Saturday, June 30, 2012

I'm off topic today, but read anyway! (You know you want to...)

So I have something NEW to talk about today... something I've been excitedly procrastinating waiting to put up here on my blog.

First, a little back story for y'all:

Am a huge Jen Lancaster fan.

Have no idea who she is?


Why she's only a regular NY Times Bestselling Author... like repeatedly.
And for good reason.

She writes mostly memoirs, but now adds fiction to her list of accomplishments as well, and she's just damn good at what she does. She's one of those (few) authors my husband ribs me for in the middle of the night in bed when I'm snorting and choking from laughing so hard from reading her books. (I often hear "Oh great, you must be reading one of JEN'S books again" as he grumbles and turns back over to try and fall asleep.)

And I don't gush OR laugh while reading very many authors- that's the straight up truth. I'm very selective with my picks and if I'm gaffawing out loud? Then you make my list of faves.
(Yes, I have a total girl crush- you see right through me, people.)

Jen's latest book is called "Jeneration X".

It came out this spring, and when I saw her book tour dates listed, I scoured the list like a mad woman to find anything even relatively close to me as I'd never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, living on the west coast and all.

And then I saw it, bam! San Diego area? I'm there!

Oh wait.
It's on my little sister's 29th birthday.

"And the wheels in my head go round and round, round and round, round and round..."
I haz an idea!

What IF I take my lil' sis WITH me to the book signing? She's a big Jen fan too. That would totally rock.
Better yet, what IF I make like a mini vacation out of it and plan some other fun activities around it?
Now I'm a thinkin'!

So our mini vacation was born.

My good friend from elementary school (yo Tanya!) ironically offered up her awesome beach side apartment in Hermosa the SAME EXACT WEEK as the planned signing... the stars were obviously aligning in our favor, so I started planning our next wild sister vacation.

Flash forward to Tracy's big day a.k.a. "Book Signing Day".

After a morning of laying around on the beach by ourselves,

(Beautiful no? And bonus! All to ourselves!)

and then time spent walking past all the million dollar beachfront property homes and seeing this creepy yet hysterical cutout of the Bieb's in somebody's kitchen window:

(Totally unexpected. Made us giggle like lunatics, and in my determination to get a pic, we almost got run over by cyclists...)

this is the conversation my sister and I had about getting to the book signing later that day:

Me: "Let's just give ourselves about 2.5 hours. That'll be plenty of time to get there. Plus, I want us to be there half an hour early so we can get a good seat."

Birthday Girl Tracy: "Okay, you're the pilot here, whatever you think is best..."

Perhaps she shouldn't have let me "pilot" that part of things, as we ended up in gridlock on the LA freeways for THREE hours.

I'd been forced to take my husband's Mazda 3 for the trip, which is no problem, except it's a stick shift and my fused spine hates stick shifts. Couple that with my cute-yet-giraffe-like stilts I had on my feet (which quickly got thrown in the back seat), the air conditioner vents making my eyeballs continually water and helping to remove all my pretty makeup I'd previously applied, and an "incident" involving loose plastic balls for Chuck E. Cheese-esque jump pits? You've got one stressed out Steph.

Picture of said Balls o' Death after having a close encounter of the ridiculous kind with a massive box of them:

It didn't matter, though, I was getting to meet my Jen, come hell or high water.

We arrived LATE (so much for being 30 minutes early) with our heads hanging in shame from the embarrassment of it all. Fortunately I am friends with one of the coolest chicks ever (yo Traci!) BECAUSE of Jen Lancaster (more on that later) and my sister and her had been texting the entire time we were driving in an effort to make sure we made it safely to our chosen destination. Being the rock star that she is, Traci had saved us seats in the 2nd row, middle. It was standing room only and I got to be this close to Jen:


Let me just say that 3 hours with a stick shift, eyes continually streaming with tears, and a ball incident were all totally worth it. She did not disappoint.

Here is a pic of my sister and I with her after the reading:

(I'm the blonde that looks like she's been through a war of some kind, sans makeup... my sister is the cute brunette on the left that held up much better than I that day.)

And here's a pic of the inside of my sister's book she signed for her:

(She drew a birthday cake for my little sissy! How cool is that??!?)

Anyhoo, after we begrudgingly said our goodbyes to Jen and my great friend Traci, off we drove to the Gaslamp District where we: 
a) signed into a haunted hotel 
b) were muttered to and lurched at by drunk, homeless people while walking to her late birthday dinner celebration.

All in all, an exhausting but great day. (Coulda done without the ghosts though. Just sayin'.)

So why the heck am I talking about all this?
Because there's this really cool contest, and I totally have to win it.

Setting Jen aside for a second, she has a BFF named Stacey Ballis who's also a fabulous author. 
Totally different style than Jen, but I own all her books and think she's the bomb as well.

They've established a yearly tradition where they offer what they adorably call the "Stennifer Lunch Tour".
And I?
Have to win this contest.

So first, I have to get this legal-schmegal out of the way:
I accept the rules of the Lunch Tour Contest.
Now, here's what's up, Chuck.

Stacey has a great new book coming out called "Off the Menu" pictured here:

(Gorgeous cover, huh?)

Stacey's book is available now for pre-order by clicking here

The jist of the contest is this: when you either order the book and send Stacey proof of a receipt, OR tell your friends about it in some fashion, you get an entry to win lunch with Jen and Stacey in the city of your choice!

Here's the entire contest explained WAY better than I could ever explain it:

I want to win this SO badly, it's not even funny. I ramble about it as I wander around our new house unpacking things, and my poor teenage daughter is sick to death of listening to me blab on and on about how cool it would be to meet Jen's BFF and to hang out with both of them. "Yeah, yeah YEAH mom! Enough already! Sheesh!"

I've already made up my mind that me and one of my closest friends (who's also purchased and entered the contest so we're like uber-quadruple covered) will choose the "fly into Chicago" option to hang with them on their stomping grounds and get the coolest treatment ever according to Stacey's post. There will be wine! And some of the best food ever! (Yes, I'm excited... I can hear you all mimicking my daughter's latest mantra.)

Want to enter for yourself? Absolutely! (Even though it lessens my chances, if it means my readers get to experience the Greatness that is Stennifer, I'll take one for the team.)

Anyhoo, thanks for listening to my story today and please do yourself (or someone else special in your life) a favor and pre-order Off the Menu today!

Peace out my peeps.

PS Back to the resume funny next week!


  1. I hope you win. Truly, I do. Anyone who had to experience "a ball incident" deserves to win this prize! Balls are awful! Nobody should be subjected to them. Ever!

  2. Oh, we're going. We ARE going!