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What Life Looks Like When We Pull Back the Filter by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Let’s agree on something. We are all guilty of uploading a photo to Instagram or Facebook that, with just the right angle, lighting and filter makes the image look damn near perfect.  What we don’t post are the twenty pictures we took just to get the one that we then triple filtered and cropped before we uploaded it. Understandably so, we all want others to see us in the best light (pun intended) whether we’re nestled up to our spouse looking hopelessly in love on our anniversary or our child is smiling angelically in her Sunday best or the rescue dog we adopted is greeting card cute as he pants for the camera.

And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to put our best self out there, the photos we share typically represent the way we want our lives to appear, not the way they actually are.

So in honor of our latest novel, THE STATUS OF ALL THINGS, about a social media obsessed woman who gets the chance to literally re-write her fate on Facebook, we decided to post the photos that we’d typically delete faster than you can say #nofilter or #blessed.

Oh Lily. Look at you batting your big brown eyes for the camera. I’m going to post this shot for my followers because I know they will think you’re all as cute as I do.

But what you and I both know is what they’re never going to see. The shoe you chewed like it was a tennis ball that had done you wrong. #damndog

It’s our fifth wedding anniversary and while, yes, we are still in love, we only posted the shot of us at the restaurant (aren’t we so cute?) that the twenty-year-old hostess had to take seventeen times because she was shooting up at us (and that is not a good thing when you are forty).

What we didn’t post was the shot of us just thirty minutes later when, instead of going out after dinner as planned, we called the sitter and told her there was going to be a change of plans. We headed home, put on our sweat pants and binged on Netflix. #becausewearelame #andanoldmarriedcouplealready #pleasenotemydoublechins

And then there’s my four-year-old. Doesn’t she look sweet? Posing in her princess best? As if every time I ask her to do something, she says, yes, mommy, whatever you say. Well, this was the picture I took after. After she got her way. #sheusuallywins #makethatalways

The next picture was taken before. When she had the tantrum that would make Mike Tyson shake his head. Here’s a freeze frame from the video I took and plan to use as leverage when she really is the teen she acts like now. #apicturereallyisworthathousandwords #iamnotabovebribery

Wow-Doesn’t my hair look UH-amazing? And, look, I’m kind of smirking and half-smiling like I have a really fantastic secret that I only share with other really wonderful people. And it only took me seventeen shots and five filters to get this picture just right! So there!

What I didn’t show you was the nasty pic, with dye smeared all over my face (and eyebrows!) and the clock showing I’d been stuck in that chair for FIVE hours. Because my hair starting growing gray when I turned thirty, of course. But don’t tell anyone, okay? It will just be our little secret.

OMG, aren’t they so cute! They went from being strays on the mean streets of the city to sleeping in a warm bed each night and playing tug-o-war! Aren’t I the BEST person EVER, because I rescue dogs and take adorable pictures of them living their new lives?

What I didn’t reveal was how one of them (And I can’t figure out which one?) thinks it’s hilarious to poop on the one piece of carpeting in the entire house. Yep, we have one two foot rug and that’s where’s they leave the stinky presents. And puke. And dead rats they find in the yard. And now I need to buy a steam cleaner.

Not only do I have amazing low maintenance red hair and well-behaved rescue animals, I’m also an fantastic cook! See this? You may thing it’s greasy, unhealthy fried rice, but it’s actually cauliflower DISGUISED as fried rice! Yes, I’ll accept the Mother of the Year award now. Please and Thank you.

What I didn’t show was what my kitchen looked like afterward. And yes, that’s ketchup. Those little effers put KETCHUP on my beautiful creation and didn’t rinse one of these dishes. #howdoesthatevenmakesense


Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for twenty-five years and survived high school and college together. Liz lives in San Diego with her husband and two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, now lives in Chicago with her husband, daughter, and two bonus children.

About The Status of All Things

What would you do if you could literally rewrite your fate—on Facebook? This heartwarming and hilarious new novel from the authors of Your Perfect Life follows a woman who discovers she can change her life through online status updates.

Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.

Kate's two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.

In The Status of All Things, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke combine the humor and heart of Sarah Pekkanen and Jennifer Weiner while exploring the pitfalls of posting your entire life on the Internet. They raise the questions: What if you could create your picture-perfect life? Would you be happy? Would you still be you? For anyone who’s ever attempted—or failed—to be their perfect self online, this is a story of wisdom and wit that will leave you with new appreciation for the true status of your life.

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