Tuesday, March 24, 2015

999 Posts + The Big Blog Re-Design


This marks the 999th time I have opened my blogger account and started typing into this blank, white box. Not every post made it live, but the official file number is 999. I cannot fathom how that's possible, but I have never been prouder.

This project started as a place to share what I was experiencing as a confused post-grad in a big, expensive city (again, because my friend Matt made me do it). I didn't have an ulterior motive; I just needed somewhere to write. And then somehow it became the catalyst for almost every major change in my life from that point - truly. I can track everything from my first script and first literary manager to my move to Los Angeles and my husband to this blog. Today it continues to fuel my creativity and serve as a place that I always return to find my voice as a writer. I owe everything to this little space on the world wide web.

And so I thought I'd give the blog a little 1,000th post congrats gift - a full and complete re-design.

It's way past time to take 20/30-Nothings into the 21st century. New logo. New look. Far better functionality, readability, and shareability (this is a word?). I'll also be introducing new features and ways to connect. And, most importantly, there will be really cool colors involved.  

I'll be off-line for a week or so until the transformation is complete, but after that it's right back to work. Until then, please enjoy some back-log reading of my personal blog superlatives.

And really, truly, THANK YOU. I think that a writer without an audience is technically still a writer, but it's really so nice to have you.


  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meditation For Beginners, Who Are Terrible at Meditation


As I mentioned, I've just started one of Deepak Choprah and Oprah's 21-Day Meditation Challenges. As I failed to mention on purpose, this is the third time...

Basically Oprak create this user-friendly, totally guided, 100% free content that is released daily for 21 days. Each installment runs for approximately 20 minutes and includes an intro by Oprah, a lesson by Deepak and timed meditation with really lovely music. There is even an app you can download in case opening the e-mail they send and clicking on a link is too cumbersome - as it apparently was for me, twice.

Each 21-Day challenge has a different focus. The first one I tried to do was something about finding the calm in your life, the second I can't remember, and this one is about Manifesting True Success. Bottom line they're all about centering your mind, but the focus is a nice specific angle...so they can keep doing them, I assume, but that's fine.

So why do I want to do this? Because it is my understanding that meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for use in calming the hell down, something I could use 20 minutes (or years...) of in my life. Also, I like the idea of starting every day with some thinking, and then some non-thinking. And finally, people who meditate endlessly boast the benefits, and they are almost always people that I like and respect.

So how is it going? I'm not sure I know yet. I have found a comfortable place and way to sit, which took three days. I really like Oprah talking to me every morning. Deepak has had some great things to say - like today he said that our body is our greatest ally in life, and if we can be in touch with it and work in union with it, we'll be in far better shape emotionally and physically. I tend to treat my body more like this annoying, evil twin that I have to lug around all day/life, so that was a cool brain shift.

But when it comes to the actual meditating, I'm horrible. You're supposed to keep your mind clear and focus on repeating the mantra over and over again, but my mind immediately races to another topic, and then it's minutes until I realize I've been through three more topics and haven't said the mantra silently in my head once. It's frustrating, which is the last thing you want when meditating.

That said, it's my understanding based on a Google search that this is very common. Meditation takes year and years of practice, and I have given it 4, 15-minute sessions. This time, I'm hell-bent on getting to 21. I'll provide an update at half of 21 (sorry, don't have a calculator on the ready). Until then, any advice?


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

7 I'll Do While My Husband is Away


R is on official television business in two Canadian cities for the next 10 days. This makes me sad because I prefer when R is in the same city as me, plus I just started watching EMPIRE (and loving every second of it) and now I have to recap each and every detail of the episodes for him over Facetime, and I hate how I look on Facetime.

And yet there are a few things I'll do over the next week and a half that are "just me" things aka the way I used to live as a single person (minus the dates). Here are seven of them:

  • I will not cook - I can cook and, when I have time to cook, I absolutely love to cook. And yet when left to my own devices I just can't be bothered to make much more than a bowl of cereal or salad featuring items that don't need to be chopped. I'll assemble food, but cooking for one is just too time-consuming to be worth my one-week while. That said, yesterday I made this cold cucumber and avocado soup. It took 5 minutes, and that's including clean-up. 
  • I will eat as much cold soup, cooked tuna fish and pineapple as much as possible - Those are the three foods in the world that R does not like, so I try to be nice and not eat them when he's around. But for now, cold canned tuna soup with pineapple #ALLDAY
  • I will meditate every morning - This is an add of convenience because Deepak and Oprah (Doperah or Opek?) happen to be doing another of their 21-Day Meditation Experiences, starting yesterday. I like the idea of meditating in the early mornings but I have trouble focusing when there are other people in the apartment, and we only have one bedroom. So, thank you Operah/Opek for the timing of this opportunity.
  • I will smother Louie way too much - When R is around I try to be strict with Louie because we're both trying hard to train him to be the best dog in the world, and that requires consistency. Buuut he's not around so I can just big spoon Louie for hours, give him too many treats, and let him wander on walks instead of focusing and no one will know! Please note though: I have no let him sleep in the bed. Seriously I haven't. Will I cave? TBD...
  • I'm going to try to write a script - R is the first person who reads all my writing, so I thought it might be a cool challenge to try and use the time that he's away to write something brand new for him to read when he gets back. As of right now it's looking like it's going to be a one-act play, shitty first draft, of course.   
  • I'm going to wear this lipstick every single day - R hates this lipstick because it's super thick, not kissable and stays on forever. Literally it is there in full the next day, after you've washed your face. I think it's actually paint. His points are well taken, so I'm going to get my fill while he's gone!
  • I'm going to do lots of nice things around the house so he has surprises when he comes home - I can't reveal what those things are because then he will know, and also I haven't come up with them yet, but they are going to be super sweet and really helpful because R deserves it.
Oh and also I'm going to miss him...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

For a Half Hour On Tuesday I Regretted Getting A Dog (And Other Brutal Honesty)

when I can train him to find typos we'll really be in business...

Tuesday was a tough day. I had a meeting about my writing and did a lot of thinking about my writing and beat myself up about how much writing I've gotten written lately. It was just one of those days where you have a thousand different feelings and they all amount of the headline - "I feel overwhelmed." And what do you do when you feel overwhelmed? You come up with a thousand things to explain why you are so overwhelmed. Forget actually trying to relax for a minute. Your time is way better spent making a list of things that make it so that you can't relax. And what is the number one item on that list, always? I don't have enough time. Once you hit the time problem you're only seconds away from the next totally counter-productive activity: the blame game.

Why don't I have enough time? Because of these five evil things.

On Tuesday one of those five evil things was my puppy, Louie.

Before you ooo and aaww and puppies are the best and you just can't let them control your schedule let me tell you that you're wrong and you're right.

You're wrong because cute as they may be puppies are a giant, giant time suck that you have to factor into your schedule. You can't get a puppy that you choose to raise and train yourself and then six months later be shocked that you didn't write two new pilots and a one act play.

You're right about the them not controlling your schedule part. If you want a puppy (which I did), then you have to make it work with your life. If that means the puppy goes to day care two days a week so you can get a full 9 hours of writing in (which mine does), so be it.

But here's the thing - the puppy is not what it's about - or at least that's not what it's about for me. Some of most productive people in the world have dogs and some of the least productive people in the world don't. My dog is not my problem.

I think my "problem" is that I added a big, new element to my life and am still adjusting to how that factors in to whole puzzle. Louie makes most days better. Louie makes some days worse. Sometimes that's because he really does, and it's really his fault. Sometimes that's because I'm still learning how to be a dog parents, and it's really my fault.

So when there are tough days over the next few months, I may still do the whole tough day = overwhelmed me = no time = this damn dog! thing, and that will be okay. Louie only knows ten words in English and, "you're slowing down my writing career" are not six of them. But I think in the long run my life will be better/richer/fuller/saner/calmer because I let this dog in and he messed me up a little, and I had to figure out a way to put myself back together. And by "had to" and mean "have to"... It's a work in progress.

Now please enjoy this video of my dog not giving a shit about my schedule for the day.

video



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The (Strong and Highly Recommended Case) For Acting Like You Don't Want a Boyfriend

...and Jessie, on dating.

Yesterday I had the delightful opportunity to sit down with a majestic tiny dog named Blanche and her owner Iliza Shlesinger as a guest on Iliza's podcast, Truth and Iliza.

We talked about many things - how I hate Ariana Grande's pony tail and Iliza loves it, how I'm not technically Jewish even though Iliza thinks I am, how we both really hate noises that we really hate...

Then somehow the conversation turned the dating and relationship (because I turned it there, I'm sure), and I mentioned that one of the only reasons I am lucky enough to be married to R today is because I wasn't trying to date him when we met. Iliza agreed, wholeheartedly, and then she told all the lady listeners to turn the podcast up because this was the most important information they were going to hear all day slash life. Here is a paraphrase of what I said (but please still listen to the entire podcast when it comes out because it features much more gold):

When I met R, I was of the mindset that I should not have a boyfriend. I had just moved to Los Angeles from New York. I was about to fully pursue my career as a writer after many years of being too afraid. I was living in a house with two gay man who loved to dance. It was not the time to be locked down. And yet, there was R.

We met before I even moved to L.A. so he was already in the picture when I settled in, and in his version of that picture we were together. That was more than fair. We had kept in touch all summer, and I reciprocated all the romance to that point. Then I freaked and tried to avoid becoming his girlfriend. 

And when I did that, things really got good.

To be clear - we did not stop hanging out because he did not stop asking me to do very fun things all the time (which is advice for the daters, not the datees. Don't give up). But when were together, I didn't hold back any of the dumb things I wanted to say. I didn't pretend to want to do things just because R wanted to do them. I didn't even wear special outfits loosely but tastefully themed to the event of the day. I was myself, fully, 100% of the time.

Maybe in the back of my mind I thought, if this guy likes me like this then we might have something here... Something worth giving up the amazing and exciting L.A. dating scene (if you live here then you know that is a joke). But honestly, there wasn't much more thought beyond that. This wasn't some game I was playing to test R's love. I just turned off the DATE ME PLEASE NOW PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE lights and acted like the version of myself that I would no doubt become after a few months of dating. R followed suit. And so, finally, two people were behaving exactly like the people that they will be after all the pressure and production goes away.

That's hard to find these days, Iliza and I decided. We don't go on dates as we are; we go on dates as the people we think we're supposed to be based on the Facebook profile of the guy we're dating. But how are you at dinner when you're not trying to get a guy to put a ring on it? What do you want to dress like if you're not worried about what he thinks? Do you even want to go to that restaurant at all??

I'm not saying you should play the standoffish mean girl who doesn't need a boyfriend, thank you very much. I'm saying you should act like whatever woman you want to be so that the right man, woman or person for that version of yourself - the real version - can finally find you.

(This message is approved by Blanche the wonder dog)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Cheap Jeans Obsession Confession


Here's my #TBT truth: 75% of the jeans I own are from Old Navy or the sale rack at The Gap and cost me under $40.

I realized that the other day as I visited both Nordstrom Rack and Old Navy in search of a new pair of flare-legged, dark-washed jeans. My old pair got stained recently, and here in L.A. "meeting jeans" are as critical a wardrobe staple as underwear.

I started at Nordstrom Rack where I found two pair of AGs, a Joe's and a Lucky Brand. They were all fantastic and fit well, but even at The Rack they were between $65 and $100 each. To be clear, those are good prices for designer jeans. In the late summer of 2001, after working six jobs since May, I treated myself to a pair of Diesel's (which were very cool then). They cost me $225, then. With inflation that's like $1,000.

I think often of those jean because they're sitting in the bottom most spot on my jeans shelf (relax, it's only five deep and they're all very different). They fit incredibly well. They felt incredibly good on my body. I wore them to death for almost five years. But are they $200 better than the Old Navy boyfriend cut light-washed pair positioned directly on top of them? No.

I thought about that as I left Nordstrom Rack and walked over to Old Navy where there was a giant sign boasting 40% off all pants. That's almost half off of nothing, so we're clear.

Fifteen minutes later I walked out with a brand new pair of the exact bottoms I was looking for (these, to be precise). They fit my butt. They make my legs look long. I like the wash color. And from five or five hundred feet, you can't tell that they're from Old Navy and not Bloomingdales.

That's why I'm writing a post about them - to be 100% sure that you know the jeans you see me wearing every time you see me are from the Old Navy, or The Gap, or - brace yourself - The Forever21. Because I am a supporter of super cheap denim (slash super cheap everything, but I have a selfie in the denim so we'll stick with that for now), and with some training and a few trips to the dressing room, I believe you can be too.   

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Everything I Want To Tell My Sister, One Month From Her Wedding Day


My oldest little sister is getting married one week from last Saturday. I want to tell her 10,000 things so that she'll have the greatest day of her entire life, but 10,000 feels aggressive, as does the whole "greatest day of your entire life" set up. And yet I do have some wisdom to impart regarding how to spend the thirty days before the big day. Here, in no particular order, is that completely unsolicited advice.

  • Celebrate as much as humanly possible. Example: every time you go to dinner tell the waitress you're getting married. Lie and tell her it's that weekend. Do whatever it takes to bask in the glory of your pending nuptials because after the wedding you have about a week of people caring enough to give you a free glass of champagne with your appetizers. Also, and (maybe) more importantly - the actual day flies by so fast that it's nice to treat the entire month like it's part of the festivities. 
  • Start the very, very important process of delegating out jobs for the actual wedding day. Come that Saturday morning all you should be thinking about is whether or not you're wearing enough deodorant and how hard you're doing to dance. Start turning it all over early and you will be so much calmer in the days leading up to the big day. 
  • Prepare to embrace the art of letting it go. Little things may start to go wrong around this point, and by "go wrong" I mean cost more money. Decide what you need to make a federal case over and let the rest of it go. You will not remember that $1,500 extra for another wedding shuttle, but you will remember being livid about it the week before your wedding and cramping your own style. 
  • Sit alone and think about the major emotional moments. I swear I cried so much thinking about my first dance with my dad (aka Dad) that when it actually happened I didn't have any tears left. It helped me to really envision the things that made me nervous or weepy so I wasn't surprised by them on the day. 
  • Try to be really, really kind to your fiance. It's impossible to survive the month before your wedding without someone asking, "so, how are you two holding up?" and one of you saying, "we're wishing we eloped." Do your part to make it a little less hellish and ask him to do the same. If necessary, take all your stress and anger out on your already married older sister because she understands!
  • Practice smiling. This is an incredibly serious piece of advice. When I smile without thinking about it my right eye squints shut more than my left, and I end up looking like a super happy pirate. It's gross. I practiced smiling like a non-alien in the mirror a ton so I would know what it felt like to smile the right way. Do this alone. 
  • Give yourself full and complete days off from planning. Yes, you could look at your "to do" list again on Thursday even though there are no specific Thursday "to dos" but just don't. Instead look at really funny videos on YouTube that have nothing to do with weddings whatsoever. I recommend this one of a three week old puppy learning to howl!
  • Wash your face every single morning! Every single night!! And every single time you feel remotely sweaty in the face!!! If it works into the budget, get a facial two weeks before the wedding. Tell the aestheticism that you're getting married in two weeks so they go easy on your skin.  
  • Do romantic/silly lead-up-to-the-wedding things like go to a bar with great dancing so you can practice your dance moves or take a drive to the place where you met so you can be all cheesy about it. This technically goes under the "celebrate everything" category, but I felt it bore a specific, additional mention. We went to the place where we met and told everyone that's where we met, and that we were now getting married. We got free bourbon and a really great picture outside the bar taken by the bouncer.  
AND FINALLY - 
  • Try so so hard not to wake up every morning and say, "only XX more days until our wedding!?!" You'll drive yourself crazy, and you're already crazy enough because you're getting married in XX days and you don't need to say it out loud because you already know the number by heart! 
Any advice I'm missing, married people? And any advice you want, little sister/almost bride??


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5 Things You Should Never Do When Writing a Novel


I am writing a novel. I can't say much more about it right now other than that it is not a blog post, or a TV pilot or a screenplay or a sex story or anything else I at least have a small amount of experience writing. It is also not due next year, which feels like the only appropriate amount of time one should have to write a novel - a full year, or two. And yet now that I am officially 100 pages into this novel, I have the world's best unsolicited advice. Here it is:

  • You should not determine how many pages you can write per day and set a schedule based on that number before you have written the amount of pages you can actually write per day for at least seven days. Because you'll go in thinking the number is 15 and realize after five seconds that it's 3, and that will really blow your timeline.
  • You should not read another novel or really another book of any kind while you are writing your novel. Articles are probably risky too. You know what, just stick with tweets and Instagram comments which, let's be honest, was all you were reading anyway. 
  • Don't buy new clothes unless they're leggings or tent dresses. You do not yet know if you will lose 20 lbs because you're too stressed to eat or gain 20 lbs because you're so stressed, all you can do it eat. And "my novel wardrobe" has yet to achieve the legitimacy of "my maternity wardrobe." Yet.
  • Don't make any plans that start before 7:00pm on any given night. Because try and try and try as you might, you will not get up, take a shower and do you hair on any given day, which means you'll have to do it before you go out, which means you'll have to back those plans up by an hour because your hair require serious dry-shampoo-and-a-hot-rod action, which means you'll do all that, decide it still looks shitty and finally get your ass in the shower, meaning you should really start at 5:00pm - and it's scienficially impossible to write 3-15 pages of anything by 5:00pm.
  • You should not tell anyone you're writing a novel. Because then they will kindly and sincerely check in on your progress on that novel. And you'll have to either hear yourself lie about how well it's going every time they ask or hear yourself tell the truth about how hard it is every time they ask. You should instead pretend that you've been asked to participate in a three-month, Top Secret project by the CIA. You definitely can't talk about where you'll be or what you'll be doing, but if you look like you just got a facial then it's because the CIA requires them. And no, I don't know what you're supposed to do when the novel comes out and people are like, "why didn't you tell me you were writing a novel." That's a different blog post...that I'll write after I finish my next novel...that you won't know I'm writing until it's done.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How To Survive a Snow Day...As a 31-Year-Old


Hello from my parents' house in New Jersey where there is 8 inches of snow on the ground and everyone is home from school! I'm here for an extra day because my flight back to L.A. after my sister's bridal shower and bachelorette festivities was cancelled, and I intend to make the most of this day behind the drifts with my second little sister and my mom. Here are my recommended survival tips:

  • Have your sister make you pancakes using this genius Bisquick invention where all you have to add is water.
  • Drink seven cups of coffee from your Mom's Keurig because it's right there and it makes the coffee in ten seconds, and it's 9 degrees outside so why not? 
  • EAT ALL THE LEFTOVERS!!
  • DRINK ALL THE LEFTOVER BLOODY MARY MIX FROM YOUR OTHER SISTER'S BRIDAL SHOWER!!!
  • Go to watch a movie on HBO On Demand. Realize you don't have HBO On Demand. Contemplate going to the Stop n' Shop to get a Red Box movie. Decide against that. Watch You've Got Mail. 
  • Go on an undercover mission in 8" of snow with your sister to discover where the cat that spends its days on the cushion on your parents' porch actually lives. Find out he lives UNDER YOUR HOUSE. Passionately debate inviting him to live in your house even though it's not your house anyway. Lose. Let it go. 
  • Contemplate making snow angels, but the snow is just so wet... Contemplate shoveling, but the show is just so heavy... Contemplate taking lots of pictures outside in the snow, but everyone already has better ones on the 'Gram...
  • Make fresh pasta from the ball of pasta dough you stole from your sister's bachelorette cooking class! 
  • Facetime with your husband and puppy in L.A. where it is 80 degrees and sunny. 
  • Secretly be happier that you got to stomp in the snow with your sister for the first time in years
  • Celebrate by drinking hot chocolate made with soy milk while wearing seven layers of clothing and crying at You've Got Mail because you're a lactose intolerant 31-year-old emotional basket case.   
HAPPY SNOW DAY EAST COAST. Thanks for having me!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Your Super Last-Minute Valentine's Gift Guide

Why plan your Valentine's Day shopping in advance when you can rely on a fool proof guide from me three days before the 14th?

Here are some of my favorite last-minute items for guys and girls. I tried to keep them reasonably priced and reasonably easy to get. I also tried to remember that this is a Hallmark holiday and a thoughtful card and fun dinner out should really do. Or you could just get your lover a new dop kit and chocolate because nothing says I love you like your-dop-kit-is-old-and-gross-so-here-are-some-chocolates-to-make-this-gift-less-boring!




For your girlfriend: jewelry version - They're all the rage, they come in a million styles, and you can find one at many a price point. The House of Harlow 1960 Reflector Stack and Tahari Spike Cuff are two favorites.



For your girlfriend: chocolate version - Compartes - Find out who sells this chocolate near you, drive as far as you must to get some, and buy as much as you can possibly afford.  

For your best friend - Tony Moly Lip Balm - There is nothing cuter than this pot of lip gloss and why not spread the love to the ladies who support you through ever love woe 



 For your Mom - Butterfly Bush Seeds - My mom's favorite plant in the yard is her butterfly bush because it keeps the pretty-winged little guys flying around our backyard all summer long. Grab some seeds at your local nursery or a small bush if you live in a warm weather client.



For Him


For your boyfriend: foodie - bar cart creation - This one takes some good listening skills. Step one: remember the last time he said, "this is an awesome drink." Step two: call the restaurant and get the cocktail recipe. Step three: grab all the ingredients at your local liquor store as a gift. Step four: make it for him as a pre-dinner cocktail or post-dinner drink.  




 




For your boyfriend: kinky - a gift certificate that keeps on giving - Get him a gift card to your classiest (or not...) local sex toys shop to be redeemed together at a later date (or that night...).



 For your Dad - Darth & Son (or Daughter) - Dad's need Valentines too. This is my favorite thing on the market. I understand it doesn't make sense if your dad doesn't love Star Wars, but it's never too late to start loving Star Wars, so I say get it anyway. (They make a Princess Leia too).
 






And if this is a year sans a lover I recommend a bottle of wine, slipper socks, Seamless web, a brand new Voluspa candle (they sell them everywhere) and at least one full season of whatever you've been dying to watch on Netflix. God that sounds good...
  



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

5 Ways That Storytelling Helped My Writing

me after the first performance of my life. photo credit jenny anderson

On Sunday we had a wildly successful Sunday Night Sex Talks (no-boys-allowed edition) at Bar Lubitsch in West Hollywood. Tonight we'll have what I'm sure is going to be a killer Co-Ed Sunday Night Sex Talks (boys-finally-allowed edition) at UCB Sunset (yes, more shameless promotion, so I'll go all the way and say tonight's show is sold out but you're likely to get in off the wait list if you come early. Please do!).

All this telling and hearing of stories got me thinking about what this writing form has done for the rest of my writing forms over the years. I only became a storyteller after I started my storytelling show. In fact, I didn't originally intend to perform my own stories there, but when I started telling people about the concept behind Sunday Night Sex Talks 9 out of 10 said, "performing will be great for your writing." They were right. Here are 5 reasons why:

  • Every piece of writing you create should have a beginning, a middle and an end. It can be a loose beginning, feature a few peaks and valleys in the middle and wrap up without a perfect little bow, but it should progress like all great writing progresses - beginning, middle, end. You need that structure most when you're trying to keep the attention of a live audience. Storytelling helped me focus on those beats in every other facet of my work. 
  • You don't know where the moments (that includes jokes or emotional beats) in your own writing really fall until you tell them live. Many times I've thought the joke was in one part of the sentence only to hear laughs at a totally different section. Now I have a better sense of what style choices inside my writing will garner a response, and if the crowd is laughing then the big executive in the corner office is laughing too.
  • I struggle with brevity but now that I have to write a ten minute story every single month, I struggle slightly less with brevity. Now I know that if I can't get my point across in a clear-cut sentence or brief paragraph, I don't have a point. 
  • I always write out and rehearse my stories before I perform, but there are inevitably off-the-cuff moments that come to me as I'm telling the tale. In these moments I get an even better sense of my voice. I'm not over-thinking, I'm not word-smithing; it's me at my most natural. When people laugh or really, deeply listen in those moment I get an even better sense of what works in my content. 
  • Confidence. There is nothing more reassuring than having people tell you that they enjoyed something you wrote, and it's even better when they tell you with their laughter. I spent 75% of my time sitting alone in a room hoping to god people are going to like what I'm writing. Feedback is terrifying, but the littlest bit of positive reinforcement goes a very long way. 
If you or someone you know would like to bring storytelling into their life check out some of the great classes offered by my friends at Writing Pad (especially by my friend Cole Kazdin) or fantastic options at the UCB Theater (specifically by my friend Margot Leitman). And then when you're ready, e-mail me at 20Nothings@gmail.com to tell a tale at one of my shows!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Do Me/Yourself a Favor and Figure Out Where Your Stress Sits In Your Body


I'll get to why as soon as I have permission to talk about it, but for now I'll say that I recently started working on a very big project on top of a few existing big projects, and I as a result am STRESSED. Like forgetting to breathe stressed. Like go to the fridge every five minutes to eat one slice of the cheese stressed. Like yesterday I got a wax and the aesthetician was like, "could you please try to stop your leg from shaking Miss Rosen?"

This morning I did an exercise to try and work through some of that stress. Ironically the exercise involved finding the physical place where the angst sits and sitting in that angst until it's as uncomfortable as possible. It was the equivalent of watching The Breakup after a break up because you need a good cry, I guess.

But the results were so, so helpful. I experience stress in lots of ways, but right now it seems to be sitting in this high part of my stomach. I only figured that out after I sat in the yucky, annoying, uncomfortable feeling for five minutes without cheese-slice-eating it away. What helps? Apparently lots of deep breaths, sitting in a way that isn't so tightly wound and walking (that took some trial and error too). That's not rocket science, but if you asked me where I was stressed yesterday morning I would have said EVERYWHERE. And if you asked me if I had an ideas about how to release that stress I would have said NONE. GO AWAY!

Now that I know my stress is in my stomach, I have a few ways to try and break it up.

What my stress is really about in the bigger sense, how I'm going to make it go away versus find ways to lessen it and what to do about this cheese-obsession are for another day. For today, my tummy hurts when I'm overwhelmed and deep breaths plus a walk around the block help. As far as I'm concerned, that's a win.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

#HumpDayHappy: A Major Blog Re-Design is On the Way!


Yesterday afternoon I met with Stephanie Todaro - the fantastic web master/designer extraordinaire who will be taking this blog into the 21st century (even though it was technically founded in the 21st century). It's time for a new lay-out, new functionality, new organizational elements and new branding all around.


So far we've discussed blog template and creative direction. Next I'm putting together a Pinterest board with imagery and design inspiration to help inform the creative direction of the branding. Oh I also answered this really interesting creative survey to help give Stephanie and her team direction on the creative. The most fascinating slash difficult question: what words best describe you and your brand? 

My answers: 
--> Honest, blunt, fresh, colorful, feminine but with an edge, organized, topical, sincere

Think that's accurate? We'll find out when Stephanie + team develop the first creative mocks. But if meeting #1 is any indication, this is going to be the best thing to happen to 20-Nothings since 20-Nothings happened. Stay-tuned!
 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The First Co-Ed Sunday Night Sex Talks (And While I'll Never Stop Doing the No-Boys-Allowed Show)

One week from today I'll be hosting the very first boys-allowed version of Sunday Night Sex Talks, the NO boys allowed storytelling show that I started three years ago in the back room of Bar Lubitsch on Santa Monica Blvd.

If you're in L.A. I can't imagine why you'd miss it. We have a dream line-up, the new UCB Sunset is or venue, tickets are five bucks and the theme is NAKED. (Yes, this blog post is one part conversation, five parts promotion. Is it working? CLICK FOR TICKETS!)



So why a girl/boy event after three years of championing the merits of the all-female edition? Because I'm proud of the brand we've created and excited to see what happens when both genders are challenged to be as open and honest about sex as possible...in a ten minute story about being naked.

But why is there no way in hell I'm replacing our long-standing ladies nights with these joint events? Because we're the only storytelling show in L.A. (and NY when we can make it work there) that doesn't allow men in the audience, and that's too unique a thing to give up. Sexist? Maybe. Feminist? Definitely. The end of the world? No.

This February 8th we'll hold our usual first-Sunday-of-every-month event at Bar Lubitsch (sans men i the crowd). It too features a dream line-up and titillating theme, LOVE FOOL. (Yes, this blog post is now a double promotion, so CLICK FOR TICKETS TO THAT SHOW TOO!).

How will the two shows differ? I'm not sure.

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 Salon.com 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).