Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Turbo-update...I ain't got time to finish all the detailed intellectual stuff I've got drafts of. Here's what's going on nowadays...

Current obsessions: 

1. My FitBit. This thing is changing my life. I'm gonna write a whole blog entry about it later, but in the meantime, know that I'm obsessed with it.

2. The song "I'd Rather Dance With You" by Kings of Convenience. This has been my ear worm for the last few days, and it has inspired multiple impromptu living room dance parties. (Other ear worm = "Deep Love.")

3. The podcast "Hello From the Magic Tavern." It is a gem of comedic improv GENIUS. If you have any interest in comedy or improv or stories or world-building, this is your thing. The basic idea is that a guy from Chicago has fallen through a portal behind a local Burger King, and landed in the magical world of Foon. But he brought his podcasting equipment with him, so he does a weekly podcast, along with his co-hosts, Chunt the talking badger (who's technically a shapeshifter), and the wizard Usidore. There are often other guests as well. Each episode is improv'd and it is so brilliant and it makes me want to just do improv with brilliant people. (WARNING: There is occasionally some language, and some suggestive material.)

4. NaNoWriMo. I'm deep into prep, and I have a rough outline for a story, and I'm excited to see where else it takes me as I write it.

NaNoWriMo prep work...outlines and brainstorming notes
5. Rimmel Provocalips lip color. A friend raved about it on Instagram a little while ago, so I went out and got myself two shades: "Make Your Move" and "Heartbreaker" and I'm in love. I don't know how it stays on, but it's magic lipstick voodoo that is NOT messing around. "Make Your Move" is really close to my natural lip color, but just adds a little "oomph" and it stays on ALL DAY. Kissing, eating, PUTTING ON CHAPSTICK. It doesn't end up looking all cakey and dry, either. Love it.

6. Acting. (Always.) I've had some pretty amazing screen opportunities lately, and someday I'll tell you all about them, but in the meantime, I signed all these crazy non-disclosure forms so I can't give more details until things are released or I'll get sued for billions of dollars and stuff. So that's been cool. I also had a callback for "Beau Jest" at the Hale in West Valley, so my fingers are crossed for that one. (I'll find out later this week if I'm cast.)

7. My non-glasses/non-contacted, LASIK-corrected eyes. It's the weirdest thing. I still reach for my glasses when I get up in the morning, before realizing I can see. I had a follow up appointment last Friday, and my vision is currently better than 20/20. I love it so much.

8. My nephew Benjamin. I watch him once a week, to give his mom some time to catch her breath and get stuff done. He's funny and imaginative and articulate. He's 2 1/2 and he loves music, going outside, Daniel Tiger, uncle Jacob, and rocks. (He like...really loves rocks. Whenever we're outside and he sees a pile, he has to go inspect them, usually selecting one to take home. He'll usually ask to hold a rock during his nap. Future geologist? Also, he usually asks me where Jacob is at least once an hour when he's at our house, and he's always a little sad when he learns that Jacob is at work.)

Current Non-Obsessions:

1. Thinking of really funny stand-up and/or Twitter material while I'm driving, and then forgetting it as soon as I have the opportunity to write it down.

Hope life is grand for everyone! Keep on keeping on.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"The first draft of anything is s***." --Ernest Hemingway

In exactly 13 days, I and around 400,000 other aspiring novelists will begin the epic task of writing a novel. In one month.

Since 1999, every November has been National Novel Writing Month, or "NaNoWriMo." The goal is to write a draft of a 50,000 word novel (about the length of "The Great Gatsby") during the 30 days of November. This means writing at a rate of about 1667 words per day.

Crazy, right?


As long-time readers of this blog will know, this will be my 4th year of doing NaNoWriMo, and it's one of the hardest and awesomest things I've ever done.

Because the point isn't to write a GOOD novel. It's just to pound out that draft of the book you always SAID you'd write. Because you can take 50,000 words of rubbish and edit it to make a novel. You can't make a good novel out of nothing. I completed my first novel in 2013, and just a few months ago, finished a draft that's good enough to send out to agents and publishers. Because you gotta start SOMEWHERE.

So who's with me?! If you're in, there are a few handy resources and tools that have helped me in past years. Here they are!

1. NaNoWriMo Website
This is one of the best resources. On the website, you can update your daily word count, join local regions and hold write-ins, get pep talks from published authors, and visit the forums. I LOVE the pep talks, and the forums are an awesome resource if you're feeling stuck. There's even a forum called "The Adoption Society," where people put unused characters, plot twists, and settings up for "adoption" to be used in other works. I'm "Lizanator" if you want to add me as a writing buddy!

2. Pinterest!
It might sound a little weird, and there's definitely a possibility of distraction. But I've used Pinterest as a place to gather images, articles, websites, inspiration, motivating quotes, and other resources. I've also got a bunch of "plot generators" and writing prompts, if you want to write but aren't sure what to write about. You can check out my "Writing Things Down" board here.

3. TickTockTimer
You can also just use the timer on your phone...any ole timer works. I use this for two things: timing breaks and doing "word sprints." If I'm having trouble writing, I'll sometimes give myself 10 minutes to write, and 10 minutes of a break, and it keeps me productive. A "word sprint" is the practice of pounding out a bunch of words in a set amount of time. Say, 500 words in 20 minutes! Sometimes NaNo writers will challenge each other to these, and it's a fun way to meet goals.


Because NaNoWriMo is easier for a lot of folks if you have a little bit of an outline. Or an idea. Or a half-coherent sheet of hastily scribbled notes. It's not NECESSARY. But if you want to participate, and you also want to plan, I thought I'd share this stuff NOW. You've got 13 days to come up with ideas. I spent yesterday afternoon mapping out the basic plot of my futuristic dystopian YA novel, and tonight I'll spend some time ironing out the kinks in the world I'm creating.

So, happy writing, my friends!

photo via

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Child of Vision

I've been wearing glasses since about third grade. That's twenty years. Two thirds of my life. So, for my 30th birthday, I decided to get LASIK surgery.

For those who are unfamiliar with the process, here's the basic idea. The doctor uses a laser to cut a flap of your eyeball and then folds it over to get it out of the way. Then another laser "shaves" down the cornea, sort of the way you'd shave the lens of a telescope, to correct your vision. Then the flap gets laid back over, and it "seals" itself instantly. (The flap is never FULLY re-sealed, but enough to keep you from like, losing it through activity.) It's kind of like "tattooing your glasses onto your eyes." From start to finish, the whole thing takes about 20 minutes. There is a lot of other time outside of the operating room, doing tests, prepping, etc, but still, you walk out of the front doors about two hours after you walk in.

So, I don't know if you know this about me, but medical stuff kinda freaks me out. I'm working on getting over it, but I still get pretty nervous. The week leading up to the surgery, I tried not to think about it. Or if I did think about it, I'd think of it in terms of "a special eye appointment." There are a handful of things at regular eye appointments that are uncomfortable, but you just do them and move on (like that irritating glaucoma test). Here I am on the morning of the surgery, nervous, but ready to just get my "special eye appointment" over with:

And here I am, about half an hour later, laying on the floor with a pillow under my head because I almost passed out before entering the operating room:

It was easy to pretend that I was just going to a "special eye appointment" until they gave me the "YOU'RE BEING OPERATED ON" shower cap thing and put iodine on my eyes. And then my brain was all, "THIS ISN'T A SPECIAL EYE APPOINTMENT YOU ARE BEING OPERATED ON AND YOU WILL PROBABLY DIE OR PASS OUT AND THE LASERS WILL DESTROY YOUR WHOLE FACE." So I got a little panicky.  But one Jacob pep talk, half an hour of funny Twitter highlights, and two doses of Valium later, I felt good enough to step into the operating room and lay down.

The most uncomfortable part was cutting the flap. They give you numbing eyedrops, so you can't feel anything actually ON your eye. But they do have to hold your eye open with a little speculum* thing (a la "Clockwork Orange"), and then hold it in place with a little cylinder thing. It felt like something was...squeezing my eye. I guess something was. They did my right eye and between the pressure and the fact that everything went terrifyingly BLACK for a second, I started getting a little light-headed again, so the doctor/nurses let me pause and get my breath. We chatted for a little while about "Oklahoma" at the Hale, and then when I felt okay again, they did the left eye. This time I knew what was coming, so it wasn't so bad. I mean, it was still UNCOMFORTABLE, but not as terrifying.

Step two was folding the flap over, which didn't feel like anything (numbing drops) but looked weird. I could see the little tool coming at my eye, but everything just looked blurry. HOWEVER, this is also the moment that Jacob happened to capture on video. He could see into the operating room, and there was a screen showing my eye. I was going to share it here, but it was too small and blurry, so you'll just have to google similar images.

Anyway, then it was under the second laser for the actual re-shaping. All I had to do was lay there and stay focused on the green light above me while I tried to ignore the smell of my eyes burning for about 9 seconds. I distracted myself by thinking about how much the light array surrounding the green light looked like something from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Then they laid the flap back over my eye, which was extra weird because the doctor used this almost seemed like a paint brush? To brush my eyeball flap back into place? I could see it but not feel it, and it was weird.

And then it was done! Here I am in the car, post-op, with protective shields and sunglasses to keep my eyes safe while they heal:

(My post "YOU'RE BEING OPERATED ON" shower cap hair is hot, right?!) And then I went home and took a nap, while trying to ignore the BURNING, STINGING, WATERING DISCOMFORT OF MY EYES. I mean, a couple of Ibuprofen took the edge off, but I was pretty uncomfortable. It felt best to just keep my eyes closed, which is why I think they recommend just taking a nap after the surgery. Anytime I did have to open my eyes (like at my post-op appointment later that afternoon), I looked like this:

But as of this morning, my eyes are non-stinging and WORKING PERFECTLY. I keep reaching up to take my glasses off when I get into bed, do my hair, change my clothes, put eyedrops in. It's the weirdest thing.

And I'm putting a LOT of eyedrops in. Steroids and antibiotics every 3 hours, and artificial tears as needed, which is like, every fifteen minutes because my eyes are the SAHARA right now. I'm pounding that Refresh like it's going out of style.

So happy birthday to me!

I know a lot of you like my glasses, but here's my logic. A) While I appreciate the compliment, my appearance is my own, and I don't always like my glasses. B) If I do want to wear glasses as a fashion statement, I CAN JUST WEAR FAKE ONES.

The only downsides to this business (besides desert-eyes) is that I haven't been able to wear eye makeup for a week, and still won't be able to for another week. Which, because I work in entertainment, sort of affects my audition and filming abilities. The other downside is that I've been working hard on my fitness goals, BECAUSE MY FITBIT IS MY FAVORITE THING, and the downtime from yesterday and today cut in to my momentum. But I'll talk about my FitBit another time.

Anyway, I'm now glasses and contacts free and I love it. If you've been thinking about LASIK, I highly recommend it. And I'm a wuss. So if I can handle it, so can you.

*Can we just agree that "speculum" is the grossest word in medical usage?