Thursday, May 30, 2013

How Pinterest is Saving Slash Ruining My Wedding

You guys know Pinterest, right? The online image-board hub where you now spend 75% of your procrastination time?

Then you probably know that Pinterest has a Wedding category, right? The place where the life-long DIY challenged go to fool themselves into thinking they can build their own photo booth using cardboard, smelly markers and fishing wire?

Well since getting engaged I've come to LOVE and HATE Pinterest on a whole new level. I have literally not been so torn about a single thing since super high-waisted jeans came back in style (I love them, they hate my thighs).

It's just SO MUCH amazing information and inspiration, but also TOO MUCH information and inspiration.

Here - in another in this new series of wedding-related posts - is precisely what I love and what I hate about this completely optional not-at-all necessary Internet tool that I now visit 20-50 times per day:
  • LOVE: You can very easily share all the ideas for your wedding with you family back east!
  • HATE: Unless you make your boards private (which I can't seem to figure out how to day) you can very easily share all of your wedding ideas with the entire world. 

  • LOVE: I never ever would have thought about all this insane DIY ideas that brides post. I mean do you know that you can make your own aisle runner with butcher paper??
  • HATE: I now believe I can make my own aisle runner out of butcher paper...and my own potted herb favors...and my own embroidered handkerchiefs for all the guests...and my own two dozen framed chalkboards for all the signage...

  • LOVE: It's super helpful to find fitness tips for slimming down before the big day among the images of gorgeous bridal gowns that one must slim down for.
  • HATE: It's super annoying to find selfies of other brides' abs as the cover shot for those tips...
  • LOVE: Before browsing through Pinterest I had a general sense of what kind of wedding I'd like to have style, location and color-wise.
  • HATE: After browsing through Pinterest I now have 1,543 senses of what kind of wedding I'd like to have style, location and color-wise.
  • LOVE: The great things about Pinterest is that there are always new things to look at - every minute of every day some far-more-stylish than me bride is posting a photo that I just don't want to miss.
  • HATE: See above. Pretend you're my screenplay that's nowhere near written...
And so I'm trying to temper my obsession with this mecca of clickable images. So far I only have boards for Venues, Dresses and General Style. That's normal, right? I mean "JohnnysGirl05" has way more boards than that...though I do really love her rehearsal dinner concepts board. Guys, she made her own cheese for the dinner. I wonder if I could learn how to do that...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How To Become A Writer...maybe...I think?

Last week I had a white wine and four $1 oysters with a friend of my second younger sister Sara.

We were chatting about the things that all older sisters discuss with their younger sister's friends: how to survive your early 20s (generally speaking), how to change your career during your early 20s (more specifically speaking), and why none of that will matter once you're pushing 30 (experience speaking).

Then our conversation turned to the topic of writing. I'm not saying that I try to convince all people who show a speck of interest in writing to become a writer, but it's pushing 75% at this point, especially if the people are a funny, interested and interested as my younger sister's friend.

But this was the first time the chat turned to the all-important and rarely asked question of: how am I supposed to figure out what I want to write?

I give sister's friend endless credit for broaching that seemingly obvious issue. It is not obvious. Well, I take that back. Some people are aspiring science writers who have always and will always love writing about science. Same goes for sports writers and crime writers and, apparently, Winnie Cooper (aka Danica McKellar) who writes math text books. But there are those of us who just want to write editorial stuff or first person essays or fictional screenplays that can't be categorized by a specific genre. How do we figure out what we should be spending our time writing? Or, maybe more importantly, how do we figure out what we should be writing?

Here is what I told my sister's friend to do (very important note: I keep awkwardly leaving her name out because I don't have permission to use it, not because I don't remember it). This advice should be taken with a grain of salt because I'm not sure if it really works. By that I mean, it lead me to discover what I wanted to write, and I have had success in writing on those topics BUT I'm not a millionaire, so we can't be sure this is the perfect path.

Pretend you've been assigned a weekly essay in which you are required to write 500 words on any topic you'd like - literally any topic in the entire world. Pretend some really fantastic editor or agent or mentor assigned you this weekly "column" and will be expecting it in his or her inbox every single Friday for six months (yes, six month). If you have an actual friend, writing mentor, or loving parent who will actual accept these weekly e-mails, even better. Bottom line, they are due by noon every week, no exceptions. Set aside $20 per week to treat yourself to something nice after you hand in your assignment (I vote manicures, but suit yourself). This is your payment, and while I realize you're paying yourself, you're gaining WAY more than the $20 you're losing, so don't worry about it.

Now, write. ANYTHING. Like, if you think your neighbor is a spy one week, write an investigative journalism piece. Or if you're super mad at your boyfriend, write a scathing, 500 word e-mail (that I am in no way authorizing you to actually send).

See what comes out. You may write four different things for the first month. Don't stress. You may write on the exact same topic for the first six weeks. Also don't stress. You may get to your six month mark and realize you have tens of thousands of words on an array of topics that make no sense as a collection, let alone a writing career. Stress even less.

It's not about what you're writing - it's about how you're writing. This isn't an exercise in discovering that you're a fitness writer (though if that happens, great!). This is an exercise in discovering your voice as a writer. How do you like to write? What kind of writing really interests you? First person storytelling? Humor? Mystery? Poetry? Fashion?

There isn't one answer, but here's the whole point of this charade: if you're going to start thinking about how to make money as a writer, you'll need to know what publications or outlets are a fit for your style of writing, and you're going to need a style of writing to match to publications. I firmly believe that the only way to discover that is to write regularly and freely.

Feel free to take this advice out for a spin. You can even send your pieces to me at every week. I may not be able to read them all, but I will let you know I've received them so at least you'll be accountable to a real human. 

And if that doesn't work, I'd e-mail Nicholas Sparks. He's definitely made a million dollars (a million times over), so his advice might be slightly better...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Writer's Guide to the Cafes of L.A.

I've been hesitant to write this post out of fear that my secret, sacred spots would become overcrowded by the no-doubt thousands of people who read my blog. Then I took a gander at my site meter, and, well, here we are, though if my strange patch of readership in the U.K. happens to take a collectively field trip west, we're in trouble (Cheerio friends!).

As a writer I spend a good amount of time in coffee shops. This is mostly because they offer space to write at the (sometimes) small fee of a cup of Joe, but it's also because I feel far less cool sitting at my kitchen table in my pajamas every day, and feeling cool is a major part of being a successful writer.

Over the course of my three years as a L.A. based writer, I've developed strong opinions on the many cafes that allow people to sit for hours on end without ordering a second beverage. Here are those opinions for your reading and hopefully writing (but not on the same days and times that I'm writing, or if on those same days/times definitely not in my special seat) pleasure. All reviews will be organized in the following manner:

Name: What it is called
Neighborhood: Where (I believe) it is located
It's Like: How I think of it, delivered in the classic "blank meets blank" format because I am a fancy entertainment person
Cost of a cup of coffee: This will be cost of a double shot Americano, because that's what I drink.
Why I Like It: Seems clear.
Why I Don't: Same deal.
What I Use It For: What I'm able to get done there. This will seem weird if you're not a writer and make perfect sense if you are. 
Other Things Worth Saying: I'm not sure how necessary this section is, but the above didn't feel like quite enough, so...
Parking: Arguably the most important part of this whole review

Also. There reviews are limited to places in my general neighborhood. Sorry East siders.

Here we go!

Name: Paper or Plastik
Neighborhood: Pico/Fairfax?

It's Like: The entire lower east side of Manhattan meets your grandfather's shed
Cost of an Americano: $3.00 (note: $2.00 for your first refill)
Why I Like It: Where to begin... This place is nuts. In one former warehouse space is a cafe, a dance studio, and an attic treasure shop that sells really expensive things that you want for no reason. My favorite element is the second floor loft space, which I find perfect for writing because it's tucked away and quiet. Also, very interesting and mostly beautiful people frequent the place, and they all seem to be locals, which is just lovely. Oh, also again, the dance studio in the back offers ballet classes throughout the week, so sometimes I schedule my writing sessions with the dance classes so I can watch "while I write." Final also, the food is killer.
Why I Don't: It gets crowded and only certain table are reserved for laptops. It's almost like they don't want people sitting there all day long after buying one cup of coffee.
Why I Use It For: Everything, but especially first drafts of things. I can really concentrate here for some reason. 
Other Things Worth Saying: Hhmm, I said it all in the "Why I Like It" section. See, I knew this section was touch and go...
Parking: Plenty of street and meter parking.

Name: Alfred Coffee
Neighborhood: West Hollywood
It's Like: Nantucket Island meets Cruel Intentions
Cost of Americano: $3.00
Why I Like It: The people are incredibly nice and there is always, I mean always at least one celebrity there. Also it's on Melrose Place, which just feels fancy and therefore inspiring.
Why I Don't: Not a ton of places to sit. They did recently add a large work table, which is nice. I prefer the counter top areas with stool seating, but anything wider than a MacBook Air doesn't fit on the ledge. I know that's oddly specific, but if you get it, you get it.
What I Use It For: Reviewing and editing. It's a little too cramped for me to really spread out and write write. 
Other Things Worth Saying: They just started carrying food options here, and while they are delicious, they are also limited and expensive. Best to stop at Ink Sack on your way over for a delicious $4 sammy to compliment your coffee. Don't tell them I told you to do that.
Parking: Can get a little crowded on Melrose Place because it's so fancy and all, but try Melrose proper or the neighborhoods.

Name: Graffiti Sublime (which I just call Graffiti because "Graffiti Sublime" is a ridiculous name for anything)
Neighborhood: South LaBrea? Is that a neighborhood?
It's Like: An art gallery meets the living room of a Bond villain
Cost of a cup: Something like $3.50
Why I Like It: Tons of space in a stark, clean environment. It's sort of like the fanciest study lounge you've ever seen. Also, there's a giant fireplace that runs all year long, and you've just got to appreciate that kind of opulence.
Why I Don't: Okay this is really weird but the seats are extremely low. Like I have to fold one leg under my butt and sit on top of it just to be able to type comfortably at the tables.
What I Use It For: Everything. The tables are large so you can even outline on post-it notes here. Slightly embarrassing if they're pastel post-it notes in varying colors per character, but I do what I do. 
Other Things Worth Saying: The ceilings here are very high, so noise carries. Best to bring head phones sos to avoid being distracted by hipster's latest app development idea.
Parking: Rough. They have a nice lot, but it's small. Also, beware of parking on La Brea, which ends at 4pm every day.

Name: The Larder at Burton Way
Neighborhood: Beverly Adjacent
It's Like: Martha Stewart's kitchen meets Whole Foods
Cost of a cup: $3.25
Why I Like It: This is both brand new and not technically a coffee shop, so from, say 2pm until 6pm on weekdays it is EMPTY. The Larder is Suzanne Goin's chain of casual, counter-service restaurants, so the food (and drink) is incredible. Also, it's walking distance from my apartment.
Why I Don't: I feel a little weird writing there because no one else is writing there. I suspect I'll get over that after a few more trips to a jam-packed Coffee Bean, but for now it's a little wonky for me.
What I Use It For: So far just editing because I'm not comfortable enough to fully write there. God I just sound more OCD with every review...
Other Things Worth Saying: THE NICEST staff. Even nicer than Alfred Coffee, and I have yet to see a celebrity at this spot.
Parking: I don't really know because I walk, but it looks decent plus there's a garage.

Name: Coffee Commissary 
Neighborhood: Mid-City/Fairfax
It's Like: Your high school science lab meets a college radio station
Cup: Like $3.00 I think? They pour over coffee is also very good here, but I think more like $4.00.
Why I Like It: Eh, I really don't like it that much, but it's another spot to check if the others are too crowded.
Why I Don't: Always crowded. Always loud music. Fairly pretentious staff. So. Many. Hipsters.
Other Things Worth Saying: They sell this thing called a Caramel Rice Krispie Treat which may be the best thing you'll ever eat in your life.
What I Use It For: I used to use it for everything, but I think they made the music louder, probably because people started using it for everything. Now I pop in here to review things only.
Parking: Fairly open on Fairfax but all 2 hr. meters.

Name: Starbucks on Robertson at Beverly/Coffee Bean on Robertson at Beverly
Neighborhood: Robertson at Beverly
It's Like: Starbucks meets Coffee Bean
Cost of a cup: $2.55
Why I Like Them: I'm putting these in the same review because they are essentially the same thing on opposite sides of the street. Both have ample outside seating, which is really lovely when the sun is in the correct position of the sky. Both also have the cheapest coffee prices of any of the establishments I visit, which at $2.55 is still sad/annoying.
Why I Don't: They tend to be very crowded and very noisy.
What I Use It For: Sitting outside and reading scripts. There is no greater guilty pleasure in (my) life than sitting outside in the sun and reading a script on my Kindle at 4pm on a weekday with a $4.00 iced latte in my hand.
Other Things Worth Saying: There is a homeless population that enjoys my same guilty pleasure. All power to them but worth noting.
Parking: Not good. I walk here too, but I think I pass public parking on Robertson just before that street where the Ivy is, so that could be a good option.

Name: Jones Coffee Roasters/West Hollywood Public Library
Location: West Hollywood
It's Like: The inside of a snow globe meets the inside of a library
Cost: Something like $4.00. I can't remember, but I know it's ridiculous.
Why I Like It: Joe is the cafe at the base of the library that has delicious coffee and generally an open table or two. It is behind a wall full of glass, so there's tons of gorgeous light. The library itself is my absolute favorite place to write because it is blessedly quiet and very academic feeling. You can take your coffee there if you'd like. I frequent the study tables that face The Pacific Design Center, but there are dozens of places to sit in the second floor stacks. Also, it's FREE.
Why I Don't: There are something like 45 stairs to get to the reading/writing space, so I always end up sweating right before I sit down to write. Also, the bathrooms are a little far from the desks, so you have to ask someone to watch your stuff. Minor details, but still.
Other Things Worth Saying: You can get books there! For Free!
What I Use It For: Everything. I go to the library from about 2:00 to 5:30 every day, and the routine is incredibly helpful. 
Parking: Lot under the library. There is a fee but it's worth it for all the knowledge you're getting by osmosis.

Name: Any bar around 3pm (The Churchill being my fave)
Neighborhood: West Hollywood
It's Like: A bar meets an empty bar
Cost: Cheaper than any coffee shop, though sometimes they have really awful coffee so I get the tea
Why I Like It: It feels awesome to be writing in a bar, point blank period.
Why I Don't: Sometimes they have TVs on. Also, it can be hard to not order a glass of pink wine...
Other Things Worth Saying: Did I mention that your office is a bar?
What I Use It For: Mostly editing, though on a really quiet afternoon, I can get actual scripting done.
Parking: Depends.

And finally, my secret special place that is so secret and special I have to give it to you in riddle:

Name: Withheld
Neighborhood: Miracle Mile adjacent
It's Like: Heaven meets a hotel
Cost: It doesn't matter. It's worth whatever they're charging.
Why I Like It: Because it's a pool...
Why I Don't: Because it's hard to get a lot of work done when you're at a pool...
Other Things Worth Saying: Not a ton of shade given the whole "it's a pool" thing, but there are umbrellas and the lovely staff is happy to move them to where you are sitting.
What I Use It For: Reading and editing only. You can't possibly get real work done in a bathing suit. 
Parking: Not a ton of street parking and valet is $6, but if I'm in the mood to treat myself to writing at a POOL then I'm in the mood to pay the $6.

Best of luck to you! And shout out to Melissa for coming up with this idea. %22 of the net blog profits and the name of my first born are coming your way, girl!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baby's First TV Pitch

Tomorrow I am pitching my first original TV show concept to a production company interested in taking it to a studio that might eventually sell it to a network.

At least, I think that's how it works...

So far all I've been required to do is pour my entire heart and soul into an eight page document explaining my vision for a 1/2 hour sitcom. And if that weren't tricky enough, the show is about the fact that I was once in love with my now gay best friend who I lived with at the same time I met my current fiance.

Suddenly the process for selling a TV show seems simpler, right?

I've been thinking a lot about this whole concept of writing what you know lately. I have essentially been doing that for the past six or so years on this blog, and I'd say I'm pretty open and honest about the goings on in my life. I have written things that were difficult to write. I have said things I didn't think I had the courage to say. But - and this is obvious but no less important - it's always from the first person perspective. I've been sharing stories about myself as myself.

This TV show development process seemed like it would be similar. I set out to create a character based on myself who lives in a world based on my own world. It didn't feel like it would be that different from writing a blog post in the format of a 1/2 hour sitcom.

Turns out there is a massive difference between writing about yourself and writing yourself. Suddenly the fuzzy areas in your understanding about certain facts and feelings are called "weak character development" and the parts of the story you're re-telling that you'd rather leave out become "plot holes."

To create a great, fictional character you need to make that person whole - what are her fears and issues? what is her back story? why does she behave the way she does? how would she react to A, B, and C? Think about all your favorite characters from TV and film. Chances are you could answer all those hypotheticals about them as if they were real.  

But imagine if the character was you. And then imagine that you don't know the answers to your own question because you've never asked yourself before. Why did I do that? Why did I feel that way? What motivated that move? Now, how would I react to A, B, and C?

I've been working on this specific project for almost nine months from conception through pitch development. Those nine months have been like the weirdest on-going therapy session of my life. Yes, the character I've created is a version of myself, not a direct copy, but I still had to figure out the basis for that adaptation based on real events and feelings.

I'm incredibly excited to be pitching this story because it is near and dear to my heart in so many ways. But I think the real win has been what developing the pitch about this story has done for me personally. I would not know everything I now know about myself if I hadn't turned myself into a sitcom character. And while that feels like a weird and overly time-consuming way to figure out your hang-ups, it worked for me.

Stay-tuned to hear if it works for the production company...and then the studio...and hopefully the network...and maybe, someday, the test group we show the pilot ;)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How Registering For Wedding Gifts Is Nothing Like Shopping for Shoes

Registering was one of the things I was most looking forward to about being engaged. I think it's one of the things everyone is most looking forward to about being engaged. How could you not be excited about a 100X-the-gifts-Christmas in which you pick every single item...using a super neat-o electronic gun?

Add to that the fact that shopping is among the things I do best in life - wrapped baked brie in the shape of things, give dating advice I'm unqualified to give, write the dialogue of sassy gay men and shop - but shopping is top among that impressive list of very necessary life skills. 

Registering is just shopping on a more awesome, exciting, life-changing scale, I thought. You're not searching for an outfit to wear to some lame event, you're on a mission to discover a dish pattern that you and your future husband will use to eat all the meals of your life! This isn't some quick trip to the Payless to pick up Christian Siriano's latest dirt cheap design; this is a day-long venture to select the items that will make your future house a home!

I was going to kill it at registering. I was going to be as swift and decisive as I was thoughtful and team oriented. I was going to make sure R's desires for the stuff of our life were as equally represented as mine. I was going to shoot that red laser at the bar code and hit it on the first time, every time!

Except for one little issue...

I suck at registering.

Not, like, I couldn't get the red laser beam to hit the right part of the very tiny black bar code (though I couldn't do that either. literally not once). I mean I am very bad at the entire act of selecting items that will serve as wedding gifts. So bad, in fact, that I have handed over the task of registry selection and management to R. I'm taking on more of a consulting role. It's the most I can handle, and it's touch and go at that.

This shocking turn of events all started at the Crate&Barrel on Beverly Drive around 3pm Saturday afternoon. I was all dressed up in my registering outfit (pleated salmon skirt and pale blue striped button-down, tied at the waist), and rearing to go. We had just completed the research portion of our trip and were now firmly and jointly decided on C&B as destination number one.

                "Can I help you?" the nice-looking blonde lady asked me as I bounded toward her with a look that I intended to say, "we're here to REGISTER!!!" but probably said, "Look out! I'm about to hug you so hard!!!" 

Disappointment #1 - there is no "congrats, you're registering!" gift, which I really still can't believe. I mean, we're committing to advertise the look and feel of the products in your store for the rest of our lives, and you don't have a glass of chilled champagne on the ready?

Disappointment #2 - they walk you over to an in-store kiosk and let you do it yourself. It's a 15 second process, and they don't even wait around to watch you do it. At first I thought that's because they were going to get the champagne, but you know how that turned out.

Now I am certain of very few things in life, but my sense of style is something I've known since the day I was old enough to dress myself (read: one and a half). Yes, that style has exhibited mostly in the form of clothing, shoes and accessories, but what is kitchenware if not the accessories of the kitchen? Yes, these items would serve a function, but selecting them would be like creating one giant outfit...that R and I would collectively wear...for the rest of our lives together...

That very deep, very overwhelming realization occurred to me just as we approached the large pasta bowls section of the store.

       "Okay, so something durable and white, right?" R said as he practiced scanning bar codes and nailing it on the first time every single time.

       "Um...I....well....yes?" I said.
       "I like this one. Do you like this one?"
       "Um...I...well...yes?" I said, as I backed slowly away from the bowl.
       "Good. Do you want to scan the first thing?"
       "," I said, as I turned in the other direction and froze in place staring directly
        at the giant glass jugs for water section (because they have one of those).
       "Are you freezing up?" R said.

Freezing up is something I do when faced with a decision that I am not prepared to make, generally one involving money. For example I frequently freeze up when R wants to book super expensive airlines tickets four months in advance of a flight. I'd rather just hold out and hope there are super cheap airlines tickets, say, three days before we need to fly.

       "I am," I said. "I am freezing up...So many decisions to make...and things are so expensive...and what if we don't like the plates in a few years...and should everything be stainless steal or ceramic white...or both?!"

Two hours later we walked out of the Crate&Barrel with a six page print-out of the items that will define our life, though I'm supposed to stop calling them that.

I survived the experience but I would not say I quite "killed it." I would say it came close to killing me, but that would be over dramatic, and I swore I wouldn't be one of those over dramatic brides...publicly.

Turns out my training in quantity versus quality purchasing over the years does not make me an expert in the art of registering. I'm more an expert in the art of buying a $20 birthday dress from Forever21 on sale for $14.99. Then when that dress falls apart six months later I buy another one in a totally different style because by that point neon is in and empire waists are out. They don't make La Creuset in neon, which is good because I'm already having a hard enough time deciding if I want the red or the yellow (yellow, right?). I think I'll end up letting R decide. Turns out he's amazing at registering. Which I guess makes sense given the fact that he spends legitimate money on legitimate clothing items once every few years. I now know that he's been secretly training to register for wedding gifts with that move...

So, fine. R can have this round. I am happily settled in my consulting role (which sort of goes, "okay let's register for that then I'll think about it for the next several months, change it twice and ultimately return it for something else). But if it turns out he's better at making DIY centerpieces than I am, I'm calling this whole thing off.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Big News: College Kids Are Totally Over Hooking Up

...sort of.

College kids are "sort of" totally over hooking up. It's kinda like how they feel about Vera Bradley bags. It's like, "enough already," but also they're pretty reliable and everyone has one, so...

This topic came up thanks to an article Chicago reader Laura sent my way (thanks LL!).

I hadn't really thought about it for awhile, so I didn't know how much I thought they did or didn't like it. Luckily Donna Frietas has been thinking about essentially just that for the past I-don't-know-how-many years because she wrote a whole book about the issue. It's called The End of Sex - which is a little misleading because it's actually about how the prevalence of casual sex has left a generation, "unhappy, sexually unfulfilled, and confused about intimacy. So really she should have called it The End of Good Sex, but probably nobody buys that book, right?

Here are the greatest highlights from this pretty great article:
  • "[Frietas'] book analyzes 2,500 surveys from 11 colleges and finds that casual sex is perceived by students as the only romantic option on campus these days - and that actually bums a majority of them out." So by "only romantic option" they mean dating is not possible nor is courting. The only way to have romance is to have casual sex? My follow-up would have been, "how romantic is the casual sex you're having, exactly?" Because the sadder part of this may be that kids these days consider drunk hook-ups in an XL twin "romantic." 
  • "College students learn from the media, their friends, and even their parents that it's not sensible to have long-term relationships in college. College is a special time in life-they will never get the chance to learn so much, meet so many people, or have as much fun again." I can't disagree with this feeling. In fact, I rode it through most of my twenties. "Now is the time to be independent, not tied down." The only problem is that if you never learn how to be "not" independent, you have trouble getting into and sustaining a relationship. It's a little bit of a catch 22, so I do understand the conflict.

  • "Students play their parts-the sex-crazed frat boy, the promiscuous, lusty coed-and they play them well. But all too often they enact these highly gendered roles for one another because they have been taught to believe that hookup culture is normal, that everyone is enjoying it, and that there is something wrong with them if they don't enjoy it, too." So peer pressure in college extends to everything, including sex. Makes sense. 

  • "Today's younger generation learns quickly and learns well that the norm is to be casual about sex-even though so many of them don't fit this "norm." Parents and educational institutions unwittingly promote this idea. Because we worry about the perils of casual sex among teens-unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and, for some constituencies, sin and God's disapproval-the very people who should be mentoring young men and women about the pleasures and joys of good sex instead focus on its dangers." Fascinating and true. Likelihood of this changing? Probably about as good as peer pressure ceasing to exist. 

  • "Moreover, the campus culture-along with the wider culture-has become more superficial with the advance of technology. A frenetic go-go-go and do-do-do pace, increasing in the midst of an economic recession, has put young adults under ever more pressure. They are competing with each other for fewer and fewer jobs, but burdened with greater and greater expectations of success. Such pressure can breed stress, anxiety, and even selfishness, all of which are aided and abetted by technologies that allow us to text rather than call, and to interact superficially and efficiently, with broad swaths of "friends" and followers, through Facebook and Twitter, rather than engage in meaningful interactions face to face with other human beings. This pace and pressure coincide with the attitudes toward others fostered by hookup culture. Rather than looking at the people right in front of us, we look at our phones, preferring to touch a screen rather than the hand of a partner." This is perhaps the most fascinating and yet least surprising detail of all. Cultural changes come from cultural shifts, and this shift certainly makes sense in terms of the greater attitudes of today's college generation. 
So now what? I don't know. Sadly with issues like these it usually takes a tragedy (date rape?) or wide-spread problem (AIDS spread?) for institutions to get involved with education. For my part, I have younger sisters still in college - maybe you do too? I think I'll tell them that I hooked up very little in college and was very happy and fulfilled. After college I hooked up a bit more, and it wasn't very romantic or fulfilling. To each their own, of course, but college students should know that they have options, and that what makes them most comfortable is always the best of those options. 

From the sounds of this article, they've lost sight of that fact...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I Now Know The Meaning of "Wedding Brain"

I sat down to write this blog post at 10AM...last Thursday.

I was going to write about the top ten things that happen after you get engaged, but then I typed, "you realize that venues book up for Spring weddings faster than you can find venues to book for your Spring wedding, " and panicked about booking a venue for my Spring wedding then spent the next, hhmm, it would appear five days, trying to find the perfect venue.

People warned me about wedding brain, but I ignored them. I'm a high energy multi-tasker who is surprisingly decisive when it comes to big ticket items. I've had a "Someday..." Pinterest board going for quite some days... There is only so much money I can spend on this blessed event, and frankly so much time I can commit to figuring out how to spend it based on everything else on my plate. I was going to be an easy-going, care-free, just get 'er done bride.

Aanndd then I spent three and a half hours last Friday afternoon searching for free calligraphy fonts to create a custom wedding monogram using the Photoshop program I have yet to teach myself how to use. Update: still haven't found the right font...or installed Photoshop.

I have wedding brain. I think it's a medium case, but I don't know what a severe case looks like. All I know is that I'm way beyond mild. Mild cases don't make power point wedding style guides containing their vision on everything from table top decor to ceremony back drop options. So we're clear, there were three slides on each of those categories. Because table top decor: candles obviously can't be on the same slide as table top decor: floral. Obviously.

I want to not have wedding brain. I want to be one of those sensible people who says, "we're going to really take our time and enjoy the whole bliss part of the engagement before we start planning," and isn't lying through her teeth. I said that to a few people, but then they asked me where we were thinking of having the wedding and I rattled off our top two venues, dates and decor themes. Turns out they just wanted to know if we were thinking east coast or west. Silver lining: they now have plenty of time to buy a dress that goes with creams and natural greens with accents of gold and deep yellow.

So far my wedding brain is sensible (fine, outside of the whole PowerPoint thing, but I'll have you now I skipped adding affects to the slides). Budget reigns supreme, no decision is made without R's consent, and I haven't said, "well it's my wedding, so I don't care what you think!" once. I am also proud to report that I haven't (fully) registered for any of those insanely overwhelming wedding websites nor have R and I figured out what we're going to register for...entirely.

We may or may not have done our guest list on the plane ride home from our engagement weekend in New York...right after deciding where to go on our honeymoon and what appliances we need for the kitchen, but everyone does that, right?

Everyone gets so excited that they fall into full afternoon vortexes of searching for DIY guides to chalkboard menu displays. I can't be the only person who made a grid of wedding dress shopping locations arranged for easiest subway transport around NYC (because who wants to be on the 6 train at rush hour?). Every newly engaged girl creates a Google doc where she and her fiance can keep track of songs they want the DJ to play (and fills it in two days...).

Fine. I've lost a fair amount of control. I've become that giddy bride-to-be who keeps her Pinterest page open at all times and calls her fiance six times a day with new venue ideas. 

So what! It's my wedding, so I don't care what you think!

I do, however, care what my employers and managers think, so please excuse me while I go pretend to work on my TV pitch while actually writing my vows.