Category Archives: The Search

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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Vote! Who Will Be People’s Most Beautiful Woman?

The bible of celebrity admirers everywhere, People, will crown its Most Beautiful Person in the World tomorrow. Clues the magazine has revealed thus far: It’s a woman (it’s only been a man three times—thrice!—and the honors went to Mel Gibson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tom Cruise. Two-thirds crazies.) and she’s never been on the cover before.

My money is on Jennifer Lawrence. She’s stunning (duh) but also totally of-the-moment It-girly. She’s popular enough to sell covers, but just divisive enough to fuel some backlash and keep the choice in the headlines. She seems the easy answer.

There’s also new It girl on the street, Lupita Nyong’o, who is crazy beautiful to be sure. But despite her Oscar, I think she might need another year in the spotlight before People‘s editors deem her Most Beautiful worthy.

Shailene Woodly is definitely in the Jennifer Lawrence sorority, and she has lots of big-time movies happening (Divergent out now, The Fault in Our Stars this summer), but I think she’s still too new on the scene. Other possibilities in the young’uns category: Taylor Swift, Kate Upton…

Here’s a thought: Cameron Diaz? I was surprised to find she’s never held the title. She’s certainly A-list enough. She just wrote a book all about loving yourself and being beautiful. She’s in a new movie, The Other Woman, that comes out this week, which makes her super relevent in terms of magazine sales. If it’s not Jennifer, my money is on Cameron.

And this just in from my mom (she’s so hip): What about Kerry Washington? Talk about someone who can sell a magazine. Even pregnant she takes my breath away. She’d be like, “Most beautiful in the world? Handled. Boom.”

So definitely Jennifer. Or Kerry. Or Cameron. (Or Shakira?? I can’t commit.)


Shameless self-promotion: Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me just got its first review. And it’s a good one {breathes huge sigh of relief}. Check out what Publishers Weekly had to say.


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Crisis Mode: America’s Friendships

I don’t know how it’s possible that I just discovered Lifeboat, a “movement of people rediscovering friendships,” but apparently I’m off my game. The site, which posts the latest news, advice and science of friendship, released their State of Friendship in America report last year, and the findings are fascinating. (Random tidbits: Married people are 18% more likely to donate a kidney to a friend; city folk put more emphasis on attractive friends; liberals are less satisfied with friendships than conservatives.) Check out their key findings below.

And if you’re curious how I dealt with my own friendship crisis, have I got the book for you.

Seventy-five percent of Americans aren’t happy with their friendships? That’s depressing. Do you see yourself in these stats? Find them surprising? Sound off below!


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Notes on the Oscars

Live tweeting the Oscars was more fun than even I expected. When I first decided to do it, I was worried I wouldn’t have anything to say. As it turned out, I talk to myself more than I realize while watching TV. A lot of Sunday went something like this:

Me, to no one: Um, what did John Travolta just call her?!?!

Me, to me: Tweet that!

So instead of enumerating my Oscar notes (as I did the Golden Globes) I figured I’ll just annotate (in the fancy brackets) the “greatest hits” of my Twitter feed from the evening. No 140 character limit here, friends.

Ready? Let’s relive a night from less than 48 hours ago!

  • I LOVE that Jennifer Lawrence is dating the About a Boy boy. {Did you all know this? Not the guy from the new sitcom, obviously, but the one from the Hugh Grant movie! If he’s anything like his character, and I like to think he is, this is a perfect match.)
  • My mother-in-law calls “Her” “She” by mistake. Amazing. {Feminine pronouns, same diff. I love her.}
  • Is short hair the biggest trend of the night? {Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Portia de Rossi}
  • I’m fine with the red bow tie, but why the ombre hair, Jared? {Still, gotta love Jordan Catalano. He was a star of the night.)
  • I feel like I’m watching a Glee performance. And I’m not complaining. {This regarding Pharrell’s performance of “Happy,” which was fab.}
  • It makes me sad when the winners of the “small” awards have to walk a mile to get to the stage. {I mean, the people taking home Best Animated Short are probably more excited than, say, Cate Blanchett, who probably puts her latest Oscar on top of her awards heap at home. Give the poor folks better seats.}
  • Since when do the Oscars have themes? This isn’t, like, the prom. {I wasn’t feeling the “hero” vibe.}
  • Is this just a commercial for that Zach Morris tablet Ellen is holding? {Re: The selfie that broke Twitter.}
  • Oh. My. Gosh. My two best-dressed predictions are presenting together. VERONICA MARS & VINCE HOWARD. I can die now. {This needs no annotation.}
  • I usually don’t love what Charlize Theron wears (I know, I’m the only one) but wow. {Wow wow wow wow wow.}
  • Lupita Lupita Lupita! Fingers crossed. {Yay!}
  • Her Willy Wonka playoff music translates to more tears. {An acceptance speech for the books, and then they have to go play Lupita Nyong’o off to “Pure Imagination.” Consider my heartstrings pulled.}
  • What did John Travolta just call Idina Menzel? What did I miss? {We all know what became of this}
  • I really like Jennifer Lawrence but I worry she is about to tip. That opening bit {where she, like, heckled someone in the audience}  felt like she was maybe trying too hard? {Am I alone in this one?}

Okay, folks. Now you. Agree with my general sentiments? What were your favorite moments of the night? And who was your best dressed?


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I Want To Be…. Harriet The Spy

Harriet the Spy

My upcoming book, Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, is largely about role models. Celebrity role models, yes, but also the idea of emulating others: Is it ok to live by another person’s example? Or are we  better off blazing our own trails?

I’m always observing other people, trying to incorporate the traits I admire into my own life. Celebrities, or athletes (especially around Olympics time! Mikaela Shiffrin, I heart you.), or politicians, whoever. No one is off limits.

It started, though, with fictional characters. Before I even knew what a “role model” was, I was reading about girls  I wanted to be just like. Matilda. Cassie Logan. Stacey McGill, Treasurer.

Harriet the Spy might have been my  first “I want to be her.” She was an aspiring writer in New York. was an aspiring writer in New York! She loved eavesdropping. loved eavesdropping! (Still do.)  She was named Harriet. I.. well, my mom was (is) named Harriet! 


Except Harriet overheard much more interesting stuff than I did. She caught on to tensions  between the adults around her and, in her green composition spy notebook (a copy of which I bought for myself), reminded herself to “CHECK ON THIS.” She was tough and independent and smart.

I wanted to be her.

If you can believe it–I cannot–Harriet the Spy celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. What’s even more amazing is how well it holds up. Like this:

They walked to Eighty-sixth Street,  took the cross-town bus, and soon were whizzing along in  the subway, sitting in a line – Ole Golly, then Harriet, then Sport. Ole Golly stared straight ahead. Harriet was scribbling furiously in her notebook.

“What are you writing?” Sport asked.

“I’m taking notes on all those people who are sitting over there.”


“Aw, Sport” – Harriet was exasperated – “because I’ve seen them and I want to remember them.” She turned back  to her book and continued her notes:

MAN WITH ROLLED WHITE SOCKS, FAT LEGS. WOMAN WITH ONE CROSS-EYE AND A LONG NOSE. HORRIBLE LOOKING LITTLE BOY AND A FAT BLONDE MOTHER WHO KEEPS WIPING HIS NOSE off. Funny lady looks like a teacher and is reading. I don’t think I’d like to live where any of these people live or do the things they do. i bet that little boy is  sad and cries a lot. i bet that lady with the cross-eye looks in the mirror and just feels terrible.

This is not just smart, it’s funny. And Harriet feels as real today as she did when I was reading about her 20 years ago. I wanted to be her then, and I want to be her now. (Note to self: Pay more attention to people around you, less attention to phone.)

There’s a special edition of Harriet the Spy coming out this month. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Who was your earliest role model? (I think I’ll turn this “I Want To Be…” into a series. The list is always growing.)


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Mission Accomplished. And, Oh, I’m Back!

Ahem. Hello again. Anybody out there?

It’s been forever—or eleven months, to be precise—since I’ve written on this blog. I’m not entirely sure the reason why I disappeared. Except that, I think, the blog did its job. I accomplished my goal. After three years, 618 posts and countless girl-dates…I made friends.

Once I established a real-life social network, those issues of friend-making—the good, the bad and the awkward—were suddenly less glaring. I wasn’t constantly wondering how to pick up the girl on the next yoga mat so I could have someone to watch Downton with. (Side note: Has anyone seen Thomas’s appearances on The View? Mr. Barrows is, as James Earl Jones would say, a total hottie mchotterson.) Instead I actually concentrated on my breathing, like a good little yogi. How refreshing!

Slowly, without really deciding to, I let the blog slip. A month passed, then two, then ten. And here we are.

But I miss blogging, and I miss you guys. And I miss human contact since I’m like one of  those hermit writers featured in this weekend’s Styles Section who works from home and barely sees, let alone speaks to, other people during the week.

And, so, the blog is back. I’ll still talk about friending and friendship, because our ever-changing social world is as fascinating as ever. But I’m also going to write about, oh, I don’t know, the Bravermans, or why exclamation points make me crazy, or my next book (lots more info on that in the coming weeks). Instead of coming to you for more advice on how to make new friends, I’m now working on the assumption that you guys are my new friends. So I’ll rant and rave about all the things I would in person, if only you all would just come over for a glass of wine.

Cool? Cool.

It’s hard to update eleven months worth of news in one blog post, so that’s all for now. But to sign off, some new years resolutions:

1) Use fewer exclamation points. (Like I said, they are killing me.)

2) Open my mail. Why do I even still get paper mail? I don’t know, but leaving it in piles on the counter isn’t getting any bills paid.

Let’s get to know each other again. Pretty please? Share your resolutions below?


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Best Friend: Person or Tier?

I can’t stop thinking about this amazing line from The Mindy Project last week. Mindy mentions that her best friend from college, Maggie,  is coming to a party with her, and Danny says he thought Gwen was her best friend from college.

And then this:

“Best friend isn’t a person, Danny. It’s a tier.”

Yes! Oh Mindy, you so get me.

Actually the whole episode was like one 30-minute MWF  blog post—titled “Harry & Sally,” it investigated the “girl and boy as BFF” question—but this was the line that really stuck. And I know it wasn’t just me, because two days after I emailed myself the direct quote so I wouldn’t forget it, my BFF Callie emailed me the very same line. Because it’s true: We are best friends, but I also have my best friends from college, and my best friends from camp, my best friends from work, etc. And so does she.

Men have trouble understanding this. “How many best friends do you have?” is a question I’ve been asked more than once. But the truth is there are a number of irreplaceable people in my life who have all been there for me in my toughest times, or helped me celebrate the happy ones. They are a tier.

I think even I forgot this for a moment when I moved to Chicago. In MWF Seeking BFFI set out on a BFF search because I wanted to find The One. Perhaps I should have instead looked for The Tier. That ‘s what ended up happening, anyway. And I’m better off for it.

So what do you think? Is Mindy right? Is best friend a single person,or a tier? And do you agree that Mindy Kaling should just get out of our heads already? It’s freaky!

Great read alert: Founder and CEO of (and leader of my speedfriending adventure) Shasta Nelson’s new book, Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide to a Meaningful Circle of Girlfriends, is out tomorrow. If you’re looking to make new friends as an adult, this is the book for you. Check it out!


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The Hard Facts: Friendfluence

It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.

“What’s more, our friend networks are remarkably unstable themselves. A study by a Dutch sociologist who tracked about a thousand people of all ages found that on average, we lose half of our close network members every seven years. To think that half of the people currently on your ‘most dialed’ list will fade out of your life in less than a decade is frightening indeed.” (Friendfluence by Carlin Flora)

This is just one of about a thousand fascinating tidbits in journalist Carlin Flora’s new bookFriendfluence, which hit bookshelves yesterday. Flora was on staff at Psychology Today for eight years, so she knows her stuff when it comes to the science behind relationships. She and I seem to be interested in all the same subjects–Flora wrote a great article about celebrity obsession that touches on all the same themes as my upcoming book–so I was especially excited that she mentioned my search, and MWF Seeking BFF, in Friendfluence. 

If you’re interested in the science and psychology of friendship, you’ll really love this very readable book. Here’s the fun video trailer, which is especially interesting for two reasons: 1) It stars Nate Silver! and 2) all the featured friendships are cross-gender. Very curious.

Do these friendships remind you of any of your relationships?


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The Golden Globes Will Be a BFF Fest

The Golden Globes are on Sunday! Award shows are the best, and my favorite is always this booze-heavy celebration of both TV and film. That it’s being hosted by everybody’s favorite pair of Best Friends Forever just makes it more exciting. And probably funnier. And it will probably have you wishing, even more than you already are, that Tina and Amy would just make room for you at their brunch table.

(OMG I just learned that there was once actually an auction to be their third BFF. And obviously the winner had the best time ever. Duh.)

Since the show is also a celebration of all the megastars I’m embracing in my current Year of Living Celebrity Fabulousness, I’ve got the double excitement.

For those of you wondering what these grown-up BFFs have in store for us, or why everyone is gaga for Fey and Poehler, I present you with this:

Will you be tuning in on Sunday?

Chicago! Shasta Nelson, author of the upcoming book “Friendships Don’t Just Happen!” and founder of, will be leading  a “Friendship Accelerator” in Chicago on Sunday, February 10. It’s a full-day retreat with a small group of women that Shasta says is “the most effective way of fostering new friendships.” Watch the invitation on YouTube, and, get more information–and an application!–here. It sounds fantastic! (I’ll be out of town otherwise I’d be applying myself.)


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