Book Review: Lisa Jakub’s You Look Like That Girl

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

When I was a teenager, I received a lot of comments regarding the striking resemblance I bore to Lisa Jakub. Friends and relatives just couldn’t get over how much we looked alike. I’d go so far as to say she’s my celebrity doppelganger. When I found out she was working on her debut novel, I knew I wanted to get to know the girl who’d appeared to be a lot like me, yet had lived an entirely different lifestyle and had vastly different experiences than I had. I wanted to learn more about the girl who’d decided at the age of 22 to end her acting career and take the road less traveled, for her. I was incredibly intrigued!


You Look Like That Girl: A Child Actor Stops Pretending and Finally Grows Up takes us through Lisa’s journey. She was discovered at the age of four, an age where most children are focused on preschool, not the camera. She quickly cemented herself as a quick-witted professional, talented and admired by the numerous big-name celebrities she’s worked with. I love the way Lisa describes her celebrity encounters. This isn’t a trashy tell-all. She writes with class and dignity, even when she references someone she didn’t particularly care for. She’s appreciative, regardless of the circumstances.

Even though Lisa and I are worlds apart where life experiences are concerned, I feel as though she’s very relatable. So many of us have been through circumstances where we feel lost, not sure of what we should do or which direction we should go in, in order to seek out happiness. The feeling of doing what’s best based on what others expect of us, not wanting to let anyone down. It’s a tough place to be in, no matter the occupation.

I was always impressed with Lisa as an actress, but I’m even more impressed with her as a writer. Lisa is so honest and very candid on what she’s been through. It’s led her to the person she is today. I felt like I was getting a glimpse behind-the-scenes of what it’s really like when your life is under a microscope. It’s not easy. If you feel like you’re in a place where you want to seek out your own happiness, take a cue from Lisa, and check out You Look Like That Girl.

To Be (Or Not to Be)

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  After reading my post, click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise asked us to look back at our missed callings.  Talk about those jobs or paths you now realize might have been good choices, and why.

I’m not sure if this is standard procedure at all high schools, but in mine, all students were given an aptitude test. Your biggest strengths. Your biggest weaknesses. Apparently, someone had figured out that a human being could be categorized based on answers filled in using a number #2 pencil. The end all, be all of personality tests. Afterwards, I had to meet with the school counselor and talk about my answers (there are no right or wrong ones, Sara) and my impending future.

It’s interesting how many options on that list I’ve thought deeply about and halfheartedly pursued. Some may have panned out if I’d given more effort. On the flip side, some of the professions I feel I’ve outgrown as time has gone on. What would have worked for me then certainly wouldn’t now. Here’s a list of what I thought I’d wanted to be when I grew up (and what was actually on the computerized print out):


I did pursue this profession in my early 20’s. I thought it would be the perfect fit for me and my then-husband. He was in the military, which meant a lot of transition for us. I wanted a job I could do anywhere. Most schools need teachers. I even started community college, with the mindset of gaining my associates in liberal arts and transferring to a great college in Nebraska that focused heavily on teaching. A lot of personal factors played into my ditching college. Years later, after having my first child, I realized I didn’t have the patience for teaching, not like I did before having my own children. You know those people who say, “I love my own kids but don’t really like other people’s kids?” That’s totally me. Not that I dislike children. I like them all right, but I want to focus on wrangling my own.


When I was attending community college, I focused a lot on psychology courses. I loved it. The human psyche is like this one big gigantic puzzle, just waiting to be figured out. I think I give good advice, I think I can be a great shoulder to lean on for a friend when they are looking for some solace, but I don’t think I’d make a good counselor. I’m too much of an empath. I carry other people’s weight on my shoulders. I’d be the type to bring my work home with me, unable to shake off issues that don’t belong to me. I decided it would be better to stick with helping my friends and family with their problems, and leave the counseling to the professionals.


I was in drama and school productions in high school. And in middle school. I was acting out various soap opera scenes in front of a mirror when I was just a little thing. I even took a few acting courses after high school, and was offered a walk-on role for a movie my first Arizona go-around, years ago. After a lot of soul-searching, I realized I am just too private of a person to put my life out there for everyone to judge, to criticize. I didn’t feel ready for that kind of commitment or scrutiny. Not to mention the crazies that might come squirming out of the woodwork. When I pass by local theaters, I still get that buzz in my stomach. And sometimes, I wonder what would happen if I applied for a job or auditioned for a role somewhere. Not with any aspirations of being famous, just to do some acting on the side.

Real Estate

Property management fell into my lap over a decade ago. I didn’t know I’d enjoy it as much as I did, when I applied for a job at a local apartment community. I was given an opportunity to extend my work into real estate, in 2003, but turned it down. I decided to stick with my mentor and continue working for her, instead. I’m glad I did, but I’ve gone back and forth on whether I should pursue my real estate license. I love looking at homes. I loved showing apartments and working with people. I think I have a knack for it and know I’d do well. But, I’m not sure if it’s the career I want to continue on with, for the rest of my life.


There have been so many opportunities I’ve let go of, when it comes to my writing. Like acting, writing puts your soul out there for everyone to see. I’m terrified of that, but it excites me, too. The other night, my husband and I were lamenting about the passions in our life that we’d either given up on or had allowed to pass us by. One of his had been voice acting. He’d been convinced that it was something he’d given up on until he’d attended voice acting lessons in Omaha. He decided that it really wasn’t his calling, and would have never known if he’d never tried it out. After he told me this, he looked me dead in the eye and said, “You can be a writer. I know you can.” He’s always been one of my biggest supporters. He thinks I’ve got it in me, and I know I do, too. It’s the one thing I’ve loved doing since I was six years old, the one thing I keep coming back to over and over again. What I’m extremely passionate about…

And the one thing that was not listed as a career option on the computerized print out.

The Things I Would Have Never Imagined…

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  After reading my post, click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Tracey often chooses thought-provoking topics, and this week is no exception. I would have never imagined…

I was trying hard to narrow my list down to one, single, solitary thing. Only, I couldn’t do it. There are too many events, circumstances, life experiences- so, here’s a top ten list of the things that blow my mind on a near-daily basis. In no particular order:

My kids growing up so quickly. Whenever I receive a gigantic box from FedEx, the one my sister has so carefully packed up and shipped to me with loving care, I know I’m in for a nostalgic experience. We’ve been clothes-swapping for years. When my big guy outgrows something, I ship it to my sister. My nephew will wear it, and then she’ll send it back to me when he’s outgrown the item, so the little guy gets some use out of it. I received a box yesterday. Inside were long-sleeved shirts, pajamas. The stuff my big guy was wearing for what feels like just the other day, only, I know it’s not the case. Where did the time go? I remember bringing the little guy home from the hospital. He’ll be five next month. People have told me how quickly the time goes, but I didn’t believe them. I remind myself to enjoy my children. Even when it feels like the most difficult task in the world with a brooding ten year old, and a soon-to-be five year old who insists on doing everything you tell him not to. Enjoy them.



Moving back to Arizona. It used to be this dream of ours, a carrot dangled precariously in front of us, never really attainable. Something we’d thought about, entertained, attempted to do, only to have our dreams fall flat a mere few years ago. And here we are. We’re in a state of transition, still, but it’s getting easier. I think we’re all appreciating this move in various ways.

How much losing a loved one can hurt. I’ve been fairly lucky. For most of my life, I never experienced the tragedy of losing someone close to me. Unfortunately, I was ill-prepared. I’d say I’m awkward and a bit of an idiot, concerning death. I didn’t know how to comfort others who were dealing with the loss of a loved one, because I had no idea how it felt, what it was like. Getting emotional, that’s never been easy for me. When one of my best friends passed away a few years ago, it stripped me down to the bare bones of who I am, right to my soul. I think it’s changed me, my perspective on life and how I view the world. Just the other day, I needed advice on something, and I know she would have been the perfect person to ask. It still hurts.

I’d be a runner. I remember a time where I’d scoff at runners, sweating their asses off. Now I’m the one getting the occasional looks. And now when I see someone running, I give them a silent prayer of encouragement. And appreciation.


I’d feel more introverted. I think in some ways I’ve always been a closeted borderline introvert, never knowing it. I can spend hours on my own, relishing in it. I just want to be by myself. I don’t need to have others around me. I spend less time with other grown-ups and more time with my children, my husband. The circle of friends has dwindled significantly over the years. I appreciate that. I feel as though those friendships are the ones that will last a lifetime.

I’d enjoy drinking tea. Yeah, I do. I still hate coffee, though.

I’d care less about the little things. What’s the point? Life is too short. I’ve had to let go of a lot of the little things that used to irk and irritate me. Or, trying to hold myself up to some ridiculous standard that no one else cares about, anyway.

I’d enjoy health shakes. It helps that my husband works for a health supplement organization. He’s managed to bring home samples, and now I’m hooked. The thought of drinking  strange concoctions scared me for years. Now, I like them. A lot, and often drink one after a good workout in the morning.  I won’t go so far as to say I’m a huge health nut now, or anything. I do like my shakes, though.

I’d gain more of a voice the older I get. My friend, the one who passed away, I always envied her strong voice. She had opinions, she didn’t care what anyone thought about them. She told me how afraid she was to speak her mind, to do her own thing in her younger years. She said, “We’re a lot alike.” I couldn’t see it then, but I see it now. Maybe that’s something a lot of us go through. The older we get, the more vocal we become.

That I’d be married to my husband. Even now, we’ll look at each other and say, “Am I really married to you?” We’ve known each other for so long, and back in the day there would have been no way, not in a million years that the two of us would ever be together, and certainly  not married! Sometimes, he’ll call me “Cover”, my maiden name, the name he remembers me by when we used to work together all those years ago. It’s funny how life turns out, when you least expect it.


Book Review: The Plate Spinner Chronicles

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

I’m currently a stay-at-home parent, a hard job that can feel overwhelming at times. I’ve been on the other side of the coin, however. The parent who not only has to parent, but is holding down a job outside of the home, too. The one who rushes her child to preschool, praying she’ll make it to work on time, only to take her lunch break in order to pick said child up from preschool and to the sitter, then back to work, then back to the sitter again, heading home with just enough energy to prepare dinner, get a bath ready, a book or two (sometimes three), only to fall into bed to prepare for it all again the next day. It’s overwhelming, on hyper-drive!

Barbara Valentin has put together a collection of articles from her bestselling “Assignment: Romance” series, which speak to the hardworking parents out there, the ones who continually feel as though they are spinning numerous plates at once. I loved the various tips and pointers Barbara offers up, ways to avoid dinner drama meltdowns, or a checklist for those who have a business at home, trying to juggle family life with work life. The thing is, her suggestions can apply to everyone, not just the ones who have careers outside (or inside) of the home. There are time saving tips, along with money saving suggestions, too. It works for all of us, no matter where we are in life or what path we’ve chosen to go on where our families are concerned.

I’m a big fan of the “Assignment: Romance” series. False Start and Help Wanted (reviewed here) are two of my favorite reads, and The Plate Spinner Chronicles is such a great addition to the family. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you have to keep going, spinning those plates as best you can, trying hard to prevent any from falling through the cracks. And if one does? You have to let it go. There’s only so much you can do while you’re spinning the plates of your life.


Book Review: Laura Chapman’s First and Goal… plus a giveaway!

Review for Chick Lit Central (enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card!)

Harper Duquaine comes from a family of football enthusiasts. Problem is, she never paid much attention to the ins and outs of the game. In an attempt to play nice and gain acceptance from her co-workers, she joins their fantasy football league, only to find out that it’s not nearly as simple as she figured it would be. Who knew the intricacies involved with choosing a lineup? Taking into account real-life player’s stats, not to mention the role fate plays during any given game, there’s never a sure guarantee. It’s a gamble from one lineup to the next! What did she get herself into?

Harper doesn’t like to gamble. Not with her stats, or her heart. When she finds herself falling for Brook, a high school football coach who has a heart of gold, she knows she needs to put her feelings in check and keep her eye on the prize. He’s a fellow league member. It’s not a good idea to get involved with your competition, especially the guy who has a winning streak. It’s best to keep things as professional as possible. If only her heart would obey!

I have to admit to something. Me, personally? I’ve never been a fan of football. I didn’t grow up around football enthusiasts. No one in my family ever took in a game, we never got excited over throwing the ol’ pigskin around, or had a favorite team we rooted for. I catch the occasional Super Bowl while chowing down on chips and dip, but that’s about it. Laura Chapman has done a phenomenal job creating fun, realistic characters that you will easily identify with and fall for, no matter your football background. After reading Harper’s experiences, I’ve had a major change of heart. I want to sign up with a league myself!

It takes a lot of guts to play in what might be considered a “man’s game.” First & Goal proves to all of us that it doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a girl. All that matters is whether or not you’ve got your head in the game.


Quit Trying to Make Remakes Happen!

I’ve really missed my Blog Group! If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  After reading my post, click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

There are a few things you need to know about me.  When I’ve read a book, or watched a movie, I rarely watch it or read it again. There are exceptions to this rule. Given enough time and distance, I can re-read The Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger) book series. Just the other day, I felt compelled to watch Girls Just Want to Have Fun, for the 30th time. Sometimes I’ll have an overwhelming urge to re-watch or re-read something, but it’s not often.

I’m not big on sequels, or prequels, either. It’s usually never as good as the first movie, in my humble opinion. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, too. Where would any of us have been without Lord of the Rings, or The Hunger Games? Star Wars . The sequels are a continuation of an important story. But I hate it when there’s a movie (not Star Wars. Star Wars is THE exception) that has any sequel that goes over III. (You know who you are, certain horror movies, and a movie franchise that rhymes with Socky.)

And the biggest no-no for me, my number one complaint, the thing that really unnerves me to no end?  REMAKES.


Melissa (Merry Land Girl) and I have had conversations about this off and on for months now, and see eye to eye. If you want to watch the original, watch the original! If you want to see how bad ass Brandon Lee was in The Crow, watch it. Don’t remake it. (Feels a little blasphemous to me, especially with this particular movie). I don’t care who you get for the remake, it won’t be anywhere near as good as the original.

For this week, Melissa asked: What are FIVE movies that should never, ever, EVER be re-made? (Talk about why for each of them.) Including The Crow, here  are a few movies that hit me right where it hurts, with their remakes:

Dirty Dancing. Seriously? I loved Jennifer Grey as Baby. And come on, who will ever fill Patrick Swayze’s shoes? Anything even remotely attempting to replicate this original would feel shoddy to me.

The Never Ending Story. This one makes me want to cry. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. I couldn’t wait to share it with my boys. It would make me sick to my stomach to see it tampered with, CGI’ed, the whole nine yards. I feel as though a big part of it’s charm and appeal comes from the nostalgia of it.

Gremlins. Boo.

Jumanji. Double Boo.

Can’t they (networks, movie conglomerates, whoever it is that deems themselves the creative geniuses behind the industry) come up with something unique? Original? Why take something  so fantastic, just as it was, only to twist it, modernize it? It’s a futile attempt.


I have to admit, there are TWO examples of remakes gone decent that I will recognize. The anomaly. In all honesty, the remake of Sabrina (1995) was pretty damn good. It would have to be, with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond. Or, Battlestar Galactica. (circa 2004-2009). That was an awesome series.

But for every good remake (few and far between) there are a ton of stinkers. Like, the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner do over, Guess Who. Or, Planet of the Apes. (I say this with much chagrin; I love Mark Wahlberg).  Lost in Space. Footloose. The Karate Kid.  Arthur.  There are many more on the horizon, and I’m not looking forward to it. This will become my new mantra:

(ironically, The Princess Bride is yet another movie set to be made over. Inconceivable!)



Blog Group’s Back, All Right!

I’ve really missed my Blog Group! If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  After reading my post, click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

(the inspiration for the title of my post today)

Well, here we are. It’s been a few months since our group decided to go on a hiatus, taking a break over the summer. The last time I blogged with the group, I had just received the shortest haircut of my life! I was stressed out, worrying if the house we were working so hard on would actually sell when we put it on the market, planning a big move from Nebraska to Arizona. It feels like so much has happened in my own life within a small window of time, I couldn’t help but ask my fellow bloggers, “What have you been up to the last few months?” 

The house I was worrying so much about? It sold within four hours. Four! Soon, we were on our way to Arizona. Me. The husband. The two boys. A dog. A cat. And a guinea pig. It feels as though that long drive happened years ago. Has it only been two months?

We’ve spent the summer settling in, getting used to our new surroundings. The house is in order, for the most part. Don’t look in our garage. We’re acclimating to super hot weather, although the past few days have reminded me of Nebraska summers. It’s monsoon season here, so it’s been gray, cloudy, and rainy.

The 10-year old started 5th grade. I know that was a big transition for him, going from a school he’d attended since kindergarten, knowing everyone, to a brand-new school where he didn’t know anyone. By the end of the week he’d made friends, most of them girls. Of course. He says he loves his school, impressed by the size of it and the fact that he has a variety of options during lunch time, when he chooses to partake in hot lunch. They even have an awesome salad bar!

The first day
The first day

I started homeschooling my preschooler. Five days a week, we work roughly 2 1/2- 3 hours on preK curriculum through A Beka Academy. One of my best friends has had her daughters in A Beka for years, and they love it. We love it, too. I didn’t have many options when we moved here initially, since the preschools were either full or three times what we paid for preschool back in Nebraska. The little guy is mastering his letters and numbers, he really enjoys the curriculum and I can work one-on-one with him, preparing him for kindergarten.

Playing with Play-Doh
Playing with Play-Doh
Learning his vowels
Learning his vowels

The weather has been too hot for outdoor play. We’ve had to get creative while we’ve waited out the summer, which reminds me of Nebraska winters. Okay, so, the temperatures are totally different, but the outcome is still the same. You’re holed up inside, with nothing to do while you pray for a change in scenery. When in doubt? Fort it out!


I’ve had a lot more early morning runs. I absolutely love it. I like our neighborhood, I like the multiple running paths and trails I have to choose from. I’ve been venturing out, too. I participated in a yoga class the other night, half a mile from home. Some of the postures were new to me, unique. But, the vibe was still the same. I felt like I was “home”.

We lost our beloved dog, Duke. That was hard on all of us. He was nearing 14 years of age, but we thought we’d have him around a lot longer. He had the youthful spirit of a puppy. I still think he’s sleeping somewhere in a corner, or I expect him to greet me at the door like he used to. That’s the hardest part when you lose a pet. They become part of the family, part of your routine. We miss him a lot.

Duke, Chance and the little guy, 2014
Duke, Chance and the little guy, 2014

We’ve done a lot of exploring, spending family time together on the weekends. We’ve gone for walks, checked out the local parks, visited the Phoenix Children’s Museum, and my husband introduced us to The Chuck Box, an awesome burger joint. It’s been a busy few months, but it’s been well worth it.

Now, I’m going to check out what my fellow bloggers have been up to. I hope you do the same. Welcome back to Thursdays, ladies!

A Mom On The Run

Happy, Healthy & Fit

The real key to happiness is a lifestyle which encompasses good health, being active, and a positive outlook on life

Melissa Num Num

A cautionary tale about grown up mean girls or adventures in the world of free market education

Welcome to the Fleur-Flowers Blog

Very Pretty Flowers for Weddings and Everyday

Birth of a New Brain

Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder a.k.a. Bipolar, Peripartum Onset


Astrology Readings for the Soul.

Lisa Jakub

A blog about acting. And then not acting.

two dogs and a camera


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