Linda Sharps


I live in Eugene, Oregon with my husband and our sons Riley (8) and Dylan (6). Prior to 2010 I spent many years as a software marketer, these days I work from home as a freelance writer. I enjoy high-quality ballpoint pens, exercise-induced endorphins, dark TV dramas, and things that smell like coconut.

Sipping on:

Sugar-Free Red Bull (mmm, chemical-y)

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    The Langham Hotel is one of the biggest traditional hotels in London, with a rich history of famous clientele like Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde. It was built between 1863 and 1865, and today boasts a five-star rating and 380 guest rooms and suites. Oh, and it's also haunted.

    At least, that's what a bunch of English cricket players are saying. They're so freaked out by the mysterious goings-on they experienced at the Langham earlier this summer, a number of players asked to change rooms, and some of the players' wives and girlfriends have flat-out refused to stay in the hotel during the current test matches.

    As it turns out, these players are hardly the first to get spooked by the hotel -- the Langham has quite the ghostly reputation. Particularly room 333.

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    Two days into our family road trip vacation, I realized something: being with kids is far more enjoyable without the distractions and responsibilities of everyday life. Without housecleaning, grocery shopping, work deadlines, or school schedules, things are just ... calmer. Less grating. Richer and sweeter.

    Duh, right? Of course everything's better when you're on vacation. But after nine days of driving around Oregon, staying in everything from luxurious ranch cabins to a $50 bare-bones motel room in the middle of nowhere, I feel like I got a much-needed parenting reboot that just might help get me through the rest of the summer -- plus some lessons in how I can bring some of that vacation magic into our regular life.

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    Did you watch the TV adaptation of Fargo this season? If your answer is "Oh yah, you betcha," you'll be glad to hear the official announcement has been made on the show coming back for a second installment. During the first few episodes, I wasn't sure Fargo would be popular enough to get renewed, but it ended up being a critics' darling with a whopping 18 Emmy nominations (including the incredibly well-deserved Outstanding Lead Actor nominations for Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, and Outstanding Supporting Actress for Allison Tolman. Even Colin Hanks nabbed an Outstanding Supporting Actor nomination, although frankly I thought he was just okay in the role).

    After the positive response to Fargo's first season, today's announcement that FX is moving forward with a second season isn't a huge surprise -- but if you were hoping for more Lorne Malvo and Lester Nygaard, you may be disappointed by where the Fargo story is going.

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    It's been at least a week since I've done a round-up of the latest Walking Dead news, so gather 'round, zombie fans, and behold the intriguing teases dropped by creator Robert Kirkman. He's been hammering on the same theme for a while -- specifically, how intense the first episode is going to be -- and he got pretty specific about what we can expect with the Terminus revelations. Plus, I found some commentary from Steven Yeun on those pesky death rumors, and a photo of Daryl Dixon that's guaranteed to raise your heart rate ... in one way or another.

    (Want to remain completely in the dark about season 5 of The Walking Dead? Scroll no farther!)

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    Sometimes when you have a friend or family member who announces their pregnancy, you have to be all sappy and send them a heartfelt note of congratulations that makes flowery references to this special journey/miraculous time in their life. Then there are your awesome friends, to whom you can say things like, "Dude, congrats! Also, welcome to eight months of living in Fartville, Population: You."

    For your pregnant pals who don't mind a little sarcasm along with their heartburn, here are 10 congratulatory cards that are more what I'd call "real talk" than Hallmark. After all, pregnancy is an amazing gift ... one that's frankly best enjoyed if you can laugh at the less-than-perfect moments.

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