Friday, July 30, 2010

Love and Brownies

Mom makes brownies. Kids help. Each kid eats one brownie for dessert, declares it the most delicious thing she has ever eaten in her entire life, and then goes to bed. Dad comes home from work. Sees plate of brownies. Eats ALL of them.

There's a little story that happens all too often in our house.

But last night, five-year-old Gracie decided enough was enough. So, just before brushing her teeth and hopping into bed, she wrote a letter.

Dear Dad, it read.

Please do not eat all the brownies.

Love Gracie and Annelie

She made sure it was covered in hearts, so he still knows she loves him.
The fact that there wasn't a letter stopping ME from eating all the brownies did not go unnoticed.

Nom nom nom.

Happy Friday, folks!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Daddy Saturday @ TMD

If you've been wondering if I've blogged
over at The Mama Dramalogues lately...

The answer is OF COURSE! <- just click here!

Come on over to TMD and read all about how
I'm the luckiest person in the whole wide world on Saturdays!



Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Best Thing I Have Ever Seen

Seriously, the best thing I have ever seen.



Friday, July 23, 2010

Things on a Friday

Why We Read Art Print by Kathy R. Jeffords
(she's also known as The Dreamy Giraffe and is
my Etsy idol, just in case you were wondering)

I see Five Things on a Friday posts all the time, but I only have three things. So...

Thing #1 - A HUGE thank you to those of you who read my Princess and the Pea short story! I was so nervous to post it, but your comments kept me grinning all day long. Seriously, I love you guys.

Thing #2 - The super awesome Heather Kelly of the blog Edited to Within an Inch of my Life: Journeys Toward Publication and Beyond, interviewed me today, and it is up over HERE. I've been interviewed before, about my life as an illustrator with an Etsy shop, but this was my first interview about my writing life, and I was pretty excited.

Thing #3 - My awesome friend Kearsie wrote an ode to the Princess and the Pea which cracked me up. CHECK IT OUT!

That's all for today! Have a fantastic weekend, folks!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Princess and the Pea - A Short Story

Two things I never in a million years thought I'd do:

1. Write a short story

2. Post a piece of my fiction publicly on this blog

And here I'm doing both. But The Merry Sisters of Fate (authors Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton) are having a contest on their blog - to take the prompt, The Princess and the Pea by Edmund Dulac (image below) and create a piece of fiction for all the world to read - and the prizes are awesome, so I decided to enter.

Let me just say, all you short story writers out there - you have my deepest respect and admiration. Writing a short story is not easy! But without further ado, here's mine.

The Princess and the Pea
by Marisa Hopkins

Sitting on my suitcase to keep my ridiculous ruffle-clad butt from burning on the black asphalt, I can’t help thinking how much life sucks as I stick out my thumb and pray for a passing car. The annoying thing is this: I never even wanted to be a princess. That’s my mother’s deal.

“Just imagine, Evangeline,” she drawled with dreamy eyes ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. “One day you’ll marry a Tinkerton and all of Chandlers Gap will be yours…” and blah blah blah and something about kings and carriages and happily-ever-after.

It’s best to tune my mother out the second you see that dreamy look. Anything coming out of her mouth after that is the stuff nightmares are made of, a lot like the silk, ruffled dresses and glittering hair combs bursting from my closet.

When I was little, I hid all that princess junk under my bed, wishing I could wear jeans and sneakers like Allie Simms. Allie and her big brother Peter practically lived outdoors, wallowing in the pond between our yards all summer long. I watched them through the parlor window, where I was stuck, locked up like Rapunzel, pricking my fingers on my embroidery needle and sipping sweet tea like the princess I was raised to be. I could never play in the mud with Allie and Peter. Always had to be as clean and sparkly as the Cartier ring my mother imagined on my manicured finger.

Peter Simms had skinny arms, but he also had these sparkly blue eyes I could see all the way from my window. When he laughed it was better than pecan pie and I used to imagine him riding upon a great white horse and whisking me far, far away from Chandlers Gap.

But I’m not a kid with a head full of daydreams anymore. I’m sixteen and, according to my mother, plenty ripe for the picking.

“Did you hear it?” she exclaimed at breakfast just yesterday. “Your time to be real princess has finally come!”

My stomach turned sour straight away and I couldn’t even finish my cinnamon bun.

She was talking about the announcement made by Emmanuel Johnson Tinkerton - better known as Mr. Manny the Mattress King – of his search for a sweet young debutante for his son, Theodore Robert. I wasn’t at all surprised when my mother grabbed my hand, pulled me up from the breakfast table, and skipped to the Tinkerton mansion. There, I was lined up alongside all the other belles in town, including Allie Simms.

What could be so bad about Theodore Robert that his daddy had to find him a bride, I had no idea. But then there he stood. Face like a toad, only no princess could kiss him back to Prince Charming. The way his top lip curled as he grinned at all of us made every one of my corkscrew curls stand on end.

I expected to be judged from rear to head like a prize heifer, but I didn’t expect to end up blotchy-faced and bleary-eyed after a night spent atop forty mattresses and a friggin’ pea. I guess picking a princess isn’t a scientific matter. All you need is the world’s biggest bed and a legume from the garden. And wouldn’t you know it; the other girls didn’t even feel that pea. They all slept soundly while I tossed and turned.

Turns out, nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.

It was when I saw my mother’s face and hands clasped to her heart, after Mr. Manny announced that Miss Evangeline Coleman (that would be me) was destined to marry his toad of a son that I decided the time had come for me to hike up my skirt, turn on my heels, and run like hell.

But I’ve been sitting here on Elmwood Avenue, the blistering sun melting my skin into a puddle, waiting in vain for a car to go by for the last three hours. I could walk into town, find a bus to whisk me away like a knight in shining armor, but my glass slippers would probably break along the journey and I wouldn’t get far in bare feet.

It’s when I see Peter Simms’s beat up clunker coming down the street that my eyes just about pop from my head. He’s changed a lot since the days when I watched Allie and him from the parlor window. His once skinny arms are now mighty fine, all tan and muscled from working around Simms farm, and I always have to take a deep breath before I see those sparkly blue eyes of his. The last time I saw him, at Virginia Cooper’s Sweet Sixteen a month ago, my knees went weak and I almost fell flat on my face.

Of all people to see me sweating like a cow in my frilly pink dress and crown of curls, why does it have to be Peter Simms? Life just doesn’t stop sucking.

Peter pulls up in front of me and rolls his window down. My cheeks burn and I hope he thinks they’re red from the sun. His eyes fix on my thumb, still sticking out.

“The princess left her tower, huh? Where you headed, Evangeline?”

He has this sweet-as-strawberry-lemonade smile that does something funky to my nerves and I almost chicken out of running away completely. Do I really want to leave Chandlers Gap and never see Peter Simms smile again? No, of course I don’t. But do I want to stay and marry Theodore Robert Tinkerton, the future king of Mattress Land?

Absofreakin’lutely not.

“I don’t know,” I say with a shrug, hoping I look a little bit cool. “New York, maybe?”

His smile turns into a grin. “You mean there’s a life outside Chandlers Gap?”

“I sure as hell hope so,” I tell him, shielding my eyes from the sun and drinking in as much of his smile as I can.

He whistles when he sees I’m serious. “Damn. I figured you’d say you’re headed to the Stop ‘n Save. You’re really leaving town?”

“I’m supposed to marry Theodore Robert Tinkerton first thing in the morning. What do you think?”

He finds my answer amusing, his mouth twitching at the corner as he studies me. I find his expression as cute as a pile of puppies. Then Peter pulls open his door, hops out and before I know it, he’s pulling me up off my suitcase and yanking the passenger door open. “Hop in.”

“You’re serious?”

“Someone has to rescue you. Might as well be me.”

I gawk at him as I slide into the seat, hardly able to believe my luck. Peter Simms is really going to drive me out of this town? His rusted clunker might not be a great white horse, but I’ll take it.

“Where were you going?” I ask. He picks up my suitcase and tosses it into the backseat of his car before shutting the door after me. When he’s back behind the steering wheel he answers.

“I was on my way to the Stop ‘n Save. Allie’s planning on drowning herself in butter brickle since she didn’t feel a pea or something while she was sleeping.” He scratches his head before shrugging carelessly and pushing on the gas. “Not really sure what that’s all about, but I had to get away from her wailing.”

My forehead crinkles automatically. Why would Allie Simms cry over not getting to marry the future king of Mattress Land when she’d grown up with blue jeans and freedom? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

Once we’re closer to town, Peter turns to me again. “Is the Greyhound station in Peach Creek okay? Do you have any cash?”

“Enough for new clothes, a ticket out of here and a place to stay for a few days while I figure things out,” I tell him, reaching down to pull off the glass slippers. They’re glued to my feet with sweat and I have to work to pry them off. I roll the window down.

“Aren’t you scared of being on your own?”

“Not half as scared as I am of being stuck here for the rest of my life.”

Peter nods at that. “What’s your mama going to say?”

“My mother can kiss my ruffled butt.” I toss the shoes out the window, barely hearing the tinkling sound as they shatter against the side of the road.

He eyes me curiously. “Evangeline Coleman, you’re not the princess I always thought you were.”

I lean back in my seat and close my eyes. Delicious gusts of freedom beat against my face along with the wind.

“Didn’t you know, Peter Simms? I’m not a princess at all. Now if you wouldn’t mind making one quick little stop, I’m in need of some jeans and sneakers.”


A special thanks to my crit partners - Alyssa, Tina, Dena, and Kearsie - for being awesome! And also, for patting my head and telling me I will survive posting my fiction publicly. Thanks, awesome peeps!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Swim, Little Duckling! Swim!

(click the above image to be magically transported to my post!)

Hey! Guess where I am today!

(if you guessed The Mama Dramalogues, you'd be correct)

Come on by TMD and read all about how
I'm completely uptight when it comes to letting
my kids grow up and swim away from me.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interview with a 3.5 Year Old

I did this interview on Gracie when she was three-and-a-half, so I thought I'd try it on Annelie now that it is her turn as a three-and-a-half-year-old.

1. What is something Mom always says to you?
Go play outside.

2. What makes Mom happy?
When me and Gracie be quiet
(well, you know the saying... children should be seen and not heard)

3. What makes Mom sad?
When me and Gracie break her stuff.

4. How does your Mommy make you laugh?
By making silly faces
(Gracie said the same thing. I wonder if they'll figure out later in life that my face just really looks like that)

5. What was your Mom like as a child?
Very sad

6. How old is your mom?
(Sure! I'll take it!)

7. How tall is your mom?
Stand up. Let me see.
[I stand up. Annelie points at me]
You're THAT tall!

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Play at the playground.
(She's right. As soon as she's in bed I head straight to the park and swing on the swings and go on the monkey bars and slide down the slide... )

10. What is your mom really good at?
Printing things on the computer.
(I got mad printing skillz, yo)

11. If Mom became famous, what would it be for?
Giving people food.

12. What is Mom not very good at?
Holding the very big circle mirror.
(I object. I am very good at holding the very big circle mirror. In fact, one might consider me an expert at holding the very big circle mirror since I've hung it on our wall in 3 of our houses/apartments. Yeah, that's right. EXPERT)

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Work on the computer.

14. What is your mom's favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
When she gives me water.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
A fireman

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Draw and work on workbooks.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Because we have the same hair.

19. How are you and your mom different?
Because we have different skin. See? You have yellow skin and I have yellow skin.
Me: but if we both have yellow skin, doesn't that mean we have the same skin?
Annelie: No, because look at our arms. See? You have skin and I have skin.
(Uh, yeah... makes perfect sense...)

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because I love YOU!

Got a little kiddo of your own? Go on and interview them! You never know what will come out of their mouth!



Monday, July 19, 2010

Writing Style Awesomeness

There's a link tearing through the world of writer blogs and I just had to check it out... Find out which famous writer you write like.

So, I went to the site, pasted in a scene from the book I'm writing, and got the result:

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I've never actually read anything by Chuck Palahniuk, but I have seen the movie Fight Club - which is awesome - and have decided I am completely badass (Chuck wrote the book. Yes, we're on a first name basis. We are identical writing twins, after all).

And if a movie version of my book were to be made, I'm 100% positive that Brad Pitt and Edward Norton would be in it. I'll ignore the fact that there aren't any adult male characters in my book and just focus on Brad and Edward and my badassness. Actually, I do have a black-haired, crazy, female baddie in my story and if my book were a movie, Helena Bonham Carter would be perfect for that role...

Okay, it's sorted. Helena be my baddie and Brad and Edward can feed me grapes off set while I'm lounging around, hanging with the director and other actors in my movie. Sounds perfect, right?


Anyway, its a fun little link and you don't need to be a writer to try it out. You can stick in text from anything you've written, even blog posts, to see which famous writer you write like.

Now I'm off to my library to check out a book by Chuck, to see if I even like his writing style. I might cry if I don't.

Happy Monday, folks!


Thursday, July 15, 2010


After picking a winner for my giveaway - which is none other than WENDIWINN - I wanted to post a congratulatory video. And what better way to celebrate than with a marching band!


But also, I wanted to show my sympathy for those who did not win since I know all the rest of you who entered and lost are deeply disappointed (right? Yeah, that's what I thought). OK Go is the only band that offers both celebration and a reminder that you can't let the disappointment of not winning my Elegant Snobbery giveaway get you down. The disappointment shall pass.

(or maybe I'm just an OK Go fan and wanted an excuse to post this video)

Congrats to Winn and thank you everyone else who entered my giveaway and tweeted/blogged/facebooked all about me!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Creepy Crawlers and Slimy Things

HEY! I'm over at The Mama Dramalogues today!
Talking about my 3-year-old and her
obsession with sticking icky critters in her hair.

Come on over!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Outta the Mouths of Babes: Annelie At Her Finest

This picture, taken by my uncle, captures my 3-year-old perfectly.

Annelie [both hands behind her back]: Guess which hand.

Me: Um, that one.

Annelie [pulls empty hand from behind back]: Wrong.

Me: Um, the other one.

Annelie [pulls other empty hand from behind back]: Wrong.

Me: You don't have anything for me?

Annelie [reaches down the front of her dress. Digs through her underpants. Pulls out a handful of pretzels]: Here you go! It's your snack!

That's all the fun for today. Happy Monday, folks!

(and in case you are wondering, I did not eat my snack. I repeat: did not eat snack)


Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Flashback: Middle School Marisa

Because of the awesome file cabinet my mom gave me when I was ten, I've saved many old projects from my school days, particularly middle school projects. It's fun looking through them. I was such a creativity nerd back in the day and I didn't even realize it.

Between the ages of 10 and 14, if you'd asked me if I was a smart girl I would have rolled my eyes and said, "No way, uh-uh. I get the worst grades ever," and meant it. My grades in school were horrible. Instead of doing my homework, I hid it in a box under my bed. Add to that the fact that I was fairly rebellious, and it's no surprise I spent a lot of time in group counseling with all the other failing-middle-school trouble-makers. I was even expelled from one of my classes because I was such a pain in the *bleeeeep* and my teacher wanted me out of her life forever.

But when it came to creative class projects, oh man, was I in my element. If a homework assignment involved art in some way, I always got a perfect grade. I poured my little tween heart into all of them, determined to be a shining star.

The above picture is from my seventh grade English/History class. For this particular project, we were supposed to make a missing person's poster for one of the main characters in the book we were reading, The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (a fantastic middle grade for all you MG book lovers out there).

At the age of twelve, I loved this book. I flipped out over this book. It takes place in 15th century Poland and I wanted to be a historical fiction writer back then. Needless to say, I had this book finished the day after my teacher handed it out for us to read as a class. When she assigned this poster project, I attacked it in my usual creative-project fashion and I went above and beyond the call of duty by walking to the town library after school and checking out books on calligraphy and historical European costumes so I could make as accurate a missing person's poster as I could. I spent hours practicing my calligraphy and designing the red and blue costume for my poster. I got an A. There's even a little note on the bottom from my teacher asking if she could keep it ... I guess I said no, since I still have it.

Looking back, it makes me sad that I thought I was so dumb in my grade school days. I wish I could go back in time and chuck a handful of self-esteem and common sense at young me. Force myself to pull my homework from under my bed and actually do it. And of course, tell myself to be a little nicer to those poor teachers of mine.

Ten years after seventh grade, I ran into the teacher who assigned this missing person's poster project. I was in college, coaching after-school cheerleading at the elementary school her daughter attended. She remembered me on sight and asked how my art was going. I couldn't believe she even remembered me, let alone the fact that art was my thing. I might have been a disaster of a student when it came to my middle school days, but at least I made a positive impression when it came to my creativity!


Have a flashback of your own to share? Head on over to Tia's blog for Flashback Friday, the coolest meme in town. No, really. The coolest.

(And, in case you were curious... I was expelled from 8th grade Leadership. As it turned out, middle-school Marisa was a very good leader (not to be confused with a very nice leader). I used to organize and put into motion all sorts of class rebellions and my poor Leadership teacher (who I hated back then) got fed up and kicked me out, leaving me to hang out with the school principal every day during 4th period. I didn't mind. The principal thought I was charming and used to have me to tell him stories all period long. Happy memories of class expulsion. I make my mama proud)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sparklers, Slumber Parties, and Flaming Poop

My awesome friend and fellow blogger, April, tossed her kids in the car and drove hours and hours and hours to hang out with me this past weekend. A fun time was had by all. April and I crafted, watched Eclipse, and made an insane amount of cake truffles. The kids played, played some more, and then ate said cake truffles.

There is a possibility that on Sunday, while I was at the grocery store, the check-out guy said, "Having a great 4th of July?" and I might have given him a blank stare and asked, "That's today?"

Holiday or not, I lose track of the days waaaay too often. But I pulled out our bag of fireworks and we all cheerfully celebrated the birth of America, including our resident Brit, who prefers to call it Good Riddance Day.

I forgot to sing all the patriotic songs I know, and march around the living room like I did last year... but that is probably a good thing.

Hurry for sparklers, snaps and flaming dog poop.

(Some people call them snakes... but I like to call it as I see it)

See? Flaming dog poop.

The kids were clearly impressed.

The girls all had the Best. Time. EVER this weekend.

And the reason... SLEEPOVER PARTY!

Now we're all catching up on our sleep.

And eating the remaining cake truffles. Yum.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Super Duper Summer SALE (and a Giveaway - hurray!)

I used to have sales a lot more frequently, but alas, my poor Elegant Snobbbery shop has been neglected these last few months and I haven't had a good sale in ages. So. Time for a summer sale, methinks!

Because I probably won't have another sale for at least half a year or so, I'll make it a good one. A VERY good one.

In fact, for the next two weeks (July 1st - July 14th) everything in my shop will be 50% off (prices as marked).

Yup, that's right. Everything. HALF OFF.

But that's not all... if you, my totally rad readers, post my sale on your blog/facebook/twitter/email-spam-to-everyone-you-know .... you will be entered to win a GIVEAWAY of any one item in my shop (your choice of item, big or small) absolutely, positively, 100% FREE

(Believe what you will)

How to enter my giveaway:

Please leave a comment to THIS post letting me know where you've promoted my shop sale! Each location you've promoted will get you ONE entry to win (and if you really do spam everyone you know in an email, that counts as one entry total - and also, wow, thanks!)

So come on by Elegant Snobbery and have a happy summer, folks!


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