Category Archives: The Search

Free Books!

JenniferGwyneth_1217-1     9780345524942

A fun book offer on the blog today: Buy a copy of Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, and I’ll send you a signed copy of MWF Seeking BFF for free. All you need to do is email me a receipt showing you picked up your copy of Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me from any fine book retailer, send me an address, and I’ll pop a copy in the mail. I can sign it to you, to your best friend who just moved to a new city, to the new friend you met at Barre Method, whoever. You tell me. (Not-so-fine print: Offer good for the month of August. Receipt should be dated 8/7 or later. Please put “book offer” in the subject line.)

If you’re not sure if you’d like Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, you can check it out on Good Morning America, or read the review on the AP or The Huffington Post. Or the excerpt on The Daily Beast. Or any of the links on the press page. Critics have called it “People magazine meets The Happiness Project” (thanks critics!), so if you like either of those, JG&M is a safe bet. And if you’ve been meaning to pick up a copy, now’s the time!

And please do spread the word, nothing is more helpful to a book than word of mouth. And, anyway, free books for everyone.

Happy August!

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29-Year-Olds Are The Most Popular

      

Twenty-nine was a good year. My first book was published. And I had all those new friends I made while working on said book. And I was still in my 20s! There was less grey hair, I’m sure of it.

Turns out 29 might be as good as it gets, at least socially. According to a new British survey, 29-year olds have an average of 80 friends, whereas the average person only has 64 friends. The 29-year-old popularity surge is due to still being tight with your besties from college, but also having made work friends too. Like Hannah Montana, 29-year-olds are in the best of both worlds (RIP Disney Miley).

I get this. At twenty-nine I was still more interested in going out on a Saturday night than staying in and playing Trivial Pursuit. I met lots of new people, and made it my business to connect other potential friends — thereby widening my circle. I was mature enough to network, and young enough to stay up past 10:30. All the makings for popularity! (At 32, my best nights include board games, take out, and lights off by 10. Jealous much?)

I mean, look at who is 29: Keira Knightley! Chace Crawford! Cristin Milioti! Do I want to be friends with them? Yes, please.

So, all you 29-year-olds out there, soak in those friends beating down your door. These are the glory days.

See you on the flip.

At what age do you think you had the most friends?

 

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I Covet: The Ideal Bookshelf

My daughter turns one this Sunday. That’s crazy because I’m pretty sure she was born last week. For her birthday, what I  want to get her—which is to say, what I want to get myself, because she’s one so she doesn’t know from gifts—is one of these Ideal Bookshelf prints from artist Jane Mount.

I love the Ideal Bookshelf series. Here’s a snippet from Mount’s mission statement: “I paint portraits of people through the spines of their favorite books: the ones that changed your life, that defined who you are, that you read again and again. ” Sometimes I get lost in her many bookshelf portraits, envisioning what my Ideal Bookshelf print would look like. Probably something like Little Women, The Things They Carried, Zeitoun, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I’m not going to get Maggie the prints, because, again, it would really just be a gift to myself. And I have to save something for kid number two, should I be so lucky. But if anyone out there is looking to decorate a nursery, or an office, or a kitchen or I don’t know, anyroom, get Mount on the horn pronto. As your personal interior designer, I say you can’t go wrong with any of these:

Tweens

Cooking

Travel

All images via idealbookshelf.com

 
What would your ideal bookshelf look like?

Want a peek into my bookshelf? Or my kitchen? The Chicago Tribune ran this great profile last week, complete with a video of the books in my office. Check it out!

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What Should I be Reading Online?

I spend a lot of my day on the couch staring at the computer, not unlike the woman in this picture. Except, you know, my hair is less shiny, my clothes are less classy-casual, my nails are much less groomed and my smile is less smiley (except when reading this assessment of Blake Lively’s new lifestyle site, which had me laughing out loud, especially the “love affair with the past” part).

I do most of my reading on feedly, where I collect articles from my favorite sites. Which is to say my daily reading is usually made up of stories from the following sites: Jezebel, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, People, BuzzFeed, NPR, Reality Blurred and The Happiness Project.

I click on a lot of links I find on Twitter or Facebook. I read stories that friends email to me. Sometimes I hit up Grantland or Rookie. I read friends’ blogs, like this one and this one. I fall into the black hole that is the Internet more often then I’d like to admit.

But reading and researching is part of my job. Ideas for books and magazine articles and blog posts… a lot of them start with a story I’ve read online or in a newspaper or magazine or book. And so I want to expand my online library. There will always be more to read than I have time for, but I want to add to my to-read queue anyway.

So I’m asking you: Where do you do your favorite online reading? Which blogs, newsmagazines, daily newsletters? I’m curious to find great stories, wherever they may be. Especially if they’re more off-the-beaten-path than the sites I mention above. Enlighten me, dear readers! What should I be reading?

Chicago friends! I’ll be reading tonight from Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square at 7 pm. Please come! I’d love to see you there. I may or may not bring a tutu. 

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Advice to Young Writers

 

Last week, I sat down with a young woman who, maybe, potentially, wants to be a writer. She just finished her freshman year of college, and is interested in short stories and poems but, as she told me, she knows that’s kind of dreamy. She knows, as she says, that she’ll need to get a “real job” too.

We talked over lunch about what she’s reading, what she’s writing, and how one goes about getting a book published. In many ways, she reminded me of me, and upon thinking about our conversation, there are some things I wish I had told her. The same things I wish someone had told me.

First, writing really is dreamy. Literally. You can escape into the fantasy worlds of your dreams, or relive your most treasured memories, or date Prince Charming, all on the page. You can write the story in which the younger you exacts revenge on all the high school mean girls, or give your favorite character the perfect family you’ve always wanted. But writing is also a real job. It involves sitting in front of the page even when you want to be watching Grey’s Anatomy or going out to dinner or joining your friends at Six Flags. It means getting rejected sometimes (and by sometimes of course I mean lots of times), and dealing with various bosses who have their own agendas. It means doing the work you sometimes don’t want to do, and dealing with the people you sometimes don’t want to deal with. It is a real job, and one that can pay bills, if you treat it as such.

Also, if you want to write, WRITE. Don’t let anyone—your parents, your professors, the crabby reporters who say nobody reads anymore—tell you it’s not a worthy pursuit. Stop thinking about if you can do it, or if you should do it, and do it. And if you want to be published, you need to pitch your story. If getting published isn’t important to you, and you want to write for the love of writing, great! Really! But if you want to get published—in a book, a magazine, a journal, a website, a newsletter, whatever—you need to send your work out into the world. Start a blog. Send an essay to HelloGiggles. Check out Medium. Prove to your parents that writing is worthy by writing, and show them you’re willing to do the work to get other people to read your writing.

And another thing: When people ask you what you’re reading, don’t say Ernest Hemingway if you’re actually reading Candace Bushnell. There is no shame in reading Sex and the City. You’re reading, after all, which—don’t you read those crabby reporters?—is more than most people. If you’re reading Fifty Shades of Grey, own it—and then start a conversation about the craziness that is the Fifty Shades phenomenon. It’s so much better, and smarter, than spitting out the first “smart” name you can think of. Believe me, I made that mistake once. I was in a journalism class and a teacher asked me my favorite magazine. I said The New York Times Sunday Magazine. It made me sound smart, I thought, and I did like that magazine… the few times I’d read it. The correct answer, of course, was People. And when the professor subsequently asked me who was on the cover of the Times magazine that week and I said, “Was it, uh, that girl?” I did not sound smart. I sounded like a person who just got caught trying to sound smart. People is just as worthy an answer. There’s a reason it’s been in print for 40 years.

And, finally. If you want to be a writer, and you meet with someone who is there to give you advice, and she mentions books you might want to read, authors you might want to look up, or websites you might want to pitch, do not smile and nod and say thank you. Write it down. Then smile and nod and say thank you.

 

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Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me – Two Weeks!

In anticipation of the release of Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, I sent an email this morning to friends, family and supporters of my first book, MWF Seeking BFF But then, I realized, you guys are, like, my biggest supporters out there. You are the people who have cheered me on as I stumbled through friend-dating, and chime in when I post random celebrity musings on this blog. You are, simply put, the best.

So, since you all fulfill the role of supportive friend as much as anyone I might meet for coffee, I figured I’d post this note to you, too. Oh, and again, THANK YOU.

—-

Dear Friends,

As you may know, my next book, Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time, will be in bookstores soon. Two weeks from today, in fact.

To those of you who have already pre-ordered: Thank you!

And to those who haven’t–want to??

If you’re not sure, would it help to know that Cosmopolitan named Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me one of three books to take to the beach this summer? Or that Flavorwire called it a summer read that will make you smarter?

Think of it as Us Weekly meets The Happiness Project — celebrity reading you don’t have to be embarrassed about!

Selling books today is harder than ever. Especially for a relatively unknown author like me. This is why I’m asking for your help: Pre-orders are vital because they contribute to the first week’s sales (the most important week!) and they help build buzz for new books. If you might pre-order the book today, I’d be forever grateful. (Did I mention it comes out July 1? Right in time for holiday weekend beach reading?? Just saying.)

Please forward this to friends, family members, or anyone you know who loves reading, gossiping about celebrities or supporting authors. Or who loves you and by extension loves me.

For more information on Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, you can read an excerpt, check out the early press, or see what readers are saying on Goodreads.

Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!

Rachel

P.S. Set your DVRs! I will be on Good Morning America discussing Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me on July 1

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Do You and Your BFF Want to Be On TV?

Two things I love: BFFs and reality TV. And here comes a reality show about BFFs. Score.

Did you meet your best friend in an interesting, unusual or funny way? Do you have a great story that started your friendship? Like, maybe you met your bestie while running from lions who were chasing you through the jungle? Or, something less dangerous but equally as surprising?

If so, you and your best friend could be featured in an episode of a new television series on a major cable network! Here are the deets: “VPEtalent and an award-winning production company are seeking a pair of best friends with one hell of a story to tell.  Whether the two of you survived a major catastrophe, were caught in a ridiculous love triangle, or outran the law together, we want to hear the outrageous, unimaginable experience that brought you super close to a complete stranger.”

For more information, or to apply—or nominate someone—fill out this application.

And don’t forget the little guys when you’re rich and famous.

Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me comes out in less than three weeks! There’s nothing better than word of mouth to help a book succeed. Won’t you share the news with your BFFs (and anyone else you know)?  They can:
pre-order the book
read an excerpt
check out the reviews
see what readers are saying
Thank you!

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“Celebrities Give Too Much Advice, and People Listen To It Too Much”

Graduation season is my favorite time of year. Not because I’m getting a diploma (haven’t since Northwestern 2004–Go U NU!), but because in an effort to seem hip, prestigious universities invite funny celebrities to give commencement addresses. I’ve enjoyed plenty of wisdom dispensed via YouTube from the likes of Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler and Ellen DeGeneres, and I love it.

You see, I’m the kind of person who loves a good life lesson. I relish hearing how other people tackle their day-to-day—celebrities especially, because then maybe I can incorporate their rituals into my own daily life, and seem almost as put together and glamorous as they are.  In my upcoming book, Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, I spend nearly a year trying to better myself by emulating the lives of the celebrities that I admire. Jennifer Aniston’s body? Tina Fey’s work ethic? Julia Roberts’s zen? I want it all.

One of the celebrities I admire most (as you know) is actress and writer Mindy Kaling. This year, she gave the commencement speech at Harvard Law School. In her speech, she deals with people like me, who want answers and advice from A-listers like her.

“Celebrities give too much advice, and people listen to it too much,” she says. “Actresses can become nutritionists, experts in baby care, or in environmental policy. Actors can become governors, pundits or even high ranking officials in religions made up a mere 60 years ago.”

It’s true that the Gwyneth’s of the world are no longer just actresses, but lifestyle experts with million dollar brands. It’s also true that I, and sometimes even Mindy, eat it up. Who can resist?

To see Mindy’s take on celebrity advice-givers, go to 12:45 on the video at the top of the page. Or watch the whole thing because, well, it’s fantastic.

Is she right? Should we quit taking advice from celebs? Or is a role model a role model,  famous or not?

Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me is out in three weeks, and I need your help! Pre-order sales are vital to a book’s success–all early orders count toward the first week’s sales, which is the most important week.  I would be so grateful if you might:

Pre-order the book 
Read an excerpt
Follow me on Facebook or Twitter

Thank you!

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Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: A Sneak Peek!

My new book, Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time will be on sale July 1. For those of you who can’t wait another second—or those who can’t decide if this book is for you—I present to you an excerpt, which I hope will leave you as excited for July beach reading as I am.

There’s been some exciting Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me press lately, too (thanks Glamour!) and I’ve put readings on the schedule for Chicago and Boston. Which is to say… things are happening!

And speaking of Jennifers, I just learned that one of my other Jennifer role models—Ms. Garner (she’s Chapter 5!)—is starring in the movie version of one of the all-time great children’s books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. And I didn’t know I could love her anymore.

So, folks, weigh in: Garner, love or hate? And are you as excited for July—sunshine!!—as I?

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The TV Friendship We All Wish We Had

Sometimes fictional characters set us up with unrealistic real-life expectations. For example, I am still waiting for Matt to give me a speech a la Harry’s declaration to Sally, in which he lists all the reasons he loves me. (“I love that you cry every time you watch The Biggest Loser. I love that you quote every line of Friends. And I love that you keep talking to me, and won’t stop, long after I’ve wanted to go to sleep at night.” There, Matt, I wrote it for you. Go.)

The TV friendship that still makes me jealous—even after having made tons of new, great friends in Chicago—is Meredith and Cristina’s on Grey’s Anatomy. Now, I know some of you are thinking “Grey’s Anatomy is still on??” But, yes, it is. And even though this season is kind of boring and the original characters are seeming really, really old, I still watch it. I am nothing if not loyal.

Now that Sandra Oh is leaving, the folks at Grey’s have put together this ode to the best bestfriendship there is. It brings a tear to my eye, sure, because I’m a sap. But more than that, it reminds me why I want A Person.

Do you have A Person? Or is this just TV showing unrealistic relationships? I like to think we could all have A Person, but then, I’m a bit of a sucker for BFFs.

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