Archive | July, 2013

And Then We Went To Martha’s Vineyard

31 Jul


Martha’s Vineyard has long been a bucket list location for me.  I can’t remember if this was the case before or after Logan Huntzberger, but we’ll go ahead and say before so I sound like an original thinker.

Rob’s dad asked me if I had any other East Coast bucket list locations and I confidently said Maine.  Just Maine.  Because of this song.

Side note: I once dated a boy who knew I related to that song but didn’t fully know why. When I would get upset he would say, “Let’s move to Maine and catch lobsters” and it was so adorably cute and silly and missing the point I couldn’t help myself and would start laughing and kiss him right away.  Such is the power of bucket lists and Ingrid Michaelson and lobsters.

And so.

Our Martha’s Vineyard day was stormy and gloomy and naturally I wore a bright blue 70s dress and gladiator sandals.  Rob, ever thoughtful, brought three different means to warm me because he knew I was wearing an inappropriate outfit and would want them.  Everybody needs a Rob in their life.

I once asked Rob what he brought to our friendship and he said, “Jackets.”  Do you see what I’m talking about?

And so round two.

We were full-on tourists in the Vineyard, stopping at a pub for clam chowder and exploring The Black Dog and following in the steps of Bill and Hillary before us.  Did you know that The Clintons are the unofficial mascots of the Vineyard?  Because they are.

At first I just thought we were picking the best places to visit.  “Ooh!  Big B and Intelligent H visited this ice cream shop in the late 90s it must be the greatest black raspberry ever!” I would say.  Except I wouldn’t call them Big B and Intelligent H and I never should have put that in this post and I’m sorry.

Did I mention today is moving day and I didn’t get much sleep last night?

It turns out Big B and Intelligent H had visited nearly every place on the Vineyard and you can even buy semi-unflattering postcards of them in the late 90s as souvenirs!  I’ve regretted not purchasing one ever since.  Perhaps I should check online.

I hope you are gathering Martha’s Vineyard is a magical place from this ridiculous post.

Our day ended with the oldest carousel in America and a huge dose of Vineyard hair and a round of skee ball where I beat Rob and now he owes me a karaoke song of my choice.

I’m thinking “Like a Virgin” or “Genie in a Bottle” but am open to suggestions.

Rob is the best traveling companion because he 1) Loves food 2) Encourages me to buy fudge when I’m not hungry because he knows I’ll want it later 3) Indulges my silly conversations.  Also he brings jackets.

I give Martha’s Vineyard an A+ even though I didn’t see any Kennedys or Logan Huntzberger or Big B and Intelligent H.

I give my nicknames Big B and Intelligent H a D+ and promise to never mention them again.

They got away from me.

Cape Cod

30 Jul

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Cape Cod was a dream.  A very lovely, exactly-suited-for-me dream full of hydrangeas and cottages and a vague sense of “the rich kids of Instagram.”

There were house parties in Chatham where the boys wore boat shoes and people acted like they were in the pilot of The O.C.  There were sailboats and homemade Oreo cheesecakes and absurd flea market purchases.

There were card games with shells and 2:00 AM Nintendo 64 tournaments and Power Rangers pilots, because we are children of the 90s, after all.

There was the moment I asked everyone to turn away so I could swallow my first oyster.

And then there was the night I arrived, when we put on our swimsuits and sat in the still, warm water, drinks in hand, Katy Perry blasting, and watched as the sun grew heavy and time didn’t matter.

Dreamtown Central.

Cape Cod, you haven’t seen the last of me.

I mean that in the creepiest Cher way possible.

Why Amy Poehler Deserves An Emmy

26 Jul

Parks and Recreation


Last week the 2013 Emmy nominees were announced, and, yet again, Amy Poehler was nominated for her role as Leslie Knope.

In an ideal world, Amy would be lounging at home staring at her wall of Emmys and wondering if she should pull an Oprah and withdraw herself from the race this year to give one of the other uber-talented nominees a chance.

Unfortunately, we are not in the ideal world, but in some sick alternate reality where Amy’s brilliant turn as Leslie Knope has gone unrewarded by the Emmys. This is a travesty. A coverup. A great conspiracy of the 21st century that should be analyzed again and again by outraged websites, books, and fringe radio shows.

Here are five reasons Amy Poehler deserves an Emmy for her portrayal of Leslie Knope.

In other writing news:

5 Things You should be buying at Target right now: Bags.  My favorite Target article yet, mainly for purse numero tres and my ability to put a David Beckham reference in anything.

Survey says you spend 2,000 hours a year stressed out.  Some seriously stressful statistics and alarmingly absurd alliteration.

With that, it’s back to Cape Cod and the life I was always meant to lead.

Details to come.

The Royal Baby, Writing, And David Beckham For Good Measure

23 Jul



Strap on your tiara, pour yourself a cup of tea, and blast “God Save the Queen”—the royal baby is here and I got to write an article about the whole thing for SheKnows!

This article was actually my first assignment at SheKnows and a confirmation that I had finally found my place in the universe.  I also wrote about it on their UK website.

Oh, UK websites and London and the royal family, one day I’ll be back and tackle you the way you were meant to be tackled.  And I’ll live in Notting Hill and become bosom friends with the Beckhams, to boot.

While we are on the topic of writing…

Portable’s Guide to Orange is the New Black

Attention Star Trek fans: Captain Catherine Janeway is a major role in OITNB, but you might not recognize her because she has morphed into Sharon Osbourne.  I kid you not.

I also do not kid when I say I watched Star Trek in the late 90s.  Another story for another time.

That’s all folks. I am heading to Cape Cod tonight and couldn’t be more thrilled. Lifelong dreams and small towns and carousels and whatnot.

What are the odds I see a Kennedy?

This is 25

21 Jul


Friday night I stayed in my coverup-turned-nightgown, ate a bag of parmesan vegetables, and read a book that always makes me cry.

Saturday night I put on my highest heels, went to a hippity hip bar in Scottsdale, and celebrated the birthday of someone I’d never met.

Welcome to 25, my age of dichotomies and tentative plans and parties for people I’ll never see again.

Some weeks it is lonely and chaotic and overwhelming.

Last week it was bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

Hipster’s Paradise

17 Jul


Oh my, oh my, oh my.

Last night Chuckjuice and J.Lo went out on the town, and I mean that in a very literal sense.

We went to The Duce, which I can definitively say is the most hipster restaurant in America bar none, closed for debate, signed sealed, delivered you’re hipster.

At The Duce you can’t give your normal name when ordering, no, you have to give a cutesty nickname.

Enter Chuckjuice and J. Lo.

A half hour into our journey, “J. Lo from the block!” was announced, barely audible over the loud, vinyl music.  I strode through the converted warehouse to the food truck, gathered my cheeseburger sliders and returned to my communal seat.

I am making none of this up.

I promise.

There was a thrift store in the back.  And hula hoops.  And swing dancing.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I took a few hurried pictures of the night, very self conscious that the tattoo-sleeved, mohawked patrons were all watching my picture taking like, “We just live in the moment, you know?  We don’t even use technology.  What is this iPhone you speak of?”

At one point, our bespectacled waitress came up and said, “J. Lo, I think you picked up the wrong food.”

I turned, “J. Lo’s here?!  Where’s J. Lo?”  And then I remembered.  I was living in a hipster’s paradise and now, finally, finally! people were calling me by chosen name J. Lo.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped for.

Also I was standing on a bench taking pictures of mac and cheese muffins when this happened so…

And now, for the filtered photographs part of the evening.  Because this restaurant is basically a cross between a children’s museum, amusement park, and circus and if you don’t take ridiculous pictures, well then, you’re missing out on life.


Please note the boxing ring.


Please note everything.


I’m ever-so glad it was Chuckjuice, the least hipster man on earth, experiencing it all with me.


They serve brunch all day, obviously.


And that brings us to the very hipster end.

Great night and even greater mac and cheese muffins.

J. Lo out.

55 Years And Counting

16 Jul

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When my grandma was 16 years old, she moved next door to an angry, rebel-without-a-cause type named Allen Denning. He had big brown eyes and the first time she saw him smile, that was it. She was a goner.

My grandma was a tall, quiet, girl next-door type from the tiniest of towns. She had never met anyone like this big city bad boy and even though she moved again three months later, she never quite could get him out of her head.

When I asked her about falling in love she said, “No one ever compared to him. My heart was always his. Is that romantic enough? It’s true.”

Yes, that’s romantic enough, grandma.

Last month this boy and girl next door celebrated 55 years of marriage.

My grandpa still believes himself to be an angry, rebel without a cause, but half a century with my grandma has shown him to really be an old softie.

My grandma is still tall, gentle and girl-nextdoory. Thankfully she never lost that impulsive romantic streak that she had at 18, eloping with her first love.

Last month, as these two cut their first wedding cake, my grandma looked around at her big, happy, buzzing family and said, “I wish we could have had a glimpse of this. I wish we could have seen where this would all lead, 55 years ago.”

Isn’t love everything?

Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa.

I couldn’t write a cuter love story if I tried my whole life.

The boy and girl next door thing is just the prologue.

St. Swithin’s Day

15 Jul


A letter to myself one year ago.

Because it’s St. Swithin’s day and I’m one of those people who does things “just because it’s in a book.”

And because Oprah once wrote a letter to her 19-year-old self and talked about her boyfriend Bubba.

And because sometimes (often) I don’t give myself credit for the progress I make in a year.


Dear 24-year-old Jill,

You are living at your parents’ house right now, working an online transcription job that doesn’t nearly pay the bills and waiting for school to start in California.  You are kind of excited, kind of terrified, and certainly wondering what you’re doing quitting your life.

Good news!  In a year from now you aren’t living at home anymore.

Bad news!  In a year from now you still have the transcription job.  That one may be with you for some time.  You chose writing and every wonderful and horrible thing that goes with it.

Your next year is a good year.

You will fall in love with Malibu and have the most comfortable bed of your life.

You will meet Rob, who will coin your bed “The Marshmallow” and who will invite you to Cape Cod.

You will say yes, obviously.

You will meet Caitlin and very quickly learn that she, one person, will be the greatest single gift you’ve been given in the last year.

You will remember that people who love you as you are will always be the greatest gifts you are given.

You will take up walking.  This is a very good thing.

You will try to make curry.  This is a very bad thing.

You will start a blog.

You will finish that story you’ve been talking about forever and ever.

You will see your name for the first time as a writer on a big website and it will completely floor you and you will keep clicking and clicking and clicking to make sure it’s real.

You will, once again, only have one boy that really counts this year. Isn’t there only one boy who really counts most years?

You will have some new things to say about him, but largely old things to say about him, and mainly, more than anything you are learning that sometimes your closure is that there is no closure.

And that happiness thing, it’s still as finicky as ever. Maybe it will always be that way.  I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and about December 29th.  I would give you advice, but it would ruin it, and as much as you hate not knowing your future, there are some surprises that are worth not knowing.  Some moments where your breath catches in your chest and you realize that this, right here, this changes your world and you never expected it and thank heavens you didn’t.

So just know it’s one of those nights.

Also, you really don’t need to bring those just-in-case sweaters to Arizona.  Really, really, really.

Love and positive vibes and best of luck to both of our futures,


Demon Weather Girl

11 Jul


One of the side effects of moving to Arizona in the months where, how shall I put this delicately, THE SUN BURNS LIKE THE FIRES OF MORDOR, is that I’ve become one of those people.

The weather people.

You know what I mean.

I can’t stop talking about the weather.

I’ve watched myself morph into this monster over the last two months, this weather demon girl who cackles to herself and jumps into conversations to boom, “SO THAT HEAT IN ARIZONA, SHALL WE DISCUSS?”  It’s quite the party trick.  Frightens the children.

A couple of weeks ago I spent much of a 48-hour period with my brother debating which weather was worse—Austin and its Legendary Humidity or Arizona and its Hell Heat of Certain Misery.

It didn’t matter that I only see this brother twice a year.

It didn’t matter that there were other things going on.

All that mattered was satisfying the weather monster in my soul, feeding it with talks of mugginess and degrees and burn marks.

Record-breaking heat!

Cookies baked inside of cars!

When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!

The conversation ended when my aunt, who has lived in both places, announced she would potentially move back to Austin, but she left Arizona and never looked back.

Monster demon weather girl was delighted with this news, “BOOM.  IN YOUR FACE. ARIZONA HEAT SUN CRY.”

Guys, it may be time for me to move back to Malibu.

June and July Books

9 Jul



You crazy, devoted blog fans out there are surely distressed that I didn’t write a June book club post.

Perhaps the thought has kept you up at night, tossing and turning and sobbing. Maybe you’ve even wondered if I gave up reading altogether and have been praying for me and my literacy.

Never fear, oh dearest blog readers.

June was a month of reading. Was it ever a month of reading.

I reread The Hunger Games series in 24 hours, barely pausing to sleep.

I read all of the Harry Potter books (again) and mourned the end of the 7th book like I’d just experienced a death in the family (again).

Marry me Fred Weasley!

I lost myself in mounds of chick lit. Chick lit not just of the Madeleine Wickham genius-level variety, but good, old-fashioned, girl-meets-boy chick lit. And I asked for more. And more and more.

I have World War Z in my hands right now.

June was a MONTH, guys. A month I hope to look back on one day, when some of these things have worked themselves out, and go, “Well that was a particularly hard time. I’m certainly glad I’m over that, aren’t you, Prince Harry? Also, pass the crumpets.”

You know the type of months I speak of.

When I have months like this I tend to go to my comfort food, my mac and cheese of the literature world.

I’m happy to say that for the month of July I’m tackling Don Quixote, a book on my reading bucket list. A book I’ve likely lied and told you I’ve read, and I won’t apologize for that because I’ve been planning on reading it forever and ever and that’s basically the same thing.

Good riddance, June. No one misses you.

PS: My latest from SheKnows: 5 Things You Should Be Buying at Target Right Now: Shoes. Any guesses which two pairs of shoes from this article I actually own? This writing about Target thing is proving difficult for my bank account…