, is quite possibly the queen of nonfiction exposition on risque topics. Her other books dive into the worlds of human cadavers, the digestive track, and what happens when we die. For Bonk, the woman volunteered herself and her husband to be lab rats for sex research on orgasms. That’s dedication.

In Bonk, not only will you learn about the doctors and scientists behind the “G-spot,” the infamous Kinsey “attic sessions,” or just how artificial insemination happens in a pig, but so much more!

The American Heiress

american heiressAlright, let’s tame things down a bit. For all you Downton Abbey diehards and regency era wannabees, I suggest you give Daisy Goodwin’s The American Heiress a try. My book club read this one and it was well enjoyed.

Cora Cash is an American debutante. She is wealthy, beautiful, and definitely high society. Her mother, opinionated at her core, has high plans of wedding her daughter to an English Duke, which would grant Cora the one thing she doesn’t have…a title.

It won’t surprise readers to learn that Cora is soon wed in the novel, however can Cora’s marriage last when she comes from a different world than her husband? So many unknowns!

Escape on a whirlwind love affair in Europe, walk the halls of the great English mansions, and go galloping with the finest – or are they – members of society.

Rebecca

rebeccaBy and far one of my favorite reads this year! I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner! After all, the film adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock is tied for first place (with North by Northwest) as my favorite film of his.

Be very aware, young lovers, when falling head over heels into this tale. A young woman of unfortunate circumstance believes her luck has turned around when she meets and marries millionaire, Maxim De Winter, owner of the luscious estate, Manderley. But all is not well inside these walls. The great rooms of the house, the garden with its roses, and the forgotten cottage down by the beach – they are all haunted by Rebecca – the first Mrs. De Winter.

A shocking truth brings the honeymoon to a miserable end in this chilling story by Daphne Du Maurier. I can’t tell you what happens, just read it for yourself!

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What have you been reading? Are you participating in the TBR Pile Challenge? How’s it going? Got any recommendations for me?

 

 

 

I’m Addicted to Stitch Fix

Have you tried or heard of Stitch Fix?

It’s a personal styling business for women based out of San Francisco, CA. I first heard about them on Twitter and started ogling all the cute pictures people were taking of the new clothes they received. I had to check this out.

The Scoop:

Sign up for an account, which is free, and fill out your style profile. It’s an in depth assessment of what YOU want and like, but it’s not too time consuming. I promise. It shows you pictures and lets you enter your sizes and comfort level with showing off various body parts. You input budget guidelines. You can also link to your Twitter and Pinterest accounts so the stylists can better get to know you when they select items for your fix.

Which is honestly why I started a pinterest account…but there’s writing stuff on there too!

The Cost:

$20.

For $20 a personal stylist will select 5 items for you and mail them to your house.

That’s right. To your house. No driving in circles for a parking spot at the mall, clothes shopping in places where it smells like big pretzels. You get five items personally selected for you to try on in the comfort of your own home. No shipping fee.

If you buy the whole fix, you get 25% off everything, but otherwise keep what you want, and send the rest back. Again, no shipping. Stitch Fix boxes come with a prepaid envelope inside. And that $20? Goes towards your purchase!

Stitch Fix 1This was my first Stitch Fix box. I asked for fun summer outfits to wear on my honeymoon, and the stylist wrote the sweetest personalized note to me.

style card note

The Deal-io:

Stitch Fix Founder and CEO, Katrina Lake, has always worked in some capacity with retail, but she always dreamed of starting up her own project. Her passion was in the potential for digital fashion sales. She partnered with tech wizards in Silicon Valley to create style algorithms based on people’s responses and worked with up and coming fashion designers to lower expenses of the clothes while still granting mass exposure of their labels.

Here’s a quick interview with Katrina – this woman knows her stuff.

A common thread she kept hearing from clients was how busy each woman was. Stitch Fix to the rescue! When you can try clothes on in your own home, you have your entire closet with you to see if that new top really does pair well those paisley gaucho pants you bought two years ago and have yet to match anything to. 😀

The Fun:

Photo-ops! Take one look at the twitter hashtag #StitchFix, and you’ll see women all over the country gleefully unpacking their Stick Fix box, which by the way is packed adorably and professionally and comes with style cards for your new potential wardrobe items.

style cardsI’m Addicted:

This is fun! And you should Stitch Fix with me. The most you have to lose is $20. But I’m betting you’re gonna like it!

Stitch Fix 2Stitch Fix box #2. I kept the skinny jeans and the black top.

Still curious? Try it yourself!

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And, the winner of Roni Loren’s e-book, Still Into You, is… brickhousechick!!! Congratulations!
Your summer just got more sizzlin’!

Write Strong Women and Marry Your Best Friend: An Interview About Romance With Author Roni Loren

As part of my To Be Read Challenge, I included a (signed – squeee!) copy of Crash Into You by erotic romance author, Roni Loren (@RoniLoren). I met Roni at DFWcon 3 years ago and have attended her sessions on writing realistic romance scenes. She is fabulous.

So are her books.

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Crash Into You

Sometimes the past can bring you to your knees…

Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat—a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one Master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past…

 

 I am very pleased to welcome Roni to the Happiness Project!

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Describe yourself in three words.

Perfectionistic, Introverted, Curious

What drew you to writing erotica? What do you love about your genre?

It was a genre I loved to read, of course. But I was really drawn to the fact that it had very few boundaries. Like I could write suspense in my story but it didn’t have to fit the restrictions of a romantic suspense. And it could be contemporary but the romance didn’t have to be light and airy. All I needed to make sure I had was a happy ending and a lot of steam (which is fun to write.) So it allows for a lot of freedom in my stories, which makes my muse happy. 🙂

I write nonfiction about my family and they all want pseudonyms. 😉 How did your friends and family respond when your first book came out?
I’ve been lucky. My family is hugely supportive and not hung up on the fact that I write the sexy stuff. My mom even reads my books (even when I told her not to, lol) and tells her friends to buy my books. I don’t hide what I write from anyone because I’m not ashamed of it. If they ask, I’ll tell them. Though, people are usually surprised when they find out because I’m the quiet, mom-next-door type. I think some people expect erotic writers to fit some outrageous image. But the people writing it (and reading it!) are every day women (and men, for that matter.)

That’s awesome! What are you reading right now?

I just finished Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland because I’m a pantser with plotter envy (and am obsessed with writing craft books.) But fiction wise, I’m reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (YA Steampunk Paranormal) and rereading The Shining by Stephen King.

Oooh, nice picks!
Settled in for the night after conferencing, reading Roni's book

Settled in for the night after conferencing, reading Roni’s book

I read Fifty Shades of Gray, and hated it. The main character is pretty flat – quite literally, actually, she’s tied down and having sex so much. Your lead female in Crash Into You (Brynn) is really 3-dimensional. Her mother works in the sex industry, Brynn is a sexual assault survivor, she works in a social work setting with other domestic violence victims, and she struggles to claim her own sexual identity despite her past. In what ways do you think Brynn is a champion for women, and what do you think are her shortcomings?

It’s important to me to write really strong women, particularly because of the power dynamic I use between the hero and heroine. In Brynn’s case, I wanted to show how tough and smart she is because even though she has this urge to be sexually submissive in the bedroom, she’s an independent, brave woman in her every day life. She’s driven to help others, and ultimately, she learns to help herself. The theme in all my books usually comes back to healing and self-acceptance, so I think Brynn is a prime example of that. No one fixes her problems for her. She has to learn to move through her fear, heal, and then embrace who she is.

I’m getting married in 2 months. What’s your advice for keeping the passion alive?

Yay, congrats! 🙂 I’ve been married for almost 13 years, and it still feels like we just got married (so I guess that’s good!)

 

That’s wonderful! Congrats to you, lovebirds!

 

I think the key is to marry someone you have a deep friendship with, who gets you, and who makes you laugh. That takes care of a lot of things. But with keeping the passion alive specifically, I think it’s important to develop a level of trust that you literally can talk about anything (including fantasies, likes/dislikes, etc.) with no judgment or expectations, so that you can keep things fresh. When I hear that some husbands don’t like their wives reading romance novels, I want to bonk them on the head because—hello, that’s just going to give her new ideas of what she wants to do with/to you, lol. Buy her stacks!

 

Great advice! I know you love to watch Reality TV, what are your guilty pleasures right now?

 

I just finished American Idol, of which I’m a faithful follower. And now I am so ready for Big Brother. It’s the one reality show that I can convince myself I’d have a shot at winning (ha!) unlike shows like Survivor or Amazing Race where I’d last 3.2 seconds. But there’s something about watching all those intricate human dynamics that I can’t look away from.

 

If you could host a Romance Award ceremony, who would you bestow a trophy to for the following:

 

Hottest Big Screen Actor: Oh, so many. Bradley Cooper is always a fave. And recently I’ve developed a crush on Jimmy Fallon (though, not technically a big screen actor) because funny is hot.
Best Couples Getaway: I like cold places since I live in TX, so a mountain cabin in Lake Tahoe maybe.
Most Decadent Dessert: Cheesecake

Sexiest Thing About Women: Our brains.

What’s next for you? What can readers watch out for?

In August, I’m releasing a novella called BLURRING THE LINES that is separate from my Berkley series. It will be sexy contemporary romance with a paranormal twist and is part of a multi-author continuity series called Invitation to Eden. (I’m thinking of it like the show Lost but with more sex and happily ever afters, lol.) Then in September I’m releasing a novella, FOREVER STARTS TONIGHT, and in November, my serial novel, NOT UNTIL YOU, is being put into an omnibus edition. So lots of things coming up! (In other news, I won’t be sleeping until next February, lol.)

We’ll be watching! Thanks Roni for joining us. Always a pleasure learning from you and I love your advice (and characters) about being strong, independent women with PASSION!

RoniLorenAuthorHeadshot2

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that’s it. She is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of The Loving on the Edge series from Berkley Heat. Website: www.roniloren.com

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E-BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!

One lucky commenter will be receiving an e-copy (Nook or Kindle U.S.)
of Roni’s book Still Into You!

Random drawing will be held on Wednesday @ 5pm CST,
winner announced on Thursday’s blog!

52 Things to Do This Summer

Last year I made a list of 51 Things to Do Before Summer’s Over. This year I thought, “Why wait?” Let’s get started on the fun when summer is just beginning!

52 Things to Do This Summer

1. Drink lots of Lemonade.

2. Plant flowers.

BegoniaI just got this begonia. Love her!

3. Sit in the grass. Have a picnic.

4. Clean out your closet. Donate what you don’t wear anymore.

5. Go for a bike ride.

6. Find a Little Free Library near you.

Little Free Library7. Visit your local Public Libary.

8. Make pudgy pies over the fire.

9. Host a movie Musical marathon of summer sing-a-longs: Mamma Mia, West Side Story, State Fair, Oklahoma…

10. Visit a cafe’ you’ve never been to before. Bring a friend!

cafe11. Go to a farmer’s market.

12. Lounge with a loved one.

lounging13. Braid your hair.

14. Seek summer scents – freshly mowed grass, fresh-picked herbs, going for a swim, grilling out.

15. Take a tour of a nearby brewery. Enjoy a pint!

beer16. Host a tasting of your favorite beers, wines, or liquors.

17. Try paddle boarding.

18. Take a road trip.

Bloedow's19. Wear flip flops.

20. Go stargazing.

21. Take a tour of someplace right in your hometown.

22. Start a journal. Or read an old one.

Journals23. Eat dinner al fresco.

24. Attend an outdoor concert.

25. Walk places rather than drive whenever possible.

Go for a walk26. Eat an ice cream cone.

27. Doodle.

28. Read a book.

Read a Book29. Make fun ice cubes – different shapes or colors.

30. Draw with sidewalk chalk.

Sidewalk Chalk31. Run around barefoot.

32. Let your hair air dry.

33. Practice taking the perfect peaceful selfie.

Selfie34. Pet sit for someone.

35. Paint a room in your house. Make it bold.

36. Read the latest issue of BookPage. Cover to cover.

read the paper37. And while you’re at it, add to or start a Goodreads account to keep track of all the books you’re going to read.

38. Make salsa with veggies from the garden or market.

39. Create a new smoothie.

Smoothie40. Build a sandcastle.

41. Play frisbee in the park.

42. Launch fireworks.

43. Go antiquing or hit up a rummage sale.

antiquing44. Take a ride in a hot air balloon.

45. Buy a handmade piece of jewelry from a vendor at a carnival.

46. Find a new piece of lawn art.

Marvin

His name is Marvin. He lives here now.

47. Switch to iced coffee.

48. Celebrate the unique summer holidays.

June 1st – Dare Day

June 4th – Hug Your Cat Day

June 6th – National Doughnut Day

June 14th – World Juggler’s Day

June 18th – Go Fishing Day

June 19th – World Sauntering Day

June 22nd – National Eclair Day

June 25th – Log Cabin Day

June 27th – Sunglasses Day

June 28th – Paul Bunyan Day

June 29th – Hug Holiday

49. Stop and smell the roses.

Roses50. Bird Watch.

51. Attend BlogHer’14.

52. Reflect. And appreciate the little things.

Reflect*****

What’s on your summer to do list?

*All photos are from my Instagram page. For more fun ideas of what to do this summer, follow me on Instagram! I always check out the pages of new followers. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Start Your Monday Off Right With Things to Laugh At This Week

I’ve encountered some hilarious YouTubing this week and I had to share. Have you seen any of these? Set down your morning coffee before hitting play on these bad babies.

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Ever just had one of those days? 3 year old Mateo just wants a cupcake, but Linda (his MOM) isn’t having any of it.

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Have you seen Kid Snippets before? They’re a series of videos filmed with adults lip synching to stories told by children. Here are two of my faves!

Pool Party:

Book Report:

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Do you fear the 80s are under-represented and misunderstood by the younger generations these days? Well, so does Kevin Bacon. And he’s here to talk about 80’s Awareness with you.

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I found this one for work. Did you know most people do not know how to effectively use a condom? Bedsider’s series A Guy’s Guide has you covered.

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What funny videos or stories made you laugh this weekend?

Valentines For Pets – And People!

Today I’m pleased to welcome pet expert and thriller writer, Amy Shojai, to The Happiness Project! I’ve read Amy’s book, Lost and Found, and LOVED it!
She’s got bite – I mean, a great voice!
So please welcome Amy and her purr-fect Valentine’s tales!

*****

If you really want to please your partner this Valentine’s Day buy catnip and chew toys (and pet-centric books!) instead of chocolate. Love me, love my pet is the new Valentine rule of paw.

Cats and dogs show affection and devotion in very different ways. What some folks might find objectionable actually is the ultimate in a kitty or canine compliment! Here are a few examples:

  • Cats hop on our laps—then present their ass-ets for a sniff. (It’s sort of a backwards kitty compliment).
  • Dogs jump up and knock us down or ruin outfits. They’re trying to reach/lick your face, a way of saying “you’re the boss, I love you.”
  • Cats claw your most favorite chair—marking something that smells like you as their most favorite territory.
  • Dogs chew up your favorite purse—again, it smells like you and he wants to be close to his beloved.

I’ve written and lectured and been quoted about dog and cat behavior and care more times than I like to admit—in dog years, I should be dead! Lately, though, I’ve branched into fiction writing to bring the “good news” about pets to a whole new audience. People who have no interest in a how-to pet care/behavior book lap it up like BACON when presented as doggy (or kitty) litter-ature.

My dog viewpoint thrillers feature a German Shepherd service dog, a trained Maine Coon cat, and an animal behaviorist. The newest HIDE AND SEEK was just released, and here’s a teeny BACON-flavored taste to tempt you to learn more:

Hide and SeekHIDE AND SEEK masterfully blends ripped-from-the-headlines urgency with an emotional story of real characters in escalating dangers. Written with authority and deft brilliance that any lover of animals or nerve-jangling thrillers will cherish.” James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of “The Eye of God”

HIDE AND SEEK is a creepy must read mystery for animal lovers. Animal behaviorist Amy Shojai knows her stuff.” J.T. Ellison, NYT bestselling author of “When Shadows Fall”

“A shocking betrayal, a reality TV show gone horribly wrong, and murders related to an unthinkable cause, HIDE AND SEEK is a mystery/thriller you won’t be able to put down!” Alan Leverone, best-selling thriller author of “Mr. Midnight” and “The Lonely Mile”

“Recommended for anyone who likes a ‘bite-your-nails, hold-your-breath’ kind of thriller.” Dr. Lorie Huston, veterinarian and Cat Writers’ Association president

I adore my main characters in these stories (the first was LOST AND FOUND) because they’re real to me. Shadow the dog and Macy the cat love their human, September Day (a behaviorist) unconditionally just like my “real” pets Magical-Dawg and Seren-Kitty love me. What we’d do for those we love—human and furry—really drives these thriller stories. And in real life, we love our pets back. Some of us wish our human loves were more like the pets.

Don’t believe me? Get a load of this! A few years ago, a joint global poll by Reuters/Ipsos of 24,000 people in 23 countries found 21 percent of adults would rather spend February 14 with their pet than their spouse. And the American Kennel Club (AKC) surveyed dog owners and found even more startling results. Nearly 90 percent of women wish their boyfriend or husband was more like their dog. More than a third of women said, “If my dog was a man, he’d be my boyfriend!”

Men also wish their significant other shared some of the same qualities as their dog, especially the quality of “always being in a good mood.” Only 23 percent of men surveyed agreed with the statement, “If my dog was a woman she’d be my girlfriend.”

Based on the results, men and women should go to the dog for hints on pleasing the special humans in their lives. In fact, people have such strong bonds with their dogs and cats that the human in your life may become jealous. Reasons include dedicating “too much” time to the pet, preferring to cuddle with the dog rather than their mate, or that the dog “likes me better.”

Canine qualities women look for in men include a perennial good mood, willingness to spend time together, eagerness to cuddle on the couch, and being happy to eat her cooking without complaint. The survey also indicated women appreciated how dogs helped motivate them to exercise. Canine qualities that men appreciate in women include being as happy to spend time at home as out on the town, offering enthusiastic greetings when he returns home, and not getting mad when he wants to watch sports. Men also liked it that dogs were “up” for anything he wants to do.

So this Valentine’s Day, let your romantical inclinations take into account the cats and dogs that your two-legged honey adores. That’ll have them wagging their virtual tails in purrfect bliss!

Amy&Magic&SerenloresAmy Shojai (www.shojai.com) has been reinventing herself for years. She’s a certified animal behavior consultant, and the award-winning author of 27 best selling pet books that cover furry babies to old-fogies, first aid to natural healing, and behavior/training to Chicken Soup-icity. She is the Puppies Guide at puppies.About.com, the cat behavior expert at cats.About.com, and hosts a weekly half hour Internet Pet Peeves radio show. Amy has been featured as an expert in hundreds of print venues including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Family Circle, as well as national radio and television networks such as CNN, Animal Planet’s DOGS 101 and CATS 101.

HIDE AND SEEK published by Cool Gus Publishing is available in Trade Paperback for $11.99 and all Ebook formats for $4.99 (for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.). You may order the book via online stories such as amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Find out more at Amy’s Bling, Bitches & Blood Blog at http://amyshojai.com

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