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So this weekend there was a little awards show called The Oscars (you might have heard of it??). And as usual I stayed up far too late, eating too much chocolate and drinking wine because I just can’t give up until I see what took Best Picture. This year was good because I actually really enjoyed several of the movies (I adored The Artist, loved Midnight in Paris, admired Tree of Life, and thought The Descendants was pretty good…), and Jean DuJardin is my new French boyfriend.

I also loved many of the gowns! It seemed like an especially good fashion year…

Some of my favorites:

Michelle Williams

Natalie Portman (I wanted to steal this immediately!)

Gwyneth Paltrow (liked it better without the cape, but you know, yay for red carpet capes!)

Rooney Mara (no-one else could have pulled this off, but I love her weird, chilly style)

Penelope Cruz

Jessica Chastain (she is so beautiful and yet so iffy on the rc–I’m glad she pulled it off when it counted most!)

And I didn’t especially like Emma Stone’s dress (I was convinced I had seen her in something just like this before, but it turned out it was Nicole Kidman…), but she was by far the most entertaining thing in a very long evening (except for the Christopher Guest faux “Wizard of Oz” test group), and I just love her…

There wasn’t anyone I totally hated, but I do think Berenice Bejo could have done a lot better…

And what was up with Angelina Jolie and her crazy leg?? The dress was nice, though she was swimming in it, but I could not figure out what was with the weird posing…

I also found out I got my own award–though I don’t get a couture gown with it! The Shy Duchess won Cataromance’s Best Harlequin Historical of 2011…(See the list of winners here…)

Who were your favorite fashionistas at the Oscars this year? Who was your least favorite??

So, what is going on here this Tuesday? Well, lots of writing for one thing! I am still finishing up two different projects, the first in a new Laurel McKee series set in Victorian London (which now has an official title! One Naughty Night, June 2012) and an Amanda McCabe “Undone” story set around a wild Regency Christmas party. I do not recommend this write-two-things-at-once thing, but they’re almost done now, and since both are due June 1, I will have a month to recover before RWA! In the meantime, I have nothing coherent to say here, so this is what I’ve been doing lately:

I took a little break last weekend to go to Kansas City and see the Princess Diana exhibit on its last stop before it goes back to Althorp. It was fascinating to see so many of her famous gowns in person (including the wedding gown! It looked better on display than in photos, but it was still a lot of dress), along with some beautiful antique jewels and portraits of past Spencer women (including Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire). I also went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum to see the Monet water lilies triptych (the three panels put together for the first time since they were all sold to different museums decades ago), and did some shopping at The Plaza. It was a great time, but then it was back home to get to work…

Has anyone else been watching South Riding on “Masterpiece”? If not, you really, really should, as it is very good (and stars the fabulous Anna Maxwell Martin) and I can’t wait to see what happens. A big turnaround from the misbegotten new Upstairs Downstairs (I did like the monkey in that series, as well as the fabulous bias-cut gown Lady Agnes wore to the ill-fated cocktail party, but, er, that was about it).

In other news, my novella Snowbound and Seduced is a Bookseller’s Best finalist. Yay! I’ve been reading two great books, Chris Skidmore’s Death and the Virgin Queen (revisiting the mysterious death of Amy Robsart after new documents have been found) and the YA steampunk The Girl in the Steel Corset (I admit, I picked it up because of the cover, but it is a really fun read), and my roses are blooming and tomatoes are growing in this new hot weather.

That’s it for my Tuesday! What have you been doing lately? Read any good books, seen any good movies? (I’m trying to decide if I want to go see Thor and look at some mindless hunk-dom as a break from writing…). What’s your favorite Princess Diana fashion moment? Are you going to be at RWA next month?

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So how was everyone’s Valentine’s Day?? I ran into one of the usual V-Day perils–having to wait 2 hours for a table even with a reservation! Luckily I had some cute new pink ankle-strap shoes and lots of good people-watching (plus a protein bar in my purse!) so all went well.

And I have to send out thanks to Michelle Willingham for sending me this link to Cataromance’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards, which named To Catch a Rogue one of their favorites of the year. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

And in weather news here–the snow is finally GONE (for now, anyway), and the temp is in the 60s and 70s this week. But for a couple of weeks I was pretty much stuck in the house, and for a few days I basically sat around eating potato chips, taking naps, and reading stuff I downloaded to my Kindle. Then I started to feel pretty yucky, and I realized it was because I had missed my exercise. I’ve always been allergic to anything that feels like “exercise”–maybe it’s flashbacks to the hell that was middle school PE class. I will run on the treadmill when I have to, or even take a spin class if I’m feeling especially ambitious, but I prefer things that feel more like fun, like dance. And I absolutely swear by yoga. When I make it to class at least 3 times a week, I feel calmer, more energetic, and more creative, and my jeans fit better. It also helps me avoid the dreaded Writer’s Butt Syndrome.

Writing is an entirely sedentary job. When I’m close to a deadline, my muscles start to ache, I feel tired, I eat bad stuff, and I start talking to my cats like they know what I’m saying. (I also start shopping online more). Yoga and dance helps me stay flexible and alert–the fees ought to be tax deductible, because they’re a big key to feeling creative and keeping me from falling behind on my schedule. I just have to make myself do it, which is usually easier said than done.

But then there are days when I can’t make it out, and that’s when I break out the exercise DVDs. Here are a few I like:

The Bollywood Dance Workout (so much fun!)

Ballet Conditioning

Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss

The New York City Ballet Workout (this one is kind of a toughie, but it’s a great workout)

Getting enough sleep, eating right, and meditating are also important for me if I want to stay healthy and get the writing done, especially this time of year when I just want some sunshine, darn it!

What do you do to keep the creativity flowing and stay in shape?? Any tips for fun things to try? (A friend of mine swears by Zumba, which I have yet to try…) And what did you do for Valentine’s Day?

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