Holiday fun

The 2013 Holiday Card

Hi everybody! Hope you had a fabulous holiday, whatever you celebrate! I returned from ten days in Wisconsin and think I'm still in a food coma (so much cheese....). It wasn't until sweet Britta reminded me that I realized that I hadn't posted my holiday card this year. Not to brag, but last year's was pretty epic, so I knew there was no way to top it (click here to see past years). So I decided to not even bother. Luckily, I got to travel to some sweet places this year so was able to make a (lame) joke about being too busy. But then again, I'm in the middle of working on TWO different books projects (the already announced sequel to The Lonely Hearts Club and a secret project). 

So here you go! 



Also, yesterday's INSANE Packers game and my flight home made me forget that yesterday was The Lonely Hearts Club's FOURTH anniversary! Can't believe I've been a published author for four years. Thank YOU for making my dreams come true. Hope everybody has a WONDERFUL 2014!

XOXO, Elizabeth

How My Holiday Card Helped Me Embrace the Awkward

Seasons greetings! Not to brag, but I send out pretty funny holiday cards every year. And it's always hard to top myself, but this year I think I did it. Take it in... 

Yep, that's really me in second grade. For years I've kept any proof that I used to look like that a secret. Even in high school, I refused to let my mom post any pictures of me from first to eighth grade on the collage she made for my high school graduation party. She's still mad at me for that. As she kept saying, "But you don't look like that now." True, I got braces, contacts, figured out how to deal with my hair, but I still felt like that awkward little girl. I used to have people call me ugly to my face, boys would bark at me and call me a dog. And when I used to look at this photo it made me sad because that little girl had it rough. People are cruel, especially grade school boys.

Then a few years ago, my siblings and I were trying to tell my brother-in-law how "ugly" I was as a kid (that was the word I used as those scars were still there). So I found this picture, one I hadn't seen in years, but I remembered it quite well. My sister Meg took a wallet sized version and kept it with her and would routinely say to people, "You know my fancy sister in New York, well this is what she used to look like!" She thought it was funny, so did everybody I showed it to. But I didn't. It upset me. I couldn't shake those demons. Despite many requests, I refused to give anybody a copy or post it online. My biggest fear would be that I would get one of those annoying e-mail forwards entitled "Ugliest Child Ever" and it would be me.

I don't exactly know what changed, but one day I looked at it and smiled. Whenever I do an event and see a girl with glasses, or someone going through an awkward stage, I go out of my way to be nice to them. It sucks to be made fun of at any age, but it's particularly harsh when you're so young. I stopped referring to young me as "ugly." I realized that this photo brings a smile to people's faces for a lot of different reason (the rainbow velour shirt, the glasses, those teeth, that hair!). As my sister always reasoned, "Look how far you've come!" I remember when I was young and people would make fun of how I looked, my mom would always say that I was going to be beautiful one day (still waiting on that, Mom!). But now I can smile at this photo and appreciate that yes, I have come a long way. Not just in terms of looks, but self-confidence. Sure, I still have issues, who doesn't? But if only I could've talked to that girl and let her know that things would get better. I obviously can't, but instead I can talk to the girl who is typing this and tell her to stop being so hard on herself about her weight or her appearance. We're often our worst critics. 

So I decided to do something I never thought I'd ever do. Send out that picture as my holiday card and post it on-line. I'm publicly embracing my flaws. Plus, I realize it is pretty hysterical. But in addition to having a classic holiday card (if I do say so myself!), I also found a way to embrace my awkward past. And that in itself, might be the best holiday gift I'll receive this year.

XOXO, Elizabeth (now and in second grade)

The Greatest Christmas Story I Ever Told

Happy Holidays all!

I should preface this post by saying that it could get me into trouble. Last year, I asked my mom if she'd be okay if I blogged about this story and she wasn't too pleased. But I just HAD to share it as it has become one of my favorite stories, ever. But I can understand why she doesn't like it since she technically called her youngest child a "Nazi" in her annual holiday card.

Yep, you read that right.

Every year, my parents send out of those holiday letters with news about the family, including their four kids. For years, my siblings and I each had to submit four sentences about our year. It was a little sad that as I got older it became harder to do. "Elizabeth's STILL at her same job, STILL lives in the same place..." The only thing that was ever really different was where I went on vacation that year. It was all kind of boring, but I'd prefer boring over being defamed.

My senior year of college, I arrive home during winter break. I looked at that year's Christmas letter and read everybody's part. Then I got to mine. Now, I went to the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. That's Newhouse: N-E-W-H-O-U-S-E. But according to that year's letter it said:

"Elizabeth's finishing her last year at the Nazi School at Syracuse University."

I lost it. "Is this some kind of joke?" I screamed in our kitchen. When my parents realized why I was upset, they were both horrified. And, of course, the letters had already been sent out to Dad's list. So, I spent the next day crossing out "Nazi" and writing out "Newhouse" on Mom's pile.

My mom blames the accident on spellcheck, although I have spelled Newhouse many different ways and Nazi has never come up as an option. But it didn't really matter, the damage had been done.

I worked at my dad's clothing store over that break. Anytime any of his friend's came in, I was on the defensive. The following happened more than once:

DAD'S FRIEND: Hi, Elizabeth!


DAD'S FRIEND: Um, okay. Could I get this gift wrapped?

So to clarify, a) I am not a Nazi, and b) my mom didn't do it on purpose. Oh, and a little friendly advice: always have someone proof your Christmas letter before you send it out.

While I was horrified at the time, in the end it was one of the best gifts I ever received. Because I do love a good story, and nothing can top, "Hey, did I ever tell you about the time my mom called me a Nazi in our Christmas letter?" Comic gold!

May your days me merry and bright...and without any slander in your holiday card!

XO, Elizabeth

The Christmas Card Challenge

Seasons greetings! I used to send out the kind of Christmas cards to my friends and family that required me to write a little note in them. I always enjoyed that, even though my hand would cramp up by the fourth card.

But in 2008 everything changed. I met the New Kids on the Block. And there was no way I wasn't going to do a funny Christmas card with a photo of me and the boys. So I present to you, the greatest Christmas card of all time. 

I have friends that still have this on their refrigerators. I felt pretty proud of myself for this. Until I realized that I've now set the bar pretty high for myself and my future Christmas cards.

Fortunately, the end of 2009 was the publication of my first novel, The Lonely Hearts Club. So I used this opportunity to not only spoof birth announcements, but to do a little publicity on it's upcoming publication.

But then all last year, I was stressed out over what to do for my Christmas card. I could've done something with Prom & Prejudice, but that seemed expected (Seriously, who spends this much time thinking about holiday cards?). So last year on Halloween, I went to see the Packers play the Jets in New Jersey. I was told by a few people to be careful and that the Jets fans might not appreciate my Packer gear. And that gave me the idea for 2010's Christmas card.

And yes, I did go up to complete strangers in Jets gear and say, "Hey, can you pretend to beat me up for my Christmas card photo?" I have no shame. I'd also like to point out that the Packers won the Super Bowl last year, so... You're welcome, Green Bay.  ;-)

This year was the worst. I had an idea, but couldn't pull off getting the picture taken (Thanks for never returning my e-mail, Debbie Gibson's publicist!). I was going to make a joke about me being too busy being in Ireland to think of something clever, but that didn't really seem Christmas card worthy. Time was running out. But then I was off to my friend Chris's annual holiday party (also knows as my favorite party of the year). I would be in a room with about eighty guys. So pretty much this year's card wrote itself.

So this is my Christmas card to all of you. Thank you for an amazing year. I hope you all have a fab 2012!

And now I'm off to figure out next year's card. It never ends.

XOXO, Elizabeth