Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary! (To Husband and me!)

This week Husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. Does that still count as being a newlywed? At what point do you move from newlywed to old married couple? Anyway, Husband took me to a very nice Irish restaurant in Austin called The Emerald House. It was so lovely I decided to take pictures and how you what an awesome experience it was.

Husband took this picture of me on our patio shortly before we left.



This is the restaurant, isn't it so cute! It's like a cute little Irish cottage.



Foyer of the restaurant.



First course was potato soup. It was hands down the most amazing soup I have ever (ever) had.


Second course was a salad, which I forgot to take a picture of.

Third course was tenderloin with vegetables and a potato. It was probably the most tender piece of steak I've ever had!



And dessert was an Irish whiskey cake (which I also forgot to take a picture of).

We had so much food left over (I'm not a big eater anyway, and this was a LOT of food!) so they wrapped it up to go for us to look like swans kissing. How cute!


The next two pictures are pictures of Husband and I at the restaurant and were taken by the waitress who had trouble with our camera. I wish they had come out a little better. :/






It was a great way to spend the evening, and yes, it took all evening. We got there at 6:40 and didn't leave until 9:30. It gave us time to catch up and talk about life and our goals for the future. On the way home we even saw a shooting star, the perfect way to end our day.

Now you may be asking what Husband got me for our anniversary. Well... I got Beauty and the Beast on DVD (my all time favorite Disney movie), and tickets to a Yule Ball. Yes, you read right, a YULE BALL. As in, Harry Potter Yule Ball. Eeeek! I am beyond excited. The Yule Ball will include a meal, waltzing lessons, dancing, and tickets to a midnight showing of the movie. How awesome of a gift is that? You better believe I'll be taking tons of pictures and have a big blog about it the next day.

Thank you for reading this blog and sharing our anniversary date with us!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Twitter


If you follow me on Twitter you know I'm usually a pretty active tweeter,but over the past few weeks (months?) I've found myself tweeting less and less. I have loved Twitter, it's helped me tremendously. It's led me to meet some fantastic people and make new friends. It's opened doors for me that I never knew would be there.

There are tons of good things I could say about how wonderful Twitter is, but now I'm going to move on to the meat of this post. No, I am not leaving Twitter, but I won't be on Twitter as much. It got to the point where TweetDeck was open on one half of my screen and Scrivener (my writing client), was open on the other so I could always see what was going on and if anyone was talking to me. This has hurt me more than helped me.

My writing is very sacred to me, and Twitter makes me talk too openly about it. I don't like being so open. I've told very few people the actual plot of the contemporary I'm working on. I have to say it bothers me a little when writers tell Twitter everything about their WIP. Let's face it, if you're always talking about your writing *whispers* you're probably NOT writing.

I'm the first to admit I fell into that boat (how does one fall into a boat anyway?). Anytime I crossed a major hurdle I felt like I had to tell someone, and Twitter is the easiest person to tell because you're not just telling one person, you're telling million of people! "Hey world! Guess what? I just figured out this amazing plot twist!" Well that's great, Stephanie, but why aren't you actually writing the plot twist instead of telling everyone about it?

I'm sure there are writers out there that can handle writing and tweeting about what their writing every few minutes. It's just a bit counterproductive for me. If I have time to write 140 characters, they're going to go toward something useful, like my WIP, and not Twitter. By stopping to make that Tweet it takes my head out of the world I'm in, and it takes me a while to get back into that world once I'm out. Plus I'm very ADD which probably doesn't help.

Anyway, with all that being said, I'll still be on Twitter, I just won't be on Twitter as much. I think I'm too addicted to 100% leave, plus there are some people I only communicate with via Twitter. I think I'm going to try to blog instead of tweet and see how that works out. What are your thoughts? Am I just being really weird about this whole thing?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Austin Teen Book Festival

This past weekend I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Austin Teen Book Festival. I wasn't able to attend last year so this year I was determined to go! I'd been looking forward to it for months.

There were three panels at ATXTBF, and I had the pleasure of being a panel host for the Dastardly Daydreamers panel which included authors Melissa De La Cruz, Nancy Werlin, Sophie Jordan, Kiersten White, and Alexandra Adornetto (who wasn't able to make it because she was sick.) What's the job of a panel host, you ask? Basically I was to step in and throw elbows if anyone got too close to the authors or prevented them from getting to their next panel on time. Sadly (or maybe not really), everyone was really respectful and well behaved so no elbows were thrown.

The Mustache Twirler panel included authors SA Bodeen, James Dashner, Ally Carter, Pam Bachorz, and Catherine Jinks and the Boundary Breakers panel included Charles Benoit, Susane Colasanti, Kenneth Oppel, Ellen Hopkins, Jon Skovron



The day started with a keynote from Ellen Hopkins. It was the last day of Banned Books Week, so it was almost fitting that Ellen was here to give a keynote. She talked about her books being banned and challenged (her books have been banned/challenged three times). She read a few fan emails from teens who have benefited from her books. The emails were very emotional and I don't think there was a single person in the room who couldn't have been touched by them.



Since I was a panel host, I had to stay with my panel authors all day. Yes that means I wasn't able to see the other two panels, but I got to hang out with a wonderful group of ladies all day! I can't think of a better way to spend the day.

Even if I do say so myself, our panel was amazing! My friend Jen Bigheart was the panel moderator and everything was extremely smooth and organized. Authors answered whatever questions they were asked (including questions about why vampires sparkle, to which Melissa De La Cruz answered, "Well since Stephenie Meyer isn't here, we can't answer that.").





We had a quick lunch break and I tried not to fan-girl out when I sat with my panel authors and directly next to Ellen Hopkins. We ate and talked about books and book banning and writing. After lunch we had two more panels and then the authors signed books. While we're eating, the drama department of the high school we were in came and did a fantastic rendition of the Thriller dance. Zombie-hilariousness ensued!



The only picture I have with me and my panel authors is with Sophie and Kiersten. Part of the reason is that I forget to take pictures and the other is I'm always a little embarrassed to ask someone to take a picture with me. What if they say no? Ha!



It was an amazing day. The event was so organized and put together! I've been to and volunteered at many-a-festival and I have to say this was one of the best I've ever been to. I'm already looking forward to next year! While I didn't get anything to give away, head on over to Jen's blog where she's giving away some signed swag.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Smart Chicks Giveaway Winners!

Sorry I'm just now announcing winners. The Austin Teen Book Festival was this weekend and I was super busy with that (blog to come soon!) With that being said, congrats to my two winners!

Bailey Hewlett and Lauren Meinhardt! I have emailed you both and you now have 48 hours to respond before I pick another winner.

No worries if you didn't win! I'll have more giveaways soon.