I’m an office supply predator

20140905085424_kindlephoto-16632292Back to school sales

I am such a sucker for back-to-school sales. I mean, I know, all writers are. We can stock up on pens, and highlighters, and post-it notes. Same here. But, I enjoy them in a gleeful, cackling like a witch as I examine every bin, sort of way.

Story Notebooks

I always buy a five-star five-subject notebook every year to be my story notebook. Believe me, it gets used until the papers are creased and crinkly. Then I file it away, once the story is done “just in case.” Just in case has never happened. I’m not even sure what just in case is.

Sticky notes here, there, and everywhere

I buy post-its. But I don’t buy a pack of post-its (although I did recently acquire one of the Colors of the World collection; I chose Rio de Janeiro). I go through the bins, picking up and tossing pads (either into my ever-filling cart or back, like a fish that’s too small to eat). I’m a predator of office supplies.

One word: pens

I don’t think I am exxagerating when I tell you that I could never buy another pen and I would still have leftover pens when I die. Now, let’s all laugh at the idea of me not buying pens. I’m an addict.

In fact, I wanted to share a picture with you that I shared on my blog.

wpid-2014-04-15_11_21_55The box is to hold the little minutiae that I may need at any given time, that I need regularly enough that I don’t want to search for it when I need it.

These are the office supplies I pulled out. Four highlighters, two Sharpies, a pair of scissors, a pad of blue Post-Its, three pencils, and approximately seventeen pens. Let’s not forget, these are not all my office supplies. This isn’t from my desk, which holds more, or the kitchen, where I keep pens, Post-Its, Sharpies, and scissors for mailing, labeling, etc. This is from one container in one room of my house.

Those aren’t even a sliver of my supply.

Office Organization

I may need to start searching pinterest for office supply organization. In fact, I’ll leave you with this: how big is your stash and do you have a specific organization scheme?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Forty

My birthday is this month and forty is just around the corner. I’m not sure I can easily describe what this summer has, already, been about for me. I’ll try: one lost (and found!) pet, poison ivy, am I middle-aged, two-thirds of my children are adults, and discovering the farmer’s market.

I’m feeling pretty aged this summer so I thought I’d make a list of the top five perks to being over forty:

  1. We’re layered. Much like Shrek, at this point, we’ve accomplished things, failed at others, been irresponsible, been so, so freaking responsible, and pretty much watched the age of computers and video games evolve from infancy. Not to mention music videos and the first Real World. (“This is a story about seven strangers..”.). We know things and we’re still young enough to impress with this knowledge.
  2. There was no such thing as social media when we were in high school and college. I breathe a sigh of relief nearly daily for that.
  3. We observe first. As mentioned earlier, we’ve seen so much come and go and come back again, we don’t jump in without checking the water first. It’s a wisdom thing.
  4. imagesWisdom. We haz it.
  5. We’re still fabulous. I think we’re likely the generation who will not go quietly to elderhood. We’ll dye our hair, drink a sangria, and tell you about that great book we just finished. And you will listen. Because it’s rude to interrupt your elders.

I hope your summer has been full of awesome and, more importantly, you’ve read some great books!

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Best Movie Mom: Aurora Greenway

20140506-231959.jpgMother’s Day being days away, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to talk moms, daughters, and characters.

I’m not sure how old I was when I watched Terms of Endearment. I think I was somewhere near being a teen and so it didn’t take much to   sympathize with Emma’s frustration about her mom’s ever-present criticism and the feeling that she’s never quite enough. For anyone.

I loved the movie, but I identified with it as a young woman and a daughter. I watched it again shortly after my own daughter was born, and experienced Aurora’s palpable grief at the loss of her daughter. Being powerless to save one’s own child, watching her suffer and praying for, if nothing else, relief for her daughter in death wrenched my heart. And then, realizing how incredibly foolish to believe that knowing her suffering was over would somehow make the loss any less like losing a piece of your own soul… well, boxes of Kleenex. Boxes.

Now, I have two grown daughters starting their own lives. Choosing careers, mates, home decor–regardless, I walk a tightrope to be supportive enough, helpful enough without stifling them or making them feel I don’t think that their choice is the absolute best choice. It is, for them; a distinction I think Aurora missed. I also wonder of she might not have realized that her criticism caused the very thing she feared–that her daughter wouldn’t live up to her potential.

As a mother, I learned from this character how to accept my kids as their own people. And love them so much I can’t breathe. As a writer, Aurora is a complex character that either arcs to late or just in time. I’m not sure which. But, that’s not a slight against the writing; it’s a compliment because Aurora Greenway has kept me thinking all these years later.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Seven Reasons Valentine’s Day is Evil

I’m home with a stomach virus tonight, so my bitterness is your gain.valevil

1. It lets men off the hook 363 days of the year to NOT be romantic.

The other day is your anniversary…if you’re lucky. Why would anyone only want to be treated like a special lady-friend once a year? I mean, men get Super Bowl Sunday. They get to blow things up on Independence Day. And, St. Patrick’s Day? All that green beer makes it clearly a male holiday. And also any other day of the year, when they get lucky for no reason whatsoever except maybe they’re cute in those boxers.

2. It’s a holiday designed specifically to make single people feel like losers.

I’ve been married eighteen years, but every Valentine’s Day prior to meeting my husband? Alone. It’s horrific. All the coupled people, mooning over one another, holding hands, kissing face, and you’re just standing there, wishing that you were lovable. That kind of self-esteem crushing shouldn’t even be legal.

3. Sampler boxes of candy.

Who told men this was a good idea? I have a favorite. You should know it. What am I supposed to do with all the chocolates I bite into, hate, and put back? Donate them to charity?

4. Stuffed animals for grown women who would prefer books.

I have three daughters. Stuffed animals are the space-hogging bane of my existence. If you bring me one, what’s a polite amount of time to wait before I chuck it into the garbage?

5. Seven hundred people, all trying to get into the same restaurant, at the same time.

I live in the country, so there’s like three nice restaurants, and everyone in three counties has to take their sweetie there. I imagine that in cities, while they have more restaurants, more people equals the exact same problem. Can’t we just go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and call it a day?

6. Everyone at work is comparing their flowers to yours. And you just lost in the relationship wars.

I have forbidden my husband to spend $200 on flowers that will cost $50 in a week. But, I’ve seen this go on. The delivery guys come all day. They bring bigger and more elaborate arrangements. You can practically see the women counting the blooms, measuring the height, and then smiling triumphantly. Go, you. Good luck paying your car payment this month.

7. The build up to “the most romantic day of the year” pretty much assures you’ll be disappointed.

I’ve never met a telepathic man. Between dinner, sweets, jewelry, flowers, romantic song choices for later in the evening, or that non-traditional gift you’d rather have, it will not live up to the expectations a thousand commercials have created in your head.

In all fairness to my own husband, I don’t really (obviously) buy into V-Day. He buys my girls something special, which is sweeter to me than a diamond ring ever could be. Still, on February 14th, I’ll just be over in the corner, conscientiously objecting.

Do you love Valentine’s Day or wish is it would fade into obscurity, like (real holidays, seriously) Toothache Day and World Egg Day?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Stop Beating Yourself Up and Get Things Done

 

beatingup

I detest New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I mind self-improvement. I truly believe we should always be moving forward. I suppose that’s part of my issue with them–they tend to mask a lot of self-hate pretending to be good for you.

I prefer to make commitments each year. I’m aware those sound similar, but they’re not. A resolution focuses on the end result: I will lose ten pounds or never smoke again or publish a novel. But, when we want to accomplish something, our goal is meaningless without a plan. It’s like deciding to move to another country without securing a job or visa, a place to live, or even a means of travel. It’s as if we expect to just poof there, and the details can work themselves out.

But details, stubbornly, continue to refuse this responsibility. That’s why I like creating a plan and committing to the steps. Even more importantly, I’ll make a plan to evaluate if I’m any closer to my goal.

Last year, I committed to a plan to stop smoking. On January 23rd, I’ll be one year smoke-free. 2014 is the year of the writer for me. I’ve created a detailed plan, listed my commitments, tried to prepare for any foreseeable obstacles, and created quarterly evaluations on how well it works in my life.

Now that you know the keys to success (a realistic goal, a plan to achieve the goal, and a way to measure if it’s working), you can do anything. Including publish that novel. 2014 is the year of the writer for me. I’ve created a detailed plan, listed my commitments, tried to prepare for any foreseeable obstacles, and created quarterly evaluations on how well it works in my life.

If, like me, you want to commit to progress as a writer, here are some links to help you out:

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Trimming the Tree, My Way

Last month, I talked about creating family traditions.

I think family traditions are like inside jokes. They bring us closer together and they make a shared experience more special. If I were to give any advice to people “starting out” on their life, as a parent or in a committed relationship, it would be this: start some traditions all your own.ornament 264x296

The tradition I started.

Every year (everyone does the first), I buy my girls an ornament. Sometimes it has their name or the year on it, or it’s something personal to them, or something special from the year. Sometimes, especially in the last few, I buy more than one. They’re nothing super fancy (I leave that to their great aunts, who love Hallmark ornaments).

The idea is that when they have a place, and tree, of their own, they’ll have a whole slew of their own very personal and special ornaments to decorate it with.

Of course, there’s a sad story.

I remember putting the tree up with my parents, and my mom handing us the ones we’d made in Sunday School or our favorites to hang ourselves. We never had a themed tree or special colors. It was The Family Tree, always.

We lost those ornaments in a devasting flood (I most miss a frozen juice can I’d painted bright red and hung some sort of coated wire in to make a pretty impressive bell–for a five-year-old). It became even more important to me, then, to have ornaments to pass on.

We have a lot of ornaments. 3 girls, that’s (19×1)+(16×1)+(9×1… or 2?)= A lot.

With three girls and 18 years of acquiring ornaments, you can imagine there are quite a few now. I would personally love to do one of those themed trees–all in red one year, or pinks and purples and aqua. But I can’t NOT decorate The Sizemore Family Tree. Except, last year, I didn’t.

This is the part where I went all bah-humbug.

I bought the ugliest tree in the history of the world. (It was so ugly that I can’t even find pictures of it. Christmas pictures of the kids opening gifts, sure. But no tree.) It was 4-feet tall and made entirely of a spiral wire coated in silver tinsel. I bought aqua beads and ornaments to go around it. It was hideous, but it kind of matched the Christmas spirit I seemed to have lost. On the 26th, I boxed it up, ornaments and all, and labeled it First Christmas at College for girls. Maybe they’ll pass it around for a few years. And it’ll be fun and shabby-chic for a dorm room.

But then I bounced back. And I didn’t need any dead guys with chains. Take that, Scrooge.

This year, everything’s different. I’m different. I’m a lucky chick. I have aMAZing kids. Like, so much more amazing than anyone deserves. And I’ve been married seventeen years. Even better–I still love the guy. Like, crazy-in-love, I’d-marry-him-again-tomorrow love.

I won’t say I learned to appreciate them more, because they’ve always been my lifeline. But, after a difficult year, I’ve made peace with what matters. And what doesn’t. That part isn’t even the point. The point, truly, is that my tradition made getting their ornaments this year feel like home. It didn’t matter that I’d been away… I would always be welcome.

This year, I’m putting up my brand new pre-lit, six-and-a-half foot tree (traditional green). I’m going to blare Christmas music, the ones that make me feel all mushy,  smile, and sing off-key. The Sizemore Family Tree is going to be spectacular. And there will be pictures.

So, obviously, I’m a giant sucker for family traditions and Christmas is my favorite holiday. Tell me yours!

Don’t forget.

Every comment is entered to win one of the holiday books by authors from this very blog. This means more than one winner. Is it Christmas or what?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

  • Our LATEST Buzz!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series were released in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous was released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, A PROPOSAL & PUMPKIN PIE is on sale for .99 through Thanksgiving.