Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Michael Bublé - Hollywood (OFFICIAL Video)

Two great albums came out on Monday, Taylor Swift's and Michael Buble's Crazy Love Hollywood Edition. This video for the song "Hollywood" is hilarious- especially when Michael pretends to be Justin Bieber. I bet he had a lot of fun making this video and playing all those parts. The album is awesome- of course. How could Michael Buble be anything other than freaking amazing?! I love you Mikey!

Taylor Swift - Mine

In honor of Taylor Swift's new album which came out on Monday, I thought I'd post this video which is really cute. Me, Jade, and Kori all love to sing along to the song at home. Although the girls like to sing, "careless man's PURPLE daughter". Ha ha.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Dance Piece called Rejection

So You Think You Can Dance (Canada and US) is one of my favorite shows. Watching the dance routines just makes me itch to dance. This one is called Rejection and it's by far one of my favorite routines I've EVER seen. It was choreographed by Mia Michaels for the opening number on the Canadian show a few weeks ago and then they danced it again on the finale last night. I LOVE IT so much (it gives me goose bumps) that I had to post it. Watch and enjoy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Devil is in a Mini Mars Bar

    Why is food so good? No, scratch that. Why is food that's bad for you, so good? Why can't desserts and bread and pasta make you lose weight instead of making you puff up like that marshmallow man in Ghostbusters?
     It's plain annoying. Can I lodge a complaint? Dear Whoever- change the rules so that foods with the most calories, therefore the most flavor, are the foods that are good for you. Please? Pretty please?
     I guess not.
     I'm realizing for real that food is going to be a lifelong struggle for me. I did weight watchers on my own for about a year after having Avery to help me lose the baby weight and get down to where I've always wanted to be. Although I didn't make it quite as low on the scale as I wanted, I was happy with the weight I achieved. I thought that after being on it for so long, I was used to what I could and couldn't eat, and I could move on to eating normally without having to count points or measure portion sizes.
     Ten pounds later...
     Obviously I can't be left to my own devices.
     I wish I could change my view on food. Instead of viewing it as oh-so-yummy-just-gotta-eat-it-because-it-tastes-so-good, I need to view food as fuel. FOOD IS FUEL. Something that my body needs to keep it going.
     Ha, good luck with that. It ain't happening. Because food isn't fuel- it's yummy. It makes me happy. I can't help but smile and go 'mmmm' when I bite into a soft but crusty piece of garlic bread.
     It does not make me happy to eat fish, greens, and egg whites every day. Seriously, how do actresses and models do that? It's ridiculous. And nasty.
     It turns out that the devil is here on earth and he rests in a mini mars bar, tempting me with his chocolaty yummy-ness.
     I want to enjoy life. And enjoying life to me means eating things that I love. So where does that leave me?  I guess I'm going to have to watch what I eat for the REST OF MY LIFE. Sigh. Because I need to find balance between eating what's good for me and eating those mini mars bars that I love so much.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


     You know, it's really amazing the resources we have at our disposable these days.
     (And before you say YAWN, read on.)
     I just can't help but feel lucky to be able to read the ka-billion articles, blogs, websites, etc that are out there on the internet. For example, my sister-in-law Emily sent me some articles she found on some site (totally can't remember the name of it) that proved to be really helpful. One article in particular pointed out things that writers can work on to improve their work. Some I had already heard of before- like show, don't tell. Which I honestly don't know if I'm doing well enough. (I think sometimes I'm telling, sometimes I'm showing). But there were other things I had never considered. Like they tell you to use the 'active voice' not the 'passive voice'. Which means, don't use words like: realized, hoped, thought, considered, and wondered.
     I knew right off the bat that I use the word 'realize' a lot. Sure enough, there were 70-some times I had used it in my manuscript. Then I moved onto 'wondered' (80-some times), and then thought (200-and-some times!!!). So basically I've spent most of today going through all those words and trying to change them when I could. (I couldn't every time- especially with the word 'thought'.)
     There are also so many blogs out there that help with query letters, editing, publishing, finding agents, you name it. The ones I go to most are shown at the side of my blog, but I often find myself at other sites, usually because I clicked on some link that led me there.
     The only problem with so much is that sometimes there can be too much. I could totally waste ALL my time surfing just writing sites. And sometimes, actually a lot of times, there are conflicting opinions that can get rather confusing. Like some people say to start your query letter with why you've chosen to query that particular agent. Others suggest going straight into your story. Some say the first thing you should mention is your title, genre, and word count. Others say put that in at the end.
     I often find my mind screaming, "TOO MUCH INFORMATION! WHAT DO I DO???"
     Well, one of the comments I just got from Barb (another sister-in-law) was 'go with your instincts'. It's totally true. Unfortunately sometimes it's hard to trust those darn instincts when you've got no idea if they're leading you straight or not.
     I guess I just need to learn to trust in them. And while I'm trying to do that, I won't stop reading the advice of others. Because people are wise. Me- not so much.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ups and Downs

     Life is full of ups and downs. Some days are great and others... not so much. The same goes with writing. Or more accurately- trying to get published. Some days I feel great- positive, upbeat, and sure that my book will get published because duh, it's awesome! And others days I'm just like maybe this will never happen for me. Some people take years and like ten books later to get published. And then there's people like Stephenie Meyer who give us all false hopes that our first book will get picked up almost immediately and will earn us an advance in the hundreds of thousands.
     Thanks alot Stephenie Meyer.
     Just kidding- I love you and your books.
     Anyway, I was psyched to actually get some feedback last week in one of my rejections. Unfortunately, now I just feel like- what the heck do I do??? I feel like I've edited so much that I've almost over-edited the thing. And I have NO CLUE how to make the voice more interesting.
     I can't help but wonder what my next step should be. Do I keep sending it out? Do I edit again? Do I leave it for awhile and then edit it again later??? ARGH! I NEED HELP!
     Ok, calm down Melanie.
     Two things I know I will do. First I'm going to stop sending it out. It's not good to bug agents around Thanksgiving through New Years anyway because who is really focused on work during that time??? In some ways I feel it's a waste of time not to be sending it out. On the other hand, it's a waste of time, and of great agents, to send it out when it's not the BEST it can be only to get nos in reply.
     The next thing I'm going to do is get the Calgary Public Library's Writer in Residence to take a look at it. Unfortunately that means I'll have to pay $112 bucks for a Calgary library card. I know- ridiculous. But I'm hoping it will be worth my while. Hoping...
     So, I think until then I will let my book sit, I will try NOT to think about it (ha! yeah right) and I will edit it again once the writer in residence has given me her opinion on it. THEN I will start to send it out again and hope, HOPE that it's good enough to make it to the next step.
    Sigh. Why does it have to be so hard???

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Best Chick Flicks of All Time

     In honor of seeing Life As We Know It this past weekend and it becoming one of my new fave chick flicks, I thought I would make a list of my top ten favorites. Comprising of romantic comedies only- not teen movies, dance movies, period pieces, etc.

1) The Wedding Planner- Jennifer Lopez has to plan a wedding for a guy she's totally fallen for- hello Matthew McConaughey. It's got tons of hilarious moments and it's definitely one of my fave JLo movies. Even though she's ridiculously gorgeous and there's no way she would ever get dumped by that dude in the market, she's actually very believable as a neurotic, OCD, lovelorn woman. And my favorite line- "you saved... my shoe."

2) Only You- Marisa Tomei plays Faith, a woman who gets the name of her soul mate- Damon Bradley- off a oujia board when she's 11. Days before her wedding she answers the phone and it's Damon Bradley, calling for her fiancee. She freaks out and then follows him to Italy, hoping just to get a look at him before she gets married. While there she falls for Robert Downey Jr who pretends to be Damon Bradley- low I know, but he's so crazily in love with her that you kind of forgive him immediately. The setting is the best thing about the movie, showing Venice, Rome, and Positano (sp???), making anyone who watches it long to be there. And it has what I think is the most romantic moment in a chick flick ever- when Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr slow dance in the middle of the road to a saxophonist playing nearby. What can I say- I have a thing with dancing.

3) While You Were Sleeping- Sandra Bullock is also great in romantic comedies (a nod to The Proposal is in order here) and this one is one of her best. Playing a loser who falls for a man she has never even talked to- only seen daily taking the train, she's sweet, charming, and loveable. I love watching this movie at christmas- since a lot of it takes place during that time. The best scene is when Sandra and Bill Pullman slip on the ice, fall down, and his pants rip open. So funny and yet surprisingly romantic at the same time.

4) How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days- Ok, this has to be THE funniest chick flick ever. Kate Hudson is absolutely hilarious acting like a crazy girlfriend who does all the wrong things to drive Matthew McConaughey away. When she melds their faces together to make pictures of their kids, puts a kleenex to his nose and tells him to blow, and forces him to eat some sort of barley wheat crap while she sneaks a hamburger in the back room, you can't help but laugh out loud. Although the song at the end is painful, the two of them have major chemistry And again- hello Matthew McConaughey!

5) P.S. I Love You- This movie is so sad, it could almost be a drama instead of comedy. I cry during almost the entire thing- seriously. Gerard Butler is at his best and most charming in this movie- he's what keeps the movie from being a total downer. I love it I love it I love it- even through all the tears.

6) 13 Going on 30- Jennifer Garner is made for these kinds of movies, and she does an awesome job playing a thirteen-year-old trapped in a 30-year-old body. Although it's highly unbelievable that a teen would want to be 30 (trust me- you don't want to be), Jennifer is hilarious with all the freaking out she does- just like a 13-year-old would do if she suddenly turned into an adult with a job, a boyfriend, and boobs. Whenever I reach the end of the movie I can't help but wish I could see Matt and Jenna's life played out until they get married. But this is just one movie, not a book, so obviously not possible. Sigh.

7) The Holiday- Don't really know why I love this movie but I do. Maybe because I think Kate Winslet is a fantastic actress and Jude Law plays such a sweet, loveable character (unlike the icky Alfie). Maybe because both Cameron Diaz and Jack Black do great as the comic relief. Or maybe because it seems so honest to me, so real. It's not all magic fluff and happy happy trips in la-la land. Not that I don't like that too. I just get a lot of emotion from this movie and I like that. The only downside- the fact that I can't help but wonder what the crap they're gonna do when the movie ends. I mean, hello? Both couples live in different countries. So not going to work, but whatever.

8) Just Like Heaven- Reese Witherspoon haunts Mark Ruffalo- he thinks she's dead- she thinks she's alive. Since she's pretty much like a spirit- he's left to figure it all out. The best scene in this movie is near the end when he's stealing the body from the hospital and then has to kiss her to wake her up. Cheesy? Yes. Romantic, sweet, and heart-wrenching? Yes, yes, yes.

9) Penelope- Other people probably wouldn't have a movie about a girl with a pig-nose whose parents keep her locked up while trying to find a blue blood to marry her on their list of fave chick flicks. Well I do- I love this movie. Although I don't think Christina Ricci's nose is quite so horrendous as to make one want to run screaming and then crash through a glass window on the second floor, I do feel for her whole situation. She has to marry a blue blood to break the curse of her ugly nose. Enter James McAvoy (again probably not most girls top in handsome and swoon-worthy leading men) who has been mistaken as a blue blood but really he's an ex-musician who's addicted to gambling. She falls in love with him only to have him reject her proposal because he can't in fact break the curse for her. She learns to love herself, he quits gambling and goes back to music, and duh- they end up together in the end minus the pig nose. Trust me- it's a great movie.

10) I have to give a shout out to Julia Roberts- the queen of romantic comedies. There's Notting Hill, Runaway Bride, My Best Friends Wedding, Valentine's Day, Eat Pray Love, and of course Pretty Woman. How could I not mention her, with her long red sometimes curly locks, her ginormous smile, and her burst of a laugh. The woman is a chick flick icon. Not mentioning her would be a crime.

     And there you have it folks- movies I can watch again and again and again. Watch 'em and you'll love 'em too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What? A Good Rejection???

     Today I got another rejection- my 15th (eeek!). But actually, today's rejection wasn't so disheartening. Instead of receiving a form, thank you for submitting to me but unfortunately it's not what I'm looking for right now, best of luck, blah blah blah... This agent seems to have actually read the few pages I sent her. And, she gave me some rare advice. She said that she thought my idea was "charming and salable" but that she wasn't swept away by the narrative voice.
     Now, you'd think that criticism hurts. But actually, all I could think was, finally, something I can work on. So my query letter isn't totally bad, my word count and title- ditto, but the voice wasn't there- at least for her. It's almost a relief to know that there's something I can fix instead of having to just keep on plugging without any clue as to why I'm getting rejected.
     Of course I realize that maybe, somewhere, another agent won't agree and WILL be swept away by the voice. But chances are, if one agent sees that as a problem, others will as well.
     Let me just say that I'm glad to have something to work on, something to improve, even if it drives me crazy. Because that kind of crazy is a lot better than the not-knowing-what-the-heck-is-wrong kind of crazy.
     So thank you to that agent (who will remane nameless) for a rejection that actually gives me hope, instead of crushing it flat for all time.

Boys Like Girls

I've been a Boys Like Girls fan for a year now. But for some reason lately they're all I want to listen to. I'm not sure why. They have two CD's out- Boys Like Girls and Love Drunk. The Love Drunk CD is one of few CD's where I actually like every song. Every single song. I don't skip any. That's rare. So in honor of my love for their music I thought I'd post their music video for my second fave song of theirs (Two is Better Than One is my first fave): Love Drunk. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Life is the Messy Bits

     Last night I watched the movie "Letters to Juliet" starirng Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Egan.
     The movie was cute and I liked it, although they overdid the cheese in the end. Seriously, the writers could have done better with the whole balcony scene- I was thisclose to rolling my eyes. And I usually don't mind the cheese, but it was a bit much.
     There was one line that really stood out though.
     They're driving up to a mansion of what could be the guy they're looking for and Christopher Egan says something about how she can skip all the messy bits and go straight to the good high-style living. Then Vanessa Reedgrave replies,
     "Life is the messy bits."
     Never has a line in a chick-flick stood out to me more. Life is the messy bits. It's not all perfect and wonderful and mansion living with no problems. Sure there are great moments, and there are awful moments. But if you try and skip out all the messy, then you've basically skipped your life. And if you try to avoid it, then you won't ever learn and grow and become better.
     It was a total ping moment for me.
     I was watching J.K. Rowling on Oprah and she said the same kind of thing. If it weren't for her failures, for hitting rock bottom, and her mother's death, Harry Potter never would have existed. Because she wouldn't have had it in her to write it like it was. There never would have been a Harry Potter.
     Now that doesn't mean that those things weren't hard, or that they're better now because of her success, but look at the person she has grown into and what resulted. It's truly amazing.
     I think it's a good lesson for us all to learn. Life is the messy bits. But that's what makes it life. And that's what makes us who we are. And hopefully who we are is better for all those messy bits.