Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Opposite of Love Is ... ?

I get Redbook magazine, because you know, I follow all of the fashion and beauty advice on looking my best. I’m always trying to figure out the most up-to-date ways to keep my man wanting more, and you know, those quick-and-easy like 17 minute or less four-item recipes? Well, I'm all over those, right?

Nah, I get the mag somehow because some kid was selling it door-to-door one night and he caught me on a good day. So I subscribed.

And the first, absolute first thing I always flip to when I get my magazine is the Book Club section to see what book they have featured for the month because Redbook ALWAYS, WITHOUT A DOUBT picks a no-brainer-kickin' book every month.

So, I'm going through the February issue like a few weeks ago, or maybe it's the March one already, and I see the book featured is The Opposite of Love by up-and-coming debut author, Julie Buxbaum.

The cover of her book looks awesome--very simple, as you can see here:

Chick with her back to the reader, clean, not too pink, but a hint of girlish, which is what I dig.

Then I read this excerpt and it completely blew me away, like goosebumpy-gotta-read-the-rest-of-the-book-now kinda way, already loving the characters and feeling the compassion toward them both! That quickly!

So this is what I did. I ripped the page out of the magazine and ran downstairs and put the page next to my computer so I could Google the author, look up the book online, and then remind myself to go to B&N (the store) later and order it.


There are some books I'll read about and think, "Yeah, that one sounds good," or some I’ll hear about and say, "If I see that at the store when I’m out, maybe I’ll get that, if I don’t see anything I like better."

Not this one.

I wanted to get Julie’s book, The Opposite of Love like I want Emily Giffin’s Love The One You're With and Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner.

Of course, things were crazy over here at Manic Central. I was holding an impromptu six-week blood drive, so I didn’t get to the bookstore, and then, one day last week I get this email with a subject line: FROM A FELLOW WRITER.

From HER.

Julie Buxbaum.

The author.

Out of the blue!*

She wanted ME to read her book!



This was seriously better than being fifteen years old dreaming about the senior star football player asking you out and he finally does, takes you to the prom, and you’re hoping, and then he gives you his class ring and asks you to be his girlfriend.

Oh, and he kisses you, but it’s like that …

Oh, scratch all that football boy fantasy crap—this is like Jake Ryan kissing cross-legged, lilac-taffeta drenched Samantha Baker on the dining room table at the end of Sixteen Candles exciting. Yeah. That cool.

I was home alone when I read the email and what did I do? Well, I first yelled out loud: SHUT UP! Like all giggly and excited REALLY loud happy loud.

Cuz that’s what I do when I’m excited. I yell SHUT UP! And if someone was around, I'd probably hit 'em on the arm to demonstrate my excitement.

And of course, I Instant Messaged Swishy, cuz she would totally get my excitement, and she did. And we cyber-joyed about it for a while back and forth. With lots of exclamation points and bouncy yellow smiley faces, and a couple OMGs thrown in there.

Then, I very calmly and professionally emailed Julie back and told her I’d be delighted to read her book. Right Julie? Because come on, we all know that under all my false exterior (or would that be interior?), I am really a mature grown woman pretending to be a goofball for the pure enjoyment of the readership. Bwhahahah!

So, guess what? The BOOKS arrived last Friday.

Yep, you read that right! Julie sent TWO! One for me and ONE FOR YOU!

And they're signed.

Another CONTEST!

This is easy, ooooh, so easy! All you have to do is send Julie an email at and answer the following question. Think CLEVER and UNIQUE!:

What’s The Opposite of Love in FIVE words or less?

Again, in case you missed it the first time, like two seconds ago in your reading of this, Julie's email address is:

And don't be shy; she's waiting for you to email her with your witty and winning answers!!!

Here's an idea just to get you started: The Opposite of Love is EVOL.

OK, not clever, but whatevah!

Make sure to go over to Julie’s website to find out where she'll be on her upcoming book tour...

FYI she'll be in my 'hood March 20 AND I GET TO MEET HER so if any of you Chicagoans wanna come be groupies, we can reenact events from Authorpalooza; just bring Truffles!

Julie will pick a winner for the SIGNED copy of her book on Friday, March 7, so check back to see if you’ve won!

So how about that? And congrats to Julie for writing an awesome debut that I’m delving into each night, dying to get through, but it’s one of those books that I’m also prolonging the imminent ending because I can already tell I don’t want to let go of these characters.

Peace UP!

*Thanks AWS!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The Answers:

Carnivorous Musical Gender-Specific Instruments.

Expired Carcass Fornication.

Female Self-Gratification. (Is there any other kind?)

Indulgences in literary genius, truffles that made their way to the floor, and then into Manic's mouth, and fine wine.

Whether or not our waiter looked more like Adam Duritz of Counting Crows (my thought) or the dude from Entourage (Swishy's), which clearly demonstrates our TREMENDOUS age gap.

The Question:

What are just a few of the Unpredictable Commentaries Discussed at Our Very Own Self-Titled Authorpalooza?

As you may know, Jess, Swish, and I have been waiting eons for the debut of our very good friend (it's official now, right? Cuz we actually met in real life!) Eileen Cook's novel. We met up with her last night to celebrate with dinner and drinks and then went to her reading and booksigning.

Dinner Group:

Eileen Signing Postcards. That's a prezzy we bought her! See what'll happen if you become our friend--we'll get you a big prezzy! (It's actually just a snazzy empty box--we had EVERYONE FOOLED!)

The evening was star-strikingly fabulosoloosy funtabuloso! Eileen is awesome, and generous, and humorous, with a cool accent that is neither a Midwesterny twang nor a Canadian "EH," although I did ask her to shoot me out one of those, and she did deliver!

She is very much eloquent and carries herself in a class in which I don't belong. Like Class A Classy Chick. Come to think of it, I probably could have been a slight embarrassment to her. Good thing I bought four of her books to make up for my lack of soivewafair. See, I can't even spell that fllaaaa fllasssss fllaaaaahhhh fllaaaaa fluffy phrase I'm trying to say. I could Google it but then it would make me look smart, and I'm too real for that.

So, after Eileen read from Unpredictable, which, if I'm not mistaken is climbing the book charts faster than... faster than... FASTER THAN THIS WOMAN CAN SPEAK! (Who, incidentally, we had the pleasure of dining with last night as well! Hi Ruth!)

Then there were more drinks and more authors, including a surprise cameo author visit from Jen Lancaster of Jennsylvania, author of Bitter is the New Black which completely rocked my world, because if you know Swish and me, being surrounded by authors is like being front and center at your favorite rock concert, with the lead singer oozing your favorite lyrics at you, sweat dripping from his brow onto you!

Except you can actually hear and have a conversation, but you can still get drunk if you want to (not that we did, cuz come on, it was like a Tuesday night!)

Eileen and Me:

Fast Talker/Actress/Author Ruth & Me Showing Off Eileen's Display:

Me, Swish, Jen Lancaster, Jess, Eileen, KB:

Cameo Surprise Author Jen Lancaster! Are you "Bitter" I got to meet her!? Ya Should Be!

So, we're all hanging out: Eileen, and Jen, who's upcoming book, Such a Pretty Fat, debuts in the spring, and Jess, who's FAB book Driving Sideways also debuts this spring; and then there's Chicago blogger pal, Kristabella, wine connoisseur, blood donor and witness to previous Swishy-Jess-Manic antics, and we cannot forget heiress awesomeness Jamie, the self-proclaimed lackey to Eileen, who is so very fun and cool, and Eileen's cousins are there, and Jess hottie bro stops by, and boy, if I wasn't happily lustfully married to Mr. Manic boy would I... ha, just kidding...

Anyway... A great night, with truffles!

And then, here's me, trying to make a nice first impression at the bar, hoping especially that Jen and Eileen won't hold it totally against me when I snatch up the last fallen mocha truffle from the floor and shove it into my mouth.

Just like that. From the floor.

I mean, yeah, it was the last one, and there is that five second rule isn't there? I don't care if I mortified Swish and Jess, and KB--they already know me--but the others there. God forbid if I embarrass myself by picking food off the floor, but come on, A MOCHA TRUFFLE.

Forgive me.

Me, KB, Kevin (aka Counting Crows/Entourage Boy), Swish:

Eileen's BFF Jamie (aka Lackey), Eileen, Jess:

Here's a really cute picture of my Tukey and Jess:

And another picture of Jess and me...

But where the hell is Swishy? Here's the scoop. Swishy had to excuse herself from the photo opp. Actually, she was busy elswhere.

Last I heard she was F#$KING MATT DAMON!



Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I'm sitting here, in my office, with Jess Riley and Swishy is typing away her own way better blog post and I'm feeling inadequate, and she just said, I'M DONE, like she needs someone to come and wipe her butt, or like we're in some freaking blog post race contest!

And now she's jealous beacause Jess and I are laughing at her because she says her post is not funny and she's getting back online to make some rude comments that I WILL JUST NOT ACCEPT!

And the countdown has begun to...


We are going to see Eileen Cook tonight!

Photos and stories to follow...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Northern Illinois University

No Words ...

In Memory.
Forward, Together Forward.
Proud to be a Class of '91 Alum.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And The Winners Are!




9:24 PM Updated see below:

10:11 PM Slowly yanking my hair out over this.

11:10 PM FRUSTRATED BEYOND BELIEF! Due to circumstances beyond my control, we'll have to announce the winners tomorrow, and I can't tell you how disappointed I will be if I can't get this video up on youtube!

Here's the deal, I've got only a portion of the stuff uploaded on youtube so far since they're having some maintenance problems over there, and no one is MORE AGGRAVATED THAN I AM!

But we'll start this little Awards Show with what I do have:

This video did get uploaded and it's me naming all the contestants, looking ridiculous doing so, and I have to apologize because I said “Mom and Dad team” instead of “Mom and Daughter team” when I read off the names of the mom and daughter who donated—sorry! And PS, I look like a dork, but OH WELL!


Here’s a photo of all the contestant’s names on cute little hearts for the drawing. I just thought it would be more fun than writing down everyone’s names, plus hearts = blood, and love and yanno…

And here’s a photo of my very good friend G, who is the last of our donors as of today, but she doesn’t qualify for the contest, well, cuz she’s my friend.

I finally came out of the Blog-Closet and told my closest friends in the ‘hood about my blog. Even though they could have all Googled me if they were bored and discovered it THREE YEARS AGO!

Thanks for bleeding today G! xoxoxo And isn’t she cute, everyone!?! Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re all thinking, GET TO THE WINNERS, but I can't since stupid youtube is stalled! But as soon as it’s up and running, I will put up the video.

OH, and there are ELEVEN of you who have won something! MyLHIBug sent more CASH than I thought so we threw in some extra Target gift cards as gifts, so like one-third of you who donated will win something!

So, if you are a winner, and if your name is called on the video when it is posted below, please email me at with your full name, address, city, state and zip code so I can send you your prize. If your prize is cash, I can either send you a gift card to Target or another well-named store of your choice or a Visa or MasterCard gift card. Just let me know in your email what you would prefer!

Check back please in a little bit!

9:24 PM, Wednesday night:

Still no youtube--drat! I need to go to bed but I feel an obligation to stay up and hope youtube gets their act together so I can post the winner video! Hey, when I joked previously about the Academy Awards and how they leave you hanging till the wee hours late at night, I WAS JUST KIDDING. How was I to know this bad karma youtube thing would happen.

In the meantime, check this out. This truly unexpectedly happened today with my stalker. Stalkerazzi Part III. I think it's time to get a new jacket. Maybe something a little less pink!

10:11 PM Slowly yanking my hair out over this.

11:10 PM Giving up for tonight. Only because Diva has an orthodontist appointment at 7:30 a.m.! I'm SORRY! I'm also very FRUSTRATED and ANGRY about this! There goes my career in planning major awards events.

6:57 AM Woke up to find the video uploaded, so here are your blood donor winners, even though you're all winners; you're ALL LIFE SAVERS! THANK YOU!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Blood Drive Drawing on Wednesday!

Here are our fabulous DONORS!

(Please make sure to scroll down past the photos for prize and drawing details.)

If I accidentally missed your photo, please email me right away! : )

Here are the names of the contestants:

Barb of Melbourne who got this whole thing rollin'!

Cathy of Orlando

Robin AbFabGeek

Valerie of Carrollton

Amy of Indianapolis

Kalynne PhD with Nine Kids

Tanya for President

Ryan - Katie Kat's Hubby

Karen - Suburban Correspondent

Sarah H.

Kay - Kay's Simple Life

Beverly - Sauntering Soul

Angie of Canvas

Michele B. - Ground Hog's Day Fan

Kelli H. - All K Names

Kevin H. - All K Names Hubby

Lastel - Unique Creations

Kristin - Kristabella

Jacqui - Dawsonville

Laura H. - Mom to Martha

Martha H. - Daughter to Laura

Stephanie - The Daily Grind

Lisa M. - Orlando

Kim Stag

Donald B. - Zolofan

Jules - Scared O' Needles



Melisa Wells - DOESN'T WANNA WIN : )

Elizabeth W. - Madison




Sammie Banks - Deserves special mention who lives in the UK. Sammie sent me a beautiful email a while back about her regular donations and I just wanted to say thank you to her and her beautiful family! And God bless your little angels!

Here's the prize breakdown:

We are going to be able to draw NINE names to win prizes! And tomorrow, I'm going to the Heartland Blood Center and the ladies there will choose the names, and if all goes well, it will be documented on camera and shown to you via a blog video on Wednesday!

The first name chosen will be the LAST prize winner, and we'll work our way UP to the grand prize winner, announcing that winner LAST! Just like they do that in the Academy Awards. You know, Best Picture, they always wait till your eyes are half glued shut from exhaustion and pure boredom from stupid acceptance speeches, and then at like 11:38 p.m. they'll say, "And now we have the nominees for Best Picture of the Year!"

Yeah, that's how we'll do that tomorrow, just for fun!

Here is the list of prizes --

To be clear, the first name drawn tomorrow will win:
Two movie tix and a coupon for a Baker's Square pie

Second name drawn will win:
Three movie tix and a coupon for a Baker's Square pie

Third name drawn will win:
$10 Target gift card and a coupon for a Baker's Square pie

Fourth name drawn will win:
$15 Target gift card

Fifth name drawn will win:
$15 McDonald's card

Sixth name drawn will win:
$25 Lonestar or Outback and a don8 bl%d t-shirt

Seventh name drawn and the third place prize:
$25 and a don8 bl%d t-shirt

Eighth name drawn and the second place prize:
$50 and a don8 bl%d t-shirt

Last and ninth name drawn and the Grand Prize winner will receive:
$75 and a don8 bl%d t-shirt

Some other lucky donors may receive ice cream, but that's for me to know and you to maybe find out.


MyLHIBug because without this generous Cool-Dad Blogger, we wouldn't have half the awesome prizes we have! Originally, when this contest was conceived, I had thought I could donate $1 per donation. Well, that's not enough to thank you guys, so we decided to try to do one dollar per lives saved, and THEN SOME! So, between MyLHIBug we threw out some extra fun and cash your way so there are lots more prizes originally planned!

And also, Prize Committee Member (we just decided we had a committee like TODAY! LOL) Melissa at Hope for the Hopeless has been instrumental in this contest! She's held her own gig over on her site as well, and teamed up alongside to offer gift cards as prizes at her site and at Manic Mommy's!

We're already dedicated to making this an annual Blog event with major sponsors for next year with loads of fabulous prizes and more fun beginning next January so keep track of what's going on! You won't want to miss out, and what's a pint of blood anyway?

Check back tomorrow for a video featuring the drawing of our nine winners!

And you know, even though this little Manic Contest has rolled to an almost close, there's nothing stopping you but the sleeve that's covering up that arm of yours...

Go out and donate!

You won't believe how good it'll make YOU feel.

More so than that, you won't believe how good it'll make SOMEONE ELSE FEEL!

Catch you all tomorrow!

Peace UP!