Saturday, April 30, 2011

Discoveries From On the Road

Well, we've been on the road lately as Spring Break is in full swing. Check out our crazy road trip map:

View Larger Map

We made a Texas triangle of sorts, and quickly discovered the beauty of highway driving. The scenery was gorgeous as we made our way from Lake Charles, LA to Longview, Texas. We were stopping for a visit to see our friends, The Shewmakers. While in Longview, we dined at the delicious  Lil Thai House. I was crazy about the Pad Thai and Brendan loved the Panang Curry. We also hit up antique shops in Jefferson, Texas and visited the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas. The zoo's open walkways, large exhibits for the animals, and shaded areas were a pleasant surprise and the zoo housed elephants, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, cheetahs, white tigers, snakes, fish, many beautiful birds, and much more. I liked the wild bird walkabout which let you get very close to the colorful birds, but we also saw a giraffe and rhinos up close and it was pretty unbelievable. Admission was only $9.50 for adults!
Bren and I and the historic Dr. Pepper mural in Jefferson, TX
While in Austin (the drive from Tyler seemed like it was right out of a movie about living in the country-all lush greens and rolling hills...nice break from boring I-10), we fully entered vacation mode. We've dined at Kerbey Lane, and took a dip at ice cold Barton Springs. It's been wonderful to catch up with Graham and meet Maisie who made us some seriously delightful Key Lime Pie. 

Other than that, we spoiled ourselves with entertainment and good eats. There was thrift store shopping galore and we paired amazing food with amazing theater two nights in a row. The first night, we had fabulous Indian food at Clay Pit (which Graham says compares to food in India). We ordered the Paneer Bahuna and the Vegetable Ayam, and were delighted with the spicy/sweet duo. Then we enjoyed Zach Scott's production of August: Osage County.The show was a hilarious and heartbreaking 3 and a half hours with exceptional performances from the entire cast (Lana Dieterich, Lauren Lane, Janelle Buchanan, Corley Pillsbury, and Irene White were especially delightful in their roles). The play is about a family reunion gone horribly wrong and though the script packs in huge themes such as drug abuse, incest, and adultery, the family feels incredibly authentic and one can't help but feel sympathy even for the most awful of  characters. August runs through May 22nd, Wed-Sat evenings at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm. A tip is that you can get student tickets for $17.00 or you can enjoy 2 for 1 tickets on some nights (see website for details). 

On Thursday night, we checked out a new-to-me sushi spot in Austin called Thai Spice (formerly Crave). The Sushi was delicious, the atmosphere quiet and pleasant, and the service was great. There is 4-7pm happy hour Monday-Friday which offers great prices on several of the rolls and drinks. We ordered Tango, Longhorn, and Spicy Tuna rolls and had more than enough food for two. Then we checked out Hyde Park Theatre's newest production, A Behanding in Spokane. The show is a dark, twisted comedy about a man's plot to find his missing hand. The talented cast of four (Ken Webster, Michelle Keffer, Aaron Alexander, and Mical Trejo) were hilarious and outstanding in their roles. This 90 minute show is intense and I'm still thinking about some of the strange and funny lines. The play runs through May 28th Thurs-Sat nights at 8pm. Regular tickets $19.00, Student tickets $17.00. A tip is that Thursdays are "pay what you can." 

Now that we're back in Lake Charles, Spring break is coming to an end. But we're planning to check out Contraband Days tonight with some friends. I feel lucky to have had such a wonderful vacation, and I hope you enjoy some of my recommendations. 

Here's to enjoying yourself! 
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Backtracking: 2 weekends ago at Austin's Old Settler's Music Fest. Me, Bren, Missy & Will.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thrifty Finds for Spring

When I'm in Austin, one of my favorite things to do is hit up the thrift stores to find amazing prices on whatever must-have pieces I need for the season. As a child and early adolescent, I used to cringe when my mother suggested buying clothes used, but in the past nine years, I've come to realize my mother was right. Not only do you save yourself money, but it's a fun way to practice recycling, and you know you're buying something unique as opposed to the same things everyone else will be wearing. Here are my Spring Break finds. I hope they inspire you to hit your local thrift store and score some seasonal fashion!
Life's a beach! Save money shopping and plan a vacation!
Shopping for a bikini can be difficult in stores where you are often expected to buy the same size top and bottom. Thrift stores are a good solution because you can mix and match pieces to find top & bottom sizes that work for you. Just keep your undies on when trying on and wash with soap and warm water before wearing. Be creative, mix colors or patterns to create your own swim ready wear. I scored this top and bottom at a local Goodwill. The top ($2.99) is by Victoria's Secret and provides great support. The bottom ($2.99) is by Xhilaration and I love the pink neon details. Total cost, less than $6.00 and I felt great (and numb) when taking a dip at ice cold Barton Springs.

In the sunny weather, I need to keep my eyes protected and my adorable Lilly Pulitzer sunglasses will keep me shaded in style. These were my find of the day at Austin's Buffalo Exchange where I picked them up for $12.50. I love the brown/pink color scheme and gold embellishments.

When I'm on vacation, I like carrying a small bag instead of my usual teacher-friendly gigantic one. This faux animal print bag by Nine West (don't worry, it's all man-made materials) totally fits my bills (literally!) for a springy, lightweight bag. With just enough room for my wallet, phone, camera, keys, and lip gloss, it carries everything a girl really needs. The best part? I found it at Goodwill for $5.99.

Finally, on my spring break reading list is American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis for my contemporary novel class. I read this book for fun during college and loved it. Disturbing, unstoppably funny, and powerful, Ellis does not write for those with weak stomachs, but he does manage to create a fascinating serial killing, neurotic, well, psycho, and if you can get past the blood and gore, this one is worth a read. I picked it up at a used book store, Half Price Books, for $7.50.
American Psycho

All in all, I spent $32.00, but when I found what these items cost new, I really felt savvy:

Bikini Top- $38.00
Bikini Bottom- $15.00

Sunglasses- $150.00
Bag- $59.00
Book- $15.00
Total: $277.00
I Spent: $32.00
Money Saved: $245.00
and that's enough to fund all my vacation entertainment and dining for the week!

I hope you score your own thrifty finds. After a long day of shopping check out music by Grace London. This 11 year-old girl's covers of Jack White songs send chills down my spine. She was the winner of the youth competition at Old Settler's Music Festival, and her performance was one of the highlights of the festival. You won't have to spend a dime because you can hear all of her music on her youtube channel for free :)

Here's to deals!
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fun, Feminine, Floral Fashion

I recently went on a shopping trip with Missy to Beaumont, TX (yes, our mall here in Lake Charles leaves something to be desired) and scored some new pieces for my spring/summer wardrobe at great prices. Missy noticed that everything I bought had a floral print, and we were laughing about this as Missy is not into flowery prints. My style may be a bit "grandma chic," but I'm out to prove that floral can be a fun and contemporary addition to any gal's warm weather wardrobe. Here's my week of flower power, in which I wore floral print on all my adventures. I hope you enjoy these colorful, pretty outfits as much as I do!

What I'm doing today: Teaching, being a student, and dinner out at a casual restaurant with Brendan. My outfit needs to be professional, comfortable for my 9-5 day, and casual enough for after work.

I love the big floral print that contrasts with the stripey pattern in this dress from Pacific Sunwear ($40). I paired it with a coral colored cardigan from Forever XXI ($15), a belt I scored a few years ago at a thrift store in Austin, black ballet flats I picked up last year at Payless, rose necklace from James Avery, and bracelet from Brendan's antique store find.

I put my hair in a low bun and added these cute bobby pins from Claire's (2 for $4) for a fancy, floral touch.

What I'm doing today: defending my thesis and being a student. It's another long day at school and I need to be comfortable and put together. 

 This light, flowery skirt reminds me of my days in ballet classes. I found it at Forever XXI on sale for just $7! I tucked it into a gray v-neck tee (also Forever XXI, $5) and a three quarter sleeve off-white cardigan I picked up at Marshall's (Originally by American Eagle Outfitters).  My basic bowed ballet flats, pearl necklace, and tiger eye ring added a sweet touch.

Don't be afraid to mix patterns. I added this leopard print bow ($3 at 5-7-9) in my hair for a bit of a playful touch.
What I'm doing today: Teaching, then going out to lunch, a big shopping trip to Walmart to prepare for Old Settler's Music Festival and dinner with friends. I need to stay cool in the heat and comfortable on my feet!
I paired this adorable floral pattern dress from Forever XXI ($15.00-a steal!) with low leopard print heels and some antique chic jewelry. 

I also added an adorable flower clip from Claire's (4.00) to an upper messy bun to keep the hair off my face (I love the little fake pearl embellishments in the center of the clip).

What I'm doing today: Conferencing with students and then leaving town for Houston for an interview Friday (then from there to Old Settler's Music Festival).
Well, Lola certainly liked it.
The same  leopard shoes and coral cardigan paired with skinny jeans by Seven for all Mankind (thrift store bargain of long ago) and a new flowery knit top ($18.00-Forever XXI). I dressed it up with pearls and the same Claire's flower bobby pins from Monday.

What I'm doing today: I had an interview this morning, but don't worry this isn't what I wore. After the interview, Brendan and I visited my grandma in the hospital and I changed into this comfortable outfit to make traveling more cozy.

Even Mimi approved (I said Grandma chic after all) of these floral shorts ($15.00 at Forever XXI) my friend Will describes as "Grandma meets the 1980s." Well, they made my first day of camping cool and pleasant, especially when I tucked them into this causal v-neck (Also Forever XXI, $5.00). Pearls and flip-flops might not match, but sometimes anything goes!

Oh a much more serious note, I can't help but comment on the death of Jeanne Leiby, who was the editor of The Southern Review (the poster you see in the background of some of these photos) and the writer the short story collections Downriver, a book I still read over and over when I need some writing inspiration. Jeanne visited McNeese in 2008 as a visiting writer. She gave honest feedback and I admired her a lot, even getting her to autograph The Southern Review poster (she was the first female editor of the journal) that I now have framed in my house. My thoughts are with her family, friends, and students at Louisiana State University. I know she will be deeply missed.

I look forward to telling you about Old Settler's Music Festival and all of the musicians that I discovered, as well as Graham's safe return from India today. For now, I am signing off after a long day.

Here's to inspiration, in all the forms you find it in.
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All the News That's Fit to Blog

I'm pretty tired from this busy week, but I wanted to write a quick post about all the recent going-ons.

I received an email update (and 2 a.m. phone call) from my brother a few days ago (he had a bit of trouble calculating time change). The trip to India is going well. Graham and Maisie are in their 19th location, Rishikesh on the Ganges River in the mountains (I can't wait to see the pictures). Rishikesh is vegetarian by law, so I can imagine Graham is fitting right in. It is also know as the "yoga city" or city of meditation and temples, so it's no wonder he describes it as a relaxing part of the trip. He has read two Murakami novels on Brendan's recommendation and loved them. It makes me happy to think of him reading and relaxing in India...things are anything but relaxing here!
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A NovelKafka on the Shore

But we do have good news to share. Brendan and I both passed our thesis defenses of our short story collections yesterday. We went to the Hut for drive-thru daiquiris and took them to the park by my house after school yesterday to celebrate our M.F.A. status (no doubt violating some law, but oh well!) I enjoyed a "Ragin' Cajun" and Brendan had a "Bahama Mama." We picked up our cap and gowns today, so graduation is feeling like an actual reality.
Done with the thesis defense!
Our M.F.A. graduate reading is free and open to the public on May 21st at McNeese State. See the left sidebar for more info, including directions. If you missed our reading at the Porch on April 1st, you can check out the videos of Brendan and I reading here.

I will be out of town this weekend, attending the Old Settler's Music Festival in Austin, Texas with Brendan and our friends Will & Missy. We will be camping...which means no shower and porta potties (yuck), and also that there will be no exciting Lola & Zoe posts for a few days. But worry not, I will return next week with updates galore.

Before I sign off, I will add that as I've been applying to jobs, I wish I had one these adorable Antiquaria Bohemian stamps to use in place of writing my return address over and over. I'm officially adding it to my list of great gift ideas if anyone is searching for a unique wedding present or housewarming gift.

Here's to adventures ahead!
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Room of One's Own

While browsing my Google reader, I came across the fascinating website of photographer Rania Matar. Matar is doing a project where she photographs teenage girls from all over the world in their bedrooms. The photographs are beautiful, stunningly so. They remind me of a time in my life where I felt like I could totally exist in a single space. It was comforting, simple. In Mater's own words she says the project was interesting to her because she was "fascinated to discover a person on the cusp on becoming an adult, but desperately holding on to the child she just barely left behind. A person on the edge between two worlds, trying to come to terms with this transitional time in her life and adjust to the person she is becoming." I suppose this statement struck a chord in me because it's something I feel I try to do with my writing. Women on the verge. In my own life, I relate to that idea. Trying to grow, it takes up so much of our time and what would we have to do if we weren't trying to grow? The pictures are a bit heartbreaking to me, but in a way that feels natural (the best way to describe it).

I started thinking about all the rooms I have occupied in my life, how I have changed so much in the span of 24 years. When I was a child, I had bunk beds. I spent hours making friendship bracelets and reading and making up dances. The beds were against the wall, and at night, I would tuck a sheet into the top bunk so it would form a fourth wall. I would pretend I was inside of a covered wagon, traveling on an Oregon trail. I would listen to a cassette tape of a stranger reading fairy tales. If I was still awake when the tape ran out, I would get up and turn it to side B. Sometimes I spent nights like that, flipping back and forth between the two sides. I suppose you are never too young to feel restless.

For my 13th birthday, I re-decorated my room. I got a queen-sized bed, purple flannel sheets, and a desk. I would stay up writing novels on paper that I kept in a binder. I would use post its to make notes to myself. The novels were always very bad. I read books that were too mature for me and formed strange ideas about adults and the world that are undoubtedly still with me. I spent hours in my room listening to Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, oldies, and country music. I wrote bad poems and on the weekends made prank phone calls with friends to boys in our class. There were lines to memorize from plays I was in and there were dance classes. There was homework. It seemed like I was busy, but I spent much time fantasizing. What would my life be like when...

I moved to New York City for college. I lived in 1/2 of three different dorm rooms for three years. In that time, I had three different roommates. My roommate Lauren and I shared a literal box of a space my sophomore year. We never fought. We once lived a week on mostly grapefruits and we watched the O.C. between completing mass amounts of homework. We put up posters (Fight Club and I can't remember what else) and pictures, our only forms of decoration. I read environmental philosophy, international politics, the news, Shakespeare, the Greek tragedies, a million short stories, British Literature. We went out to a million places and never stayed in on Thursday through Saturday nights. I can remember all these bars, not the names or the locations, but how they were on the inside. Restaurants, museums, plays, my mother calling and wondering why I was eating out at 10:30. No one eats very early here, I'm sure I said something like that. I was too cold a lot, I was alone a lot, I was in my thoughts more than ever. Then, I lived in an apartment I subleted from someone else. I slept on this girl's Ikea loft bed on an air mattress inches away from the ceiling. She was studying abroad in France. I joined a gym, I read her books, I took the subway mostly because I was further from downtown. I made mistakes, I had to have wisdom teeth removed, I felt less wise, I watched friends make mistakes. I still ate fancy dinners. I saw so many movies. I read for my colloquium which was on Writing for Social Change. I applied to graduate schools.

And now, here I am, in the second place I've lived in in Lake Charles. I have my own furniture now, things I picked up at thrift stores or secondhand. I have cats. I go to readings and I grade papers. I have good friends and we like to cook for each other and lend each other books. I suppose I'm an adult, but I still don't feel like one, however unlike college, I'm not surprised that adults don't suddenly appear out of thin air and stop me from doing whatever it is I have my mind set on. My apartment is cluttered with blankets and wine glasses and books and magazines. I have my own washer and dryer, a fact that never ceases to give me great pleasure. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a dollhouse, but wow, all the appliances really work.

So those are my thoughts about rooms. And also, six months ago today, I started dating my best friend. I kissed him, or he kissed me, the details of which we can't really decide on. It was October though, and it was a beautiful day. I remember laughing. We stole a garage sale sign and put it in a friend's yard. We jumped a fence. Well Brendan did, my jump was less smooth, more of a graceful fall. We ate fudgesicles. Of course, by now I've heard stories about his life and all the rooms he has occupied (more than me even). I'm enthralled with all these stories, with who has been and the places he has lived. It's hard to ever explain how you feel about someone else, but I think quite simply, I feel glad and lucky that he has made room for me; That we are making room for each other.

me and you
Here's to all your rooms and the people and things you fill them with,
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe
A Room of One's Own

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good Eats!

Well, today has been full of total deliciousness. Brendan and I cooked up a dish so tasty, we have named it a five-star creation, and we can't wait to share it with you. It's light, flavorful, healthy, vegetarian and vegan! We hit a remarkable sale at Albertson's today on produce, and definitely reaped the benefits. So, without further ado, here it is:

Simply Light Basil Lime Stir-Fry
  • In a medium sized pot, boil white rice covered.
  • Drain tofu and cut into cubes. Heat vegetable or other frying oil to 355 degrees. Fry tofu a few pieces at a time. Remove and drain on paper towels. 
  • mince 3 tablespoons ginger and 5 cloves of garlic.
  • chop 1 small onion.
  • use a wok with a cover and put 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom of the wok.
  • cook garlic, ginger, and onion in the wok on medium/high for 3-4 minutes. 
  • chop 2 bell peppers and add to the wok. Stir. Turn up to high heat.
  • Cook 5 minutes.
  • Add juice of 1/2 lime and a bit of crushed red pepper. Add fried tofu and basil cut into strips on top.
  • Add 1/2 of spicy lime sauce (see recipe below) on top, cover.
  • Serve over rice and garish with additional strips of basil and the rest of the spicy lime sauce.  
Spicy Lime Sauce 
  • Squeeze the juice of two limes into a bowl 
  • Add 1/8 a cup of Mirin (rice wine) 
  • Add 1/8 cup soy sauce 
  • Add 1/8 cup of your favorite stir fry sauce we used House of Tsang Classic Stir Fry Sauce.
  • Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
  • Add 1 teaspoon cayanne pepper. 
  • Add 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • Add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 
  • Add 1 teaspoon pepper 
  • Stir it all up! 
Simply Light Basil Lime Stir-Fry

Prep/Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Deliciousness Factor: 5 out of 5 stars! We almost never give the 5 star rating, but we both agreed, this is our best stir-fry yet. I love the sweet, spicy, tangy sauce and the fresh, flavorful taste of the ginger and bell peppers. The fried tofu absorbed the sauce and was a delight in this dish. I felt wonderfully satisfied, but also light after eating this, even though we enjoyed ours with beer. Brendan loves the colorful presentation and the fresh flavor of all the spices and especially the basil. All said, it was worth every minute we spent on it!

I also have some exciting news for those of you residing in Lake Charles. Today, Brendan and I dined at Isa's Authentic Latin Food located at 538 Alamo for the first time, and the enjoyable experience inspired me to write my first ever restaurant review. 

We ate Arepa's, Brendan ordered the pork and cheese, and I had mine with vegetables and cheese. They are Latin sandwiches on flat, unleavened, round, corn based bread, and they were truly wonderful. My vegetable Arepa wasn't on the menu, but they had no problem whipping it up. It had avocados, lettuce, and tomato in addition to the shredded cheese. It was healthy and kept me full for 7 hours! I especially enjoyed the fabulous garlic, herb mayo type sauce they served with it. Our Arepa's were only $4.95 each, which was one of my favorite things about this little place because I can't resist a good deal. I enjoyed mine with old fashioned bottled Mexican Coca-Cola, which was a perfectly sweet addition to my lunch. 
Arepa's for all!
Perhaps the best part of Isa's is the colorful and relaxing covered porch where guests can enjoy their meal. The chairs are comfy and pretty flowers and paper lanterns create a welcoming vibe that one hopes to experience when dining at any causal place. It was nice and quiet when we stopped by around 1:30 today.

Nice and cool on the covered porch
Isa's has some odd hours, so you might want to take note. Mondays they are closed, but they are open 11am-7pm Tuesday-Friday and 3pm-7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Their menu also features lots of yummy looking juices and daily plate specials. Don't pass it by, give Isa's a try!

Here's to eating good in your neighborhood (and I don't mean Applebee's). 
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time for Some Rest and Relaxation!

I'm happy to report that I've finished my graduate thesis, a collection of short stories entitled Taking Root, here it is, all 153 plus pages of it.
The last three years of my life in two binder clips.
Part of me feels relieved, but as with any creative project, I also have the sense that I'm never truly done. I feel a true sense of accomplishment though thinking about how my writing improved while earning my M.F.A. at McNeese, and I feel like I'm leaving with a better understanding of myself, my writing, and how to make my writing work and those skills are invaluable. I see the thesis as a milestone in my life, but it really marks a beginning more than an end. It seems like almost as soon as you figure out what your writing is trying to accomplish, it's time to graduate...the truth is, I'll always be asking myself that question and revising the answer. For now, I'm looking forward to what my committee has to say about my work and trying to take in every moment in these last hectic weeks of the semester. It's too early to get sappy yet, but there is going to be a lot I'll miss.

 By the way? Are you a Post It person like me? These listing Post Its came in a thesis care package from Brendan's mom, and they are one of my many obsessions. 

Home Goods Happy
I like to make a list of all the things I need to pack for school in the morning and leave it on my purse, so I remember to grab everything before heading out the door. My days of forgetting to bring a lunch and buying an eight dollar yucky lunch on campus are over! By the way, this is a cute gift idea...I love the cherry blossom box which makes for stylish desk organization and the pens, pencils, Note cards, and Post Its galore.

Now that I am done with the thesis, it's time for a little rest and relaxation tonight. I'm making two all natural beauty products to use in my bath tonight (red wine, bubbles, and chick Lit by Bridget Asher to be included). I've been making this face mask and body scrub since I was in middle school. I have vivid memories of visiting my cousin Amanda in New Orleans and making all kinds of messes with our "beauty regimens." Luckily, some of our creations actually proved to become staples of my grown-up beauty routine. The best part? The mask and scrub include only 3 inexpensive ingredients a piece, are proven to be effective, natural, good for your skin recipes, plus they happen to taste great if you accidentally end up sampling your facial. Here are my recipes for simple beauty at home.

Simple Sugar Scrub 

In a bowl, combine 1/2 a cup white sugar, 1/4 a cup olive oil, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.

In the bath, rub gently all over to exfoliate your skin. Wash with warm water. The result? Your skin will be clean and rejuvenated and the olive oil adds a natural moisturizer to leave skin feeling silky and soft. I love the subtle citrus smell as well.

Sweet Strawberry Facial 

One of my favorite summer fruits? Strawberries! I know it's still Spring, but I love making this mask year round.

In a bowl, mash 5-8 strawberries with a fork and combine with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 3 teaspoons honey. Leave on for 5-10 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Be careful not to apply mask too close to the eyes. The mask will be sticky, but your skin feels nice and fresh after, and the brown sugar is great for helping exfoliate. This mask is great for dry or combination skin types. Oily skin? Try adding 2 egg whites and a teaspoon of lemon juice, but eliminate the brown sugar.

I hope you love these blissfully relaxing beauty recipes as much as I do!

So delicious looking, Brendan thought they were dessert toppings.
Here's a picture from our reading at The Porch on Friday. Brendan and I had a wonderful experience reading and even received some press in the Lake Charles local paper. We'd like to thank the Southwest Louisiana Arts and Humanities Council for having us and everyone who came out to join us.

Reading at The Porch as part of the First Friday Reading Series
If you missed us, catch us at the upcoming McNeese M.F.A. graduate reading on May 21st where we will read with the other two fiction writers and three poets in our graduating class. For event info, including directions, see the left bar of the blog.

Here's to celebrating your milestones, and giving yourself a much needed break now and then!
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe

The Pretend Wife: A Novel

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy April!

Well, I have three gigantic mosquito bites, the pool at my apartment was being cleaned this afternoon, the highs are in the 80s now, and my tax refund came through. It can only mean one thing: spring! April 1st also marks two months of my blogging career. I want to share a few statistics with you about Lola and Zoe. My goal was to have 1,000 pageviews by the end of March, but I exceeded that number, coming in at 1,116. We get about 558 pageviews a month so far, have 18 followers, and 1 email follower. Lola and Zoe readers are worldwide, we've had pageviews from: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, India, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Ukraine, UAE, United Kingdom, and the United States. Whoa, that's a lot of places! Blogging has been an exciting adventure, and I hope to narrow down my focus at some point in the future, but for now, I'm enjoying being a bit all over the place (okay, very all over the place).

Scroll down on the left to see some things that are new to the blog including event info, quick links to all posts tagged with a specific subject, a search bar, and a few of our favorite blogs on related subjects. We also have a new email address. Send us questions, tell us what you'd like to see more of, and let us know what you think of the blog at:

In other news, I'm officially brunette! Here's the photo to prove it. 
I've always been into changing my hair. I find it very refreshing, and it's interesting to see the different ways strangers react to you as a blond, brunette, and redhead. I've done it all. See:


I'm sure by the summer, I'll do something else. Well, I'm very excited about my first fiction reading tonight. I'll be attending Alex Taylor's reading Saturday, and other than that, putting the finishing touches on my thesis this weekend. I hope all of you have a wonderful couple of days off. Enjoy the sunshine!

Here's to never being afraid of trying new things.
<3 Stacy, Lola & Zoe
The Name of the Nearest River: Stories (Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature)
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