Thursday, May 23, 2013

my swankified abc's.

Listening To: We Rode in Trucks by Luke Bryan
Excited for: Star Trek this weekend! Have you seen it yet? Is it fabulous? 

Hey friends! How you been? Is your summer officially official?

Despite my occasional disappearing act on here, I do have some fun summer blog posts planned. Sometime in the Fall (most likely), I'll be sharing more fun stuff about the book. I can't wait to tell you more about my editor (she's a dream), some of the fun steps I've gone through to make my story book-shaped, and, most of all, about the characters who populate my funky little world.

Until then, and just as a way to check-in, I thought this might be fun.

I've seen a cute survey floating around on a few blogs and thought I'd give it a whirl. Really though ... I'm just giving it a whirl in hopes that you'll also play along in the comments. I call this exercise:

The ABC's of my Swankified Life

*clears throat*

Ambition: To come upon a Texaco sign burned out to spell the word Taco. 
Bad Habit: I chew on straws. And pens. 
Celebrity Crushes: Two warnings: 1.) I’m old. 2.) My friends often like to point out that there is absolutely no cohesiveness to my celeb crush list. Most recent addition: Jason Momoa. Mainstays: Paul Rudd (since Clueless!). Henry Cavill. Chris Thile. Taye Diggs. And John Schneider, the Original Bo Duke. 
Drink: Diet Dr. Pepper. And coffee. I don’t like water but I try to trick myself into believing I do. 
Education: Hogwarts, Class of 1999. In my dreams. But did you know The Battle of Hogwarts actually happened in 1998?
Food: Strawberries are my #1 favorite food. I like most sugary crap-food too (chocolate!), but strawberries, which seem too awesome to be healthy, have always been my fave.  
Guilty Pleasures: Good jeans (all denim is not created equal). Hardcover books. New books. Books, basically. Travel (which usually requires saving up for a decade, but it’s  always worth it). Peanut Butter M&M’s. Gilmore Girls reruns. Magazines (especially Southern Living, Marie Claire and Garden & Gun). Cute clothes. Sleeping in. But I don’t really feel guilty about any of that. Ah! Here’s a guilty pleasure: McDonalds french fries dipped in hot mustard sauce. That's probably gross isn't it? I can hear my arteries rusting even as I type.
Hometown: I grew up in a small town in East Tennessee. This song reminds me of my hometown (in a sweet way). (Don’t click through if you don’t like country music ;). I currently live "where the city in October looks like fire". My favorite city is London. It "swings like a pendulum do." 
Ice Cream: Bluebell’s Pistachio Almond. For now. But I’ve tried lots of ice cream in the last year for, ahem, “research”. And I haven't met an ice cream that I don't like. (Have I mentioned that there is some very ... interesting ice cream in A Snicker of Magic?). 
Jonesing for: A new novel from Jenny B. Jones. I check her website approximately every two days to see when the french toast she's going to announce a new book. I also email her like ten times a day ... but I try to refrain from asking about her new book at least eight of those times. 
Kryptonite: Love songs. 
Look-a-like: A park ranger in Colorado told me that I look the way she always imagined a fairy would look. She said, “You just need a little set of pink wings!” I think the altitude was getting to her. The cashier at Bi-Lo squints and says that I look like Emma Stone. My mom thinks I look like Julianne Moore. Ashley from Twitter recently told me that I look like Neyla Pekarek, of The Lumineers (Thanks, Ashley! :). A guy on a dark airplane once leaned over and said, “You look like the, uh, the one actress. You know? The one in The Moulin Rouge?” While he could have been referring to any of the Diamond Dogs, I like to think he meant Nicole Kidman. But my favorite look-a-like is when my mom posted this pic of my granny on Facebook: 

And someone said I look like her. Best. Compliment. Ever. Granny was a wildflower; smart and funny and feisty and beautiful. It was almost magical the way people would gravitate toward her. I would love to look like her, in every way. 
Movie: The last movie I saw was The Great Gatsby. I thought it was fab! I keep seeing so many negative reviews and tweets about it, but I thought it was fun.  
Nickname: I don’t have any fun nicknames. But if I were a mega-famous actress, checking into a hotel under an alias to avoid the hounding press, I’d probably go by Gloria Gilbert. 
Obsessions: Writing. Wandering. Music (I still fantasize about being a music journalist, thanks to the movie Almost Famous). Mountains. Forests. National Parks. City skylines. Old cemeteries. Old houses. Love stories. The Avett Brothers. (I’m obsessed with their music. I'm not obsessed with them.) Rainy days. Fall. Christmas. Clunky old trucks. Sweet guys who drive clunky old trucks. British History (I covet Lucy Worsley’s job). Old books with tea stains and/or writing inside them (I collect those). Biscuit: my wonderdog. 
Perfume: Lovestruck by Vera Wang
Quirk: If I’m in a bookstore and see a copy of Great Expectations, I pick it up and read my favorite scene. I don’t do that with any other book. (And Great Expectations isn’t even a favorite.) 
Regret: I wish I’d waited a bit longer before heading to a four year college. I wasn’t ready for it. I think British schools do it right with a gap year, don’t you? I know most people relish the freedom, but a four-year college probably wasn’t a leap I was ready to make at 18. I did fine, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd waited a bit. 
Starbucks: is my mothership. Here’s a picture of me at the original Starbucks. Yes, I commemorated the experience with a photo. Don't judge. 
I usually order a Tall Caramel Macchiato. Not very exciting, I know, but I figure if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, etc. 
The Last Book You Read: Tess Callahan's April & Oliver. Absolutely lovely. (Mature read.)
Unique Feature: I have a freckle on my mouth (and approximately a million more on the rest of me). And I have two long, ferociously rad scars on both legs. Scars and freckles aren’t crazy unique, I suppose. But I was self-conscious about both when I was a kid, and I’ve come to love them. That makes them pretty special to me. 
Vacation: My all time favorite vacations were: 1.) A family trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada. And 2.) A trip to the Pacific Northwest with my brother. 

Wine: I think I have a glass of wine maybe once every six months or so. And it has a twist top; no cork. Thus, I don’t really feel qualified to talk about wine. 
X: ... Is this a free space? I don’t understand the ambiguous X.  I’ll just post a sweet picture of Biscuit: 

Years: This makes me think of an author I read about recently. She started writing her series (which is quite famous; worldwide bestseller, etc) in 1991. The second to last book in the series will be out this winter. If my faulty math skills are correct, that means the series has been going over 20 years. That's some stamina. I don't know if I could stick with one set of characters that long. 
Zen: Biscuit. I’m very calm and happy when my dog is around. I can't even begin to describe all the joy she brings to my life. She's the coolest. 

If you feel like answering any of these in the comments, I would love to read them. Happy Weekending to you! 


  1. Natalie, you've BLOWN MY MIND. Is the announcement of a Jenny B. Jones novel happening? Like how have I not known to be on the lookout for this?! SUPER EXCITING!

    Also, I think my celeb crush list is allllll over the place too. Fun times. :) And I cannot WAIT until you see Star Trek! SO GOOD! :) :)

    Oh, one more thing - you do look like your grandmother! A LOT. :)

  2. My first crush was Bo Duke, too. Any woman of our generation worth her salt can see the value in him :) I totally see the Julianne Moore comparison; and you do look like your Granny! Your description of her reminds me of my Grandma. They are probably BFF's in heaven; I think that spunkiness calls to spunkiness, so I'm betting on them being good friends up there :) And really, I need to live closer to you so we can enjoy coffee and chocolate and good books on a regular basis. Loves to you friend!

  3. I love things like this! So much fun, and I loved reading your answers. And you definitely do look like your grandma! Especially your smile.

    I had to break my answers up into more than one comment because apparently I wrote too much. :)

    Ambition: To eventually have a drawer full of handknit socks and a closet full of handmade clothes. :) I also (more importantly) really just want to be a wife and mother someday.

    Bad Habit: Being too judgemental.

    Celebrity Crushes: Most of mine are already dead...Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, Gregory Peck, and Elvis (pre-jumpsuit years). More current ones: David Tennant and Matt Smith in Doctor Who, Uncle Jesse (John Stamos), Matthew Macfadyen, Richard Armitage, and I feel like I'm really forgetting someone else here.

    Drink: Water, V8 Fusion (Acai Mixed Berry), or hot chocolate. Occasionally, sweet tea. But only when it's rot-your-teeth sweet, like Hardees' or like my grandma's was.

    Education: Public school, then homeschooled in high school. 2 years degree at the community college (early childhood education).

    Food: Chocolate! Ice cream. Nutella. :) Also, cheeseburgers, Key West chicken (a really good grilling recipe my parents use), meatloaf and cream potatoes. Basically, anything not green.

    Guilty pleasures: Full House and Boy Meets World. Buying books and nice yarn and pretty fabric even when I don't really need any of those things. The first Princess Diaries movie. Listening to Disney film soundtracks. Randomly hearing an old Backstreet Boys or N*Sync song and wanting to sing along because I still remember all the words. Once Upon a Time.

    Hometown: Though we don't live *in* town, mine is a little southern town that has lots of interesting history if you're willing to look. For example, it's where the "wreck of the old 97" happened and was the last capital of the Confederacy. For like less than a week, but still. :)

    Ice cream: Mint chocolate chip. Or an Oreo blizzard.

    Jonesing for: Your new book! :) And the rest of the Doctor Who DVD sets that I don't own. And quite a few books and things on my Amazon wishlist. :)

    Kryptonite: I'm going to steal yours but make an addition: love songs sung by Frank Sinatra.

    Look-a-like: I don't think I look like any famous people. I've been told that I look like my grandma, too, though. And my aunt and I resembled each other.

    Movie: My absolute favorite is the 2005 Pride and Prejudice.

  4. Nickname: When my brother was little, he called me Sissy (for sister, obviously, because he couldn't say Kristin). My parents called me that (still do sometimes), and it passed on to all of my little cousins that my mom has kept over the years. They're all rather shocked to find out that my real name isn't Sissy. :) Thank goodness.

    Obsessions: Books. Old movies. Musicals. BBC TV shows and mini series. Knitting. Spinning yarn (and my new-to-me spinning wheel!). Sewing and crafting in general. Making lists. Sinatra's voice and the Avett Brothers' songs. Desserts. :)

    Perfume: I don't wear perfume.

    Quirk: I'm twenty-two years old and I still sleep with a small light on in my room. I just hate complete darkness. :) Other than that, I'm afraid I have too many to name.

    Regret: This isn't a regret yet, but I don't want to look back and see that my fears held me back from a lot of things I want to do.

    Starbucks: I've never had any (or been to one), and I probably never will. I don't drink coffee and I'd much rather spend that money on something else. Like books. Or yarn. :)

    The Last Book You Read: Jane Austen's unfinished works (Lady Susan, the Watsons, and Sanditon). It was bittersweet. I'd never read them before, so it was like discovering something new by one of my favorite authors. But it was sad to see what could have been.

    Unique Feature: I have an oval scar just above my wrist on my left's from a curling iron accident when I was a fidgety child (and apparently hadn't developed naturally curly hair yet). It's faded quite a bit but still visible.

    Vacation: My favorite vacations so far have been to Disney World and the Florida Keys. My dream vacations are a tour of the UK and a long road trip in the US to see famous landmarks, state parks, etc.

    Wine: I don't drink it.

    X: ??

    Years: I'm noticing that the older I get, the quicker time passes. It's scary to see how quickly! When I was in elementary/middle school, time seemed to go by so slowly. Then in high school things started picking up, and now I can't believe we're nearly halfway through this year.

    Zen: When I'm in a crafting zone and completely absorbed in what I'm doing...when I'm not just rushing through a project to see the end product, but I'm enjoying the process as well.


  5. Paul Rudd - yes! And since Clueless also.

    I think your ice cream research should have led you to test the wonderful product of University of Wisconsin's dairy school. Which so happens to be in Madison, on the lake front...

    I can't believe you have no nicknames. I love giving them to my lil sis. And she has developed a knack for giving them as well. I can be referred to as artichoke, wild fing, miss myrtle.

  6. Because I'm supposed to be writing a research paper on computer components that I'm too techie-illiterate to identify, I'll play along.
    Ambition: arm muscles
    Bad habit: giving up bad habits then three years later, reuniting with them like the long-lost friends we were.
    Celeb Crush: When I was little I wanted to marry John Ritter and have dates at the Regal Beagle.
    Education: Another bad habit I've picked up again.
    Ice Cream: Yes
    Jonesing for: summer and freedom (and that verb has always creeped me out)
    Last Book I Read: A nonfiction book about a woman being horribly crippled and unhealthy and changing her life via yoga, accupuncture, meditation, and a punch of other things I'm too ADD to do.

  7. As an equally committed Caramel Macchiato lover, I'm telling you that you've got to try the Hazelnut Macchiato -- if you haven't already, that is. Also, get it iced. Then the drizzle doesn't have a chance to melt and you get bits through your straw, which is basically like striking gold every few sips. :)

  8. I love things like this. So fun. You really do look like your grandmother. Ad my sister says you look like Michelle Dockery, aka, Lady Mary.

  9. I love lists like this!
    Ok, here goes:
    Ambition: To create stories that give people hope.
    Bad habit: Hmm... biting my fingers. Not applying sunscreen :/. Letting my fingernail polsih wear off instead of using remover.
    Celebrity crushes: Like you, it's totally all over the map. The guy who plays as Thor. Tom Wopat aka Luke Duke (am i the only one that had a crush on him?) Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I.
    Drink: Sweet tea :)
    Education: Yes
    Food: Definitely yes. Lol. Breakfast burritos :)
    Guilty pleasures. Entertainment tonight. The Big Bang Theory. Ellen. Extra.
    Hometown: Douglasville, Georgia. It's about 30 miles west of Atlanta.
    Ice-cream: Cookies and cream.
    Jonesing for: The next season of NCIS to come down enough on amazon so I can order it :)
    Kryptonite: My doggies sad face
    Look-a-like: My mama. Celebrity wise I don't really know. A guy trying to sell me perfume at the mall told me I looked like Maraih Carey once. 'Course, he was selling her perfume at the time, so that may have had something to do with it. I believe his exact words to me were, "You look like her, you might as well smell like her!"
    Movie: Fireproof. Diary of a Mad Black Woman. French Kiss. A cute little movie from back in the 40's or 50's called The Rage of Paris :).
    Nickname: My Pawpaw on my Daddy's side called me Sunflower.
    Obsessions: Hmm... I don't really have an obsession.
    Perfume: I don't wear perfume. I do like the smell of Oscar de la rente though (I think I totally spelt that wrong)
    Quirk: When watching TV, I add description in my head as if I were reading a book.
    Regret: Right now? Not applying for the Spring semester for college.
    Starbucks: I've never actually been to Starbucks
    The Last Book you Read: The Wedding Dress by Racheal Hauck
    Unique feature: I have a 'scar' I guess you could say, on my right hand from where I accidently stabbed my hand with a freshly sharpened pencil when I was about 9 or 10. The dark lead color is still there, it's never faded.
    Vacation: Charleston, South Carolina.
    Wine: I've never drank any wine.
    Zen: Feeling God's Presence

  10. Okay... I'll answer my favorites.

    Movie: Little Woman!
    Nickname: When I was little apparently I used to eat rolleypolleys. So my friends and I were talking about this and now two of my guy friends call me rolleypolley. My dad calls me Kellbells because my name is Kelly. The kids I babysit call me Aunt Kelly. Haha! I have a lot of strange nicknames!
    Obsessions: A stupid guy named Spencer. Lenka. Violin. Hiking in the dark. My fantastic youth group. My cat.
    Perfume: Be Enchanted by Bath and Body Works
    Unique feature: I have a blue dot on my eye. It's really weird.

  11. I had a tall caramel macchiato this morning. It's my fave.

    I'm reading Frankenstein at the moment and out of all the "classics" I've read it's my favorite. You could say it's simply...sublime. ;)

    I'll be visiting Wisconsin to see my best friend who just so happens to also be my big sister in August and I'm tempted to go ahead and put it on as my favorite trip (not just because I'll see Bethany but it will also be my first time travelling alone).

    Confession: I Gatsby made me sad. I was expecting and hoping for more of a historical piece and it was not. It was beautiful and fun, but my hopes were shattered and thus I didn't appreciate the magic as much.

  12. I love your writing style! :) And your obsessions fit mine to a T. :D I might have to do this post sometime, too. It was really fun to read!