Tag Archives: book nerd

“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” (or Another Amazing Giveaway!)

You may remember that a little over 2 years ago I had a giveaway for the book “The Wisdom Of Walt”. I loved the book and it was amazing to get to meet the author Jeff Barnes. He truly is a Disney historian and there were stories in the book that I didn’t know before. And as a huge Disneyland geek, I love when I get to learn new things about the park I love so much!

“The Wisdom Of Walt” was all about leadership lessons that we could learn from Walt Disney and the story of Disneyland. While I don’t read a lot of leadership books, there were lessons I learned that I could totally apply to my life and I felt like it was such valuable reading for anyone. And I was so happy to see that many of my friends read it and found it just as great.

So when Jeff Barnes mentioned that he was writing another book, I couldn’t wait to read it! And he offered to send me a copy before it was released to check out. And I have to say that “Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” might be even more incredible than the first book!

“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” is all about life lessons from Walt Disney and the Disney story. I love self-help and self-improvement books and this fit in perfectly with what I like to read. Each chapter had a very easy to read format and the lessons were clear and easy to understand (unlike some self-help books that almost make you hunt to learn what the chapter was about).

And each chapter had a lesson that really hit home for me. Some of the lessons were choosing to change, having to hustle, overcoming obstacles, and communicating clearly. These lessons are so relevant to multiple aspects of my life. I expected to find lessons that fit with my acting career, blogging, and my personal life. But there were lessons that connected with me with my work toward recovery from my eating disorder and I didn’t expect that at all!

I love when a book connects with me and speaks so clearly to me and that’s exactly what “Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” did for me. I know that this is a book that I can read multiple times and get new lessons and experiences each time. It takes a special book to be able to create that and I feel so lucky that I have a book that I know will be something that I will continue to learn from.

And while it was awesome to learn more lessons about Walt Disney and the various Disney parks, it’s not necessarily a Disney book. You don’t have to be a Disney fan to love this book, although being a Disney fan may bring a little something extra to reading it. But learning lessons about creating something you are passionate about, dealing with setbacks, and being your own motivation is something that anyone can learn from no matter what.

“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” was released this week and you can get the book on Amazon, and I really do recommend doing it. You can also order an autographed copy from Jeff’s website. But you also have a chance to win an autographed copy here! Jeff has not only given me a copy to read, but he is going to give one of you a signed copy! You can enter below and there are multiple ways to earn entries. And you can tweet about it every day through Rafflecopter to earn extra entries!

The giveaway ends on the 11th and the winner will be chosen from random.org. I will be contacting the winner via email and Jeff will be sending your book directly to you.

Good luck to everyone and even if you don’t win I highly recommend checking out this incredible book! Everyone will gain some amazing insights from reading it and I know that I am a better person for learning the lessons that Jeff put in the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Might Write A Book (or The Bumble Avenger)

My online dating adventures have been pretty ridiculous. While there have been some really great guys that I’ve met (and a few that I’ve seen more than once and hope I’ll be seeing again), it seems like a majority of the stories I have are not-s0-great ones. I’ve been lucky that most of the time I can figure out a guy isn’t a good person before I ever meet them. So most of the time when I go on a date with someone, there has already been some vetting and I feel pretty ok about it.

Of course, that’s not always the case and I’ve had some really bad dates where I spent more time getting to the date than I did on the date. I’ve also gone out with a guy who was engaged at the time because I didn’t search his name online like I do now. If I had looked him up, I would have seen that his wedding website was the first result in the search and his Facebook profile photo is with his fiancée. I regret not looking him up before the date, but I’ve learned.

With the guys that I haven’t met, there are a variety of reasons why I didn’t meet them. Sometimes they just have something creepy about them, sometimes they are trying to get me to meet them at a hotel and won’t accept me meeting them somewhere else. And yes, I’ve encountered more guys who aren’t actually single. In fact, this week I rematched with a guy I matched with a few months ago (we had unmatched for some reason or another). Back then, I wasn’t doing searches on the guys I’m talking to. Now I’m smarter and I found out he’s married. He was only married 4 months when we were talking before. I called him out on it and he deleted his profile.

With the engaged/married guys, I feel bad about it even though I know I didn’t do anything wrong. And I’m starting to message the fiancée/wife on Facebook so they know what their guy is doing. Most of them haven’t seen the messages because they are in their filtered messages, but at least I can feel like I’ve done something about it and hopefully they will find out that they are involved with a cheater.

I post some of the craziest stories of my adventures in online dating online to my friends, and most of them think it’s so crazy what I’m encountering. And with all my posts about how I’m finding out someone is a cheater and telling their significant other, a friend of mine called me The Bumble Avenger (even though not all the cheaters have been from Bumble).

Several of my friends have been telling me I need to write a book about what I’ve been experiencing. I just keep telling people that I don’t think my experience is that unique and I’m not a writer.

But then I got to thinking. I’ve done online dating before and what I’m experiencing now is nothing like what it was like before. It is totally crazier now. Maybe it’s because of how much easier it is to have a dating app versus using a website? Maybe people are finding it easier to cheat? So maybe my story is something that I should share with others beyond my private social media.

And as far as me not being a writer, I know that it’s true. I have over 1,300 posts on this blog (how did that happen?!?!?!) and I’m almost at my 5 year anniversary (more on that next week). Clearly I’m a writer whether or not I believe that it’s true. Maybe I just don’t think of myself as a writer when I look at screenplays or novels. But non-fiction books can be in a similar format to a blog.

So because so many people told me to do it, I’ve actually started to write an outline for a book. I have no idea what will come of it, but I’m glad I’m starting now. Even putting together the outline I’ve realized I’ve forgotten some of the crazy stories that happened to me in April and May. So it’s a good thing that I’m at least writing these stories down now even if nothing comes out of it.

If I do actually write the book, I don’t know what I would do next. I’ve thought that maybe I wouldn’t want my name on it, but I think it would be easy to connect me to it because my stories are pretty unique. I don’t feel like I would go back and change blog posts to try to hide my identity, but maybe people wouldn’t be able to connect it to me. If it does have my name, I would think carefully about how much I would want to reveal. And of course I would have to have people look things over to make sure nothing I’m saying could reveal who any of the guys are (I wouldn’t use any of their names but I don’t want something else in there to be a way to connect back to them).

This is seriously at the very beginning stages of everything. I haven’t really written much yet, but it will be something I want to try to work on at least a few times a week. It would be fun to see what I could do and you never know what could happen out of a project. I doubt I knew 5 years ago that this is where I would be with my blog and I’m so grateful that I started it when I did. Maybe the book could be the same thing for me.

Books and Roses (or A Day By USC)

When I thought I would be having surgery last week, I was trying to figure out fun things for my parents to do. I knew they wouldn’t want to be in the hospital with me all day long, so I was looking up what events were happening in LA while they were here. And the one that stuck out to me was the LA Times Festival of Books.

At first, I was so sad because I thought I would end up missing the Festival of Books. But of course, there was nothing I could do about that. But then when the surgery got cancelled, I was so happy because that meant that going to the festival was something I could do! So this past Sunday, we decided to go spend the afternoon there.

Both my mom and dad went with me and we had the dog with us as well. And since parking is so expensive near USC, we took the light rail (where it turns out my parents are senior citizens and the ride only costs $0.35!). Tucker is very good with traveling, but this was his first light rail experience. He didn’t love it, but he was really well-behaved and just sat on the floor by our feet. I don’t think a lot of people on the train even knew we had him with us. But the Metro employees loved him!

I told my parents that the festival was pretty big, but I don’t think they understood how huge it is! The last time they were at USC was when my brother graduated college there and I don’t know how much of the campus they had explored before. So I think they were a bit overwhelmed by the crowd there (so was the dog). But we just tried to go up and down the various sections and casually checked out the booths. We didn’t go into too many booths, but we did make a stop at the LA Public Library booth.

I’m a huge book nerd and was spending so much on books until I rediscovered my love for the library. And now I’m getting so many library books for my Kindle. I’m saving hundreds of dollars a month on books and I love that I can support the public library system. It’s so important and I don’t think enough people take advantage of what they can get there.

After being at the festival for a while, the crowds were getting to be a bit too much. So we headed across the street to the Rose Garden to see how all the roses were looking.

Since we had so much rain this past winter, everything was in bloom! The past few times I had been at the Rose Garden it wasn’t looking so great, but this time it was pretty full with flowers. The fountain in the center wasn’t going (maybe to still conserve a bit of water), but it was still so nice walking around checking out all the flowers.

My dad knows so much about roses and plants so he could almost name all of the types of roses in the garden without looking at the sign saying the name of the variety of roses. But there were some that we didn’t know and the names were a bit crazy. It was nice getting to just relax and walk around. It’s so pretty there and of course Tucker was loving all the smells all over.

It was a pretty warm and sunny day so after walking around a bit it was time for us to go back to the light rail station and take the train back. Tucker was much more comfortable on the train this time and he looked like he might fall asleep on the ride. And again, I don’t think a lot of people realized that he was with us so that’s a sign of a pretty obedient dog.

I’m so glad that I was able to make it to the LA Times Festival of Books. It really is a great event and I wish I could have spent more time there. Maybe next year I can go on both Saturday and Sunday so I can see even more of what there is there and hopefully learn about a ton of new books that I want to add to my reading list.

Keeping My Emotions In Check (or You Are Not Your Brain)

2017 is only 2 weeks in, but my emotions have been pretty up and down for me so far. I’ve had some really good things happen to me (like having fun with my friends at Disneyland) and some really not so great things (like my car dying). I’ve almost felt like I have been in a bit of a haze the past few weeks. Everything has been a bit overwhelming and while I am so grateful for all the good things that have come off all this, it’s not fun to feel this way.

It also doesn’t help that the weather has been very gloomy lately. I don’t love the rain because it causes me extra pain, and I feel like I don’t want to leave the house if I don’t have to. I can take painkillers (they don’t bother my liver), but I’m trying to limit them because I’ve realized that I’ve been depending on them too much in the past. So I’m limiting what I’ve been doing after work and I’m sometimes a bit isolated.

While I was technically diagnosed with depression in the past, I don’t believe that it was an accurate diagnosis. I think it had more to do with being upset with my eating disorder being out of control mixed with the mild OCD that I know I have. But when things are so up and down, it’s tough sometimes not to feel depressed a bit. And of course the state of politics lately isn’t helping my mood (especially when I’m now worried I’ll lose my health insurance if pre-existing conditions can get you rejected from health insurance again).

But I’m working hard on not allowing myself to be too down right now. I know all the situations I’m in are temporary and it is totally normal to feel overwhelmed when there are big changes happening in your life. I’m feeling more and more ok about what happened with my car (although I wish that getting a new car was something I had been looking forward to do instead of something I had to do). I’m trying to think about the good that the rain is doing for the drought that we have been experiencing and not that it is causing me pain. And I’m trying to keep telling myself that it is ok to feel down as long as I don’t stay that way forever.

The timing of this has been interesting because I’ve been reading a new book as part of my recovery themed reading lately. Right now, I’m reading a book called “You Are Not Your Brain” and it is all about changing how you think. It talks about taking how your brain works and making it work to your advantage to getting rid of bad habits, recovering from an addiction, or feeling overwhelmed.

I’m still in the beginning of this book, but it’s been a really good read for me so far. I’ve been seeing how the overwhelming feeling I’ve been dealing with can be worked into something more positive. I don’t have to let my brain control my life and that is something that I know many of us struggle with. The emotions in my brain aren’t always rational and I need to work on separating the rational feelings from the irrational emotions I get from time to time.

I know that being emotional isn’t a bad thing, but I really want to be able to keep my emotions in check more often. I know that it is not the end of the world that my car died, but it is still upsetting me when I should be more excited and grateful that I was able to get a new car (that is significantly better than my old car was). I know that feeling alone and isolated is either in my head or my fault. I have many friends that I could call or text to not be alone, but I’m choosing not to. I am loved, even when I feel like I’m not.

I know that my journey in my eating disorder recovery will be a long one, but I’m glad that I added reading books related to recovery as a part of the journey. I’ve read some books that I haven’t connected with, but then there are the others that I feel it is fate that I am reading them at that time. Self-help and recovery do go hand in hand and I think that all of this work that I’m putting into recovery is making me a better person.

While I don’t want to become an unemotional robot, I’m glad that I’ve been able to practice regulating my emotions right now when it is such an emotional time. Right now is some of the more significant ups and downs, so hopefully with this work that I’m putting in I can manage things even better when they are minor mood swings. And by managing my emotions more, I know that I will be able to manage my eating disorder more. It is all work in progress, but the progress is definitely going the right way.

Scared Speechless (or A Book Giveaway!)

I’m doing another giveaway! I know I still have my “Once Upon A Time: The Rock Opera” giveaway going on, but this is another amazing giveaway that I think you will all love! So I had no choice but to run 2 giveaways at the same time! You can enter both of them and I really hope that you do!

I met Steve Rohr when I was at the Entertainment New Media Network Conference last year. He was so amazing when he spoke to the group that I had to talk to him immediately after he spoke and pitched him to be on the Inside Acting Podcast. I’m glad he said yes because I absolutely loved his episodes! The stories and knowledge that he shared is amazing and I know how lucky we are that he was willing to speak with us. And I’ve been fortunate that Steve has stayed in touch with me because he’s a seriously awesome person (beside everything else he does, he’s the publicist for the Oscars!).

Steve recently shared with me that he and his friend Dr. Shirley Impellizzeri wrote a book called “Scared Speechless”. It’s all about taking the fear away from public speaking and how to become the best public speaker you can be. He offered to send me a copy and of course I said yes! While I don’t do much public speaking, I figure that any help I can get to be less nervous when I speak would be good plus I love reading self-help books!

I was so excited when it arrived at my doorstep and loved that Steve and Shirley signed it for me!

Scared Speechless Signed Copy

I immediately started to read it. I read it so quickly that I was done within 2 days and would have put this post up sooner except that I wanted to read it again before blogging about it! I felt like I read it so quickly that a second reading was needed to I could digest everything I was learning and make sure that I didn’t miss any lessons.

This is such a wonderful book! Obviously, it’s great for people who have to do public speaking or presentations at work or school. But so much of this book is perfect for actors who are nervous about auditions. It discusses some of the science behind fear and how to overcome them. It shares ideas for speeches and how to write different types of speeches like presentations, toasts, eulogies, and commencement speeches. And it has a great list of speeches you can watch or read to be inspired and to help you with whatever you may need to come up with.

What I love so much about this book is how it is broken up. Each chapter could be viewed as a standalone article. You could read just what you need to or read the entire book and still get a lot of information out of it. Each chapter starts with a chapter focus (listed on the first page of the chapter) so you know what you will be reading about. Then toward the end of the chapter there is homework or ideas to try to help work on the lessons that the chapter discussed. And finally at the end of each chapter there are key notes from what you just read in the chapter. It’s almost like someone already wrote notes on the book so you can make sure you didn’t miss anything and you know exactly what you should have gotten out of that chapter.

I read a lot of non-fiction books and I have to say that this one is one of the easiest books that I’ve read in a long time. It is very clearly written and the chapters are split up nicely so it doesn’t feel confusing or like it is repeating itself (which is a common issue I see in non-fiction books). I think that this really is relatable and anyone could find something in the book that connects to them and their public speaking (or auditioning) issues. This may be the first non-fiction book that I honestly think everyone no matter what should read.

You can go online and buy the book in paperback or on your Kindle now, but I have a signed copy to giveaway! There are a ton of ways you can enter. You can follow people on twitter, visit different fan pages on Facebook, comment on this post, or tweet out a message (and you can tweet out a message every day for extra entries!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I can’t wait for you all to read this book. It really is incredible and I have a feeling that this will be a book that I come back to from time to time to help me with my auditions and any public speaking moments I might have in my life.

Good luck and I can’t wait to announce the winner!

Learning About “Breaking Vegan” (or An Amazing Book Giveaway!)

I’m so excited to share this amazing book and giveaway with you all! But before I get to that, I wanted to give you a little back story.

I first heard of Jordan Younger when her blog post about ending her vegan diet went viral. She used to blog under the name The Blonde Vegan and changed her name to The Balanced Blonde to reflect her new lifestyle. I heard of her because I know the blogger The Balanced Brunette and someone mentioned the name similarity.

I had read the post about Jordan ending her vegan diet and was very proud of her. She had discovered that from the restrictions of the vegan diet that her food choices became more and more restrictive and ended up turning into orthorexia. There was a lot of backlash from her post including vegans being angry for her eating animal products again and from other people who didn’t believe that orthorexia was a real thing.

I could relate to people not understanding an eating disorder. I had the same issue with my binge eating disorder. At first, it wasn’t recognized as an eating disorder. When I was first diagnosed, it was classified as a non-purging bulimic and there wasn’t any help for me. And people (including some in the medical field) thought that it wasn’t real and that it was just an issue of me liking food too much. So to have a name, a diagnosis, and a treatment plan was a huge relief for me.

Jordan was able to get help for her eating disorder as well. After her post went viral, I started following her on social media and realized that she also works out at Orangetheory! And one day, I noticed her name on the heart rate monitor screen and introduced myself.

Jordan is seriously such an amazing woman and so open about her story. And with all that she learned through the beginning of her journey with her eating disorder, she wrote a book called “Breaking Vegan”.

The Balanced Blonde

Since Jordan knew me through Orangetheory she offered to send me a copy so I could check it out! I got it and started reading it immediately.

Breaking Vegan

What struck me the most (and what has stuck me with so many eating disorder stories) is how similar her story is to mine. Our eating disorders are very different, but so much the same. They start with small choices (both of us started with disordered eating issues as children) and balloon out of control without really realizing it. Jordan’s book is very well written and beautifully laid out. Her story includes photos of her throughout her journey and in the back there are some great recipes for healthy meals (I’ll hopefully be making some of those soon!).

I understand that there is some controversy with the title because not everyone who goes vegan develops an eating disorder. But this story is a personal story of what happened to Jordan and how her discovering a vegan lifestyle helped to make her eating disorder come out. It would be the same as if I said that ice cream created my binge eating disorder (it didn’t, but that’s an example). Of course it’s not the fault of ice cream, but that ice cream led me down the path to the eating disorder that I believe I was genetically at risk for.

I highly recommend this book both to those who have an eating disorder as well as those who don’t. Those who have an eating disorder may find comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone, crazy, or weird. That’s how I felt reading this. And those without an eating disorder can see how easy it is to spiral an eating habit into an eating disorder and get an idea of the mindset of someone with an eating disorder and why it’s so difficult to overcome them.

Of course, I recommend everyone buying the book, but I’m also giving away a copy! You just need to enter through Rafflecopter below and you do as many of the entry options as you want (the tweet option is available every day!). The contest will end at 12am on Christmas Day so I will be playing Jewish Santa and emailing the winner on Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I hope that you all enter this giveaway and even if you don’t win you read this book. We should all support Jordan for sharing her story because it is so difficult to do! If more people were open with their eating disorders, I believe that more people would reach out for help and would realize that they don’t have to be alone in this journey.

A Day Of Allergies (or Book Nerd Fail)

This past weekend was the LA Times Festival Of Books. I was so happy to find out that I was going to be getting a media pass again.

LA Times Festival Of Books

I knew that because of my work schedule I couldn’t go for the first few things on Saturday, but I was all set to spend as much time at the event as possible.

Then I got invited to something fun on Saturday evening (more on that tomorrow) so I figured that I would go all day Sunday and maximize my time there with the media pass.

Then Sunday came and I was hit with one of the worst allergy attacks I’ve ever had.

I have no clue what caused this allergy attack (I’m severely allergic to olive trees but I’m not aware of any in my neighborhood) and it didn’t seem like it would be going away on its own. I know that this sounds gross, but I wasn’t able to breathe through my nose and it was running like a non-stop faucet. At times it was hard to catch my breath and I felt like I might throw up. I wanted this feeling go away as soon as possible so I took my allergy meds and hoped that they would kick in quickly so I could still spend the afternoon at the event.

Sadly, I wasn’t feeling better until the afternoon so I ended up missing the entire weekend.

I’m trying not to be too upset by this. None of my friends could go so I wasn’t missing any hang out time. And while there were authors and panels that I was excited to see, there wasn’t an event with one of my favorite authors like last year. And of course, there should be another event next year and hopefully I will be able to make it then. And maybe next year there will be an author that I love speaking there.

But while I was sad about missing the event, I figured that the most fitting way to try to wait out the allergy attack would be by reading. So I got to spend a nice morning and afternoon reading in bed (even though I wasn’t able to breathe through my nose and was sneezing every 2 seconds). And while I haven’t necessarily been tired lately, having a day of doing nothing really did revitalize me.

So maybe this allergy attack was just my body saying that I needed to slow down for a couple of hours and relax. And I did just that and didn’t feel guilty about it at all.

Being A Spectator (or Watching And Not Wanting To Do The Marathon)

This weekend was the LA marathon, and again, I watched a lot of it from my house (it didn’t help that we were having a crazy heat wave).

I’ve previously talked about how in the past I thought that maybe one day I would do a marathon but how I no longer have that desire. I always thought that a marathon was the ultimate thing to do to prove that I’m in better shape than I was before. But I don’t feel like that is the truth anymore.

I was up right after the start of the marathon and watched it live on the news for a good portion of the beginning. I even got to watch the winner cross the finish line.

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The marathon starts at Dodgers Stadium and then ends up at the ocean. But part of the course was only about a 10 minute drive from my house. And since I knew a few people running the marathon, I decided to head out and watch the runners for a little while.

I was handing out between mile 19 and 20, so a lot of the racers were starting to look a little tired (plus the heat wasn’t helping).

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I think that almost everyone I knew running the race passed where I was before I got there. But I still was cheering on for random people running by. There were runners who were barefoot, wearing crazy costumes, dribbling a basketball the entire time, and blind racers tethered to a guide.

After watching the racers for a while, I saw a somewhat familiar face run past where I was standing. It was Rachel from “The Biggest Loser”. I knew that she had gained some weight back after the finale (she looked much better after not being so incredibly skinny), and she looked pretty great running down Santa Monica Blvd.

I also saw one of my favorite authors running the race. I knew she was running because she posted about it on her Instagram, but it was still pretty exciting to see her! I cheered for her, but she was super focused and didn’t hear me (I told her on twitter that I cheered and she thought that that was pretty cool).

While it was inspiring for me to watch the runners, it made me realize that I have no desire to ever do a marathon anymore. I’m happy with doing a couple of 5Ks each year (it looks like I might only be doing 2 or 3 this year). And maybe one day I’ll do a 10K. But I see no reason to do a longer race than that.

I’ve talked about this before about how in the past I looked at 5Ks as a primary source of exercise. Now that I have a regular workout routine, I look at the races as bonuses and not necessary to try to get in shape.

I feel such a sense of relief that I don’t feel the pressure to ever do a marathon. I’m more than happy to go out and support people I know doing a marathon (I’ll probably try to get a group together for next year’s LA marathon and have a bunch of people cheering). It’s a huge accomplishment and everyone who did race should be insanely proud of themselves.

But it’s nice to know that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on something by not doing a marathon.

My Book List (or Putting A Challenge From Facebook On Here)

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write about today, but I was inspired by something I was challenged to do on Facebook.

My friend Daniel (who runs the film festival I work for) challenged me to list the 10 books that have stuck with me the most. I was totally for this challenge, but then I realized how difficult picking 10 books out of a lifetime of reading could be. So I bent the rules a little and picked some series and authors as well.

Most people just listed the books on their list, but I wanted to explain each one. Some of these books (or stories about these authors) have been mentioned before on here. I tried to find those posts and link to them when I could.

So this is my list, copied from Facebook:

1. “Rumpelstilskin”. I remember reading this book as a kid (probably when I was 3 or 4) and it terrified me. But I loved it so much. So I would read the book in bed and then take the book outside my room and leave it there overnight so the book couldn’t scare me while I was sleeping. I was a very early reader (I learned to read at 2), and this is one of my first memories of reading.

2. “The Babysitter’s Club” series. Holy moly I loved these books! I devoured them! My parents still have all the books somewhere in their house and when I eventually have a kid, I know that I’ll be passing them down to them.

3. All of the American Girl books. Another series from my childhood. This was the start of me getting into historical fiction (although I didn’t know that at the time). And yes, I had an American Girl doll too (I had Samantha). My doll and all of my books are being stored by my parents at their house so I can pass those down as well.

4. The Body Movers series by Stephanie Bond. I randomly picked the first book from this series up from the bookstore before going on a trip to Tahoe to see my parents. I totally judge books by their covers and this one really interested me. I remember reading the first book at the condo in Tahoe. I got to the end, which happened to be a cliffhanger, and screamed out loud when I realized that the next book wouldn’t be coming out for a year! This is also an important book and author to me because Stephanie Bond is one of the first authors that I ever connected with via social media. The day she followed me on twitter was so awesome.

5. “Jemima J” by Jane Green. Yes, this is chick-lit. But it was the first chick-lit book I ever read. I never knew that there were fun silly books like this that I would love to read. And it opened an entire new world up for me.

6. Anything by Jennifer Weiner. I started with her book “Good In Bed” because again, the cover looked cool. Since then, I’ve read several of her books and have loved them all. She is another author that I have connected to via twitter and it turns out that she reads my blog! When she tweeted to me about that, I almost passed out.

7. “America’s Women” by Gail Collins. This was one of the first non-fiction books I read that I was able to finish without having to read some “fluff” in between. It’s an amazing book about the history of women in the US and it got me interested in finding more historical books to read.

8. Anything by Danielle Steel. I know they are silly, but some of them are pretty fun to read. And this is one of the only authors that both my mom and I both like. It’s nice to have some books in common to talk about and to recommend to each other.

9. The Hunger Games series. This was my introduction to dystopian future books, which is now one of my favorite genres to read. I started to read them after all the books were out so I didn’t have to wait to find out the result of the cliffhangers between the books. Since then, I’ve read many more dystopian future books, but most of them I’ve had to wait as patiently as possible before the next book comes out.

10. “I Heart NY” and all the other books by Lindsay Kelk. This was another random purchase of mine. I saw it as an e-book and it looked like fun. I got it and after only a few pages, I realized that I loved this book! So I went back online and got all the other ones in the series that had come out so far! I connected with Lindsay over twitter and we met up for lunch in Santa Monica when she was out this way. I was totally geeking out over meeting her. But she was super cool and we found out that we both love Disneyland. So on her next trip to LA, we went to Disneyland together and had a blast! I love that I have a new Disneyland buddy!

I love that a book related challenge is going on around Facebook. I challenged 10 of my friends to do this one as well. And I’d love to see any of your top 10 books lists in the comments! I’m always up for discovering new books that other people love!

LA Times Festival Of Books (or Realizing I’m Only A Minor Book Nerd)

This past weekend was the LA Times Festival of Books at USC. I’ve always wanted to go to it each year, but I always seem to be working. A month or so ago, I saw something online about media passes for the festival and I decided to apply for it.

I had totally forgotten about applying for the media pass until last week when I got an email saying that I had been approved for one! I was already scheduled to work on Saturday, but I decided that I would go on Sunday and finally check it out.

I took the light rail there because parking was expensive (and I’m sure not too close to the event). When I sat down, I saw the perfect ad for my trip to the festival.

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The light rail stop was right across the street from the entrance to the festival, so that was very nice. I was able to find the media check in pretty easily and got my fancy media pass.

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I met up with a friend after getting my pass and she showed me around the festival. It was a little overwhelming, so I’m glad I had a friend guide me around. We checked out a bunch of the booths and the books for sale.

My media pass got me into any of the lectures that I wanted to go to, but I ended up not making it to any of them (plus all the ones I wanted to go to were on Saturday). There were also various stages with authors speaking that I didn’t need my pass to get in to.

I went to the young adult stage to see one of my favorite authors, Marissa Meyer, speak along with some other authors who specialize in young adult science fiction/fantasy.

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That was pretty awesome. I didn’t know the other authors but they were all amazing to listen to. I’m not usually a science fiction/fantasy fan, but Marissa Meyer’s series The Lunar Chronicles really got me. The books are science fiction retellings of classic fairy tales in a dystopian society.

After the authors were done speaking, they were all signing books. I got in line so I could meet Marissa Meyer and I noticed how unprepared I was for the signing. Almost everyone in front of me in line had suitcases full of books to be signed. Multiple copies of each book from every author. Since all my books are pretty much on my Kindle, I didn’t have a physical book to have signed (and I didn’t want to get my Kindle signed like some people in front of me in line did). I realized that I was a pretty poor book nerd not having anything to get signed.

But I did have my media pass so when I got to the front of the line I asked Marissa to sign the back of my pass.

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The line for the signing took a little over an hour. And once I got my pass signed I was feeling pretty tired from being out in the sun for so long (and it turns out I got pretty badly sunburnt as well). So I headed back onto the light rail and headed home again.

I had a really good time at the festival even though I wasn’t there for too long. But I will totally be returning next year (and making sure that I don’t have to work that weekend)!