Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Note and a Webseries on Therapy


I can't believe I've gone 6+ years without ever bringing up the topic of therapy. Sorry about that guys.

Do I believe that "everyone should be in therapy" - no. I'm not that Woody Allen about it. But do I believe that therapy can help absolutely anyone - absolutely. I've "seen someone" (that's what we say when we're embarrassed to say, "been in therapy") for a few issues over the years, and I've always found it to be eye-opening. You think you know how to ask yourself all the right questions, but you don't. Or rather, I thought I knew how to ask myself all the right questions, but I didn't.

Some friends of friends in New York are exploring that very issue in a funny web series called PsychoDrama.  In short, three actress friends start seeing the exact same therapist, and hilarity ensues. What I love most about this project is that it tackles what can be an "elephant in the room" in a really honest way. Yes, seeing a therapist can be a private thing, but if it's only private because we're ashamed, that's not cool.

So you have two tasks for today. 1. Check out PhychoDrama and 2. Tell a good friend you're seeing a shrink (if in fact you're seeing a shrink).

And I promise I'll write more on this important topic, maybe as soon as tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How To Explain Yourself To Yourself




I've been going on a lot of what we "in the industry" call general meetings lately.

General meetings are so called because nothing about them is specific. No specific goal, no specific conversation points, no specific offer for any specific employment opportunity. Here's a little primer I once wrote on the topic, but even that is pretty general. Just think of these meetings as sessions in which the executive sitting across from you is trying to determine your level of sanity, talent and connections, in 30 minutes or less.

During these meetings you, the writer, are asked many questions about your person. Questions like, "so where are you from?" or, "so what got you into writing?" or, "so what inspired that idea," or, "so what kinds of projects are you attracted to," or my all-time favorite, "so, tell us about yourself."

And so for the past several weeks I have been sitting across from complete strangers in a variety of outfits that say, "this is me as expressed through my clothes!" (except for that denim shirt tucked into the leopard pants situation which was more, "this is me on laundry day!") attempting to say, "this is me expressed through a series of details about my background, current life, hopes, dreams and taste in television!"

It is as weird I just made it sound. That might be because I am as weird as I just made myself sound, but that's the entire point of this post.

You don't really know yourself until you speed-explain yourself a dozen times in two weeks.

Case in point: apparently I feel I am the "red sheep" of my family because I'm the only one who moved clear across the country to pursue a career in the arts. Yesterday I literally said, "I'm not the black sheep because they all like me - I think? - but I'm definitely the weird one, so I guess that makes me red."

I did not plan to say that (no one should or would), but when asked the oddly specific general meeting question, "how do you fit into the rest of your family as a writer?" that is what I said. I have a feeling I lost a lot of sanity points on that response...

It's not unlike going on a ton of first dates (though I didn't go on this many dates in total dating experience). You have X amount of time to make an impression upon your audience, and so you prioritize the things that are most important to know about you. In my case that is apparently that I love to collaborate but prefer to write alone, am obsessed with HGTV, am the oldest of four girls who are exactly alike and yet completely different, and love Felicity. Those are the four things that come up in almost every single meeting.

Is that me in a nutshell? Actually, sort of yes. Does the inspire confidence in the creative community that I am sane and talented? Probs not.

But do I know myself a lot better after all these totally bizarre meetings? Yes, yes I do. Though in hindsight a few "dear diary" entries would have been a way easier route...

 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The 20 Best Cities for 20-Somethings


I'm not so bitter about being 30 that I can't pass along some helpful info on continuing to survive your 20s - at least so far...

Check out this list from my friends at Greatist of the 20 Best Cities for 20-Somethings. Their criteria:

"There are common factors such as cleanliness, park space, and efficient transit systems, but this year we expanded our scope: Does a city provide ethnic and cultural diversity? Can you walk in peace or are the streets packed with cars? We compiled this year’s list taking into account as many factors as we could to bring you the most accurate list of healthy cities for 20-somethings."

I'll admit I'm not thrilled that L.A. is unlucky #13 (several spots below New York...), but Raleigh, NC is lucky #7 (Yay Katie & Dustin!) and Seattle is an impressive #3 (Go Clel & Mike!), so at least some of my friends know what they're doing lifestyle wise. 

Enjoy, pass it on, and share your own opinions in comments.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Things a 30-year-old Says While Watching the VMA's


I promise not every post from here on out when have "30-year-old" in the title, but this one seemed too obvious to ignore. I accidentally watched 15 minutes of the VMA's last night. Here are several things that I said out loud.

  • Um, Ok Lady Gaga...you don't get to slap paint on your face sing the equivalent of a theme park parade song and call yourself avant guard...by me at least!
  • 'Lil Kim is looking dangerously like Latoya Jackson. Wait. Do you think anyone watching this knows who Latoya Jackson is? OMG or 'Lil Kim?!
  • I'm sorry, the One Direction movie is called This Is Us?! Who is in charge of these Yahoos? Yes, I just said yahoos. People say that! 
  • Miley Cyrus looks like a cracked out Gwen Stefani. 
  • THIS is Miley's big "I'm a bad girl" song?? There's nothing edgy about this! Mandy Moore could sing this! I wish Mandy Moore was signing this.
  • No. No Miley no. Actually, no MTV no. Do they think this is cool? Oh my god is this cool? Is this what kids like? Please say this isn't what real kids really like. Hahaha according to the look on Rihanna's face, it's not. Like she knows what's good for the youth of America...but still.
  • Is she twerking now?...oh.
  • She's twerking now, right?...oh.
  • Wait. That's twerking!? Really?? That's dumb.
  • How pissed is Robin Thicke to be associated with this Miley mess? Hhmm, probably not pissed at all. He's probably banging her. Ugh. He would. 
  • How much do you think they paid Selena Gomez to pretend to be Taylor Swift's best friend for the night?
  • I've heard of exactly one of the five artists on the rise. This moment is so much worse than actually turning 30.  
Please tell me I just caught the wrong 15 minutes?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The First, 30-Nothings Post: What It Feels Like To Turn 30


People warned me about the actual 30th birthday day. They said, "it's weirder than you think," and, "even if you're happy, you're sort of also sad," and, "I recommend drinking at least one cocktail with each meal during the day."

I took their warnings seriously, but I didn't think I'd feel that way. I had a packed day planned, my new hair cut was finally settling in, and that very night I was flying home to the east coast for two weeks of family fun.

So yes, I was cocky about turning 30. I thought I was above it all. I was all, "I feel great!" and, "I'm so fortunate!" and, "I'm exactly where I want to be!" I even threw my secret, special birthday routine (hint: it involved $29.99 and clothes made for children) out the window and wore something old for the day. "Superstitions be damned!" I thought, I'm a GD adult!

Turns out turning 30 is a little weirder than you think, and even though I was really happy, I was also sort of sad, and it did in fact help to consume one alcoholic beverage (or bottle...) per meal. As I said to Michael when he called to wish me a happy and hopefully sane day, "I can't help but feel like a door is closed now."

"Yeah, that's because it is," he said. And he was right.

It's not that there are things I desperately wish I'd done in my 20s. It's not that I'm afraid of what I now have to do because I'm 30. I actually feel like I have license to do more as a 30-something than I did as a 20-something, creatively speaking at least.

But this major, life-changing, incredibly formative, really fun era of my existence is over. Completely and totally over. I am no longer, "in my 20's" I can't use it as an excuse. I can't use it as a bragging point. It is no longer mine. But I think the thing that makes the very day you turn 30 so strange is that the next phase doesn't feel like yours either. I didn't instantly feel like a 30-something - whatever that feels like. So there was this sense of floating in some weird space between what I was or who I identified as, and what I'm going to be now. Does that make sense to those of you who've been through those 24 hours?

I spent my 30th birthday doing everything I wanted to do. I took myself to a hotel's rooftop pool bar where they let you lay out even if you're not a hotel guest. I have lunch at The Ivy with someone who has known me since the day I was born (and middle-named after her!). I got my make-up done (because why the hell not?). I took myself to see an awesome documentary called 20 Feet From Stardom. It's about the most famous back-up singers of our time, and it is incredible. And then I ate "all you can eat" mussels (my favorite food) with R on the patio at Meet Me In Paris

It was perfect, but I was still a little sad, and now that I've been through it, I think that's a good thing. Change is hard no matter what transition you're making. I think my sadness was a bittersweet sadness - like leaving college because it was so amazing or moving away from a childhood home that you loved. You can't go back, and that's a tough reality to deal with.

But the very next day you realize nothing has really changed, and if you're me, you're super glad you didn't get that list minute nose ring in an effort to do something major on your 30th birthday!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

INTRODUCING 20-Nothings, the book & 30-Nothings, the blog


We did it. 

Well, I did it, but I feel like somehow I couldn't have done it without your help & support. 

Today I am 30. That R.E.M song keeps playing over and over in my head - naturally? - but instead of "I feel fine" I keep singing "I feel awesome." Happy, healthy, Lucky, loved, and awesome. And isn't that how we should all feel at any age?

I'll be spending today reading beside a pool that overlooks the city, lunching with one of my favorite people, getting the world's best cheap massage, and then eating all-you-can-eat mussels with my main man. After all that we'll fly on the red eye back home to New Jersey to do it all again tomorrow with all of my family. How's that for indulgent? I think just right.

And then what happens after that? As the new blog header indicates - the exact same thing with a slightly different title (and soon some fun, new art). This little project has changed my life a dozen times over, so I can only assume it will keep delivering back all that joy and then some as I navigate this next decade.

20-Nothings will still be here online, but why not buy yourself a little birthday gift for me? 20-Nothings the book is available now on Amazon.com. It's full of all my favorite posts with new ed notes reflecting back and looking forward. Grab one today! Amazon is offering it at a special, somehow-they-know-its-my-birthday? price!


And finally - THANK YOU. This has been so, so fun and rewarding because you've been out there asking questions, making comments, and saying "yeah, I feel that way too." There's no greater gift a writer can receive than the feeling that people understand what they're working so hard to say. You've given me that a thousand times over, and that has, in turn, given me the confidence to keep on writing.

Off to celebrate and enjoy a little vacation. Be back as 30-Nothings very soon.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How To Survive Your 20's, As Far As I'm Concerned

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After 829 posts (to date) and six years of writing on the topic of how to be a 20-something, I feel like I should use this last day of my own 20's to provide some form of getting-by guide.

You should know that this started as a list of thirty five items, but the more I read them over the more I realized it takes very little to end up a happy, productive, debt-free 30-year-old, and that’s coming from one who is sometimes unhappy, often procrastinating, and used to have a ton of credit card debt. What can I say? Do as I’ve learned, not as I’ve done? Nah. I had way too much fun to advise against making some mistakes. Instead I’ll say, shoot for the following standards of living, and hope that fate, luck and a really good economy handles the rest.

Now, drum roll please… 
·       Spend less than or equal to the exact amount of money you deposit into your bank account every month. If you just read that and thought, “Yeah. Of course. How is that advice?” Congrats! You make enough money to live! If you just read that and burst into tears. Don’t panic! Cut up all your credit cards, return and any all clothes recently purchased, and start over. 
·       Move out of your parents’ house as soon as you possibly can, but not at the risk of blowing the above rule. 
·       Ladies, invest in one of those curling rod things. They really do wonders for the hair, and in no time flat! Gentlemen, please donate all of your giant, baggy cargo shorts to the Goodwill, or burn them.
·       If you’re still, “not sure what’s going on between us,” after three plus months, the answer is nothing. 
·       Call people - specifically your family members – as in, on the telephone, using your voice.
·       If you don’t know what the hell you want to do with your life, figure out some things you enjoy – hobbies not professions – and find time for those in your week. You’ll probably stumble upon a career in six or so months. If you still don’t know what you want to do with your life after six or so months, go to business school. 
·       Find a mentor, imaginary or otherwise. For example, mine is Nora Ephron. She was a very real person before she so sadly passed, but we never met and became best friends, as I intended. That has in no way stopped me from modeling my entire life against hers.
·       Go on vacation with your best girl or guy friends as often as you can afford. Gchatting all day every day does not compare to spending quality time together reading UsWeekly’s out loud beside a pool in Puerto Rico. 
·       Never skimp on the following life products: things to make your skin look nice, one amazing set of lingerie, haircuts, bed sheets, dental care, high-speed Internet and birthday dinners. 
·       Learn to cook three dishes perfectly. This will fool any prospective partner for the time necessary to make them fall for you and will likely fool their parents for life. 
·       Remove any and all friends that you secretly hate spending time with from your life. I’m still not sure how to do this, but I think it involves not liking their Facebook updates or going to their birthday parties anymore?
·       Invest. I’m not kidding. Bookmark this page right now and put whatever money you can spare into a 401K or Roth IRA or…those are the only two options I’m aware of at the moment.
·       Develop an ear for your gut and listen to it at all times. Then develop an ear for when your gut is lying to you for “ulterior motivates” (wink) and listen to it most of those times. 
·       Watch all five seasons of The Wire. All of the most awesome people I know have watched all five seasons of The Wire, so I can only assume a direct correlation. I’m one down, so far.
·       Think about if/when you might want to get married and/or have kids. You don’t need to plot it on a graph, freak out about how far behind you are, then run out and freeze your eggs. Just don’t forget to be aware of those ideas and goals. 
·       Print your photos. You’ll thank me when the Internet dies.
·       Take risks – lots of them – but don’t make a fool out of yourself. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re about to make a fool out of yourself, ask a trusted friend or mentor. If they’re not sure either, you are.
·       Be the calmest person in the room - any room of any kind, all the time. People trust the calm person. People respect the calm person. People want to date the calm person. But most importantly, the calm person is calm, and that’s really the only way to survive this mad world in one piece. 
·       Put your phone down and look around. This is not a metaphor. 
·       Stop drinking so much. I’m not going to put beverage units around that advice. You’re an adult. Know when enough is enough. 
·       Just call him/her your girl/boyfriend already! What’s the big deal? You’re going to have to break up either way at this point, so just cut the crap.
·       Know that most clich├ęs are wrong, but these three are true: fake it ‘til you make it, time heals all wounds, and, as a sober black jack dealer in Vegas once said to R, “You know what you realize after wife number four, sometimes it's not so much them as it is you.”
·       And finally, if you’re hoping to transition from your 20’s to your 30’s with little drama, fanfare, or memory of everything you did wrong, don’t start a blog anything like this one…    
To those of you who have yet to enter your 20s, good luck, god speed, and I hate you. To those of you who are somewhere in the middle, I know, and I promise it’s going to get better. And to those of you on the other side, is it me or is this a lot less miserable and a lot more exciting than I’ve been making it out to be for, oh, six years and 829 blog posts?

I guess we'll find out tomorrow...

Monday, August 5, 2013

TIME's Top 25 Blogger + 20-Nothings The Book!

I woke up to two incredibly exciting e-mails - one from TIME and another from Amazon.com.

The awesome team over at TIME named me one of the Top 25 Bloggers of 2013 literally three days before I'm not a 20-Nothing anymore. Talk about the world's greatest birthday gift!


And if that wasn't enough, Amazon.com sent the link to my author page - 20-Nothings is officially a book! All my favorite posts throughout the past six years are now off-line and on page (and Kindle too), and I've added ed notes to each reflecting back or looking forward for a little extra insight.  Grab a copy today so you'll have it when the Internet eventually explodes!


Now please excuse me while I go jump up and down just a little bit more. !!!!!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Final Word On: Everything Else


We've covered hooking up, dating, and body image in these last posts before the very end. Now here is everything else that I have to say about essentially everything else that matters - emphasis on "essentially."

  • The five items every woman should have in her closet are: a perfect black blazer, a hot red dress, jeans that still feel great after a giant meal, an over-sized white t-shirt that can be dressed up to look "formal", and a completely ridiculous pair of shoes. 
  • My favorite book is The Secret Garden and my favorite movie is Hook. I don't care that both of those works were created for kids under the age of 10. 
  • If you absolutely detest getting your hoo-ha Brazilian waxed every four weeks, stop. The world will still go 'round, as will your relationship. 
  • I would be more inclined to stay with a person who cheated on me by having random sex once than to stay with a person who developed an emotional relationship with another woman. 
  • If I wasn't a writer and I had an amazing voice, I would be a rock star. If I wasn't a writer and I had my current voice I would be a professional closet organizer. 
  • Last meal: a glass of my favorite red wine, a shoft-shelled crab as prepared by my Mommom, fried zucchini flowers as prepared by my Poppop, an entire avocado, and the butterscotch pudding from Jar in Los Angeles. 
  • I don't think there's a proper amount of time you should be together before you get engaged, but I now think there's a proper amount of time you should be engaged before you get married and that is three days. One to attempt plan a wedding, one to decide that is a futile task slash shop for a hot little white dress, and one more for a small group of your loved ones to get to Vegas ;)
  • Yes, I do think Hillary is going to run in 2016.
  • I have said "I love you" to exactly three men in my life (five if you're counting my Dad and my Poppop). One I am going to marry and the other two are going to be there that day.
  • I don't believe that leggings are pants, and I will not be convinced otherwise. 
  • New York City is the greatest city on earth followed by Florence, Italy. Los Angeles is my favorite place in the world to live, so far. I cannot believe I just admitted that, and I desperately hope it doesn't destroy my Manhattan karma - ugh that's such an L.A. thing to say!
  • The best Michael Jackson song is "Billie Jean" followed closely by "The Way You Make Me Feel." 
  • I don't believe in soul mates or even really the construct of modern marriage, and yet I firmly believe that R is the absolutely right person in the world for me and that we will be married for the rest of our lives.  
  • If I could steal anyone in Hollywood's face and clothing it would be Rachel Bilson. I would have taken her entire life but then Hart of Dixie happened, so...
  • Cheese, duh. If you know to what this "either or" refers, great. If you don't, don't worry about it.
  • The funniest joke I've heard in recent history is this - Q: What does a nosey pepper do? A: Get jalapeno business!
  • I don't think smoking pot is a deterrent to a healthy, stable adult life, unless it becomes a deterrent to a healthy, stable adult life. 
  • Apple, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Miller Lite, and #TeamAniston (but only because I don't think Angelina Jolie is a real person). 
  • And finally: I do not in any way believe that 30 is the new 20. A. is just isn't and B. even if it was, I wouldn't want it to be. I'd gladly explain why in a TED TALK, but this woman Meg Jay already did. Much more on that next week...