Archive | November, 2013

The Friends Thanksgiving Episodes Ranked Best To Worst

26 Nov



Friends had the best Thanksgiving episodes on television, ever, without question, end of discussion. But which Friends Turkey Day plot is the best? Which is the worst? How do you rank these episodes and what do you do about the five-way first place tie that happens when you try?  These questions and more are answered in this Portable Thanksgiving week special:

The Friends Thanksgiving Episodes Ranked Best to Worst.

I had more anxiety trying to rank these episodes than I should really admit.

And just because SheKnows was feeling left out…

15 Dogs that don’t look like dogs (My most popular SheKnows article to date, who knew?)

30 Inspirational tweets (Beginning, as all good things do, with Oprah.)

Your Dog’s top 10 favorite houseguests (In which I enter the canine psyche…)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

25 Nov

photo 1 photo 2

When I grow up I want to be happy.  I want to be happy in the quiet way those comfortable in their own skin are happy.  I want to be happy in the way that puts others at ease.

I want to love and be loved.  I want to surround myself with people who love and are loved.

I want to be in love.

I want to be secure.  I want to be brave.  I want to be an absolute nut job, a kook of the highest order, the type of person who makes a good character and an even better human being.

I want to run a big book club for everyone in my neighborhood.  I want to have a library and a moving ladder and an open door policy for anyone who wants to borrow books.

I want most of my life to have an open door policy.

I want to be known for my generosity of spirit.  I want to be known for my wit and intellect.  I want to be known for excellent gift-giving skills.

I want to be a bestselling author.  I want to sell a screenplay.  I want to go on a book-signing tour.

I want to see the world.

I want to own a Chanel purse.

I want to be kind, kind, and then kinder again.

Celebrity Crushes And Other Distractions

20 Nov


A few nights ago I had a stress-induced freak out. This semester has been one for the books.  The type of semester you know will be fun to look back on in, oh, 50 years when your classmates all reunite and you say, “Wow, remember fall of 2013?” and “I’m glad you finally took my advice on the Larry David glasses, Rob” and laugh a little and cry a little because maybe the pain is still there a little.

Drama alert.

In the middle of my freak out, Rob asked me which teen soap I would like to see have a reunion.  I responded, “I see what you are doing here, the distraction technique, and I’m smarter than that and also what are the terms of this reunion?”

My answer came down to The OC or Dawson’s, which surprised Rob, because, as he put it, The OC only had one really good season to its name and Dawson’s Creek had…everything.  I responded, “Yes, it would be Dawson’s overall, but I need to at least pretend to think about this for the sake of my future relationship with Adam Brody.”

Adam, a girl can’t wait forever.

(Update: Today Adam and Leighton’s engagement was announced.  I’m happy for your guys, really.  These are tears of joy.)

This semester I am writing three scripts, and two of them are set in high school.  I’m also taking a class next semester just so I can write a CW-worthy show, and my two main celebrity crushes are men who got their starts on prominent teen soaps.

All of these things point to a girl with a deep and abiding love for all things teenage.

I think there are a few reasons I’m drawn to adolescent worlds and a few reasons why my teenage characters often inspire my best writing, but it all a boils down to one idea (and no, I don’t believe people who write about high school are all Chip Matthews):

In high school, everything means something.

Also, I’m a bit of a drama queen.

In Dawson’s Creek Season 4, there is a whole episode revolving around the turmoil caused when Dawson and Joey are voted Capeside High’s cutest couple.  Pacey and his wounded soul are further wounded, Dawson is…who knows…and Joey is nearly beside herself.  Hearts break.  Feelings take over.  Capeside may never be the same!  

This ridiculous misunderstanding is just that, a misunderstanding, but in high school, well, in high school it’s everything.

And I’m the type of girl that likes things to mean everything.

Also teenage girls are just so fun to write.

While we’re on the subject of teen TV shows, have you guys seen this video of Chace Crawford? If not, please watch it now so we can discuss.  This was the video I used to introduce Breanne to Chace all those years ago and she shielded her eyes and said, “He’s so beautiful it hurts to look” and “Oh now he’s just pandering to his audience” (when he announced Tina Fey was his celebrity crush).

I choose to believe Chace was not pandering, but he is a man of substance and depth and loves Tina as she has always deserved to be loved by everyone.

Also I once dressed up as Liz Lemon so this can only help things on the Chace front, right?

Where was I?

I got distracted.

Maybe Rob is on to something.

About Time

19 Nov



Last night after class I decided I wanted to see About Time again so I called up Rob and before I knew it was in an abandoned mall thinking things like, “If someone comes near me I will swing my laptop bag at them.”

That’s the joy/curse of night classes.  When I decide I want to do something after class gets out, it feels really exciting like, “I’m seizing the day here, people!” and really scary like, “It’s 10:45PM and no one is at the movie theater.”

I saw About Time on opening day, because if Nora is gone, we have to live through Richard Curtis until Mindy Kaling decides to start writing rom coms.  I believe in Richard Curtis as a person and a writer and can we talk for a second about how he is married to Freud’s great-granddaughter?

I refuse to accept this as coincidence.

If I’m being honest, though, the real reason I wanted to see About Time again was because yesterday Hilary told me I was Mary in the movie.

Hilary said it was the frocks and the haircut and the way Mary has such a passion for Kate Moss, not just in an “I love Kate Moss way” but in a “Let’s talk in a real, deep way about Kate Moss because she has changed my life and the world completely.”  

I am very pleased to be a Mary and can only hope this means there is a Domhnall Gleeson in my future, because hello charming ginger Hugh Grant, where have you been all my life?

I’ve also had a hyper-crush on Toby Regbo lately, so I think the pattern here is just tall, skinny, charmingly awkward British men.  Women of the world, you feel me, right?

Probably not.

I tend to be the type of person out who says, “Don’t look now, but a crazy attractive guy just walked in” and everyone looks around like, “Where?” and then “Oh, Jill.  Ohhh Jill.  You can have him.”

Important stuff here.

After the movie, Rob and I were talking about time travel and our lives and what we would do if we could go back to our pasts.  I had never thought about it in the context of About Time before, but without hesitation I named the exact day that I would go back to in my life.  The day I would try to change history, over and over again, if necessary, until I got it right.

It might be the writer in me who wants to change endings that didn’t turn out how they should have, but there’s one story in my life that, if I had the ability to time travel, I would spend forever trying to fix.

I’m talking millions and millions of forevers.

There’s a part of me that says “Jill, there’s a reason it worked out how it did.  You can’t change that.”  But there’s another, bigger, romantic, part of me that says, “But yes, what if I could try again? What if I could fix these things about myself and the situation.  What if, what if, what if?”

I wonder how many times I would have to relive that particular storyline before I understood I couldn’t change the outcome.

I wonder if I would ever understand that.

I wonder if I will ever understand that.

Tuna Sandwich, Anyone?

18 Nov


This past weekend was a blur of writing and tuna sandwiches.

I throw tuna sandwiches in there just to brag because I made myself a tuna sandwich twice in the past few days and now feel like at least 20% a cook.

30% when I add canned soup to the mix.

My poor mother is wondering where she went wrong with me as she reads this.  Sorry, Mom, you did your best.  Cooking just does not hold my attention.

When you spend so much time doing one thing, I think you lose part of your mind, or at least when I spend so much time doing one thing I lose part of my mind.  When I’m so very focused on writing and so very little focused on anything else I go a little bit crazy and suddenly it’s early morning and I haven’t slept and I start to take tuna sandwiches as a win.

To be fair, I added some ground pepper, so these were extra fancy tuna sandwiches.

Stop there?

At one point on Saturday I decided it was time to leave the house and the little den of crazy I had created and see the big, bright world.  In a fit of excitement I threw on my muumuu, fluffy sweater and moccasins and ventured to my local coffee shop, a small joint called “The Coffee Bean” you may or may not have heard of.

As I waited for my order, I looked around me and had one of those moments where I kind of saw myself as others see me.  My clothing was definitely out of the norm, and combined with my wild hair and The Brothers Karamazov in hand, I was straight up the town kook, finally emerging to see the sunlight.

I have to admit, I was a little bit happy about this.

There was an extra bounce to my step as I found myself a nice little spot outside where I could people watch and live up to my potential as a writer.  I opened my laptop and thought, “Yes, perhaps this is the key.  I am now a J.K. Rowling type who writes at coffee shops and produces fantastic works all while sipping my soy.”

This happy thought lasted all of two minutes as I found the sun to be uncomfortable and the people around me to be bothersome, and the comings and goings of others to be absolutely unbearable and MUST THEY MAKE SO MUCH NOISE?

There’s a reason my writing routine consists of me and my bed and that’s it.

I’m not a coffee shop writer.

I’m not a J.K. Rowling. (In more ways than one, but let’s not go into that now.)

As soon as I realized that coffee shop writing was not working out for me, I said a silent goodbye to the blonde hipster I imagine was working on a vegan startup company, walked home, crawled into bed and wrote.

Weekend of crazy, goodbye to you.

Tuna sandwich, maybe hello to you again soon.

First Authors Club

12 Nov


Yesterday was the inaugural meeting of the First Authors Club, a super creatively named organization that consists of Hilary, Katie, and of course, me.

I plan on dressing like a leprechaun sometimes for meetings, but not always.

As the First Authors Club, we get together to write our stories and work out the problems in our stories, and to talk about writing stories, because as writers the number one rule is avoid work as long as possible, create a lot of anxiety, and then in a burst of panic, produce as much as we can.

If you know a writer who isn’t like this I would like to meet them, and then I would like to probably not like them very much.

The First Authors Club, while (obviously) tons of fun, was born out of necessity.  You see, the three of us are finishing up our first novels for a big writer’s conference in December and time cannot be wasted.  We need feedback.  We need ears.  We need more garlic fries at the Getty Villa cafe.

One day I will tell you all about these girls of mine.  About Katie, who liked vampires before they were cool, and adores Tennyson whether or not he’s cool.  About Hilary, who is a real-life Phil Dunphy.  About what it’s like to explain my ideas and characters and world to them, and how really all I want is to be able to idea and character and world build full time.

One day I will tell you about all of these things.

Today I will write.


The Getty Villa

11 Nov


Once every few months or so I pull out my camera and decide it’s time to practice taking pictures/being a blogger.

I bought my camera shortly before I moved to London, in a delightful time in my life where I was working full time and could buy things like fancy cameras.  I had a one-on-one session with the camera guy where he said a whole bunch of things that made absolutely no sense to me, and proceeded to take pictures on Auto for at least a year.

To this day, my camera continues to perplex and frustrate me.  Shouldn’t I be smart enough to handle settings and flashes and whatsits?

Shouldn’t it be more intuitive?

I think, in reality, photography is another aspect of my life that I haven’t devoted very much time to and thus just write it off as “not for me.”  I was having a conversation with my brother recently about how I’m terrible at real life things like printers and health insurance and such and he kind of laughed and said, “Jill, no one’s inherently good at these things.  You have to practice.”  Then he pointed out how I spend zero energy on “real life” tasks, and thus my real life skill level is exactly what I’ve put into it.


Common sense.

This is not for me.

So Remember SheKnows?

8 Nov


So remember how I up and moved to Arizona this summer?  And remember how Arizona was not for me?

If ever a place and I didn’t agree, it would be me and Arizona.  Moving there was like being on a bad first date every day all day for three months. “Look, we have nothing in common, this will never work, but somehow we agreed to live together this summer so we’ll just have to grin and bear it and not look at each other a lot.”

There’s a reason I took three, major, life important trips while living in Arizona.  Life important trips were necessary to sustain my mental well being during those long, hot months. (Trip 1, Trip 2, Trip 3)

My mother (once a Zoner herself) told me that the only people who live in Arizona are the people from there.  My aunt told me that Arizona was not meant to support life as the plants and animals (and temperature!) all exist to poison and kill you.

What I’m trying to say is this Arizona feeling might run in the family or something.  Also I’m trying to apologize for using the word Zoner.

The end.

Now, look, if you’re from Arizona let’s not have any hard feelings, OK?  Heck, I’m a girl from Utah who loves chocolate covered cinnamon bears and says “heck” sometimes (mainly when writing blog posts read by family members).  If ever there were someone to understand loving the place you are from even when others don’t, it’s me.

Arizona is just not mine, just as Utah is probably not yours, and we can all love each other and live happily ever after.

This got off topic quickly.

Arizona.  Internships.  SheKnows.

There we go.

While in Arizona I interned with  The whole story of how I found and got the position is one of those stories in my life that seems so serendipitous.  You know the ones?  Where your whole life changes because you randomly googled something that led you to SheKnows and then you emailed about jobs and found out about the internship and bing bang boom six months later you’re in an abusive relationship with Arizona?

I often think things in my life are serendipitous (mainly boy things) and then they don’t work out and I have to reevaluate my view of the whole situation.

SheKnows was a serendipitous story in my life that actually worked and led to more serendipity and soon my world (or SheKnows world) was raining serendipitous gumdrops.

With sparkles.

Or something.

You get it.

The point is, it worked.  And not too long after leaving my internship, I was hired as a freelance writer for SheKnows!


Starting out as a writer is a very hard thing.  There’s a lot of rejection and “not good enough” and overall, while I love writing and choose it every day, I also hate writing and wonder why I chose it quite a lot.  Fine, every day.

I should have just said that in the first place.

Getting hired on at SheKnows was a victory, and in these beginning stages of writing, victories are huge.  Victories are 10 EXCLAMATION MARKS.

And so we get to the point of this here blog post, which is this:

I am now writing for SheKnows and I will now be posting my articles quite a bit on this blog thing of mine and you should probably read them all and give them five stars and compliment them with things like, “Wow, who is this super serendipitous writer that I adore?” and “She’s gorgeous.”

Or you can just read them, whatever your style is.

In either case, here are my two latest:

15 Gifts for your female boss

12 Weird celebrity cleaning endorsements

I’ll save my spiel about crazy topics and writing as entrepreneurship for a later time because oh my this blog post is already out of hand.


The end.

With sparkles.

Or something.

You get it.

So This Is Adulthood

7 Nov


Yesterday I called to renew my acne medication because I am an adult with acne.  Those of you who splash water on your face once a week and glow like Kerry Washington please stop talking to me now.

The pharmacist informed me that now that I’m 26, my acne medication is no longer considered an acne medication, but a wrinkle cream, and therefore my insurance will not cover it.

In one week I went from a girl with acne to a woman with wrinkles and I didn’t even know it.

I texted several friends with this devastating news, immediately, (obviously) (other words ending in –ly), and was surprised to see most of them responded, “You know, I’ve been considering a wrinkle cream for some time…”

My friends and I are now people who talk about wrinkle creams for real.

I had a similar grownupish moment earlier this year when I renewed my driver’s license.  I’d managed to keep my 16-year-old driver’s license photo for nearly ten years, a classic photo of Jennifer Aniston hair and adolescent Jill.  A photo that made me say, “Oh, I don’t know, I guess driver’s license photos aren’t that bad” much to the annoyance of everyone around me.

Just days before I renewed my license, I was at the post office and had to show ID.  The cute, older woman who was helping me saw my vertical license and said, “Oh isn’t it so wonderful to be 20?  Soak that up.”

I smiled and giggled, like a 20-year-old with Jennifer Aniston hair does, because let’s not ruin that moment, someone thinks I’m 20.

I had always hoped to drag that adolescent photo out as long as possible, perhaps well into my retirement, so when a police officer pulled me over and said, “Ma’am that looks nothing like you” and I said, “Oh officer,” he would respond, “No really, ma’am, that looks nothing like you.”

Oh officer.

Alas, that dream died, as did my adolescence, with my new facial recognition driver’s license photo.

It’s funny that it’s always something small like a wrinkle cream or a standard driver’s license renewal that most reminds me of my adult status.

Well, that and my friends announcing their second, third, and fourth babies.

That too.

The Teen Novel Train

5 Nov

“Look, let me just say it: He was hot. A non-hot boy stares at you relentlessly and it is, at best, awkward and, at worst, a form of assault. But a hot boy… well.”

Next semester I am taking an adaptation course and I am writing a screenplay for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I let Caitlin borrow my copy of the book so she could read it/offer me support in the upcoming months when I moan that I’ll never do it justice! That I’ll screw it all up!  That I’ll never be happy again and should probably drop out of the program and out of the country!

She sent me back the above quote and said, “This sounds like something you would write.  Get back on the teen novel train.”

Oh, all right then.

November 2013 is officially teen novel train month.

Spirit of Pacey Witter, get at me.