Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Five Things Every Single Person Will Ask You When You Are Under a Month From Your Wedding


Do you like how the closer I get to the wedding the shorter these list-based posts become? I'd promise that more thoughtful essays on marriage, life, career and even dating are on the horizon, but they're probably not so let's just all appreciate the fact that five bullet points now constitutes legitimate reading content and get back to our third set of 50 girl push ups for the day. Just me? Right.

It is hard not to tell people that you're getting married in 25 days when they ask, "so, what's been going on with you two?" and yet answering the question honestly means you will be up against one, more or all of the following five questions:

1. So are you guys ready?

This is a perfectly understandable and kind way to engage around a pending wedding. I still like to respond with, "who knows?" or, "only one way to find out!" even though the answer is that we are 99% ready. The truth - as far as I'm concerned - is that if you are not ready 25 days before your wedding, you are not going to be ready so flip on that one killer song from Frozen and go back to finding a place to store all the serving bowls you registered for!

2. Oh my god how hungry are you?

I have been asked this 3-5 times which doesn't exactly constitute a trend but is still worth mentioning. No I'm not hungry! I'm an employed 30-year-old American who lives within walking distance of a Trader Joe's! Would I prefer to eat a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese and lox vs. the flax seed oatmeal with a teaspoon of almond butter? Of course. But I am perfectly well fed and maintaining my almost daily ritual of dark chocolate w/ sea salt and caramel plus a glass of red wine while I watch The Voice (but only because The Voice is on so damn much). Yes I am doing targeted body part YouTube videos like it's a legitimate part of my job, but I did not politely decline a helping of brisket at last night's Seder, and I won't tonight either. (Below are my favorite YouTubers in the targeted body part business, which seems to be booming these days)

3. Oh my god that's like, TOMORROW. 

The TOMORROW is interchangeable with SO SOON, NOW, or YESTERDAY, but the message is the same - why are you doing talking to me? don't you have a spread sheet to update? - and also awkwardly not a question. I tend to respond with, "yep!" even though I'd like to say, "No it's not. It's, like, 25 days from now so stop making me more anxious about it than I already am, you. perfect. stranger." 

4. Where are you going on your honeymoon?

Now that is a good question. Direct. Specific. Not leading. Doesn't make me want to lie. FYI the answer is that we're taking a week-long, southern route, cross country drive back from New York (where we're getting married) to L.A. right away then going to Thailand over the winter holiday break. The only problem with that response is the next question is usually, "oh my god you're going to be spend a week in the car together right after your wedding??" To which I typically respond, "Yep, that way if it's not going to work out at least we'll know within the week!"

5. Oh my god are you totally freaking out?

That is a direct quote. On the one hand, I appreciate the honest nature of the question. On the other hand, I feel it could be more direct. Oh my god are you totally freaking out about _______?? would be easier to answer. The weather? Yes. The decision to marry this man? No. My dress looking perfect? Yes. All of my friends and loved ones enjoying themselves over the course of our 48 hour weekend that I painstaking planned over the course of an entire year? No. And yet I find that if you answer the question in exactly that manner (which I obviously have), people are disappointed. It's like they want you to say oh my god yes I am!! For this I blame reality television.


 

Friday, April 11, 2014

10 Things Every Life Partner Should Be Able To Do For You


In one month from yesterday I will be a married woman.

30 days from the day before today is my wedding day.

29 sets of 24 hours from this very moment marks the last time I will not be single.

But who's counting?!

I've been reflecting a lot on what makes a good match for life as I approach the day, less than four weeks from this very day, that I will have my own match for life. I'm not going to mince words here, I've made an incredible choice. And that's not a subjective statement. I believe most women in this world would be super lucky to be marrying R. Or would be if they could, which they can't, because I am.

And yet damn-near-perfect as R may be, there are still things that he cannot do...yet. The more I reflect on what it is to commit your life to another person, the more I realize that I deserve for R to learn how to do these things. I think you'll agree (depending on your gender and hair length), and so I encourage you to work on incorporating this list of life skills into your own life partner's life.

10 Things Every Life Partner 
Should Be Able To Do For You

1. Braid your hair
 It is really hard to braid your own hair, especially a messy, side braid, which makes no sense because it's both purposefully messed up and sits on the side of your head where you can see, but alas. If you're a woman, you know this. If you're a man, just imagine trying to write a letter to someone on your own back. If R could braid my hair - french, fishtail, tradish and side would be best - things would be so much better. All things.

2. Blow dry your hair 
See above. Factor in the $40 cost of a blow-out at Dry Bar. Everyone wins.

3. Write an e-mail exactly like you would write an e-mail
Consider the time saving benefits of this ghost-writer magic! Plus, sometimes you just don't feel like writing those tough-to-write ones.

4. Keep a running list of all the things you randomly blurt out that you need/want/should do
He could do it on his phone. He could do it in his head. He could buy an adorable white-board and stick it on our fridge. Either way it would be like saving a live-in personal assistant.

5. Maintain a strong working knowledge of the upcoming television schedule and your taste in television to enable constant DVRing of shows that you will probably want to have recorded. 
I am giddy at the thought of this because it might actually be possible in my own life, and it. would. be. so. awesome. Will be, I mean.

6. Know the precise moment in a conversation when you are done with said conversation and need to be saved
And I'm talking without some pre-established I-touch-my-right-ear-twice signal.


7. Be able to secure the proper item of clothing for you with minimal direction
Anything from, "a rustic, chic dress for Clelia's wedding," to, "a dark-washed, peg-legged, zipper-closure denim." 

8. Know just when you've finally fallen asleep and then not shift in the bed too much or cuddle you any more sos to wake you up. 
This also/especially applies to sleeping on red eye flights.

9. Instantly arrive at a decision around the restaurant you should go to/order out from based on what you actually want but can't figure out for yourself. 
I realize that this and several other of the desired skills require a certain element of mind-reading, but that doesn't change the fact that I want them to happen.

10. Hit the exact right spot on your back that really, really hurts without you have to go, "left...no, other left...now up...up a little more...a little more than a little more...no...down again...hhmm...it's like in the shoulder...does that make sense?...you know what...forget it."
Duh.

Now ladies, what am I missing? Gentlemen, what's your list-form retort? And R, can I get an estimate around delivery of the above? In return you can make your own list that I may or may not publish on this blog :) 

 


 
  

Monday, April 7, 2014

All The Things I Almost Wrote A Blog Post About For The Past Two Weeks


I'm sorry that I've been more than a little absent. If it makes you feel any better I've been just as missing from the rest of my life as I have been from this blog. BUT in 33 short days I will be a married woman, and then everything will just fall naturally back into place...right after our cross-country road-trip...and our re-arranging of the entire apartment to fit all the gifts...and we re-adjust to what life is like without hourly updating of the wedding status grid.

That said, I don't want you to think that I haven't been thinking of really excellent blog post ideas to decide I have no time to write. Here, in the order in which they were conceived of and subsequently abandoned, is that list. I've also included the conclusion I intended to arrive at with each post proving once and for all that this whole blog could be reduced to titles, one sentence statements of fact, and pictures that I copy from the Internet!

  • TITLE: I'm obsessed with the Lindsay Lohan doc on OWN, and I'm very ashamed to say so
    • CONCLUSION: Oprah is wrong; Lindsay is not ready to come back, and I don't believe she ever will be.
  • TITLE: The invention of the text message is one of the greatest destroyers of dating, for one specific reason
    • CONCLUSION: Before a guy let you know he was a jerk by not calling back, now a guy can trick you into believing he's not a jerk by lamely texting you after a few days. 
  • TITLE: Regarding the Importance of the Bridal Shower
    • It may seem like a silly lady tradition, but I found my west and east coast lady gatherings to be beautiful chances to celebrate what it is to be an almost-wife with the women in mine and R's life. 
  •  TITLE: The Five Steps To Proper Skincare (That It Took Me 30 Years To Learn)
    • Conclusion: Cleanse (or Exfoliate 2-3 times per week), Tone, Repair (spot treatments, etc.), Apply Under Eye Cream, Moisturize. Thanks to Janna of My Beauty Binge for schooling me!
  • TITLE: I said no more trolling through Instagram/Facebook/Twitter when we're in the car driving together, and so should you!
    • Conclusion: Fine, R said it, but I'm following it because it's a really kind thing to do.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Relationship Advice: Self Righteousness May Bite You In the Runny-Nosed Butt


There are very few things that I give R a hard time about, but how he is when he has a cold is one of them. I'd say the primary one, but he'd probably say that my solitary focus in life is the wrinkled or non-wrinkled nature of his polo shirts, so we'll leave it at "one of them."

I don't know how to explain it other than that say that R is not good at being sick. This suggests that people can be good or bad at being sick, which is 100% true.

People who are good at being sick quietly go about their sickness with as little impact on the people in their lives slash apartments as possible. They're like, "Ugh, I currently have sickness, but am I going to let it ruin my world? No way Jose!" They recognize that a little head cold is nothing to be incredibly angry about. They remember times they've been sick in exactly this same way before and know that they will soon be better. They blow their noses at a self-respecting volume, only when their noses need to be blown. And, most importantly, they only talk about being sick, feeling sick, where this sickness could have come from, how long this sickness is going to last and how bad they currently feel as little as possible.

I want to make sure I'm clear about the fact that R is very, very  good at many, many things that are so, so meaningful to our lives. The fact that he is not good at having a cold is only a minor detail that drives me absolutely and completely crazy just a few short days per year. I view it as an adorable little wrinkle in my otherwise care-free life.

Or I did until this past week, when I got sick.

See the problem with being vocally self-righteous is that you have to maintain your position on that specific high horse no matter the circumstances or else be rendered a hypocrite.  And while there's no shame in being a hypocrite once or twice in your life, it's a very slippery slope.

I've felt like crap for several days out of this and last week, and yet I've had to power through like the good sick person I portend to be, especially around R. Though, last Tuesday when he was at work I blew my nose 1,000 times in one hour and yelled, uughhh this sucks so much!!! at the top of my lungs.

And so I've arrived at a critical piece of relationship advice: be careful about what you're competitive about. It's easy to maintain your own impeccably ironed shirts for the rest of your life, but being a well-behaved sick person until death do you part is going to get annoying, trust me. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Help Us Crowd-Source Our Cross-Country Honeymoon




After Monday's post I'm sure you were wracking your brains as to how to assist in alleviating the stress of my pending wedding. Here is your answer.

R and I need your help. We're planning a cross-country road trip from New York back to Los Angeles following our east coast wedding so we can see a portion of our great nation while testing the strength of our brand new life union for hours on end inside a Toyota Camry! Guide books and Yelp searches can only share so much, plus we're too busy planning this damn wedding to actually do the research. That's where you come in.

Be our own personal Fodors guide (if those even still exist)! We want the secret spots, can't miss activities, and insider advice on all our stops and routes. We're trying to maintain a reasonable budget, love crazy food, and have a soft spot for both kitch and live music. So knowing that - plus what you've gleaned from seven years of this blog - what should we do?

Here is our current route:

Monday, May 12th - New York ---> Charleston, WV
*planned stop in Morgantown for dinner


Tuesday, May 13th - West Virginia ----> Nashville
*planned concert at Grand Ole Opry!


Wednesday, May 14th - Nashville ---> Oklahoma City
(yes, we know that's a long haul)
*planned stop in Memphis for lunch + Graceland

Thursday, May 15th - Oklahoma City ----> Santa Fe
(yes, we know that's a longer haul)

Friday, May 16th - Santa Fe -----> Grand Canyon!
*planned stops at all that desert stuff

Saturday, May 17th - Full day in Grand Canyon

Sunday, May 18th - Grand Canyon -----> Palm Springs

Feel free to leave suggestions in comments or e-mail them to 20Nothings@gmail.com. I'll be writing along the journey, so recommendations will be rewarded with shout-outs. 

And thank you in advance!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ten Things That Will Happen 2 Months Before Your Wedding


Please forgive my absence last week. I'm getting married in exactly two months, and my brain is a combination of mush, rhinestone earring options, and numbers that don't add up to our total budget. Oh, and the three scripts I'm supposed to be writing (which I am writing, if you are a person currently representing my career...).

But seriously, now is a critical time in the planning of one's nuptials, so I feel its my duty to prepare those of you blessed with more time than two months with what's comin' down the mountain. 

1. Something Will Go Wrong

My hope for you is that it's not something like, say, finding yourself down one wedding DJ on the same day that all the custom ties you ordered for our groomsmen come in a complete disaster, but even that can be overcome with some quick emailing, a long trip to Macy's, and more money than you intended to spend! Two months is plenty of time to fix almost everything, so try not to stress. Especially because, according to my Mom, bad things happen in 3's! So you'll need to save that sense of calm for the third shitty thing!

2. You Will Question Every Decision You've Made

The other day I was like, I love bright colors and bold patterns! Why am I having a mixed metallic wedding with all white florals if I love bright colors and bold patterns?! I should change everything!!! And then I thought about what it would take to change everything, got exhausted, and did another set of this Bride Arms You Tube video I found.

3. You Will Stop Caring About The Money

It goes like this, "this is our one shot. Are we really going to split hairs over 200...500...1,500 dollars??" And suddenly that high horse you've been riding about your sensible budget that absolutely does not need to be expanded for things that aren't 100% necessary keels over.

4. People Will Start To Get Excited - Very Excited

The invites are mostly out and so you will begin to receive the sweetest messages from people near and far about how excited they are about your wedding. And you will, for a brief time, remember what this whole thing is all about and stop searching for the absolute perfect bridal hair comb because every aunt, uncle, cousin and best friend is just there to see you marry your one true love.

5. You Will Avoid Everyone You Couldn't Invite Like The Plague

You will not be able to invite everyone (probably), and this will cause you endless guilt and grief. And so as a defense mechanism you will avoid being in the same place (digital or physical) with those people for the coming two months and likely several months after the wedding. And yet, if one of them couldn't invite you for budget or space reasons, you would totally understand. There's no crying in baseball and there's no logic in wedding planning.

6. You Will Forget To Think About the Actual Wedding Ceremony, And Then When You Think About It, You Will Cry

Not to toot our horns, but R and I haven't been one of those couples who plan an amazing party and don't give two seconds of thought to the part of it that matters most. We've been working on the ceremony for some time, and yet I haven't envisioned myself going through those motions like I have, say, envisioned the exact face I will make the moment I see R for the first time. So it was both delightful and terrifying to work on our ceremony music, hear the song I'll be walking down the aisle to and cry like a child.

7. You Will Wonder Why You Registered For 90% of the Things You Registered For

 Once the invites go out, the gifts come in, and suddenly you will find yourself fully equipped to hold a formal Thanksgiving dinner for 14 people even though you currently live in a one bedroom apartment that comfortably feeds four small adults. I suspect this is why so many couples buy a house shortly after getting married. It just feels wrong to let all those massive dinner party supplies go to waste!

8. You Will Wish You'd Taken an Excel Class in College

Some Excel pro should take a note from the YouTube Bride Body Boot Camp craze and make a video all about how to quickly create spreadsheets that do cool stuff like add up numbers. Or better yet, make the templates and sell them on Etsy.

9. You Will Have A Minimum of Two Wedding Nightmares Per Week 

My most recent favorite was one where we got lost on our way from the hotel to the venue and just never ever found it.

10. You Will Get a Little Diva About It All

For example: I never thought I wanted engagement photos because I didn't know what I would do with them and kind of think they're corny and the budget and the timeline and blah blah blah. But then I decided this is a really special time in our lives where we both look damn good, and I want it captured forever! And so we spent several hours yesterday at a very special location with a bag of props and two costume changes. Also, I got my hair and make-up done.  When in Rome?

(Note: if you too find yourself in this situation, I implore you to contact the incredible photographer we worked with yesterday. Her name is Avia, and she will take very good care of you.)

It's all going to be okay, they tell me, and on most days I believe them. But on days when I don't I try to remember that if the whole things falls apart but I still end up married to R at the end of Saturday, May 10th, and that will be enough. Well, that and the killer wedding gown that I can't return.



Friday, February 28, 2014

My 2nd Annual Oscar Predictions: Who Will + Who Should Win


Last year I made a fairly impressive set of Academy Award picks, so I'm back to weigh in one the 2014 action.

Sadly I will not be attending an Oscar food pun party this year as I'll be back home in NY/NJ for some family events, but if I were to attend an Oscar food pun party I would no doubt win thanks to my would-be entry: GRAVIT-BRIE See, every year I submit a crescent roll wrapped baked brie in the shape of an film-affiliated item. The three-year streak includes: Baked Jeff Brie-dges (True Grit), The Brie of Life (Tree of Life), and Brie-sts of the Southern Wild (you get it at this point). My entry this year would have been a brie fashioned in the shape of Sandra Bullocks space suit helmet, and it would have been incredible.

Alas, I'll have to settle for the prediction vs. food game this year. Note: I'm only weighing in on categories I feel "qualified" to comment on. Here we go:

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o for 12 YEARS A SLAVE. Despite J.Law's win at the Globes, this break-out start has been unstoppable since the Critic's Choice Awards. And with her acceptance speeches rivaling her red carpet dresses, it's a lock.

Should Win: June Squibb for NEBRASKA. Confession: NEBRASKA is the one film I didn't see, but R has seen everything, he says June should win, and I trust him unconditionally when it comes to Best Supporting Actress picks, among other things.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Jared Leto for DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. It's hard to be a straight man successfully playing a transgendered man in an incredible film while looking like Jaret Leto and not win this award. Bottom line: I loved the performance, but I loved another performance more.

Should Win: Barkhad Abdi for CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. This was an inspired performance by a previously unknown actor. He made me empathize with a Somali pirate out to hurt Tom Hanks! He deserves this.

Best Director

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron for GRAVITY. I have faith that the academy will reward the insane feat that was this film. I know there are some that say it should only win for cinematography because the directing was "simple" outside of the technical aspect, but all of those decisions were born out of the mind of Cuaron, so he wins.

Should Win: See above.

Writing: Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: John Ridley for 12 YEARS A SLAVE. This film is hot, and it was beautifully written by an industry veteran. I think it will be very tough to beat. 

Should Win: I'm torn. I really loved WOLF OF WALL STREET but I'm hesitant to say Terence Winter should win because that movie was just too. damn. long. Is that the writer's fault or the director's? Tough to say. Because of that I'm going to give this to the dark horses in the category: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke for BEFORE MIDNIGHT. I have never seen a more realistic portrayal of a relationship on screen, and that should be rewarded.

Writing: Original Screenplay

 Will Win: I think this will go to David O. Russell for AMERICAN HUSTLE because I don't think he'll get Director or Picture, but the Academy voters will want to give him something.

Should Win: Absolutely no doubt about this. Spike Jonze for HER. Beautiful, original, poignant, and incredibly imagined. Some people feel it was too "on the nose" in certain areas, but I'm willing to forgive that for the overall result.

Best Actor

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey for DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. I think he's been on a hot streak, and I think he's going to take it. It was an incredible performance, and the weight loss never hurts. I also bet the academy voters are as in love with TRUE DETECTIVE as the rest of us, and I think that will play a part in this. Or maybe the Academy voters just want to hear him say, "all right, all right, all right," on stage again. If so, well played.

Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio for WOLF OF WALL STREET. Brace yourself: I don't like Leonardo DiCaprio. I never have. There's something about his acting that just irks me. It might be his face? I'm not sure. But I loved him in this movie. I though he was an animal in this role, and that impressed me more than the rest this year.  

Best Actress

Will Win: Cate Blanchett for BLUE JASMINE. Amy Adams has given Cate a little run for Harvey Weinstein's money, but I think she'll take it in the end. People are saying this is a close race considering Sandra and Meryl are involved, but I personally don't think either of them stand a chance.

Should Win: See above. I said she should win the minute I left that movie, and that was before I saw any of the others. I still feel that way today.

Best Picture

Will Win: 12 YEARS A SLAVE. This is exactly the kind of movie that wins Academy Awards. People are saying AMERICAN HUSTLE is a strong contender, and it has performed well throughout the season, but I don't think it can top 12 YEARS among this voting crowd.

Should Win: I honestly don't know. Part of me wants to say GRAVITY because it was the most incredible thing I've ever seen on a film screen. But HER was my favorite film of the year, by far. Then there is WOLF OF WALL STREET, which I really did enjoy. I wasn't as much a 12 YEARS fan as some people, so I don't think that should win, but I don't have a clear answer about what should. I'm going to leave this one blank and just say I'll be happy if anything but AMERICAN HUSTLE wins. I'm sorry. I liked it way more than SILVER LININGS or THE FIGHTER for that matter, but David O. Russell still doesn't do it for me.

That's my round-up! See you Sunday with results. And feel free to lambast my taste in comments, especially you Dustin ;)    

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This Infographic Will Tell You What Job You Should Have in the Film Industry

Take that, "which famous Hollywood couple are you?" quiz! This super confusing looking chart from Aukland-based writer and designer Enni Tuomisalo with Lumi Creative for movie blog Filmsourcing will tell you if you should even be in Hollywood in the first place!

The first time I took the quiz I got Gaffer but I think that's because I didn't know what, "do you like polishing the turd?" meant.  The second time I pretended that I do know what it means to polish the turd, and I got Editor. The third time I started at Screenwriter and worked backwards to make sure I answered enough of the questions right to justify that answer, and I somehow ended up at Blogger. So, bottom line, this infographic works.

That said, I wouldn't recommend playing with it on a day when you have a big meeting related to a career outcome that this Magic 8 ball of squares and arrows didn't predict... Good luck!


Filmmaking Flowchart: Which Job Is Best for You?
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Friday, February 21, 2014

How to Fake It Til You Make It, Correctly


I was having a drink with a friend the other night when the awkward topic of how to behave before you've, "really made it," came up. Trust me, I feel as weird writing the words, "really made it," as you feel reading them. What does it mean? When has it happened? What constitutes being a success? Nobody knows. I mean, Lena Dunham, Aaron Sorkin, the guys who created Modern Family know, but I'm talking ten rungs down from that in the land of baby writers who have yet to sell that project that makes all other project sales a possibility. My land.

These are super heady things that most people will tell you exist in your own heart and mind, at the end of the day. But at the beginning of the day, or mid-morning - which is where I like to think my own current career lies - they exist in a more concrete way. Simply put, in this industry it matters whether or not you behave like you're "there" - a success, an important person, someone people should be paying attention to. This town rewards confidence. It takes note of pushers. It wants you to know you can do it, they're the ones who get the privilege of letting you do it first.
 
But what matters just as much is properly walking that line you're still straddling - faking it 'til you make it, correctly.  

Any person on the other side of this gray area will tell you that you have to be aggressive. You have to behave like you are about to make yourself and your representation a boat load of money any minute now. Call often. Check in. Push. Ask for things. Let them know that you know it's just a matter of time before you're on the tip top of their call sheet every day. With class, of course, but equal parts confidence.

But anyone on my side of that divide will tell you it's easier said than done. We're lucky to have representation so best not piss them off with pointless phone calls. Any exec can see through rookie truth inflation so best to be careful with that list of all the "things I'm about to set up." Keep your head down, your Final Draft open, and your expectations realistic. In other words, play it safe? Steve Martin said, "be so good they can't ignore you," but he ended up Steve Martin. How many guys took that approach and ended up not Steve Martin?

There's a healthy balance, I tell myself in the mirror before every general meeting with an exec who may or may not think I'm the next Tina Fey.

But how many success stories got there by playing it close to the hip? I'd love to know. Is extreme humility - or even mid-level humility - the fastest way to the middle? When is active confidence critical and not just an added plus?

I don't know but I'm considering starting a support group for mid-morning level writers so we can try to hash it out. Then again, we should probably skip the vent sesh and just finish our damn scripts already. Because that's the one and only fool-proof reason to call your representation.

Monday, February 17, 2014

MangoInk: My #1 Wedding Stress Saviors



I’m not lying when I say that our wedding planning was going very smoothly. There was some early anxiety around the selection of the venue, decisions around the guest list and realization about the astronomical costs of alcohol (I’m talking more than the cost of the food!), but aside from those typical wedding woes, it’s been smooth sailing.

Until it came time to do the invites.

If you asked me where I prioritized wedding invitation before I was an engaged lady, I would have said that I didn’t. I mean, I envisioned them being lovely, but zero Pinterest pinning time had been dedicated to their creation (as opposed to, say, the 18+ hours dedicated to pining floral table scapes). So around December 1st I started researching options, aanndd around December 2nd I was convinced that the only option was E-vites. There are endless possibilities, all of those possibilities cost more than I ever intended to spend, and none of the ones I could afford seemed to come with a kind and caring human being to help me through the process. And so around December 15th I decided I would D.I.M. I have rudimentary photoshop skills. I could call a few local printers. Paper Source makes some beautiful papers. Done and done, right?

Sort of. 72+ hours, 45 grey hairs and six drives from Beverly Hills to Hollywood later I had a proof I was mildly satisfied with at a cost around the same as ordering them online.

And then I got an e-mail that changed my wedding planning life.

Meet Heidi and Ryan of MangoInk.com

how cute are they?!

They are a husband-and-wife business team out of Washington state celebrating 9 years in the  business. He's the design man. She's the business lady. And this is what you read upon first arriving to their user-friendly website:

  • Take a breath. This is supposed to be fun!

  • We are here (and have been since 2005) to help you create something beautiful, something that matters, and to walk alongside you throughout the process.
  • We are not automation and you are not just customers. 
  • We are that friend who knows how to design but you are afraid to ask.
  • We're here to make things easy and personal and to make sure that we end up with something that we're both proud of. 
  • We are your personal designer. 
  • Take a look around and see and let us know if we can help you in any way. 
 And now you see why these two instantly became my invitation fairy godmother and father. Heidi listened to all my thoughts and explained how they could best make it work. She popped sample papers in the mail for me to get a look/feel for the options. Ryan took my existing design and spruced it up well beyond my capabilities (and lightening fast!). 2 weeks after starting our process together, I had final proofs. 


As you guys know, I don't use this blog to endorse companies often (if ever), but it has been so refreshing to get personal attention in the otherwise massive, money-grubbing wedding industry. My new friends at MangoInk do beautiful wedding work (including save-the-dates, thank you cards and return address labels), but they also have options for holiday cards, baby announcements, valentines and more. Give a look if you're in need or pass along to a friend. 

I commend anyone who can DIY every element of their wedding. R and I are doing tons of that ourselves. But this was one area that I was very, very happy to have professional help. Because now I have way more time to obsessively pin wedding day make-up!


Friday, February 14, 2014

My Funny Valentine: Jana the Soviet-era Skin Doctor

--> I never intended to fall in love with a 65-year-old Russian aesthetician who threatens my life every other week, but it happened none-the-less, and with R’s full approval.

I was just laying on the waxing table, half-folded paper robe draped over my who-ha, contemplating how the hell I was going to finish and book proposal and a feature film in 72 hours when the door opened behind me and a pair of conspicuously strong hands started massaging my head.
           
“I massage you for few minutes,” the voice that belonged to the hands said. “Ina still finishing other client.”

The mystery voice was round and deep, like a 65-year-old Russian aesthetician’s. The person connected to it smelled like a combination of baby powder and my grandmother’s old doll room. She was standing behind me in a dimly lit room, so I couldn’t even see her face until it was suddenly two centimeters from my own, yelling.
           
“My GOD you need facial!” the voice that belonged to the hands that didn’t belong in my waxing room said. That’s when I opened my eyes to find what can only be described as the love child of Estelle Harris and Bettlejuice, upside down.

“Oh honey! You pick your skin? Your skin is mess! You have time for facial today? You make time for facial today. You. Need. Facial.” 

It was less like a sales pitch for add-on spa service and more like a desperate plea from a concerned family member, and so I responded accordingly; I started to cry.

“Oh honey!” my super mean Russian intruder said, “You no cry! I so sorry! I no mean to hurt you feelings! Come. Come. I treat you to facial. I treat you to facial right now.”

And then I told a complete stranger who made me cry within 15 seconds of meeting me something I’ve told maybe 10 people in my life. I do pick my skin. It’s a nervous habit that I can’t seem to kick, and it gets worse when I’m on a writing deadline (or two in 72 hours). So I could probably have really nice skin – the kind I’ve always dreamed of having – but my mind refuses to learn to just bite my nails instead and so my skin is sometimes uneven and blotchy and a little bit scarred. It makes me super self-conscious, which is why I never, ever get facials.  

I told this all to my brand new, totally uncertified therapist in a heave of mini sobs as she continued to very awkwardly but no less effectively massage my head. Then she said, “Is no problem honey. I see lots of people with same little problem. I'm Jana. I fix you.”

And that is exactly what she did.  Well, she and her micro dermabrasian machine aka micro doctor.

            Micro doctor take off old skin and get down to baby skin where no scars, no scabs.”   

 The Google search I did in my car directly after leaving the first treatment that I was too overwhelmed to refuse without a pre-treatment Googling confirmed that Jana’s "micro doctor" is in fact a legitimate and very effective scar removal and skin-tone evening treatment. Dermatologists recommend it; celebrities swear by it. Treatment Prices have come down over the years owing to portable micro machines (which are not to be confused with the tiny collectable cars from the ‘90s) that spas of all kinds can own. The spa where Jana works – a 20+ year old establishment on Melrose just west of La Brea - has an incredible $35 per session deal, and when you factor in the free behavior modification training provided by Jana’s weekly death threats, that’s an even more killer price (pun intended).
             
            “Okay. Let’s see how you do this week,” she says every single time I lie down on the heated bed. “HHmm. Problem here…problem there. You keep this up, I have to kill you.”  

She either doesn't understand proper sarcasm delivery or is legitimately that serious about the insignificance of a life without good skin. Either way, it's working.

Three months and eight treatments later, I remain terrified of Jana and her “inspector gadgets” (a magnifying mirror and florescent light, but yes I do wonder every single time if she’s punning on the cartoon of our youth). I think about her big-bosomed sigh as she finds a new mark on my skin. I think about her stern, “good job honey,” when she finds nothing to sigh about. I see her gap-toothed almost smile turn to a plump-lipped definite frown when I get frustrated with a sentence I’m writing and feel my fingers migrate to my face. And then – and I cannot believe this is true – I don’t touch my skin. An old Russian bitch who believes Palm Springs, California is the most beautiful place in the world (she told me she’s going to retire there in five more years so I better have my act together before she goes) has finally cured me of my decades-long bad habit.

You have beautiful skin like model now." Jana said last week. "You going to be strong girl and keep it that way?

I’m going to try,” I said.

“Don’t try,” she said, “Just do it.”

The woman has one-upped Nike. 

Today I have a 1:30 appointment with Jana, and I’m bringing her a bouquet of flowers because it's Valentine's Day and I love her. She helped me love my skin for the first time in as long as I can remember, even if it took the world's worst customer service treatment and some Soviet-era scare tactics to do so. I’m hoping for a gap-toothed full smile in return, but I'll settle for her not threatening my life.


Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Hope you're spending it with someone special, 
or at the very least treating yourself to a facial.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Last Minute Valentine's Day Gift Guide


It happens. You get caught up with that feature re-write...and a good friend comes to town...and those episode of Downton Abbey aren't just going to watch themselves...and suddenly it's February 12th and you don't have a surprise for your sweetie.

I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring of the thousand write-ups on this very topic. Remember: Valentine's Day isn't about how much money you spend (unless you're dating that girl/guy), it's about how much effort you put in. But since we're 48 hours out and you already blew the "effort" thing, here are some easy, last-minute gifts.

FOR HER

1. A Facial - Because everyone gets a massage. I know few women who treat themselves to as many facials as they should get annually, so help her out with her February appointment, and if you're feeling super generous throw in March too.

2. This Morse Code Necklace Because it's as affordable as it is cool and you can get away with ordering a custom word/phrase today and giving your gal a print out resembling the final product because custom "takes a long time."

3. A One Night Stay Somewhere - Because this way it's not like you forgot to plan something for this weekend; you intentionally planned something for the future because of X, Y or Z reason that you're going to come up with. I can't do everything.

4. Legitimately Comfortable Lingerie - Because .01% of the population actually feels good wearing this situation (warning: NSFW). Something like this, however, we can handle, and a confident girl-in-your-bed is a very good thing.

5. A Sephora Gift Card - Because we'd love to off-set our product costs and treat ourselves to that $40 lipstick that they claim they can't give us a sample of...

FOR HIM

1. This Bottle of Whiskey - Because it's really freaking delicious, and he'll be super impressed. Find it in your local liquor store.

2. A Feet/Hands/Head Massage - Because not all guys are into full-body massages but all guys love these three parts unwound. If you want to go the even more affordable route, head to Brookstone and buy one of their DIY muscle-relaxer products. They're almost as good as actual muscle relaxers, which is also a good gift if you're so inclined...

3. One of These Three Books - Because these are three books any man worth dating should want to read at the moment:
4. Lots of These Bacon Chocolate Bars - Because there's no sense in buying some regular chocolate item when this shit is on the market. 

5. A Remote Control Helicopter - Because you find me a man who wouldn't love to play with a remote control helicopter (with camera!!) for an hour or so before he breaks it by flying too high?


Good luck and Happy Valentine's Day all!


Monday, February 10, 2014

This MODERN LOVE column perfectly sums up my feelings about marriage


I get incredibly excited when a single sentence encapsulates everything I feel about a given issue. That might be because nothing impresses me more than perfect, succinct writing (as a writer and a human). It might be because I love connecting with strangers around shared thought (which is why I am a writer, and a human to some extent). I might be because not knowing how to express the thought myself was driving me crazy (see above explanations). In the case of this Sunday's Modern Love column, it was D. all of the above.

As you know, I have mixed feelings about the institution of marriage. Given the benefits that it currently brings, my ideals about life-long partnership, and my feelings about R, I've decided it is the right next step for me, but it's still a massive, confusing issue especially when you factor in marriage equality and the history of the institution of marriage. But when I read Heidi Basarab's piece it all made sense. Here is the one sentence that cut through: "I didn’t need a man. Instead, it turned out I needed one particular man. It took me a ridiculously long time to recognize the difference."

That is exactly how I feel. I am independent, stubborn, and terrified about relying too heavily on another human beingm and yet none of those aspects of my personality are hindered in my relationship. I would say R compliments and supports my independence, deals with my stubborn nature (while slowly helping to reduce it), and lets me know that he can be relied on without making me feel like I'm losing my ability to rely on myself. So I don't need a man; I need my man.

Heidi has some other gems in there including: In a prescient moment at my kitchen table, right after I hung up the phone, I saw that I would love him, and that loving him would mean saying yes to the self I would become by loving him, and no to the other selves I would never become by not loving him. 

That's a scary thought, right? All those other selves that vanish because you choose one road and not the other (or no road at all). But I think the decision to commit is partly made because you want that version of yourself with this other person more than the possibility of all the other versions that might be. Again, it's an incredible simple but wildly powerful thought.

I suggest you read the whole piece because it's beautiful, but it's real beauty comes from the fact that it can all be reduced to one or two perfect thoughts.

In the spirit of that idea, I'm going to leave it at Heidi's today instead of rambling on with five or ten more of my own. She says it best.

(And yes, I do have marriage on the brain because today marks exactly three months until my own!)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Two Amazing Long-Term Relationship Traditions From Two Amazing Ladies

If you know what this is a picture of, you're laughing.

I used to think that R and I had the most clever slash adorable long-term relationship tradition with our $5 bills jar. Have I mentioned this before? That we save all $5 bills for mini vacations? Every time we hit 1K we splurge on a 2-3 day get-away. Year 1: Santa Barbara for wine-tasting and La Superica Taco. Year 2: New Orleans for Jazz Fest (and lessons in how to survive the hottest vacation of your life) Year 3: VEGAS to win exactly 1K back!! It really is adorable, except when I steal the $5's to buy coffee and/or manicures, but I always replace them, eventually.

Then over the course of two weeks I read a book and met up with a friend who trumped my cute relationship card so hard. Here are the two way better things that they do:

Cindy Chupack's Annual Marriage Re-Up Letter

If you haven't bought Cindy's new book The Longest Date: life as a wife you need to, and not just because it contains this bit of brilliance.

Cindy and her husband Ian are married and intend to be for some if not all time, but every single year they declare their decision to re-up for another in a deeply personal and yet incredibly funny (as only a former Sex & the City writer and the man who loves her can be) letter. Cindy was brave enough to publish the challenging thoughts she shared with Ian after their 5th year together in her book. She shares where they struggled and where they succeeded. She goes into detail about when she loved him most and when she wanted to ring his neck. And then she shares her hopes for the year to come. It is beautiful, and I am going to copy it just as soon as I am married for one year.

My friend J's New Year's List Tradition

I have a friend we'll call J because I haven't had the chance to ask her if it's okay to use her name since we had a drink last night. J and her husband are lovers of goals and lists so they get together every late December over a bottle of wine (though one time they did it over a run which I found totally and completely ridiculous because who can talk and run?!) and make a list of their goals for the year - small things like "have more people over for dinner" and big things like "buy a house" are included.  And then - and here's the genius part - they write goals and predictions for OTHER PEOPLE - small things like "Jane and John are totally getting engaged" to "Pete needs to stop drinking so much." The following year they pull out the lists, cross off the done items, star the correct calls and start all over again!

So through this I think we can all agree that if you and your significant other are funny and have 30 minutes of spare time you can be both incredibly adorable and happily married - at least in so far as these two practices are concerned. That's about as happy and hopeful a message as I can muster on Hump Day. Enjoy!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Things I Learned at the February Sunday Night Sex Talks


The series continues.

Last night we were bi-coastal yet again with a New York show hosted by the lovely and talented Giulia Rozzi and the LA installment lead by yours truly. In the immortal words of Miss Dolly Parton as Miss Truvy Jones, "I'M A CHAIN!!!"

Both shows revolved around a "My Funny Valentine" theme, but I can only speak to lessons learned during the west coast show because what happens at #SNSTalks stays at #SNSTalks (also we have a policy against recording the shows so I don't even have a way of knowing unless I make poor Giulia recount every single detail). So here are half of the pearls of wisdom, but I think they're good enough to cover the whole country.

  • According to our crowds, women in NY care about the Superbowl WAY more than women in LA. This comes as little to no surprise. 
  • No one forgets their first kiss, especially if it happens on Valentine's Day inside a coat closet. 
  • It's hard to know what's prude and not prude when you're in 7th grade, but it's safe to say not kissing your boyfriend for an entire year of dating falls on the super prude side. 
  • You date the kind of people you think you deserve. In other words, never date down.
  • You don't have to be gay to be gay. That's as complicated as it reads, but shockingly simple when you hear it live...
  • If you want to vomit in reaction to a given man's sexual preference don't have sex with him again.
  • Sometimes all it takes is one month of online dating, and a guy who gets naked minus the socks.
  • If you're not taking advantage of the many benefits of online dating, you don't have the right online dating coach. @carneybusiness is your girl.
  • And finally, and most importantly, the butt hole is permission-only territory. 
We're off for Spring Break (and because it's the Oscars) in March, so see you in NY and LA on April 6th!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Do You Think More Couples are Opposites or the Same?


The other night R and I had oysters, artisan grilled cheeses and red wine with our friend Alison because it was Wednesday and we know how to live (note: Alison actually had a dirty martini because she is a total boss. HI ALISON!) .

At one point R hijacked our conversation about Allison's incredible new-ish boyfriend and turned things into an sociology class, but we went along with it because he is very cute.

R's question: what percentage of couples do you think fall into that "opposites attract" category? Or, rather, do you think more couples are similar or different people?

I instantly said, "different," because I like to be the first person to answer questions in class. R said, "interesting," and then rubbed his winter-months beard a little bit because, apparently, he was taking this whole fake sociology class as seriously as I was...which is when it dawned on me that R and I are more similar than we are different...I think?

Do I fail the class (slash life) if I can't answer the question as it pertains to my own relationship? Or is that the trick answer to the non trick question? Couples don't know what they are, so you can't assign a percentage.

I'm not sure I think it matters whether couples are more similar or different in terms of their long-term potential for success. I think for people who like/need/want difference, a different partner is better. Opposite goes for people who like things the same. I would say that I think partners should have similar values, hopes and dreams (and I did say that, to which R replied that this was a conversation not a Happy Wedding Day greeting card), but I'm not even so sure about that. I personally like that R and I share the same values, hopes and dreams (and, yes, I am now going to have that printed on a custom wedding card for him), but that's just me. I think he feels the same, and he may or may not have said so that night. I was too busy mentally creating a list of ways that we are similar and different to pay attention. I now consider that list the most productive thing to come out of our conversation, and so in lieu of an actual answer to the question I'll just list a few things I came up with and hope you can tackle the real puzzler in comments. Thanks!

WAYS IN WHICH R AND I ARE SIMILAR
  • We both think David O. Russell is overrated
  • We both love oysters
  • We both like to make plans way earlier than it's ever necessary to make them
  • We're both very perceptive, especially of people, especially people who are funny
  • We have the same politics
  • We value family and friendships in the same way
  • We like the same TV shows (including House Hunters and Downton Abbey!!)
  • We both like to keep very busy but also know how to relax
  • If it came down to it, we would both always put each other before our careers
  • We're both very independent, and can be very independent of each other, but at the end of the day we prefer to do things together than with just about anyone else
WAYS IN WHICH R AND I ARE DIFFERENT
  • R is stronger when it comes to sticking up for himself than I am
  • I really, really love clothes and shoes and home decor and make-up and everything pretty. R don't find those things quite as important or interesting. 
  • R is a cook. I am a sous chef. 
  • I am an incredible sleeper. R, not so much. 
  • I thought Martha Marcy May Marlene was meh. R though it was the scariest movie he's seen in a very long time.
  • R is comfortable spending money (aka not cheap). I am NOT (aka very cheap).
  • R hates tuna fish. I hate bananas. 
  • R has a healthy relationship with guilt for the most part. I don't, for any part. 
  • When R gets mad he mumbles a string of curse words under his breath like a mental patient. When I get mad I clean everything in site like a totally sane human. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Magnitude of What We Now Have To "Know"


I've been avoiding writing this post all day because I don't know what to say, and not knowing what to say makes me crazy uncomfortable.

Someone once told me that the best thing to do in times of fuzziness is start with statements of truth. Write what do you know to be absolute fact. Don't worry about the grey area.  Ok.
  • I have some friends going through deeply difficult times in their life.
  • These friends are facing challenges of the heart, and their challenges scare me.
  • I don't have answers for these friends, and that's hard for me. I wonder if I'll face their same questions some day, and I wonder if I'll have answers.  
  • No future is totally known. No relationship is totally infallible. We cannot predict the future. Every relationship is a leap of faith. 
  • Shit happens. Bad shit. Scary shit. Super sad shit. And we have to find a way to move forward.
  • The support of friends is one piece of what helps us more forward. I can be that source of support. Right now maybe that's the only "answer" my friends need.    
I think all these "truth" bullets are a super vague way of me saying that I'm scared about the unknowns of the future. I'm 4 months from being a wife. Likely less than five years from being a mother. Probably fewer years than that from being a homeowner, the namesake behind an LLC, maybe even the author of a book. "Is this apartment a good deal for the price," or, "is this the kind of guy I'd introduce to my parents," used to be the toughest questions on my list. Now it's, "is this neighborhood the right place to raise kids," and, "is this man the right person to raise them with?"

I am a fairly "sure" person. I know what I like. I know what makes me happy. I know what to wear to no matter the social situation. But it feels like the magnitude of what we now have to know in order to make the decisions coming down the pipeline recently increased 100 fold! So far I've still been sure, but the risks of that assumed certainty are getting really freaking high. Does that mean we don't take them? I don't know. My answer is currently "no." I want to take these next, scary steps. I prefer the risks to the alternative. But that doesn't make me less aware of the potential "shit happens" that may in fact happen.

How are we supposed to know if our "gut" is right? And how much does that matter anyway? Can everyone who falls out of love look back and say, I saw this coming? Absolutely not. Can every couple who waits too long to have a kid declare, We should have done it when we thought weren't ready. It would have ended up fine? No.

So then is life just a series of baby steps that we make while trying to convince ourselves that there's a master plan we can control? I really hope not because not having control makes me about as comfortable as not knowing what to say...

But here are three more things that I do know:
  • I made it here through a combination of baby steps and master planning, and I really, really like how here turned out. 
  • My friends made brave decisions in an effort to continue to trust their guts.
  • If I find myself where they are some day, I know they'll help me move forward, regardless of whether or not they know exactly what to day.

Friday, January 24, 2014

10 Super Adult Things I've Recently Learned How To Do



On February 7th I will be 30 and 1/2 years old, and I'm proud to say I'll be marking that milestone half birthday just a little bit wiser. Here is the impressive list of things I've mastered since turning the big 3-0.

1. How to take care of my skin

I've had a face for 30 years, and yet I've only learned how to properly wash, tone, exfoliate and moisturize is within the past six months. For that I'd like to thank two Janna's (Jana at Ruth's Skincare on Melrose and Janna of My Beauty Binge) and the three samples per visit policy at Sephora.

2. How to get from Pacific Palisades to Echo Park in 35 minutes or less.

One canyon road, the PCH, three freeways and a left on Sunset. Boom.

3. What work-out will make my whole body hurt the most (but somehow feel the best, maybe?)

The answer is Pilates, specifically reformer machine Pilates. I'm doing a one month exclusive package at Touch on Robertson, and it's killing me. That means it's working, right?

4. How to motivate myself to write when I really don't want to write.

My parents got me The MOST of Nora Ephron for Christmas, and I have been devouring it perfect piece by perfect piece. Every time I want to close the laptop and sit down for another episode of GETTING ON (my current HBO On Demand of choice) I open up that book, read a few pages and remember that the only way I'm ever going to come close to being as good as Nora is if I KEEP WRITING.

5. How to make the awful smell in the garbage disposal go away. 

You put lemon rinds down there. So genius.

6. How to be forward but not pushy 

I have this consuming fear of annoying people with requests, favors and plain old inquiries, but I'm trying really, really hard to get over that because it's sure to take me straight to the bottom - especially of the L.A. pile. So now I'm trying to be more direct and clear without apologizing along the way. It's awkward, but I'm trying.

7. How to make the perfect Pandora writing station

Base of Paul Simon then add in The XX, Ellie Goulding, Cat Power, Van Morrison, and - get this - TINA TURNER. It's most easy listening with some nice rock, but then every once in awhile you get to JAM.

8. How to not have a stomach ache all the time

One word: Probiotics

Two words: Almond Milk.

Three words: I miss cheese...

9. How to de-stress about wedding planning

I tell trusted friends and family what I'm stressing about, they say, "no one is going to care about that, so don't worry," and then I feel better! Then, for added support, I one of my two best friends (hi Katie and Mike!) and/or my also-engaged sister (yay Dani!) and commiserate about how expensive everything is until we all decide we're doing the best we can under the circumstances and therefore nothing is our fault.

10. How to be there for a friend

One of my closest friends is hurting right now, and so-so-sad as I am for her, it's giving me the chance to actively show her I love her in as many ways as I can come up with. I think she'd appreciate being my silver lining in a dark cloud at the exact same time that I'm trying to serve as hers.

Happy Friday guys!   


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pro/Con Debate: Hiring a Business Manager


As mentioned, R and I have decided to engage in some marriage planning to go along with our wedding planning. The former is way more boring, overwhelming and void of fashion-related choices than the latter, but I'm playing along.

Step one of one bagillion has been the question of whether or not to start a relationship with a business manager/business management firm. What does a business manager do? In three obvious words: manage your business. But what is your business when you don't have an actual business (unless we're counting the business of writing sample television pilots for free as the world's most time-consuming resume crafting process)? Everything. Literally everything in your life that has to do with money: bills, loans, investments, taxes, insurances, and so many other words that I'm not familiar with because I have absolutely no knowledge when it comes to business. Ready to set up an LLC for your writing career? Gearing up to buy a house? Prospect of H&R Block getting you down? Pretty convinced you're spending way too much money on sushi dinners? They've got you covered.

Now, this management of ones business obviously comes at a cost. That cost is a small percentage of your annual earnings (combined if you are a couple, so lucky for R mine are super small!), in the case of the firm we're considering. If you're interested in a biz man of your own, look into it, and you'll find out the various fee options. I'm going to keep that out of this because I'm trying to maintain some shred of mystery to my offline life.  Just know that having a BM means spending some money making it a decision one must weight carefully.

Here is the PRO/CON list I developed:

-- PRO --

The Know-How 

I know nothing about personal finance, and given my history with math, it's not looking like I'm going to be able to Good Will Hunting this thing with a free library card and some wicked smaahts. A Business Manager will help me spend smartly, invest wisely, properly plan for the future, and hopefully get way bigger tax returns.

The Piece-of-Mind

Money is a massive source of stress in my life, so the idea of consistent assistance in that department and oversight from professionals seems like a surefire way to not end up with the full-blown ulcer that I'm pretty convinced is currently developing in my stomach.

Relationship Ease

I really, really want to avoid ever blaming R (or, more likely, having R blame me) for a major financial misstep. Yes, we'll make mistakes in our married life, but given the fact that neither of us have much knowledge of personal finance, I'd prefer if we alleviated one major potential trouble zone by placing that responsibility in the hands of a third party who we can blame together!

The Cool Factor

"Yes, thank you. I am interested in the opportunity, but let me discuss with my Business Manager to make sure it's the right addition to our portfolio." BOOM!

You Can Stop If You Don't Like It

No multi-year contract, no crazy loopholes to get out. That's important. 

-- CONS --

Spending Money 

It's hard for me to spend money on things I should be able to do for myself. I could very well learn about personal finance using the Internet or trusted, smarter friends. We don't need this help in the critical sense of the word. Our hard-earned money might be better spent in other way like vacations.

Losing Control 

We're still not learning about personal finance and becoming even more reliant on the outside help. I asked our prospective Biz Man about this very issue and he said their process is fully transparent, and they welcome our involvement, but I know myself. If I don't have to look at numbers, I won't.

The Jerk Factor

  "Yes, thank you. I am interested in the opportunity, but let me discuss with my Business Manager to make sure it's the right addition to our portfolio." VOM!


In the end, I think we're going to try this out for size to see what the benefits really amount to. Frankly, we're starting out our lives together and have NO idea how to best combined finances, set-up new bank accounts, merge investments and make sure we're getting all the right tax benefits along the way. So it seems like a smart move for this given phase . But (prepare for sap), the thing I'm more proud of is the fact that we figured this out together. R did the research on firms. I phoned friends to provide references. We met our potential Biz Man together, and we talked about the pros and cons as a couple without crying or fighting (and I'm known to shed a tear when it comes to calculating percentage of my net worth). Which means we can now go back to focusing on more important things like writing free television pilots and cooking the world's most delicious smoked brisket.

Until the next marriage planning pro/con comes up, wish us luck.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sorry. I Tried But I Can't Stay Silent on This Lena Dunham/Jezebel/Vogue Photos Issue


You guys. I'm so confused by this Lena Dunham/Vogue cover story/Jezebel/everyone on Facebook situation.

Here's what I believe went down:

  • Vogue photoshopped their pix of Lena to make her look "better" than her natural self (skinner neck, skinnier waist, covered-up boobs, etc.)
  • Lena reacted like this: "10k? Give it to charity then just order HBO...Some s--t is just too ridiculous to engage. Let's use our energy wisely, 2014."
  • And then dozens of people on Facebook/Twitter/etc. were like - God Jezebel! Calm down! Jezebel is the worst! Why is Jezebel shaming Lena Dunham?? Get over it everyone! Why are we still talking about this stupid issue?? The pictures aren't even that different!
So to recap: Vogue publishes an unrealistic portrait of a real woman. Jezebel defends that real person. And then both the person and the people of the Internet (MANY of them women) are upset with Jezebel?

Again: Vogue offends Lena Dunham and women (because changing a woman's body is offensive. We can all agree on that, right? Pleasepleaseplease say yes). Jezebel defends Lena Dunham (because saying they would prefer to see her real body is supportive. I'm not even asking if you agree with that because it's a cold, hard fact). Lena Dunham does not defend herself (because saying, "let's focus on something else" is deeming the situation OK) and much of the Internet agrees with her on that stance (but not all, thank you Slate, forever and ever).

Why?

From what I'm reading it's for three reasons:
  1. The photoshopping wasn't that severe aka Jezebel is making too big a deal out of it. 
  2. This is how being a celebrity in magazines works, so Jezebel should shut up already.
  3. Jezebel is shaming Lena by pointing out her real body. 
Okay, but:

1a. How much does a woman's body have to be changed for it to be wrong?
2a. Just because it's common practice means we're going to roll over as a society?
3a. That's not shaming, that's supporting. Shaming is changing a woman's body to that it looks more like society's unrealistic standards of beauty.

I'm not saying we need to make a national case out of every re-touched image of a celebrity. I agree with Lena, there are equally important topics to focus on. But when it is brought it, why are we abandoning the fight and supporting the bully? And, more importantly, how does the actual victim - a woman whose comfortable body image well-reported and supported - not support her natural self??

This is embarrassing you guys. And I don't care if you think I'm making a mountain out of a molehill here, just like Jezebel. That's what needs to happen for this to change.

And if you're sitting there thinking, why does this need to change? then you're part of the problem.