Thursday, January 29, 2015

How and Where and When I Write

my writing chair looks like my writing style feels!
I currently have the honor of teaching a class called SO YOU WANNA BE A WRITER through the awesome Writing Pad school here in L.A. Last Saturday was my very first class and, as I explained to my students, I wanted it to be as much about how to be a writer as it is about how to write. To that end I gave them a bizarre non-writing, writing assignment as homework. I asked them to spend some time over the week figuring out how, where, when (and in what outfit, duh) they like to write.

Here, in solidarity, are my answers:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

#HumpDayHappy: This hysterical "What Girls Say" Aussie commercial

I can't believe that my little bit of mid-week happy is a commercial, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. My dad is an "Ad Man", I spent the first five years of my career working in branded content development and my single favorite line of copy is, "every kiss begins with Kay."

Below is a commercial for Aussie haircare products featuring the hysterical GRAYDON SHEPPARD, co-creator of Shit Girls Say (which single video-dly started the Shit _____ Say revolution). It is just as on point as the original video, and just as funny.

I am not being paid by Aussie to say this. I don't even currently use Aussie products. But after this gem, I just might. Kudos to the ad agency behind the spot for using real comedy talent in a clever way instead of just paying some celebrity to shake her shiny hair around. 

My favorite line is the very first: "I wish I could just, like, get out of bed and have my hair be done."

What's yours?


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What It Feels Like to be a Writer That is "Sponsored by my Husband"

My whole body turned itself into a fist when I saw Ann Bauer's article pop up on my news feed yesterday afternoon:

“Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from

I felt like that article was giving me the side-eye. It's not just that I recently found myself in this exact situation - it's that I've been trying to write about it for weeks and failing. Reading Ann's article finally forced my issue. I need to talk about what it feels like to have your writing career sponsored by your husband, and I think you need to hear it. 

Let's talk about Ann's piece first. She covers this issue from the standpoint of wealthy or connected writers who do not disclose their privilege when approached with the oh-so-awkward cocktail party conversation: "how do you support yourself" or "to what do you attribute your success?" Her premise: writers who hide their trust fund stories and the fact that their parents were stars of the literary world do the rest of us a disservice. If they shared the truth we might all feel a little better about the struggle that is this career

Ann goes on to explain that she has never been happier, healthier or more productive in her writing than she is now that she is "sponsored" by her husband. Her husband is supportive. The balance of their relationship works beautifully, financially speaking. She is not ashamed.  

Well Ann, you are my hero. But also, I think you're missing one giant point about this whole financial-plight-of-the-writer thing. 

Flattery first.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why I Had My Natal Chart Read, And You Should Too

I have always been two things that don't compliment each other very well: a cynic and a searcher. I'm dying to know things about myself, the universe, and where the two meet, if in fact they do. Yet my need for certainty - the black and white way I can see the world - always gets in the way. I don't believe in things easily - everything from the value of therapy (which I've thankfully gotten over) to the existence of a higher power (which I'm still working on). 

So you can imagine how I felt when I was introduced to an astrologer at a recent Sunday Night Sex Talks show. I was fascinated. I was dying to ask her 10,000 questions. I wanted to tell her right then and there that someone once figured out that I'm a Leo whose rising sign is also Leo (the only two things I know about astrology), and that I know that means something but I don't know what!!! And then the skepticism started to filter in...

This time, though, I pushed through. I reached out to Rose, my new and first astrologer friend, to see if she would be willing to do a reading so that I could better understand the practice. I forced the searcher to shut up the cynic, and I'm glad that I did.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#HumpDayHappy: Downton's Mr. Mosley is back and Mosley-er Than Ever!

I'm about four weeks late to this post, but I just started the latest season of Downton Abbey, so it's news to me.

Guys - there's no one better than Mosley. Not sad Lady Edith who is amazing because it's like how much more are they going to do to this poor girl?? Not the delightfully stodgy Mr. Carson who never met a rule he didn't guard with his life until Lord Grantham said, cool it. Not even the Oscar and Felix combo that is the Dowager Countess and Isobel Crawley who totally deserve a Golden Girls-style spin-off series. It's like Mosley is acting in his own, completely different show - a slap stick comedy about a loveable, slightly slow valet who can't seem to get a win! You'd call it Mosley's Law! I'm guessing Julian Fellows pitched that show first and just couldn't get the BBC on board. Now every week they get to see the error of their ways when Mosley slays every scene.

Somebody better give this guy the Better Call Saul treatment when Downton is said and done (or maybe if...). Until then I will contemplate setting up my own Twitter feed for the Mose. @NotAFootman @MosleySideEye @NotYouMosley? I'm open to suggestions.

Until then please enjoy this incredible, two minute retrospective on the man, the myth, the legend that is Mosley:

Mr. Mosley and Mrs. Patmore are responsible for more combined Downton laughs than the Dowager Cou... in 20 Nothings Polls on LockerDome

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

20-Nothings Travels: Reviews and Recommendations for the SLS Las Vegas

Sunday night R and I had a somewhat impromptu stay at the new-ish SLS Las Vegas Hotel + Casino. It was somewhat impromptu because we planned to go to Vegas to visit my Dad who was there on business, but only decided on the SLS after we discovered their INSANE DEAL on a room ($53 base price on account of a promotion). I love hotels, and considering we live five blocks from the L.A. version of this Sin City expansion, I thought we should check this one out. Also it was $53 dollars. It wasn't until we booked the room that R stumbled upon the awful Yelp reviews. It wasn't until Monday morning that we understood why you can get a room for $53.

I do very little negative reviewing on this site, but as a travel and hotel lover, I thought this was worth mentioning. Below is WHY I would give the SLS TWO STARS on Yelp (if I Yelped) and below that is what I might do to fix it (if this writing thing doesn't work out and I end up an International hotelier).

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The #1 Thing That Inspires Me, In Honor of My Friend's Genius Birthday Request

My friend Kelly is one of those people who is always finding ways to incorporate her friends into her life, and as a quick peruse of her Instagram feed proves, she has a lot of them. So I was totally honored to get the below e-mail from her in advance of her upcoming birthday (shortened here for blog post sake):

"I want 2015 to trump 2014 (which was already a pretty spectacular year!) and I feel like the best way for me to do that is to ask the people who inspire me and who I respect and admire most, to share something with me that inspires/motivates/moves them. This can truly be anything.  Your favorite book, movie, musician, album, song, or piece of art.  A favorite restaurant, museum, place to find quiet, city to visit, or place to dance into the wee hours of the night.  A hobby or skill or favorite class. A quote, a cocktail, a recipe, a theater production. Truly--absolutely anything at all.

My goal will be to fit that something into my year in some way.  Whether I read or watch it.  Visit it.  Try it out myself.  I'd like to expand my experiences and I trust that you all will lead me to some pretty incredible things or places or meals or moments.  And hell, if you're up for joining me for that cocktail, class or museum--bonus points to you!" 

I'm posting that and my response with her permission, of course. 

It took me awhile to figure out how to respond. My first instinct was to say, "anything Nora Ephron has ever written." I read something from her collection The Most of Nora Ephron when I'm down, when I'm confused, when I have writer's block or when I'm feeling like I can't remember the kind of woman I'm trying to become. I just love the way she lived her life, and I always try to incorporate her world view into my own. But that didn't feel quite right.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#HumpDayHappy: Booya Fitness is Every Single Fitness Class You've Ever Been To, Online

Confession: I have a gym membership to LA Fitness that I use approximately one every two weeks. I have no real excuses for that fact. The day gets busy or the machines are busy when I have time or all the classes are full...or I just would prefer to be inside my apartment than outside of it, in stretch pants.

So I was intrigued by an e-mail from the team over at BOOYAH FITNESS - a hysterically named new web portal that claims to have every fitness class you can imagine, on the Internet. You know where the Internet is? Inside your apartment! And to make matters more exciting, they're right about the every single class thing. Of course these are work-outs you can handle in the home (aka the best kind) and you'll need a few piece of equipment (that you've bought every single January 1st for the past decade).

Unlike like the thousand "bride arms" workouts you'll find on YouTube, I've noticed that all the Booyah offerings are really professional looking and very well organized. Also there are a lot of ethnic dance classes, which is my favorite form of exercise.

Check it out when you get the chance. They offer a free month-long trial, which is how I gave it a shot. And you technically have 17.5 more days until January is over, and with it your chance at keeping a 2015 resolution.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Can You Fall in Love with ANYONE Thanks to 36 Questions and 4 Magic Minutes?

This weekend my friend Ally sent along one of the most fascinating reads that I've read in a very long time: a Modern Love piece titled To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This. The simple premise: that there's a formula to falling in love, and that one scientist cracked it.

That formula: 36 very specific questions and four minutes of staring deeply into the eyes of the potential lover.

Yes, that's seriously it.

The psychologist behind this insanity is Dr. Arthur Aron, and his hypothesis is incredibly simple. To paraphrase it to death: interpersonal closeness can be derived by creating an environment that allows us to rapidly incorporate another person into our sense of self. His questions are all geared toward that goal, and they're meant to be answered with as much vulnerability as possible. I'm unclear on whether or not you're supposed to answer them in one session or use as much time as it takes, but once the answers are completed, the final step is to stare deeply into the eyes of the other person without breaking for four straight minutes. I did that once on a retreat in college, and it is legitimately, incredibly powerful. That said, I'm not married to that guy.

I recommend reading more about Dr. Aron and his theory, but let's be honest, all you really want to see are the mysterious 36 question.

To me, these are the five most fascinating:

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

So - does it work?

If you finish the Modern Love piece you'll know one woman's answer. Mine is, why not? Or rather, why not try? At the very least, you'll end up getting a lot of huge thoughts and feelings out of your head and body. At the very most, you'll end up with the love of your life. That seems worth 36 questions and four awkward minutes, no?

Keep me posted. In the meantime I'm going to find an evening to do the 36 questions with the person I've already fallen in love with. Let's hope it sticks! Maybe I should wait until the end of my Dry January...

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Year's Resolution Update: I can quit alcohol, not cheese

Just a little update on how my month of restraint is going...because maybe if I publish the cold, hard facts on the Internet, I'll finally stop eating cheese.

Dry January: check!

I have encountered seven occasions in which I was the only one not drinking since writing my resolution post. In fairness to my friends who are not, in fact, alcoholics, the Golden Globes were this weekend, a friend was in from out of town and I had three "drinks" sessions throughout the week. Every single time I said, "Ugh I'm not drinking because I'm doing Dry January." Four out of the seven times someone at the table said, "Yeah, I was doing that too..." Do I miss a delicious glass of wine? Yes. Have I needed that glass of wine? Not at all. Am I super sick of green tea? Hell yes.

Shopping Ban: check!

I technically replaced clothes shopping with shopping for a new couch, but that is well within my rules for the month. I am also proud to say that I got rid of several never-wear-it things and re-organized my closet to remind myself, yet again, that I have way more clothes than I will ever need.

Dairy Freeze (you're welcome): fail...

I can't even count the amount of times I've had cheese, guys. It's like I erased the plan to not have it from my mind the minute I made it. During the Golden Globes watch I went to I was the only person eating the cheese plate. Think that might have reminded me? No. I'm going to say that I will work very hard on this moving forward (as I literally rub my hurty belly), but I truly fear it is an impossibility. Stay-tuned.

What's your resolution-keeping status? Anyone else successfully suffering through the Dry Jan move? If so, what's your not-wine of choice?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

20-Nothings Travels: A Taco Crawl of Cabo San Lucas!

I have many loves but cities, food and incredibly well-organized ranking systems are definitely among the top three.

Halfway through our recent belated Mexico-moon to Cabo San Lucas, I combined those affections into an afternoon aventura to taste as many of Baja Sur's famous Baja-style tacos as possible. Using a combination of Internet research (thank you Yelp, Serious Eats, and Conde Nast Traveler), a city map and the ten words in Spanish R and I have mastered ("Puedes hacer un taco? Si, solamente uno. Si, pero estomas en un gran aventura de los taco! Todo la dia! ...Ok, dos tacos.), we conquered this street cuisine. Here are our six stops in four hours and our reviews:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

#HumpDayHappy: Sophia Grace Drops a Single

I literally screamed at the computer when I saw that Sophia Grace finally released her first single. If you don't know who Sophia Grace is then you've never been on the Internet, so welcome, and my apologies because you're about to spend the next five hours of your life watching every single YouTube clip of this little pistol from London who burst onto the scene with an Ellen show appearance after her Nicki Minaj-singing clip went viral. I love every about her from her sweet dimples to her confident attitude. Here's hope that doesn't change on account of her sky-rocketing to fame. Is this a perfect song: no. Is is a damn-catchy diddy that I've been singing since I hear it: yes.

The only thing that puts a damper on this #humpdayhappy is that Sophia's fly-girl and cousin Rosie somehow didn't make the cut. So Dreamgirls... Here's hoping Rosie goes all Jennifer Hudson on Sophia's ass twenty years from now. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Super Aggressive 2015 New Year's Resolutions (That Only Cover January...)

Hello and Happy New Year after a very long blogging break. I got caught wrapping up 2014 work and prepping for a big adventure to Mexico for the turn into 2015 (#20NothingsTravels recap to come), but I'm back to talk resolutions, as is my obligation as a blogger.

Last year I made a list of some really lovely resolutions for 30-Nothings. It included things like "Print your photos!" and "Buy one niece piece of furniture" and "Learn what "The Cloud" is and start using it to back-up/store your music/documents/photos/etc." They were really great ideas, and when I look back on them now I'm really surprised by how helpful they might have been had I actually followed any! 

And so this year I'm foregoing the deep stuff and focusing on the same old crap that every single person resolves to do throughout every single new year (except only for a month): I will complete a Dry January, I will not eat dairy for the entire month, and I will not buy a single new item of clothing for until February 1st. 

Why Dry January? Because I've never done a dry month, and I think it's an important test of willpower. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with alcohol and I believe a glass of red wine has more health benefits than detriments. Also, I only drink socially and even then it's more for indulgence and group following than actual desire to feel drunk. But I do not need alcohol for a month. And yet every time I've tried to do a "Dry Jan" I've quit on account of some dumb glass of wine that I had to have because the wine bar was way too sultry-looking to just drink tea. Enough. I'm a grown woman. If I can't do this, then we've got bigger problems.

Why No Dairy? Because it hurts my belly but I love it too much to pay attention to that fact. After six days in Mexico enjoying queso con every single meal, I now know that my "slight allergy to cheese" is an actual allergy to cheese. I'm looking forward to finding out what it's like to not feel like my stomach is going to explode after I eat.

Why No Clothing? I'm what some might call famous for self-imposed shopping bans. Last year I went three months on a dare from R. I learned lots about myself, my shopping habits, and the amount of clothing I already own. I subsequently forgot all of that and now own 1K things that I don't need, again. Let's see if I can't finally learn my lesson with another break from the $30 rack at Shopaholics Sample Sale (my favorite store in L.A., hands down).

Yes, I will also try to read more and Facetime more often with friends, and volunteer once a month and lead my life with less fear, and all those other things on everyone other list, but I've decided that 2015 should be the year of not taking my own bullshit. Let's see if I can't start with a one-month ban on some of my most unnecessary vices.

Considering I bought a ridiculous serape, ate a cheese-stuffed pepper and downed three margaritas on January 4th, I'll be taking this challenge all the way to February 4th. Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: Fuego Box + Making Shit Happen

I am continually blown away by my friend Mike McAdams, the man behind Drinkwel and Lyteshow - the two products that have been saving me from rough Sunday mornings since they came on the market. That same genius is now bringing you FUEGO BOX - your hot sauce of the month subscription service. I say your because you need this in your life. I didn't know this until I moved to California, but hot sauce makes everything better. But today's #HDH is not just a product recommendation; it's a celebration of someone who has an idea and makes that idea happen. Not once or twice, but three times in his life, so far. That's something to celebrate.

From their website:

Fuego Box was created by a guy who went down the hot sauce rabbit hole . It started with an early Tapatío obsession and advanced with the likes of Cholula, Crystal, and Sriracha. After that, things really got crazy... bhut jolokia and african fatalii peppers; locally harvested, hand-bottled hot sauces; and unique and delicious flavors that go with just about every kind of food.

In a nutshell, Fuego Box wants to bring emerging hot sauces that you've probably never heard of to your hot sauce shelf (you have one, right?). No need for you to go down the hot sauce rabbit hole; we already took the trip and came back with some damn fine sauces. We always focus on flavor over 'ass-burning heat' and avoid gimmicky hot sauces like the plague. So go ahead, place an order and get ready for the world's best hot sauces to come a-knockin'!

From me:  
Christmas is practically tomorrow. Order this for every food-lover on your list, including yourself. Then do some research into the first thing you need to do to make your big idea a reality. 
(Note: this is not a paid or gifted endorsement).  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How To Edit a 94-Page Book Proposal, I Hope

I have spent the past two weeks editing a 101-page book proposal that is now 94 pages because I often don't know how to say things in less than a 36-word run-on sentence.

Because of this I have no other thoughts inside my brain beyond how to edit a book proposal because if I stray for just a second from this beast of a task I will fall into a black hole of searching for the perfect gold lame pants on and never return (but if you find them will you please send me a link? I really, really need them, I think). Here is how I'm surviving:

You HAVE to break it up into chunks - The morning after I got notes on the first draft of my proposal (and by first I mean fifth), I broke those notes into a series of categories so I could tackle certain things on certain days. For example one category was called, "Make me cry more," aka an entire pass of the proposal focused on upping the ante on the emotion. I called another category, "No more crappy dialogue," and used that to review all the dialogue to make sure it sounded like real people and not people inside Lifetime original movies. There was also a "Copy edit" category that was broken into a second series of chunks by page (pages 1-20, 20-40, etc.). Every day I pick a different chunk or three from the list. This helps diversify the work and keeps me organized about what needs to get done.

You HAVE to give yourself incentives - I picked three kinds of incentives because I need just that much push to get the work done. The first is food-based: if I work for two hours straight without going online I can have a delicious snack from my goodie bag of delicious snacks (aka super dark chocolate bars from Trader Joe's and any baked goods from The Larder at Burton Way). My second incentive is bigger, and I only get it if I complete the work I want to get done for the whole day. That is obviously TV, specifically Rehab Addict on HGTV and/or hours lip-synching my favorite episodes of Sex & the City. And finally, the big prize. If I turn the proposal in on time, I get a facial at Face Haus, the new quickie skincare spot that just opened on 3rd Street (note: I give this to myself, the people at Face Haus have no idea this is going on...yet).

If It's Going Really Poorly, You HAVE to Walk Away - Some people compare writing to working out, and they say that if you get stuck you have to push through even harder just like you would at minute 25 on the elliptical when the Moth podcast you're listening to is over and you just want to get off and do the bike. I disagree. Just start on the bike and then you don't have to worry about ending up there because you're weak! Relative to writing, if I push myself when things are a mess, things get worse and then I really don't want to open that document back up the next day. I say take a breather (a walk, a 15-min snooze, a delightful YouTube video). You're a writer not a triathlete on purpose.

You Can't Cancel ALL Your Plans - If you get too marred in this whole thing you'll get angry and bitter. Some might argue that angry, bitter people make the best writers, but they make lousy spouses, family members and friends so it's really a choice. I pull way back on the breakfasts and lunches when I'm on a deadline like this one, but I try to keep plans in the evening. It motivates me to get my work done earlier, and it gives me something to look forward to, aka alcohol.

You REALLY Shouldn't Be Reading Another Book While Editing Your Own - I'm in the middle of Wild, which I read at night before I go to bed and during the day when things are going really poorly with my own writing. In theory I should be inspired by the gorgeous work of Cheryl Strayed and infuse that brilliance into my own writing. In practice I just end up inserting long sections of copy that sound nothing like me and everything like Cheryl, which would be fine if it was throughout my whole proposal and not just in random chunks.

And there you have it...from a baby book proposal writer with a wildly unhealthy reliance on incentives, at least. If this all works out I'll re-publish this post with the new title: How To Edit a 94-Page Book Proposal, I Now Know. Until then, feel free to send me better tips!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#HumpDayHappy: I've reduced my morning beauty products from 17 to 7

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about finally gaining the confidence to go make-up free thanks to a great skin-care regimen. I stopped wearing a ton of concealer, foundation and blush around that time to keep my skin nice and clean. Then I browsed through the J. Crew Holiday catalog and realized that no one wears make-up anymore (yes, no one that is a world class model, but why not aim high and follow that lead). As a result (of sheer copying J. Crew models) I am proud to report that I have reduced the number of skin-care, make-up and even hair products I use on a daily basis from 17 (not a fake number) to 7 (also real). I am embarrassed to list he 17, but here are the 6*!
  • Hair - Moroccan Oil Smoothing Lotion - If I'm actually styling my hair I'll throw hair spray in after I do a little blow-dry and curling wand action, but if it's just a let it flow and go day, this is all I now need.  I get mine at Planet Beauty.
  • Face Moisture - Murad Essential C Day Moisturizer - Found this light but totally hydrating option thanks to a Sephora sample. It's pricey, but you don't need a ton, and it's fine for year-round use, not just the dry winter months. 

  • Bronzer - Sephora Collection Bronzer - All I need for all-day color. Also, up until three months ago I didn't know that I was applying bronzer like an idiot. Here is how you're supposed to do it. Thank you, Internet.

  • Mascara - Maybelline Great Lash Mascara - I use this because it is the exact mascara my mom used when I was growing up, and I can't bring myself to switch. If I want a more va-va-voom eye for evening I'll use something intense like Covergirl Lash Blast but for every day it's my trusty hot pink and green wand.  
  • Lip - Maybelline Baby Lips in Peach Kiss - They're not kidding. This product literally gives you the lips of a baby. It comes in a bunch of colors, but I like the simple Peach Kiss for every day. 
Of course this doesn't include getting dressed up. For that I go crazy with the primer, concealer, smokey eye, giant lashes, and I rock this pitch perfect lipstick from Nars that costs more than my dinner entree. But just think of all the money I'm saving on everything else...R...

Happy Stocking Stuffer (for yourself...) Shopping!

*This is not a sponsored post. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

All I Want For Christmas: 2014 Edition

Yes, this marks two, season-specific listicals in two weeks, but the annual Christmas list post (which only happened once before, and in 2011) is an incredibly important element of this blog.

My real Christmas list went out to my Mom via e-mail on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as requested, so that she and my sisters could reference it during their Black Friday shopping. This is a modified list in case any of you out there slash the universe will also be leaving a little something for me under the Christmas tree.

    1. These gold pants from J. Crew - I don't want anyone in my life to buy these pants for me nor do I ever intend to buy these pants for myself (unless they magically cost $29.99). I just want a wealthy, anonymous benefactor to drop them on my doorstep because I believe they will totally transform my life.

    2. A piano - I think that if we had a piano in the apartment I would re-teach myself how to play it as a lovely respite from long hours of writing, and subsequently write for long hours. I also envision very fancy cocktail parties where I would delight my guests with swingin' Jazz standards and Billy Joel songs. While a keyboard may be more affordable, it is not nearly as cool.
    3. So many Flash Tattoos - I know these metallic temp tats are so popular now that they're no longer popular, but I still love them, and want lots and lots. 

    4. For The Staircase to be available On Demand! Once Serial is over I don't know what I'm going to do with myself (said everyone at your Thanksgiving table). Everyone that has seen The Staircase says, "you're going to watch The Staircase," but as far I can tell it is not available On Demand or on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon, etc.

    5. To find my perfect scent - I'm always struck by a person who smells the same every time you see them, and incredible. I'm prone to switching between various perfumes that I don't really love. I believe there are companies that help with this - one of them may or may not be Le Labo? - but I have no idea what that kind of opportunity costs. I will look into this unless the same wealthy, anonymous benefactor wants to give that too.

    6. For Jenny Slate to be in all the movies, forever - I was about as obsessed with OBVIOUS CHILD as one can get with a movie. I've long thought that Jenny Slate could be a mega star. I hear rumor that Hollywood is catching up, but I'm putting it on my X-mas list just in case. 

    7. To take Sunday Night Sex Talks to three new cities this year! This is already in the works but I'm trying to give it the same extra good vibes I'm giving Jenny Slate's career.

    8. Really fantastic long bangs - It's never going to happen because of my half-curly, half-straight hair and the mean cowlick I'm rocking at the absolute least convenient spot, but if The Santa Clause is any indication, Christmas miracles can come true, and David Krumoltz can really turn a career around.

    9. A felt, floppy hat - I'm not entirely sure what style, but I want to look like one of these celebrities, and I want it to be maroon.

    10. To finish my very first novel - If things continue to go the way they're going, there is a world in which 2015 will feature me finishing not one but two novels! I don't want to jinx it (plus simply typing that possibility just made me break out into a cold sweat) so I'll leave it at one and hope for the best, from Santa.

    What's on your X-mas list this year? And by that I mean, what should I be adding to mine? 

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    Things To Be Thankful For 2014 Edition

    Another year, another incredible list of things that make the third Thursday of the month more than just an excuse to eat a piece of every single dessert available and none of the veggies. This year has been especially full of joy. Here's what I very specifically thankful for:

    • FaceTime! - Now that I've entered the 21st century with the iPhone 6 I can actually use its coolest feature. Being 3K miles away from home is never easy, but jumping on a video chat to show off the fact that my puppy can now do High Five! makes it a little bit more bearable. 
    • 89.3 KPPC - I have low to medium grade road rage (fine, severe), but when I'm listening to the NPR station broadcasting out of Pasadena Community College, I'm slightly more at ease. I credit the smooth voice of Alex Cohen for 75% of that ease. I hope my monthly donation goes straight to her wallet.
    • Free samples at Sephora!It's like they don't want you to ever have to actually buy the product! Try the GlamGlow next time you're in. You'll end up buying it, but only after they start looking at you sideways when you ask for your fourth sample in a month.
    • The Larder at Burton Way - My life improved ten-fold the minute a cafe opened less than two blocks away from our apartment. It's almost like I live in New York. Go there and do not leave until you've eaten one of their homemade Nutter Butters.
    • TSA Pre Check! - As of yesterday R and I have officially entered the keep-your-shoes-on club! $85 for FIVE YEARS of skipping that miserable line. What are you waiting for? (Sorry if it's, for your criminal record to clear...)
    • Commiseration/camaraderie - It hasn't been an easy year career-wise, but I have gotten closer and closer to the incredible friends in my life willing to share in that struggle with their honesty. Sometimes this is a town of, "Yeah! everything is amazing! You?" I'm grateful for all the people in my life that say, "Ugh! Shit's miserable! You?"
    • My HUSBAND - This year I have a husband, and given how it's going I hope I have him for the rest of my Thanksgiving days (to be clear that was always the plan). Husbands are wonderful for so many reasons, but mine is particularly amazing because he lets me know how grateful he is for me/us every day. Also, he plugs in my electric toothbrush when he thinks it might need a charge so I never lose power half-way through my brush. #Keeper
    • And last but not least, LOUIE, OUR PUPPY - I can't describe all the joy he's brought to life, and that's not just when he's wearing that cute-as-all-heck Turkey-print bow tie you see featured above. Louie has been the most rewarding challenge of my life to date, and I've done Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred, twice
     Happy, Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    French People Don't Get Stressed

    I was chatting with a friend this morning about stress - how much I have...why I have so much...where exactly it lives in my soon I'm bound to pop and ulcer... The things you talk about over most 9am coffee conversations.

    But this friend is smarter than most friends.

    "This reminds me of how Americans deal with medicine versus the French," she said. "In America you go to the doctor, tell them you're feeling X, Y or Z and they give you a pill for that problem. In France you present those same complaints and the doctor says, 'interesting...have you considered spending a day at the spa?'"

    I know, I know... And French Women Don't Get Fat and Bringing Up Bebe should be the bible on parenting, and Paris trumps Manhattan every time...

    I'm not saying that the French know all, I'm saying that our culture doesn't value or care for the body like other cultures, and not just the French.

    Drive down any street in L.A.'s Korean town and you'll see jam-packed parking lots at the half-dozen or so spas. In Korean, in fact, the word used to describe spending a day at the spa best translates to the English term, "working out." They consider time at the spa as important as time at the gym.

    I, on the other hand, "don't have time to get to the gym," and can't even approach the idea of a few hours soaking in a 1/2 priced K-Town spa without massive amounts of guilt. I'm not making enough money to waste at the spa. I can't sacrifice precious hours of work in a tub. I don't deserve a steam room; I have two novels and a screenplay to write! This is a waste of my time.

    The French/Korean/I'll-do-some-more-research-and-come-up-with-a full-list-of-cultures philosophy: None of those things will improve unless you take care of your mind and body. Only a relaxed, balanced body can produce at its highest potential. That sounds logical, so why does it feel wrong?

    Because of the American philosophy: shut up, pop an Adderral and drink more coffee.Why? I'm not sure, but I intend to spend at least an hour this afternoon Googling books on the issue.

    My goal: some kind of happy medium in my own life. Which culture wrote the book on that? Greeks? Italians? Germans?

    Oh, duh. The Swiss.  Now let's all watch that 17 minute TED Talk or read philosophy Alain de Botton's book Status Anxiety and change our lives accordingly. 

    For my part today: anyone up for a 30 minute facial at Facehaus?

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    #HumpDayHappy: LIFE PARTNERS starring Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs

    This week's slice of mid-week sunshine technically started last night at the LA premiere of LIFE PARTNERS - a sweet and smart comedy about what happens when the right guy finally comes between gay and straight female best friends. It is modern. It is accurate. It is charming as all hell. And it stars three of our (the royal our) favorite former TV stars, Blair Waldorf (Leighten Meester), Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), and Adam Brody (Seth Cohen!!!!!!).

    I won't ruin the details of this really fun ride but I will say that it features three truly special on-screen moments:
    • The "I love you" - almost cried
    • The "I'm sorry" - wanted to steal it
    • And the Subaru scene - desperately need to see this happen in real life
    Congrats to the entire LIFE PARTNERS team. It's nice to see a movie that sounds and feels like the world we really occupy. Grab it on iTunes or OnDemand NOW or check listings to see it in theaters starting December 5th!