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My Passions

(Besides my husband and family—and books, of course!—in alphabetical order, because I couldn't possibly rank them…)

Cooking and Recipes

I love cooking, and I have more recipes than I'll ever be able to use…yet I still keep searching for more and typing them into my recipe file. It's a sickness! I get bored making the same thing over and over, so I'm constantly subjecting my family to new dishes that sometimes work brilliantly but other times tank. I'm always running to the market for some odd ingredient instead of using what I have on hand, I'm terribly messy in the kitchen, and I hate cleaning up, so why do I do this all the time? Why not just settle on a few simple favorites like a normal person?

When my husband read this, he worried people might think of me like Betty Crocker. I don't know what he thinks is wrong with Betty Crocker, but just for the record, I am nothing like her. :-) I don't even own an apron.

Discount Shopping

Like many red-blooded women, I love shopping. But I hate to pay full price, so I always head for the sale racks first. And discount stores are my favorites. You'll find me at Loehmann's, TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshall's much more often than at the mall. Unless it's an outlet mall, that is! I also discount shop online. For just one example, my daughter and I both love 15DollarStore.com.

As a (related) aside, I used to own a chain of jewelry stores called Royal 14K Gold that were all in malls here in Southern California. Our tagline was We have it for half, and our prices really were half-off regular jewelry stores like Zales, Kay Jewelers, and the major department stores. We kept a big notebook full of other people's ads in each store to prove it. Back in the '90s, Royal 14K Gold was sold to a large national chain, and that company was eventually sold to (are you ready for this?) Zales—so there's nothing like us in the malls anymore. It's sad, really…

Games

I love playing games. Video games? Yes! Card games? Yes! Board games? Yes! Here are a few of my current favorites:

Liberty

America's founders won us our freedom. I feel that since the Revolution we've slowly been losing everything they fought for, so I've been working to regain it since before I was old enough to vote. For more information about what I believe in, visit this site.

Life Extension

I enjoy my life, and I want to live as long as humanly possible—which I believe is much longer than most people think and growing longer every day with all of science's new discoveries. To accomplish this, I spend a lot of time researching advances in life extension. One misconception people have is that living longer means more years of pain and misery, but the opposite is true—the goal is to stay "young" and healthy all the extra years.

Among many other things, I take Life Extension Mix, which is reformulated often and currently contains 93 different vitamins, minerals and supplements (saving lots of individual pill-popping!). If you're interested in learning how to extend your own life, visit the Life Extension Foundation for more information. I also recommend these two books:

Live Music

I love, love, love live music! A concert always makes me happy, and strangely enough, concerts often also make me think. I cannot tell you how many book problems I've solved while listening to live music. You can see pictures of me with a few of my favorite musicians at the bottom of my photo album.

Medical Research

I'm a big supporter of medical research, especially cutting-edge research that extends lives by helping sick people via new and emerging technology. My favorite non-profit is the Methuselah Foundation, which has financed some amazing breakthroughs. They "envision a world where everyone who needs an organ gets an organ," and they're currently offering a prize to the first research team to successfully construct and transplant a whole new organ made from a patient's own cells.

Movies

I adore movies! There's nothing like escaping into other people's lives for a couple of hours. A few of my favorites can be found at the bottom of my Biography page, but that list just scratches the surface. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time these days to go to the theater, but I always have a stack of DVDs to watch. A bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine, a DVD playing in a darkened living room…why pay movie theater prices, anyway?

Office Supplies

I love office supply stores! Browsing the aisles, choosing colorful new folders, fancy new pens, shiny new notebooks…it's better than a toy store or the candy shop (although I do adore candy, too :-)). I am constantly buying stuff to help me get organized, even though it never works. My current favorite pen is Dr. Grip with a neon blue barrel, but I toss away the black ink immediately and replace it with blue, because I prefer blue ink! My favorite pencil is Dr. Grip Center of Gravity with 0.7mm lead. I buy these by the box, because they always disappear around my house.

Otima Port

This ten-year-old tawny port is heaven in a glass. There's nothing else to say.

Sailing

Just a few years ago, my whole family took sailing lessons and found a new passion. We're hardly experts, but we love it anyway. When you're stressed out, there's nothing like taking to the sea and letting the wind blow your cares away. Especially if you can do it with your loved ones, because quality together-time is precious these days.

Television

Sadly, television is one of the pleasures I greatly curtailed in order to make time to write books. However, my lack of television time does not mean I'm a TV snob. I majored in TV production in college, and I really do love TV!

My favorite shows right now are Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Grey's Anatomy, almost anything on HGTV, and most any standup comedy on Comedy Central (laughter is the best medicine, isn't it?). Due to my time limitations, I tend to watch shows weeks or even months after they're aired, either on my DVR or on Apple TV…so please don't tell me what just happened!

Woot.com

This is my favorite website, hands-down (well, after LaurenRoyal.com, that is :-)). They sell only one item per day until it's sold out—or until 11:59 pm Central time when it is replaced. That's 9:59 pm my time, and since some items sell out within minutes, I always try to check the site at exactly 10 o'clock if I'm at home. Woot's descriptions are usually hilarious, and best of all, they ship whatever you buy for $5 no matter what it is. When's the last time you bought a 200-pound 61″ flat-screen TV and had it delivered to your door for five bucks?

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