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. 

I was afraid that I wouldn't know how to raise a dog. I was afraid that a dog would destroy my writing schedule. I was afraid that my husband and I would fight over how to raise the dog, which would foreshadow our fights over how to raise a kid, which would mean we shouldn't have a kid. I was afraid that the dog would never start barking. I was afraid that the dog wouldn't like me. And I was absolutely terrified that the dog would throw up in the car. I don't know why, but I had three separate nightmares about it (which I did not share with my husband, until now!).
 
I don't like to be afraid. It messes with my ability to be in control, challenges my confidence and makes it very hard for me to imagine maintaining my "perfect." Dogs are rarely perfect and puppies are never, but, as one friend put it with a side-eye, "they force you to live in the moment, and that could be a very good thing..."

I was the one who said we should meet the litter that our friends the Steiners were raising. A one year old Schnoodle named Poodalini gave birth to a litter of six munchkins. Gouda (they were all named for cheeses) was the only black/brown one in the set of white fluff balls. I loved him because he had a little white beard under his chin and walked away from his brothers and sisters when the play got too rough. I went to see him hoping so badly to want him, and after fifteen minutes of play and forty-five minutes of firing questions about puppy-raising at the Steiners, I did.

Six days ago we brought Gouda, now Louie, home. I don't know exactly what pushed me over the edge. It wasn't just his white belly or the look on my husband's face when they played during our second visit to see the litter. It was that I don't want to be the kind of person who is afraid to raise a dog. I don't want to have so tight a hold on my life that I can't welcome a challenge and a change. I want to find out if this puppy can help rattle my problem with perfection.

Louie cried and screamed the second we stepped out of view for the first 72 hours straight. Nights one and two he woke up yelping on the hour, every hour. Somewhere around day four he figured out that if he jumped from inside his water bowl he had a better chance of breaking free from his puppy pen.

On day one I cancelled two calls and a lunch and did not change out of my pajamas. On day two I got zero work done and spent six hours in jeans with two giant pee spots on the front. Yesterday around 4pm I realized that I had dog poop on my neck. I have no idea how or when it arrived.

Oh, and he threw up twice, directly into my hands, on our drive home from picking him up. My greatest fear came true. Twice.

They say it takes a puppy 72 hours to overcome separation anxiety from his litter. I say it takes 72 hours for a puppy owner to overcome separation anxiety from their former life.

On day four I stopped striving for perfection. We're keeping Louie safe, we're slowly making progress, and we have yet to fight about the plan. We are winning. I feel awful about the lunches I cancelled, calls I missed and work that has yet to be turned in, and I really don't love how my apartment smells right now, but I'm doing the absolute best I can, and god does it feel good for that small goal to be enough.

Before I know it Louie will turn from puppy to dog, and this life-altering milestone will just be my life. All I'll have left are the little moments: the time he catapulted himself three foot off the floor into my arms but missed, the two nights my husband and I spent sleeping with our fingers inside the bars of his crate, and, of course, the time he threw up on the car ride home, twice. Not one comes close to my old standards of perfection, and I have Louie to thank for that.   


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.

SO, SEE YOU LADIES ON OCTOBER 5th!


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.


·      CONSISTENCY/Regular Schedule – Develop a schedule and stick to it! Consistency builds audience and gives you credibility as a creator and writer.

It doesn't matter if it's once a week on Wednesdays or every single morning. Make the schedule 
based on what will work for you every week, not what you think people will want or need. If the 
timing fits into your life, you'll be more likely to keep up with the blog. 

·      CONTENT/Compelling Material – Make it compelling, make it topical, make it vulnerable, and make it you. Format of content (listicle vs. response piece vs. personal narrative) isn’t as key as the message it shares with your audience.  

I was blogging for months before I really shared the blog with the world. I wanted to figure out what 
the focus of the site would be by creating a lot of varied content then deciding what I just couldn't 
stop thinking and writing about. I promise your blog is less about the precision of a content focus 
and more about the vulnerability and voice. 

·      CREATIVE/Great, clean look – Ensure that the look and feel of your blog is clean, user-friendly and representative of your style. 

Don't overthink this element. Go on Blogger or Wordpress, find a template that you like, pick 
corresponding colors that feel like you and go. I prefer to keep the look/feel clean and easy to read, 
and I make sure to keep my social media sharing options right up top. 

·      COMMUNITY/Smart marketing – Build a community around your content by linking out to articles, sharing your posts on social media sites, and choosing topics that will naturally grab attention. 

Write to blogs you love asking if you can submit a guest post. Write pieces about people in the news 
then @ them on Twitter with your link. Select topics that are already getting buzz to jump on the 
Google searching bandwagon. There are tons more tips you can find online. I really like this 
WikiHow that I've used.  

Now stop over-planning, second-guessing and telling yourself you don't have time and DO IT! 
I look forward to reading your first blog post, tomorrow.
  

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.

I used to think this exercise in insanity was the psychological result of my body and mind thriving on the pressure. I always write under pressure, and I produce good writing ergo I only produce good writing under pressure; the procrastinating is helping! Then I read this article from The Atlantic that made me really, really uncomfortable.

Here are the highlights and my many reactions:

"Over the years, I developed a theory about why writers are such procrastinators: We were too good in English class. This sounds crazy, but hear me out...It isn’t that they never failed, but at a very early age, they didn’t have to fail much; their natural talents kept them at the head of the class."

[Yeah? So?]

"This teaches a very bad, very false lesson: that success in work mostly depends on natural talent."

[Wait. It doesn't?]


"If you’ve spent most of your life cruising ahead on natural ability, doing what came easily and quickly, every word you write becomes a test of just how much ability you have, every article a referendum on how good a writer you are. As long as you have not written that article, that speech, that novel, it could still be good. Before you take to the keys, you are Proust and Oscar Wilde and George Orwell all rolled up into one delicious package."

[So. Many. Feelings.]


"...the people who dislike challenges think that talent is a fixed thing that you’re either born with or not. The people who relish them think that it’s something you can nourish by doing stuff you’re not good at."

[I hate this article]


"...they may even engage in what psychologists call “self-handicapping”: deliberately doing things that will hamper their performance in order to give themselves an excuse for not doing well."

[Or in other words, procrastinating...]


"Writers who don’t produce copy—or leave it so long that they couldn’t possibly produce something good—are giving themselves the perfect excuse for not succeeding."

[Stomach drop]

Alright Megan McArdle, you seem to have a direct window into the secret core of my being, so I'm listening. What's the solution?

"Embracing Hard Work"

That's not a sentence in this article, it's an entire heading of the final section. There's more to it, so I encourage you to read the whole piece, after your work for the day is done. I'd explain it to you but I'm already behind in my own work for the day, and I really want to treat myself to the puppy toys currently sitting in my Amazon.com cart, so I'm afraid I have to go. 



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:
That links to piece I wrote over a year ago about a church in Hudson, NY that R and I wanted to buy. My post is the 4th link that appears when you type in those search terms. From this we can conclude that no one is selling abandoned churches despite the obvious desire in the marketplace. Someone should capitalize on that situation but since my goal is readers and not a business dealing abandoned churches, I'm just going to write a post about how my husband and I want to buy an abandoned train station and hope this is a trend.
I love Jillian's 30-Day shred and so does the rest of the world. My review of the program is the 6th link that comes up when you search. From this we could conclude that more exercise program reviews would increase blog traffic, but then I'd have to do more exercise videos, and I have a hard enough time doing Jillian's ("You don't get to do a 20 minute work out and take a break!!!").
Let me be clear: I have never written about a happy ending pelvic massage. I don't even know what that means! Are the 19 people who searched that in one day looking for a happy ending following a pelvic massage? Or is the pelvic massage the sexual act?? So confused. Several years ago I did write a post entitled "Is A Happy Ending Technically Cheating." It is somehow the #1 link that appears when you search "happy ending pelvic massage." I don't understand it, but I like it.
  • Boys to men
I can only assume this search term somehow lead to my post entitled: There are boys, there are guys, and there are men, but I don't know because I came up with nothing for ten full pages of results. So to the 15 people who found my blog on the 11th page of search term results for "boys to men" - thank you for your diligence. I got stuck on page 1 and watched 30 minutes of old Boys II Men videos. Water Runs Dry really holds up, guys.

And so, we've learned that awkward sex acts, getting thin quick, vintage R&B and abandoned churches really sell. I'll be keeping that in mind as I lay out my editorial calendar moving forward. All suggestions are welcome.

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: 
  • I still don't miss seasons more than I love this perfect weather. Some people do, so I can confirm that it's an element of living here. I do not. 
  • I still have anxiety around parking, but now it only arrives three seconds before I have to look for a parking spot as opposed to three days before I'm scheduled to drive somewhere new. 
  • I have burned out on the following food items: kale, Persian cucumbers, Chinese chicken salads, and cold brew coffee.
  • I have not and will likely never burn out on: AVOCADOS!!!!!!, cilantro, ginger-infused anything, and white peaches.
  • I now own an inordinate amount of sheer, flowy tops that I wear with a bra you can see, jeans and flats.
  • I've stopped giving a shit about saying, "oh just a bunch of projects," when people ask me what I'm up to lately.
  • I have written five TV samples, four book proposals and three feature films. No. None of them sold, yet! 
  • I still hate hiking but do it any way. That said, I'm never doing a juice cleanse again.
  • I still walk to 50% of the places I go in a given day. That's down 50% from 100% in New York, but it's still higher than 75% of L.A. residents. 
  • I have developed a mean case of road rage, but now R doesn't let me drive if there's any chance we'll A. be late B. run into traffic or C. encounter other vehicles. 
  • I go to less "things" than I did prior to moving here, but that's because I'm 31 and married not because I live in LA.
  • I don't think of this city as a giant, overwhelming, interconnected set of mini towns like I did when I first moved. LA feels smaller with every year that passes, and that's very cool. 
  • I don't think of this city as being void of culture like I did when I first moved. There is a lot going on here, and not just in the entertainment industry. The literary, urban planning, music, art and food communities are incredible. 
  • And - and maybe most importantly - I don't think about LA in contrast to New York anymore. It used to always be this battle in my head: which do I like more? which is better? which is more fun? which is more expensive? But now LA is just another incredible city where I happen to currently live. It is defining, just like New York. It is motivating, just like New York. And it is home, just like New York will always be. 
So Happy Four Years, LaLa Land. Thanks to you I have a healthier diet, ironically paler skin, a writing career, a backyard, a husband, and no more questions about what will happen if I never make the move to L.A! The backyard is awesome, but the last two are my favorite.   

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!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

An Open Letter to Mrs. Bill Simmons: I'll Make My Husband Give Up Football this Weekend If You Do Too



Dear Mrs. Simmons -

I'm writing to you because I am deeply disturbed by Ray Rice punching Janay Palmer unconscious inside an Atlantic City elevator, the NFL's responses over the past months and Janay Palmer's latest statement to the media. As a woman and human, I imagine you are confused and upset too. This conversation on MSNBC does an excellent job of recapping my feelings.

Of course I am also writing to you because you are the wife of Bill Simmons, one of the most well-respected and popular journalists in sports. I was thrilled to read his Tweet on this matter: "Ravens have to waive Rice today or they are cowards. New video is appalling. I'd like to see someone in the NFL do the right thing for once." I am a fan of your husband's work, and my own husband, R, is a devotee. It was actually R's idea that I write to you after I told him that I was boycotting the NFL until I feel better about their messaging on this issue and treatment of women overall. "I respect that," he said after some debate on the issue, "but why not think bigger?"

So here's my big thought: let's ask our husbands to boycott football this weekend. 

You probably know many other women married to men in the media. Consider this an open letter to all of them. Let's ask our husbands to pretend that Janay Palmer is their daughter. Because if Ray Rice knocked your daughter or one of Roger Goodell's two daughters unconscious in an elevator, I wouldn't have to write this open letter.

We women can and should boycott too. The NFL does claim that we make up 50% of their audience and women in sports media are an incredible force, but it will be even more powerful if the men who love us do the same. Let's turn off our TVs, avoid the sports bars, and not attend the games.

Why? Because the NFL needs to know that they are nothing without their fan base, and their fan base is not OK with what happened with Ray Rice and has happened many, many times over the years (here is a Slate article that outlines some of that history).

But the NFL suspended Ray Rice indefinitely. The NFL knows they messed this one up. The NFL has been taking steps to curb domestic violence in the league with stricter punishments. All true. But what will ensure that they think twice before messing up again? Our swift and unilateral response; a message that there are consequences.

This is not like so many social justice and human rights issues that feel too big to tackle - that's why I'm taking such a strong stand. The NFL can change their culture. They can adopt better policies. They can enact stronger penalties. It won't even cost them that much money. That's why this issue is so pressing to me; it can be fixed if we care enough. We have the power to prove the NFL is not too big to fail and that we are not so obsessed with the sport that we'll let them get away with anything.

We don't need football as much as football needs us, 
and we don't need football as much as the female victims 
of its culture of misogyny need support. 

So Mrs. Simmons - I'll make my husband give up football this weekend if you make your husband do it too. I know this may raise objections:
  • Not watching won't make a difference. I disagree. I think it will result in a PR storm that will prompt action.
  • Women forcing things on their husbands is archaic. Maybe, but it works. It ended a civil war in Liberia.
  • It's not the other teams' faults: I know, but everyone has to sacrifice for the sake of change. 
  • It's not Bill's responsibility. This one is tough because I agree, it's not. And I am sorry to bring you both into this; I just literally don't know what else to do. I believe that if Bill Simmons publicly boycotts football this weekend, football will change. It might be slow, and people might be really pissed, but it will make a massive statement.
  • And finally, no one will really do it. For the past month millions of people have been dumping buckets of ice water on their heads, videotaping it and uploading it to social media, raising more money for the ALS Association than any campaign ever (over $100 million). Everybody from Justin Timberlake to the New York Jets have done it because of the greatest motivator known to man, next to money of course: peer pressure. I think we can get them to avoid their TVs for two days.
With love and deep respect for you and your family,
Jessie 

Monday, September 8, 2014

LA! I'm Teaching a Blogging Class


I am thrilled to announce that thanks to the fantastic people over at the fantastic Writing Pad (the BEST OF LA Weekly writing school), I am offering my very first blogging workshop. 

Sunday, September 21st, 2:30-5:30pm
snacks and drinks included!

Look I have a whole page on the site and everything!
 


Won't you please join me for an afternoon of learning how to master this powerful craft? I promise great resources, fun activities, real tools for future success and lots of laughs!



Thursday, September 4, 2014

If You Can't Write a Shitty First Draft Then You Can't Be a Writer

image source

On my 31st birthday I decided that I know little to nothing about life and should seek the advice of older and wiser adults. The plan was to have a difference mentor recommend one book each month of my 31st year. So far it has been one month, and I am proud to say that the plan is still in effect. I was recommended Bird by Bird by the incredible Cindy Chupack, and I read from first Kindle swipe to last.

For those unfamiliar, Bird by Bird is a book by Anne Lamott about the writer's process. It is as charming and delightful to read as it is informative, and I'd recommend it to anyone (and have all month long).

Below is what I learned and below that is the book that's on deck next. So far this is going better than every single New Year's Resolution I've ever made and the five day juice cleanse that I ended after three days! I think I'm onto something.



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Nancy Drew 2.0

We technically didn't have a Monday, but I'm loving this new series and I didn't post yesterday, so here you go!

Alison Leiby - Sunday Night Sex Talks NY alum and all-around hysterical woman - wrote this killer piece for Thought Catalog:

19 Nancy Drew Titles If She Were A Millennial

My fave: The Mystery Of The Text That Just Said “Cool”

My second fave: The Girl Who Couldn’t Remember Which Nail Polish Color She Usually Gets

My third fave: The Secret of the Girl Who Couldn’t Even 

The list goes on and on. Enjoy it while grumbling over the fact that there are still two days until Saturday!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why You Need a Travel Consultant


As you know, I can fall a tad on the confident side. I think I know how to handle my business best by myself - from planning a wedding to planning an Emmy Awards outfit. Sometimes I do (see wedding) and sometimes I don't (see Emmys, though to be clear it was the shopping not ultimately deciding that was complete and utter crazy town).

Our honeymoon fell into the false confidence side of the divide. The plan was South East Asian for two full weeks, and I was sure that between friends who have been there and the Internet, R and I could cull together the trip of a lifetime. Then I remembered that I've never planned the trip of a lifetime, don't know the first thing about traveling around South East Asia and barely have time to eat lunch most days. Enter Aly of JetawayGuru, world traveler and world traveling consultant extraordinaire. 

Today I thought a good old-fashioned FAQ with Aly would be the best way to learn what a travel consultant is and how one might save your life/marriage.


Adorable.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hump Day Happy: Every Outfit Shelley Long Wears in Troop Beverly Hills

See all the looks!

God bless the people over at Jezebel for this piece of Internet gold, specifically writer Lindy West who, based on this article, receives immediate honorary admission into the Rosen family (don't accept Lindy; we're a real handful).

I love Troop Beverly Hills, written by three. genius. ladies. to the degree that I still sing "Cookie Time" in its entirety every time Girl Scouts, cookies or Pia Zadora are mentioned and cannot utter the words, "Beverly Hills," without adding, "what a thrill!" which is tricky because I live in L.A. Also when some people were like, "who is this Jenny Lewis person?" I was like, "shut your mouth you monster, she was Hannah Nefler and her bangs were legendary."

And so I am particularly happy to bring you this rainbow of happiness to get you through the worst day of the week. Let's all raise a glass of champs for costume designer Theadora Van Runkle (who has the world's best job and name) and enjoy a trip down memory lane.

My personal favorite among the collection:

"It's khaki wishes and cookie dreams!"



 My personal favorite quote of the movie:

Tessa DiBlasio: [Stomping out Phyllis's cigarette ash] Mrs. Nefler! We're above the fire line! And you shouldn't smoke, it's bad for you. And it conceals neurosis you should deal with yourself.
Lily Marcigan: Smokey Bear says, "Only you can prevent forest fires."
Phyllis: Well, Smokey Bear isn't going through a horribly messy divorce!


The hands-down best scene of them all:


And finally, yes, Rosa is Rosario from Will & Grace.

GOD this movie is the best. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Behind The Red Carpet of the Emmy Awards (Literally Because They Make The Real People Walk Behind It)

I'm excited! Everyone else is on the phone.

There are two ways that you can get yourself to the Emmy Awards. You can be nominated, you can be invited or you can be married to someone who is either of the two. You could also be the mother/brother/daughter/friend of someone nominated or invited but I went the marriage route, and it's really paying off.

Two months ago R and I went to the ESPY's because of his job. Then R got a new job and got invited to the Emmys. So you might say that since marrying me, R has been invited to two awards shows and gotten a brand new job. I do.

Without getting overly dramatic about this whole thing, it has been a childhood dream of mine to attend the Emmys, and I used to write acceptance speeches for my own eventual Emmy win while sitting on the potty as a little girl (what? I had three little sisters. There were only so many places I could focus). And so you can imagine the excitement I had to downplay when R called to say he had two tickets...and when I shopped for a dress at my favorite shop and most stylish friend's home...and when I told the check out lady that the hairspray I was buying at 8:30am was for my Emmy hair. Turns out her brother was also going and didn't invite her this year. I told her she should focus on marrying someone who gets invited and parallel path by writing and creating her own television shows. She told me that going to the Emmy's isn't actually that fun.

Well Sandra at the CVS on Beverly and La Cienega, I respectfully disagree. Here are my lessons, takeaways and delights from the 2014 Emmy Awards.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How Many of the "49 Life Skills Every Modern Woman Should Have" Do I?


Ah the Internet... What would we do without you? Certainly not know which Disney Princess, city, Taylor Swift song or Friday Night Lights character we are, and, apparently, whether or not we're modern women! Considering I am a woman alive right now and not spending my days churning butter, I thought I'd put myself to this very important HuffPost test. It's times like these that I don't mind the fact that they don't pay their writers.

Here we go. I'll try to be nice.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hump Day Happy: All About That Bass

From this Hump Day forward I'll be kicking off the worst day of the week by sharing a little something I'm liking as of late. Today it's Megan Trainor's "All About That Bass." I know some people are pissed that she says "skinny bitches" (which she does) and others think she's supporting unhealthy eating (which she isn't) but I love this dumb little tune, I love her pretty pink lipstick, and I LOVE that beautiful man dancing his ass off in the background. It makes me happy.  Hopefully it makes some of you happy too.

Enjoy and good luck out there today.
(and thanks for the tip off Jade)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Chronically Cry on Airplanes

image source
I cry when I’m on an airplane.

It doesn’t happen every time. It never happens on a red eye, for example, when every opportunity for miserable, uncomfortable sleep must be fully maximized. It doesn't happen when I'm flying with other people, unless they're fully asleep or deep in the action movie they can finally watch now that I don't have movie theater veto power. But it happens 9 times out of the other 10 flights that don't fall into those categories.

Right now – yes this very moment (ed note: I wrote this in flight from NY to LA) – I’m wiping away salty face drops because three minutes ago I remembered finding a photocopy of the first “book” I ever wrote. It was in the computer room at my parents' house this weekend. It's called Lily, and it's about a flower that disappears from a garden. The other flowers in the garden are really torn up about this lily’s disappearance and so the elder flower of the group (or maybe a farmer? I can't remember...) sets out to find missing little Lily only to discover a whole field of her kind in a neighboring farm. “Here a lily, there a lily, everywhere a lily, lily,” that page goes. See the lily set out and planted herself elsewhere where she grew and expanded into a whole field of flowers. It doesn't make a ton of sense and is vaguely sexual in nature, but that’s when I started to cry. Have you ever heard a more poetic rip off of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm?” And the whole thing is such a beautiful allegory of the meaning of life, no? Sometimes we have to disappear and then come alive in a new way. Or, it’s only after we uproot and plant anew elsewhere that we’re really able to flourish. Last week I wrote a dick pic joke into a comedy script, but at six I really had something to say about who we are as humans. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

20-Nothings Travels: Birthday Day-Tripping to Topanga Canyon

Image source, the incredible Gail Bushman with the theydrawmap.com people!

"I couldn't tell if you were in Santa Fe, the Ozarks, or the '70s!" one friend said in response to my string of live #bdadventure photos. The answer is E. none of the above. I was trolling around Topanga Canyon right here in LA.

Every year I celebrate surviving another 365 with a solo day of indulgence. Last year I had lunch with a friend, got my make-up done and went to see 20 Feet From Stardom. Why did I get my make-up done and then sit alone in a movie theater for two hours? Because it's my damn day!

This year I decided to take my show on the road with an afternoon of reading, writing and shopping just a short drive up the PCH (or 101 depending on traffic and which direction you're coming from, but let's not make this a Californians sketch).

It just so happened to be my very first day back to buying things after a three month hiatus so I wanted a spot with unique shops where I could, as R approved, go wild.

Topanga is the name of the settled community of Topanga Canyon which sits inside the Santa Monica mountain range. If you are familiar with the California town of Ojai, think of Topanga like Ojai minus the yuppies and 50% of the businesses. If you are not, think of it like a untouched hippie enclave on top of a mountain ten miles from Beverly Hills. If that's impossible to imagine then you've just given yourself a very good reason to go to Topanga Canyon for the day. Though, if I were you I would go for a month, take up the lute and wear nothing but Stevie Knicks costumes (and I might...). 

Here is how it all magically went down: