The zombies are coming. They really, really are. Not the mindless I want to eat your brain creatures. No, they'd be far too easy to destroy. Not even the ones controlled by The Man. They went home, ate their dinner, watched TV, and went to sleep, living calm, docile lives that didn't bother anyone. The zombies are out there, driving, lurking, with an opinion on everything and we don't even know what they want! Or we just plain can't figure out why.
They want baby girls not to wear boys' clothes (seriously, someone told a friend of mine that while they were strolling their newborn through the grocery store), they want to back up without looking in their rear view mirror and almost run over innocent passersby (happened to me the other day, true story), and they won't, under any circumstances, give up their control freakiness as they clutch, grab, and groan unintelligibly. Too much information, too much social media, too much stimulation with absence of thought, is having its effect.
So here's something to actually think about: my essay, Love and Dystopia, which was recently featured on Love Romance Passion. Don't over think it. I did that for you.
The world didn't end in December, but those preaching gloom and doom say we are now at the beginning of the end. It is no wonder that readers have a fascination with love and dystopia. Some of the most popular books today, such as The Hunger Games series or even Water for Elephants, have strong romantic elements centered upon the fringes of a dystopian setting. The Hunger Games takes place in the post-war United States, dubbed the civilization of Panem, and Water for Elephants is set against the backdrop of a failing circus on the fringe of bankruptcy during the Depression. Both of these stories would not be as outstanding as they were if either the dystopian element or the romantic element was taken away. Both of these stories would not have the romantic element if the dystopian element was not added to the plot's formula. The idea of dystopia existed in these two stories on both the macrocosmic level, as in The Hunger Games where a society lived it, and on a microcosmic level, as in Water for Elephants, where a small circus struggled to survive in a society where almost every other factor worked against it, even the owners themselves.
Thus can the same with life, or romance as we know it in life. Our greatest romance is found in our greatest time of need, where we are emotionally downtrodden and in need of more than a good friend or casual lover. We become in need of something to make our lives meaningful; something which takes away the befuddlement we feel when faced with the human condition of loneliness. The realization of this human condition is dystopia on a microcosmic level.
In fiction, the human condition of loneliness is the essence of conflict itself. The demons or angels that accompany this realization are manifested in our supporting characters, our antagonists, and our hero or heroine's actions. Love and dystopia are two sides of the same coin. Some may argue that Utopia should make up the flip side of that coin, but I beg to disagree. Utopia and Dystopia can both be regarded as the soil upon which love can grow. That makes love an absolutely wonderful and divine aspect of human life, a beacon of hope we can all count on, no matter where we live or what environment we are surrounded with. We can always count on the proliferation of love.
My newest work, The Ashes of Windsor, is the story of two teens who are in love and struggling to survive in the dystopian environment of New York after nuclear war. Thrust into the world of the fallout, Inari Giles grasps for the strength to survive. Peter Huntford, her beloved boyfriend, vows to bring Inari to Arcadia, a haven that will only accept young women of childbearing age through its gates. Will he find a way to bring her to safety, even at the cost of his own life?
All right, enough with my silly sense of humor, let's talk beauty here....
Beauty is a hobby for me, but I hate it when hobbies get expensive. Anyone who has ever seen me balk at the price of a lift ticket knows I'm not going to smiling until that receipt has been tossed away and I'm coasting down a snowy hill in forgetful bliss.
At-home facials are a fantastic way to treat yourself without the monetary cost and free time needed to head to a spa. Ever notice how the skin of children has that luminescent quality? Twenty-something year olds always seem to take good pictures if they are taking care of their skin, and that is because when we are young our skin is constantly shedding and regenerating itself.
Below are the steps to give yourself an at-home facial. My sensitive skin tends toward being a combination of normal and dry, so the products I've recommended below work well for this skin type. For a detailed analysis of products that will work best for your skin, skip the cosmetic counters and go straight to a licensed esthetician or dermatologist who specializes in aesthetic skin care.
The First Step: Cleanse
Skin needs help regenerating as you age and shedding dead skin cells, so help it along with a facial cleanser rich in Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) or glycolic acid. Most AHAs are fruit based for the purists. I use M.D. Forte II, a product made with glycolic acid.
Clarisonic has a great line of cleansing tools that are gaining popularity. Make an investment in one, especially if you're skin is maturing. You'll be glad you did.
The Second Step: Steam
Fill a large bowl with hot water, lean your face in, and cover your head with a towel. Allow impurities to sweat out of your skin for 5 to 10 minutes. Pat your face dry.
The Third Step: Exfoliation
I recommend picking up an at-home microdermabrasian system for this step. A simple rotating tool with a sponge and an exfoliating cream in a kit will work just fine. Dermanew makes a fine and long-lasting set. Or you can also purchase an exfoliating wash with granules that can be massaged over the skin, further refining the topmost layer.
The Fourth Step: Mask
Your favorite hydrating mask and cucumbers over the eyes. Spaaaah... For sensitive/dry skin, I recommend Skinceuticals B5 Hydrating Masque. This can tend to be very moisturizing, so I usually wash it off after five or ten minutes, but there is the option to leave the mask on overnight. Another mask I love is the Arcon Wine Hydrating Mask. It gives your skin the feel you would have after a mud bath, that of a smooth, silky sheen.
The Fifth Step: Tone and Moisturize
Spray an antioxidant mist or opt for a toner that can be applied with a cotton ball. I like to use Dermologica's Antioxidant Mist, fortified with antioxidants and vitamins to refresh the skin.
For a moisturizer for the dry/sensitive skin type, always use a cream in the winter and a lotion in the summer, and always, always make sure your moisturizer contains sunscreen. I use Sea Results H20 Cream in the winter and La Roche Posay Toleriane Hydrating Lotion in the summer. Don't forget to slather your pucker with some of La Roche Posay's Ceralip. This product has hyaluoronic acid, which attracts moisture to your kisser.
Here's to facing the New Year with great skin! Cheers!
Now Available for Kindle and eBook Formats
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow..absolute enjoyable reading... December 23, 2012 By 4u2read Format:Kindle Edition A quick and enjoyable read. Loved reading about Steven & Julie Street's fabricated lives. A story that most likely mimics the lives of many Hollywood couples...would love the book to be turn into a movie..ENJOYABLE....
I think it's safe to say we are all hoping and praying for different things. For some, their prayers were answered through a dating service like Match.com where they could find exactly what they were looking for in a photo or wonderfully puffy description of their perfect mate in a blurb or two. My husband and I happened to meet the old fashioned way. At a disco dancing club. Long after disco was considered hot. Nothing more romantic than stopping in place while doing the hustle and seeing the bolts of lightning flash as you see your children in your true love's face while he is lit up by strobe lights and those funky eyeball things reflecting off the disco ball. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Some people's prayers were answered during Tuesday's election, although higher taxes weren't in my prayers so unfortunately, I received a big, emphatic "No, Liz" from my higher power. I just have a feeling that even though President Obama has asked only the rich to pay their "fair share" once we jump off that fiscal cliff, he's going to be giving a speech on how all of us, meaning those who have steady jobs and pay taxes, will have to pitch in and help this country get out of deficit hole it is in and to bear with him and blah blah blah.
I'm going to get down off this soapbox and find someplace optimistic to go to with you. The holidays are coming! You might not want to spend a diddly damn penny just to see whether or not you're going to be paying in 2013, but I grew up in a family that lived very frugally and so the holidays were never about getting stuff for me. Now that I'm older and more aware, I realize that having what is called an "attitude of gratitude" is the most important way to motivate yourself, every day.
Ways to Adapt An Attitude of Gratitude
* Get physical and connect
Hug your friends, hug your family, hug people you know who you haven't seen in a while. There is a gorgeous light in all of us, and we should use that light to connect with those we love by begin close. If you're not the touchy feely type, make eye contact, choose your words with care and begin in the third person when advising. State facts instead of consequences. It works when speaking with children and it works when speaking with adults, too. For example, instead of saying "You always forget to use good manners," simply say "I'm sorry, it's hard for me to respond when you talk like that. Could you try again?" This bounces the ball back into the other person's court without negativity, and being addressed properly will allow you to continue to freely give to others without resentment.
State your intention for the day. Who are you and what are your goals. For example, when I woke up I told myself this morning that today I'm going to write a new blog post, quit reading political articles (oops, couldn't help myself!) and sit down and write all morning while the children are at school And I told myself I'm a good writer, which is subjective but hey, if you don't believe you are good at what you do, it's time to switch careers. Or practice more. We all get better with practice.
* Positive Energy
If there's one thing I've noticed when talking politics or being talked to about politics, the subject sucks one dry as if they were being bitten by that big brown house spider us folks who live up in the hills always know is lurking under the toy bin. So spread positive energy around the world simply by asking people how they are doing and finding out what makes them tick. There is beauty in even the darkest subjects when another can find it and pull it out. Tell jokes, share funny stories, or just exercise with somebody and create that warm, wonderful feeling of togetherness and camaraderie.
Although I was Romney supporter when it came to economic policy (most definitely not social policy), I had a field day with my friends over the "Binders of Women" comment. That's just funny. Nothing like getting binders of women on your desk. I'll bet some men out there would loooove to see some binders full of women. Oh, Santa, please send my unmarried male cousins binders full of women. Heheheh!
* Be Comfortable Alone
How when are minds are filled with chaotic thoughts? The answer is meditation and breathing control. Picture yourself sitting by a river. The sound of the river is calming and gentle. Perhaps there are birds in the trees and sunlight glistening off of the water. Now picture your troubling thoughts being carried away by the river current, far away from you, and whenever a troubling enters your mind during this exercise, send it down the river as well. There is beauty there in the stillness and clarity of mind. The first time I found it in my late twenties, I knew I finally connected with a force greater than anything I had ever experienced.
* Give Thanks, Everyday
Think of the things you want. Maybe you want money, power, success, more talent, more beauty. Now let those things go and examine what you have right now. Give thanks for what you have right now. If it is debt, give thanks that debt will help you to become more conscientious about your finances. If it is very little time to do the things you need to do, give thanks for the little time that you have. If it is worry, give thanks that you are smart enough to understand what needs to be fixed.
It is the "attitude of gratitude" that will illuminate your path. Give thanks and take the first step.
5.0 out of 5 stars "COMPELLING, SIZZLING, INTRIGUING!" July 15, 2012 By Geraldine Ahearn TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE™ VOICE Format:Kindle Edition Liz R. Newman delivers a compelling story as she takes the reader through a world of glamour and riches in high society. Juliet had experience in the starlet business and is now married to a famous Movie Star. She commits to helping a good friend conceal a secret from the public, but is tempted away from loyalty by the promise of true love. There is only one thing in the way from falling in love, a marriage of convenience becomes a nightmare, and a romantic interest of attraction is at risk of falling to pieces. This intriguing story draws the reader's interest immediately and colorful characters come to life in a picture-perfect setting. The reader will crave for more. Very Enjoyable and Highly Recommended!
Close up on a spirit orb. Do you see the woman's face? Insert scream here. You might simply be thinking, as I did, that someone just had a really dirty camera lens, but I assure you, these are professionals. By the way, if you know of any curses that can befall someone who posts pictures of ghosts, please advise. I googled that and nothing came up. I won't have time to research that. Knock on wood. The weirdest things that have happened since I've posted these pictures is that someone has asked me if I'm the nanny of my own children, praising me for looking so young after I gave her the stink eye, and someone also asked me if I was ever going to get real job. Hellooo, writing is a real job. I'll work for peanuts.
The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California
I dubbed this blog post "ghost biscuits" because I wanted you to have a little bite of scariness before I sign off to continue my practice of writing. Above are two photos taken at the Queen Mary, while a journalist friend of mine filmed a segment for the television show she was working on. The Queen Mary is one of the world's most haunted places. No one knows why ghosts flock to the Queen Mary. Perhaps it is the extraordinary amounts of freak accidents that occurred on the ship. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the vessel was used to transport soldiers to their deaths in the battlefields of World War II. Or perhaps, and this is how I like to think of it, there were so many good memories associated with the ships that the spirits just stayed, and eventually run into the living passengers. As for the two sensational deaths that occurred during the filming of The Poseidon Adventure, perhaps these were simply the dead running into the living, and causing accidental havoc. The Legends of America website gives a brief explanation of sights in the swimming pool room:
Two more popular spots for the Queen’s other worldly guests are its first and second class swimming pools. Though neither are utilized today for their original purpose, spirits seemingly are not aware of that. In the first class swimming pool, which has been closed for more than three decades, women have often been seen appearing in 1930’s style swimming suits wandering the decks near the pool. Others have reported the sounds of splashing and spied wet footprints leading from the deck to the changing rooms. Some have also spied the spirit of a young girl, clutching her teddy bear.
In the second class poolroom, the spirit of another little girl named Jackie is often been seen and heard. The unfortunate girl drowned in the pool during the ship’s sailing days and reputedly refused to move on, as her voice, as well as the sounds of laughter has been captured here.
If you had your choice of a place to haunt, what would it be? I think I'd haunt the carousel at Santa Cruz, but only if I absolutely had to. I'm not very keen on an eternity of organ music and loud dings! But it comes with an ocean view and you can't beat that. And that's only on the condition that I can change out the Carmen Miranda costume I'm wearing this Halloween.
Sleep tight, my pretties.
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Let's face it: you've got to keep the drunks at your party happy. It doesn't take much, as we all know, just some cheap beer or wine and nodding your head every moment they are speaking, which can indeed be every moment, then you can kick the door behind them and never invite them back.
Below are two guacamole recipes that are easy on your budget and time and will keep the most discerning guac connosiuer and slovenly drinker eating. The first recipe, guacamole for drunks, will be far easier to clean up if indeed someone has to say sorry for the party foul.
Guacamole For Drunks
Drunks tend to eat more so you'll be using more avocados in this recipe.
3 ripe avocados
Five Dashes of Onion Powder
Salt to taste
lime (optional: some guests don't like the tangy taste of the guac interfering with the lime in their beer)
Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Peel and cut avocados lengthwise and across, then scoop out the chunks into a bowl
Mash with a potato masher or pestle. A fork can be used instead but I find the masher or pestle really releases the nice oils in the avocado, which makes for better flavor
Add the dashes of onion powder, salt, and lime and cayenne pepper if you choose to use it. Mix well and serve.
Guacamole for Sober People
half a tomato, diced
2 tablespoons cilantr0
1 tablespoon diced onion
Squeeze of fresh lime
Diced Jalapeno Pepper (optional)
Salt to Taste
Peel and cut lengthwise and across, then scoop out the chunks into a serving bowl
Mash with a potato masher or pestle. A fork can be used instead but I find the masher or pestle really releases the nice oils in the avocado, which makes for better flavor.
Add diced tomatoes, cilantro, onions, lime squeeze, and jalapeno. if using. Stir gently until all of the ingredients are combined. Smooth the surface with the bottom of a spoon and wipe off the sides of the bowl or transfer to a serving bowl and then smooth.
Serve with a sprig of cilantro and a black olive to decorate the middle of the bowl.
Serve with tortilla chips and/or fresh veggies
**Chef's Tip: Leave the pit inside the serving bowl and pour the guacamole in to cover it. This will delay the guacamole from turning dark green.
You plus this recipe equals the most popular pair at the potluck. Trust me. This is a side dish even the most discerning crowd will enjoy.
This recipe is a winning choice- easy, tasty, vegan.
1 pkg (10 oz) saffron rice (I recommend the Mahatma brand)
1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
6 plum or 4 regular tomatoes diced
1 small red onion finely chopped
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
Cook the rice. While the rice cooks, put the beans, tomato, and onion in a large serving bowl. Add the warm rice to the bowl and top it with the vinegar, oil, and cilantro. Toss.
(Can be made up to 24 hours in advance- improves upon sitting a bit)
To make a meal add some grilled chicken or fish, wrap in a tortilla and top with salsa, and/ or sour cream and /or yogurt.
Available July 13th From Breathless Press