Category Archives: The Search

The One Quality I Lack… And Need

 

My family is going through a time of change at the moment—lots of new and exciting things going on, just as Matt and I are coming up on our five year anniversary tomorrow. (Five years is, like, legit marriage, I think. I feel old.)

Most importantly, Matt is starting a new job. After seven years as a lawyer, he’s leaving to join a start-up. There are lots of unknowns, but he is a smartie and has surrounded himself with smart people. He’s brave. I’m proud, and impressed.

I know plenty of people hate change, or are scared of it, but I love it. I get antsy and bored when things stay the same for too long. Who wants same-old routine when you can have something new and different. I often need a shot of change as a jump-start, to get the spring back in my step.

But! There’s always that moment right on the cusp of change that involves so. much. waiting. There’s a lot of wondering and hoping and predicting… and not a lot of knowing. What will our new normal look like? When will we have a sense of our new routine? What will our life look like in six months? A year? Five years??

Have you ever found yourself thinking “years from now I will look back at this very moment and think, ‘that’s when everything changed”? That’s how I’ve been feeling every day for the last two weeks.

And so…. I need to learn patience. It’s never ever ever been my strong suit. I’m the girl who snuck into the basement every year to check out her Hanukkah presents weeks in advance. (Sorry, mom.) And right now I’d  like to do that same thing—get a quick sneak peek of what’s to come, then wrap it back up and wait for the big reveal. Turns out, life doesn’t work that way. (Who knew?)

So for now, I’m going about my days, trying to keep busy and distracted. But I’d do well to learn some good tricks for building better patience.

What’s your best trick for being patient, and staying calm in times of change?

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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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