Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Young Storytellers Foundation: the hour a week with a 10-year-old that made me a better writer

I don't have much time to write this morning because I have to curl my hair and pick out my dress for THE BIG SHOW - the culmination of my fall session volunteering with The Young Storytellers Foundation. Today is a huge day for my mentee and her family who will be there along with the rest of the West Hollywood-based grammar school as the screenplay that she wrote is performed on a stage by real Hollywood actors. 10 other students guided by 10 other mentors will experience the same.

Every Thursday for the past eight weeks we've learned how to write an exciting and engaging story in screenplay format that contains a strong protagonist, strong antagonist and obstacles that get in the way of the ultimate goal. I say "we" and not "she" because I learned just as much in the process. Young Storytellers should run a program called Forgetful Screenwriters. They could use all the same games and teaching tools to remind us that every story should have a clear hero and villain, a stated objective, challenges to add drama and a lesson at the end. I totally stole one of the blank screenplay outline worksheets we filled in, and I've already used it.

My mentee's script is called THE MAGIC CANDY CLOSET, and it is an incredibly imaginative tale that includes a full-on, three-beat musical runner. I have never pulled that off.  She is proud of it because, "it's funny and it makes my brother a star," (the hero is her brother). I'm proud of it because on day one I couldn't get more than an "ummm" and "I dunno" out of her but by the final session she was adding in characters ("I think we need a leprechaun!"), polishing dialogue ("I don't think he would say that...") and telling me we needed a bigger finish ("I know! They're all having a party in the middle of the night!").

Today will be an incredibly special day for my mentee, and I am honored to play a part in that experience. It made me a better writer, but more importantly it made me a better human, and all for the low, low price of one hour per week.

and here is their mission:

The Young Storytellers Foundation develops literacy through the art of storytelling. Using group exercises and one-on-one mentoring, we provide underserved children in the public school system an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life through performance and film production. At the core of our programming are thousands of adult volunteers who donate their time to mentor individual students and perform their works on stage. Our mission is to inspire children to discover the power of their own voice.

At YSF, we believe…

1. That every child has a story worth telling.
2. That arts education is a right, not a privilege, and…
3. That all students deserve equal access to this education, regardless of race, neighborhood, economic status, or any other indicator, and…
4. That we can correct inequalities in public education by providing supplemental, in-school quality arts programming.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Make Money Off Your Awful Ex!

I'm always for making lemonade out of lemons, especially if those lemons are of the crappy relationship variety.

Case in excellent point NEVER LIKED IT ANYWAY - the genius creation of some ladies who decided to trade in their boyfriend battle wounds for money and, apparently, fame (The New York Times, marie claire, and The Today Show have already come knocking).

The origin story: Annabel Acton and her ex broke up five days before Christmas, and she was left holding plane tickets. The concept: turn heartbreak into cash by unloading excellent goods (everything from vacations and jewelry to concert tickets and clothing) onto someone in need. The best part: a "Break Up Story of the Week" on the site's homepage.

So today's #HDH goes out to the ladies of Never Liked It Anyway and my friend Annie Lee over at Daughter of Design for giving me the hot tip. Happy Wednesday shopping!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Life as a Dog Mom: What I've Gained and What I've Lost

I missed posting last Thursday because I had to take Louie our pup to be neutered. No, that did not take all day, but the emotional toll it took lasted well into Saturday by which point it felt silly to write a Thursday post.

Add that to the losses list, though I did gain a real appreciation for the "cone of shame" and had a lovely coffee with Louie's brother Dudley's dog mom, my good friend Carley, so those technically count on the other side.

There is no way to describe the impact getting a puppy has on your life. People say it's tougher than having a baby. I don't know about that because I've never had a baby, but I feel like the fact that I did not carry this puppy inside my body for 10 months and then birth him makes baby harder right off the bat. That said, my life is forever different because Louie is now a member of the family. Here, after six weeks with this furry alien in our one bedroom apartment, is how I assess the gains and losses.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Jennifer Garner said, "No one asks Ben about work-family balance"

Remember how much you loved Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 and/or Alias and/or Juno? Well she's even better in real life.

Today's little ray of sunshine goes out to this mother of three who happens to be married to Batman. Not only is she taking on more interesting roles than ever (Dallas Buyers Club, Men Women & Children), but she's talking smack about the way she and her husband are treated differently by the press.

From The Today Show website (I know, but still):

"My husband and I do kind of the same job — a little bit," the mother of three said with a laugh. "Not long ago we both had one of those magical days which we call a junket, where we both attended these lovely events where people come in every four minutes and they ask the same questions."

Garner said that she and Affleck, 42, came home and compared notes from their respective press junkets, at which point they found a rather comical pattern. "I told him every single person who interviewed me — and I mean every single one… asked me: 'How do you balance work and family?'" the working mother recalled.

As for the questions fielded by her husband? "[Ben] said the only thing anyone asked him repeatedly was about the (breasts) on the 'Blurred Lines' girl!" Garner exclaimed of Affleck's "Gone Girl" costar Emily Ratajkowski. "We're talking about them — they are real and they are fabulous and everyone should take a look and enjoy. As for work-life balance, he said that no one asked him about it that day. As a matter-of-fact, no one had ever asked him about it. Not once."

The logic befuddled Garner, who joked: "And we do share the same family. Isn’t it kind of time to change that conversation? For the record, he’s not on diaper duty tonight. He’s working."

This will never cease to frustrate me, but I appreciate Jen's sentiments.

My take: it's sad that no one in the press asks Ben about work/family balance. That means no one in the press thinks Ben Affleck, or maybe men in general, should consider that element of their lives.

I don't know Ben personally, but I know a lot of men who care very much about the balance between their work and family. Maybe we should start asking them about it? Until then, I know Jen is sticking up for women with these comments, but I'd argue that she's also doing something important for men.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What It Means to Say "a Couple Should Challenge Each Other"

very relevant MTV reference

R and I were having drinks with a friend who recently went through a break up. He is the kind of friend you love and respect enough to say very honest things, which always helps when talking about relationships over a hummus platter.

At one point I said, "It sounds like she wasn't interested in being challenged, and you're the kind of person who can't help but challenge someone, in a good way."

My friend responded with a simple but important question: "What does it mean to say two people challenge each other in a relationship?"

Apparently I said something that made a lot of sense because this morning when we were walking Louie, R said, "you should write about the way you explained what it means to challenge someone in a relationship."

"Okay," I said, "How did I explain it?" R could not remember, which makes me question both his memory and his taste in the things I say, but I liked the topic enough to try and re-create my original statement. Here goes:
  • It means that both partners have expectations for the other and aren't afraid to make those expectations known and hold the other person accountable. Hhmm...that sounds negative.
  • When you challenge each other you are saying, "I know the best that you can be, and I want you to try your hardest to be that person, even if that makes you mad." That's better, but a little guidance counselor poster.
  • Challenging someone in a relationship means holding them to the person you know they can be even when they can't see it. Simple. I like that, but it's not enough.
  • Healthy challenging in any relationship means an open dialogue of questioning and honesty that makes your person and beliefs known to your partner and vice versa. But what about the accountability part?   
None of these are quite what I said, but they all get at this really important issue of being honest about what you expect from your significant other, not just because it's what you want for yourself but because it's best for them.

I'm not challenging R when I tell him his shirt is too dirty to wear; that's nagging (even if I'm right). I challenge R when I say that he can and should be bolder in certain situations, or when I tell him that I need his support in a different way than he's giving it, or when I question whether he's handling a family situation in the best way. He does the same when he asks if I'm maximizing my writing time best or being strong in my conversations with executives I'm working with or being overly image focused when I should just let it go and wear jeans and a t-shirt.

Sometimes we respond to the challenge with, "thank you, you're right." Sometimes it's, "I disagree, and here's why." And sometimes it's a flat out, "I don't need you challenging me on this right now." That's all part of the deal.

So does that answer the question of, "what does it mean to say two people challenge each other in a relationship?"

If not, I'll have R write a follow-up. He's always challenging me to be clearer and less wordy in my writing. To which I sometimes say, "thank you for that challenge. Now you write it."    


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: I'm Make-up Free Thanks to Rodan + Fields

show-fresh selfie

If there is anything that makes me more uncomfortable than endorsing products it's sharing pictures of myself without make-up. In fact this will mark the first time I have ever shown my face void of paint in a public forum (unless we're counting slumber parties, but even then I was known to sneak inside the bathroom before the other girls were awake to slather on some cover-up).

 I have always had terrible skin. I suffered through awful acne as a teen, pretty bad acne as a college student and about the same amount as a young adult. To this day I still get annoying blemishes all over, and not just at "that time of the month." And to aggravate things further, I touch my skin when I should absolutely leave it alone. See this Valentine to the lady I go to for facials as proof.

Enter my former colleague and current friend Cortney who took a break from her life in Manhattan media to work with Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, Stanford Med ladies and two of the most well-known dermatologists in the world (aka the creators of Proactiv). After the success of their teen-focused brand, Rodan + Fields wanted to address skin issues among adult women, including adult acne. 

Cortney suggested I road-test the UNBLEMISH line within the set (see below for more details on all the offerings), and I agreed.

Confession: I hoped to GOD it wouldn't work so I wouldn't have to post these pictures, but after week three I was singing a different tune. Here's the scary proof. 

The picture at top is me as of week five, and the difference is obvious. 

Every single day this week I've taken the puppy for a walk sans any make-up (yes, I used to wear make-up to walk my dog) and yesterday morning I left the house for a writing session at my local coffee shop with nothing but moisturizer on my face! And if that wasn't enough, I now know how to take a selfie without looking like I just found out that avocados are not, in fact, "good fat." 

It's a win/win/win of a Wednesday. 

Get any/all info you need through Cortney's R+F site

Redefine - for fine lines and wrinkles – including 2 at –home tools; a patent pending delivery systems that are exclusive to Rodan + Fields.  Brand New patented product, Acute Care that fills your wrinkle while you sleep.
Reverse - for sun damage and brown spots
Soothe-for sensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema
Unblemish- for acne and acne scarring
Products are based on a philosophy of Multi-Med Therapy—using the right ingredients and active cosmetics, in the right formulations, in the right order. As practicing dermatologists, Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields know that treating the underlying cause of a problem works and yields long-term benefits.  Because they know real results come over time with regular use, RF's Multi-Med Therapy regimens come packaged in 60 day quantities. They're so confident that you’ll experience results with your first regimen that all of our products come with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. if your not happy with the products you can return the empty bottles and receive a full refund.

Not too long ago, the dermatology community believed that only a small percentage of adult women suffered from acne. Today, however, the estimation is closer to 40%. The reasons for this dramatic increase are the emotional stress tied to modern life, hormonal fluctuations, and a greater recognition by the public that period-related blemishes and clogged pores are indeed acne.Pimples on adults are fewer in number but bigger in size, and tend to congregate around the mouth and jaw line. In addition, a significant number of acne sufferers are left with remnant brown/red marks, which can be a long-term souvenir following a healed blemish. These marks, called post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, can be as distressing to the acne sufferer as the blemish was in the first place. These marks can be effectively treated with a medicine called hydroquinone, found in over-the-counter products and by prescription. So while acne is not a curable condition and can last an average of 20 years in women, fortunately there are treatments that can keep breakouts at bay for as long as you have acne-prone skin.
The UNBLEMISH Regimen features four full-size products: Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash Spot Fading Toner OR Clarifying Toner Dual Intensive Acne Treatment and Oil Control Lotion SPF 20 UNBLEMISH Regimen is clinically proven to combat the entire acne cycle, this sophisticated regimen helps unclog pores, clears acne blemishes and calms your complexion to keep pimples, blackheads and post-acne marks from making an unwelcome appearance on your face—and in your life.
In an independent six week clinical study, subjects with acne achieved the following results:
  • 59% decrease in the amount of acne
  • 80% decrease in overall skin discoloration
  • 52% decrease in brown spots


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ditching "No Means No" for "Yes Means Yes"

There's something really interesting and important going on in the world of sexual assault prevention and prosecution, and I wanted to make sure you all know.

For decades now many states have used a, "no means no," approach when talking about and prosecuting sexual assault. Simply, if someone says "no" then the sex is not consensual. But that means the opposite is true, legally: if a strong and clear "no" was not heard then it becomes challenging to consider the act a sexual assault. If someone is too drunk to say "no" was the sex consensual? If someone whimpers an inaudible "no" while being held forcibly was the sex consensual? If someone fears for their life based on repeat abuse and therefore says, "please stop," but not, "NO!" was the sex consensual? These are all real examples based on real cases.

That's why many states across the country are changing their laws to reflect a, "yes means yes," approach, starting with California. 

From the really comprehensive New York Times article on the topic: 

"LAST month it was California, this month New York. States across the country are trying to figure out how to address the problem of sexual assault more effectively, and more often than not, they are looking to redefine the scope of sexual misconduct.

California’s new law requires universities receiving state funding to switch from a “no means no” approach to a “yes means yes” standard, requiring partners to make an “affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision” before having sex, and making clear that silence or a lack of resistance cannot be interpreted as consent. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced that the State University of New York would similarly define consent as an affirmative act on all its campuses, one that requires “clear, knowing and voluntary” participation."

It's hard to understand just how huge this is, but think about the clarity of having to hear YES versus the confusion around NO. Refusal is not as clear as consent.  
  • Did the supposed victim refuse? 
  • I don't know...I can't remember. She was pretty drunk, but she definitely didn't struggle. 
  • Correct, your honor. There are no wounds to suggest that there was a struggle.  
 That's the conversation that can and does go on today. Now it may look something like this:  
  • Did the supposed victim say, yes? Was permission fully and completely granted for the sex act to occur? 
  • Well...she was too drunk to talk.
  • Then she was too drunk to say, "yes."  
"No means no," was a huge part of my education around sexual assault and rape growing up. I can remember dozens of health teachers repeating it and more than a few after school specials working it into a storyline. I'm really happy that my hypothetical future children may grow up in a world where, "yes means yes," is the standard. I think that will be a better, safer place. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wait. Shouldn't It Be Easier Than Ever To Find Someone?

I was having a conversation about these modern dating times the other day (slash every day, but specifically this Tuesday). I said something like, "do you think we're better off now than we were before?" to which my friend replied, "I don't know, but I feel like it should be easier than ever to find something. Think of all the options."

From there we were off and running:

  • "Yeah! You used to have to rely on meeting someone in person at some random spot." 
  • "Right! Now they're out in real life and all over the Internet."
  • "And you can pre-screen people so you're not wasting valuable time."
  • "But you don't even have to because there are algorithms that do that for you!"
  • "You could be looking for dates while you're working/watching TV/sleeping/going to the bathroom! It's never been better!"
But then the conversation turned:
  • "Hhmm... but why do all my friends currently taking advantage of this easy dating era seem to think it's the worst?"
  • "Yeah... A lot of mine are still single..."
  • "And people say that dating behavior is worse than ever."
  • "I hear a lot of, 'no one has any accountability,' from friends." 
  • "Hhmm..."
 So if it's easier than ever to find people thanks to OKCupid, Match, Tinder, Hinge, eHarmony, JDate and more, why is dating worse than it's ever been?

Is it that every single generation has their burden? Is dating just terrible no matter the technology, or lack thereof? Did Sally and Bobby (generic names not Mad Men characters) complain to their friends about how terrible it was to try and get a girl's attention at the soda fountain on Friday afternoons? Or is it that all this convenience in the dating world has made it too convenient to find someone...else, someone better?
  • "I wonder if we're suffering from too much choice."
  • "It could be that people don't take dating seriously because there's another, potentially better option one swipe away." 

TIME FOR A READER POLL. If you're out there dating, is it as miserable as they say? 
To what do you attribute the issues? Why should dating be easier than ever? 
And if so, why isn't it?


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Women Enough + The Bare Campaign

Today's little slice of sun comes from Michelle Fetsch, who founded an organization called Women Enough in 2010 after a 17 year struggle (that started at age 12) with eating disorders, body image and self confidence issues. Her goal was, "to create positive, realistic media messages that would support women and girls in having a healthy body image and self esteem."

Among the many fantastic things that Michelle and her team do is a campaign called BARE.

BARE aims to support women in achieving a healthy body image and self esteem through a nude portraiture and storytelling as well as coaching services and events. The campaign has been viewed over 1M times and in global media publications such as Cosmopolitan, Elite Daily, HuffPost and beyond.

Women of all shapes, ethnicities, ages, and sizes are invited to pose bare to encourage positive, realistic images of women for the world to see and celebrate – and to reclaim their own stories.

Here are some of the testimonials from women that have been involved in the bare campaign + experience:

 "It was one of the most confronting and freeing things I've ever done- it changed my life and my perception of myself indefinitely." - Nancy, San Francisco

"So liberating and so outside my comfort zone." - Charrise

"And as I went BARE, I released the shame and shadows that I didn't even know I had. Going bare is a very unique opportunity to uncover and reclaim those places of shame you don’t even know you have." - Mai

On October 14th WE and the BARE campaign will be launching a new IndieGoGo effort to raise funds for all that they do. Check back to their site, and keep track of their twitter for updates. 

And have the best worst-day-of-the-week of your life!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Now Talk To My Husband Through My Dog

Sometime last week R and I had the weirdest conversation we've had in the almost five years since we've known each other. It was a full-on, back-and-forth, deeply meaningful exchange conducted entirely through our dog.

I will spare you the details to spare myself the embarrassment, but it may or may not have included the line, "No, Louie, I don't think your Dad is coddling you, I just want you to be a more independent and therefore confident dog."  

Who am I???

A person who now has a 5 lb. fluff ball of a conversation pawn living in the house. I'm no longer limited to looking R in the eyes and telling him how I feel; I can say it in a baby voice directly into the face of an adorable puppy with R in direct ear-shot! He can hear me loud and clear then respond with his own sweet-voiced words to the little man cuddling on the ground between us. Where was this dog when we were planning a wedding??

Is there a name for this social phenomenon? The second person referential? (I made that up) Pass-through communication? (sounds very Long Island Medium) Mommy/Daddy speak? (Ugh...) But that's what it is, right? - a weird conversation crutch that enters your life the minute you become parents, puppy or otherwise.

I can't think of another example of someone referring to an individual about another individual with the individual in the room, unless you're just doing it to be a flirt ("Bartender, I think this girl sitting next to me is giving me eyes. What do you think?") or a dick ("Hhmm Bob, sounds like Janet isn't very happy with the new vacation day policy...").

Or is that what we're doing too?
  • "Louie show your Mom all the amazing tricks I taught you!"
  • "Louie, it's Dad's turn to walk you because Mom got absolutely zero work done today while you were screaming!"
  • "Louie, tell Mom to stop being lazy and come join us for a walk."
  • "Louie say, 'hi Dad, Mom got me in my crate without any crying because she is the best!'"
It would appear that way...

And so I'm trying to limit whatever it is we're going to call this awkward new practice that arrived with our new roommate. It's not that I'm against the passive-aggressive communication strategy. There's something nice about changing up the way you tell your better half what you're thinking and feeling. It's that that idea of someone hearing us talk to each other like this makes me want to crawl under a rock. 

Here's hoping that's not how Louie feels all day every day...


Thursday, October 2, 2014

10 Things To Expect The First Week With a Puppy

There are countless books on dog training that come in handy the week you bring a puppy into your life. R and I have used Cesar Millan's How To Raise the Perfect Dog (though How To Raise a Pretty Good Dog and Stay Sane would be even more appreciated), but they all say pretty much the same stuff. And yet no book offers a list like the one I am now experienced enough to write...because I'm too exhausted to write an actual blog post.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Michelle Buteau on Vh1's Morning Buzz!

Sometimes bangarang things actually do happen to bangarang people, and this time it's my friend Michelle Buteau in the winner's circle.

Michelle is the NY-based comedian/storyteller/actress/host/force-of-nature who hosts Sunday Night Sex Talks East when I can't make the trip out to Manhattan. She also killed it on the FOX show Enlisted last season. And as of this Friday she'll be joining Nick Lachey as the co-host of Morning Buzz Live on Vh1. Think of it like The Today Show but better because my friend Michelle is co-hosting.

Also she came to my birthday party and pulled off a knee dive slide ala Kevin Bacon in Footloose to the crescendo of Man in the Mirror. The woman belongs on your TV screen. Glad the world finally caught up with that fact.

See my girl Michelle LIVE Weekday mornings at 9AM/8c on Vh1. You won't regret it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Letting Go of "Perfect" For A Puppy

This piece was written for submission to The Huffington Post and Chevrolet Malibu's new section Moments Not Milestones which is dedicated to finding the beauty in the here and now, and broadening our definition of an "ideal life." Their mission is to open their readers' eyes to the amazing things we can experience when we let go of the notion of "perfection." Here is my brand new story on that very relevant topic. Also, sorry it's so late in the day, but per the title, I don't care. 

I have spent the past three years saying NO to my boyfriend, then fiance and now husband's, "can we please get a dog?" I said it so many times that I just stopped saying it and created a look that communicated the same message. It was not a pleasant look. When I had the energy I would follow up with we don't have time for a dog or I can't handle any distractions right now or should we really get a dog if we're supposed to be saving for a house?

But I did not say the truth: I don't want a dog because it will disrupt the structured, controlled, organized and emotionally neutral life I've created to keep myself safe and sound. I didn't say that because it's a terrible thing to say. It sounds selfish, short-sighted and cowardly - three things I do not strive to be. But the more I explored this anti-animal stance (because that's what you do when you really love your husband), I realized that I wasn't those three things; I was afraid. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Sunday Night Sex Talks Turns 3!

Yes, I'm using today's #HumpDayHappy for self-promotion, but the fact that Sunday Night Sex Talks - my NO BOYS ALLOWED storytelling show - is celebrating three years of monthly shows in Los Angeles is a very happy fact.

We're planning a big bash for the birthday festivities at KING KING, Hollywood on Sunday, October 5th (just a quick break from our home at Bar Lubitsch so we can party with a bigger group).  Talent includes the incredible JC Coccoli, Cole Kazdin, Jenna Brister, Anna Konkle and more surprise guests spilling their guts on the subject, Hindsight: 20/20? We'll also be giving out awards for "bests" throughout the years (i.e. best description of a dick!). 

But this is a #HumpDayHappy so the real point is to say THANK YOU to all the incredible people who have helped us reach this milestone. I'll never forget hosting the show to a crowd of FOUR PEOPLE three years ago. Now we're packing the house, performing in New York, making plans to travel to San Fran, Chicago and Austin, and attracting amazing talent to come join the fun.  I couldn't be more grateful.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Four C's of a Great Blog

On Sunday I taught a workshop on the Basics of Blogging through WritingPad - a fantastic resource for writing classes of all kinds here in L.A. and also online! I'll actually be offering the class I taught online within the next month, so stay-tuned for that information.

My goal in the three hour session was to give hopeful bloggers easy to digest information to help them get started. The single most important element of writing a blog is writing the blog, so to get going and keep going, it helps to keep the focus small. Here are the top four most important elements of getting a blog started, IMHO. I made them all C's because it's cute, easy to remember, and reminds me of diamonds, but I'm offering other words in case alliteration is too grammar school for you...or you don't want to get your diamond quality words confused.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why I Procrastinate, I Now Know

I, like every single writer I know, am a horrible procrastinator. Here, in no particular order, are the ways in which I procrastinate:
  • I scroll through Instagram
  • I scroll through Facebook
  • I scroll through Twitter
  • I scroll through Pinterest
  • I check the Cheat Sheet on The Daily Beast
  • I try to do a loose side braid
  • I try to do a perfect top knot
  • I eat a handful of almonds/cashews/walnuts/grapes/snap peas/M&Ms
  • I change the Pandora station
  • I change my outfit
  • I change my accessories
  • I change the spot where I'm sitting
  • I re-organize my closet
  • I re-organize my refrigerator
  • I re-organize the placement of tchotchkes around my apartment
  • I read things I've written that I like
  • I shop online but don't ultimately buy because I don't deserve anything, because I can't get my damn work done!
That feels like a good place to stop. No I will never admit what percentage of the real list that portion represents. And yet, I am still what some people refer to as a prolific writer. I write a lot, in a variety of genres, and I almost always get my work done on time. It's just that I frequently find myself producing that massive amount of work under extreme time pressure because I've backed myself into a corner.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Meet Louie!

As of Saturday afternoon, R and I will be puppy parents. We survived eight days in a car together directly after our wedding. Now it's time to put this brand new marriage to an even bigger test!

Louie (formerly Gouda) is one of "The Cheeze Wiz Kids" born to a poodle/schnauzer mix named Poodalini. Our good friends Carley and Chelsea helped their mom Roz raised the puppies from birth to eight weeks, and now they're ready to head to their fur-ever homes. The photobomber in the back is Brie. Cheddar and Stilton - the boys - have already been adopted. Brie, Mozz, and Feta - the girls - are still available! Contact Dogs Without Borders in Los Angeles if you are interested.

More on this big life step tomorrow in a piece I was invited to write for The Huffington Post about letting go of "perfect." Though, come on, with that perfect face who cares about sleeping through the night and wiping pee off the floor?! Maybe you need another pic to be convinced:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Top 5 Ways People Find This Blog Will Shock You

Every once in awhile I take a look at the analytics for this site to see how it's doing numbers wise and find out where people are reading (hello Iceland!). I use Google Analytics because it is free and incredibly easy to set up, so easy that I didn't know I already had it working for three years!

This time I scrolled down a little further than I typically do to the "How people are finding you feature." This lets you know what Google searches ultimately lead to your site on a given day. As you can imagine because you just read the list above and also read this blog, I was surprised. I write about a variety of things 2-3 times per week, the five topics above (minus 20-Nothings itself) are not those things. Let's break it down:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Progress After Four Years in Los Angeles

my street. #sorrynotsorry

Labor Day marked my Fourth L.A.nniversary, and I totally forgot.

Year one was ironically celebrated in New York. Year two I made a big fuss and organized a Cliche LA Staycation Day. I have no idea what I did year three, but I do remember remembering. Then this year came and went without so much as a, "how 'bout that!" Maybe you can finally say that you're a local once you forget the day you became a local?

If I had remembered that it was my L.A.nniversary I would have hiked somewhere, eaten something with avocado, driven to the beach, bought a sheer top, worked on a screenplay, cooked a vegan meal and eaten it in my backyard with a bottle of wine from Trader Joe's. Throughout the day I would have talked to at least five people about traffic, not thought about the weather once, discussed how terrible The Leftovers is, agreed on the merits of a mostly vegan diet and scheduled a dinner at least a month out. I can't say for sure but it's likely that someone would have asked who does my ombre highlights (Liz at Heretic!), told me that my husband and I need a dog, and assured me that TV development season is running really late this year, so don't worry!

Ok. Now that I feel like I've actually gone through the motions of celebrating this milestone, I'm prepared to discuss the progress I've made in exactly four years and one week: 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Marnie the Dog Has a Problem With Her Tongue

...and that problem is the solution to your ENTIRE MISERABLE WEDNESDAY!

This is my way of giving back after writing something super heavy yesterday. You can spend your entire day watching videos of Marnie on her YouTube page and your entire life following Marnie's adventures on her Instagram account! And you can thank BuzzFeed video for bringing this to my attention.

Also, I think what Marnie the Dog really has is a problem with her head, which seems to be on wrong... Who cares! Have the best worst day of the week of your lives!