Monthly Archives: October 2015

Favorite Fall TV Shows

One of my favorite things about fall is the return of television dramas! Granted, there aren’t as many these days thanks to reality TV competition shows and one thousand versions of NCIS, but still, there are a few.

My favorite? Well, I have several because each hits a different yet equally important entertainment note for me.Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 5.06.12 PM

Let’s start with straight-up high stakes drama that mingles career gamesmanship with friend and family dilemmas. If you’re looking for these kinds of stories, I don’t think another show is as well written and acted as The Good Wife. I’m not even sure what season its in (7?), but the characters are so well-rounded and layered (as are the story lines), I hope it continues for some time to come. I’m still mourning Will’s death, but so far this season is proving to be interesting. And the new investigator is easy on the eyes, too!

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 5.11.40 PMThen there is the all-out fun melodrama of Nashville. Holy cow, this show makes me smile, tap my foot, get pissed off, and it can also be quite sexy at times. I don’t even love country music, but as a life-long lover of soap operas, this show takes me back to the days of Dallas and Knots Landing. Lately, anything that makes me feel young again is a good thing!Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 5.06.46 PM

Ok, so we’ve covered serious drama and the over-the-top kind, so let’s turn to the terrifying! No, I’m not talking about American Horror Story, I’m talking about Homeland. I know, I know…this show gets its fair share of criticism for being unrealistic. But guess what? I don’t care. I don’t watch fictional shows for accuracy (I’d watch the History Channel for that). If it seems plausible and is well acted, it’s good enough for me. The early seasons of this show were ‘edge of my seat’ nerve-wracking. I think it lost its way a bit in season 3, but 4 was awesome, and as far I can tell, season 5 is building toward something shocking. Meanwhile, I’ve waited years for Carrie and Quinn to get together. We got this kiss at the end of last season, but then they were split apart. I’m hoping that situation is rectified by the end of this season.

Finally, the “comfort food” of TV drama, Grey’s Anatomy. How many years has this show aired? Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 5.08.51 PMI think this is its 12th season. Say what you will about that, but nothing lasts 12 seasons because it sucks. I have no idea how the show will finally end, but I hope (fingers crossed) that it ends with Meredith and Alex together. If McDreamy were alive, I’d never want it, but with him gone, I think there is something special–something beyond friendship–with the two damaged souls that are Meredith and Alex. We’ll see if I get what I want.

What’s one of your favorite shows, and why do you love it?

XO-Jamie

Riding Life’s Highs and Lows

Last night I finally saw the much-acclaimed movie, Whiplash, which is based on the real-life story of an ambitious jazz student. This kid’s determination in the face of obstacles at home and in class is astounding. Despite disliking him at times for his single-mindedness and arrogance, I couldn’t help but admire his commitment and burning desire to be the best. The film’s climax is simultaneously painful and breathtakingly awesome, leaving me exhausted yet moved and motivated.Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 10.09.47 AM

They say things come to you when you need them, which is why I think fate had something to do with my husband choosing that movie to watch.

We’ve all experienced the sting of working hard and wanting something very badly but then failing to reach our goal. Whether it’s the test you studied for and still did poorly, the varsity team you didn’t make, the promotion that went to another, or the dreaded negative book review, these events punch our guts, testing our confidence and resilience.

I’d like to claim that criticism rolls off me, but that would be a lie. Whether it’s professional or personal in nature, it usually takes me a couple of days to regroup, and another one to recommit and learn from my mistakes (hopefully to come back even stronger).

The “mean teacher” in Whiplash believes the worst two words in the English language are “good job.” From his perspective, those words kill potential greatness because, when excellence isn’t demanded, people won’t push beyond what they think possible. Conversely, those who are devoted will meet criticism and challenge by picking themselves up, working harder, stretching further, and eventually surpassing all expectations.

I’m not sure yet whether or not I fully subscribe to the teacher’s extreme philosophy, although I lean in its direction.

One thing that helps me when in the midst of a struggle or crisis of confidence is to remember that everything is temporary and rests on a continuum. Every person’s life is comprised of successes and failures, and part of the point of it all is to enjoy the journey. To celebrate the triumphs. To learn from the disappointments. To grow. And most importantly, to get oneself back up on that horse and keep riding.

At the very least, we parents can use our own setbacks to teach our children how to dig deep, keep the faith, and come back fighting. That’s a win in and of itself.

P.S.  What do you think of the teacher’s philosophy (does harsh criticism or moderate praise ultimately yield the best result)?

XO-Jamie

3 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

It’s nine o’clock on a Sunday night. The rest of my family is already in bed. One’s asleep, one is doing extra credit (or, more likely, FaceTiming with her boyfriend), and my husband is reading. By ten, all of the lights in our house will be off except for the one in my office and the glow from my computer screen.35293371_s

Why? Because one thing you may not know about me is that I operate on very little sleep. Not by choice, mind you. Prior to having kids, I routinely got seven or eight solid hours of sleep per night. But throughout the past fifteen years, I’ve been lucky if I’ve averaged five per night. “They” say that creativity is enhanced when a person is a bit tired, and I know a lot of writers who do their best work at the midnight hour, so I’m trying to embrace my altered body clock as a perverted blessing.

33474389_lAnother thing you didn’t know about me? I’m afraid of heights. Didn’t used to be, though. I used to rock climb and rappel with relative ease. Giant Ferris wheel? No problem. I could look over the steep edge of a cliff without feeling pulled into the abyss, but no more. Now I can barely stomach watching my kids stand on the balcony of a high-rise apartment without physically feeling anxious and ill. Why? you might ask. I wish I knew. If you know of a cure, please share!

Finally, I have a horrible case of wanderlust. 5316460_sActually, it’s worse than merely wanting to travel. I actually fantasize about moving to new places all the time. If I didn’t have to worry about anyone but myself, I could envision moving about every two years. Some places I’d love to “try on” for a while: Aspen, Lake Tahoe, Sonoma, Vancouver, Chicago, Maine, England, Italy, and Spain. I hear Montreal is quite lovely, too, although I’ve never been. I’d also love to live in a variety of different types of homes: the condo, the log cabin, the quaint farmhouse, the Mediterranean villa, the English cottage. Of course, I doubt I’ll ever call any of these places home. Still, I love looking at photos and dreaming about what life is like in those settings. And as we readers know, the imagination is a fairly powerful escape, so that is where I’ll likely “live” most of the time.

So now, please tell me something quirky about yourself. Anything at all!

XO-Jamie

 

 

Celebrations

It’s here, it’s here! The release of Accidentally Hers is finally here. Time for a festive get-together with cake, and maybe a little champagne, right? Yes, tonight is a time to celebrate, and that’s what I plan to do. But I won’t be celebrating the release of my latest book.

“Why not?” you might ask.

Because tonight I’ll be celebrating something far more enduring and important. Tonight is all about friendship.

I’m fortunate to have a tight group of friends here in my hometown, several of whom have birthdays in September and October. Tonight we’re getting together at a fabulous local restaurant, The Farmer’s Table, to wish each other good health and fortune for the upcoming year.

I really couldn’t imagine my life without these women. They’ve seen me through many years of highs and lows. They accept me as I am, and let me tell you, my package contains a healthy dose of flaws. They help me keep perspective. They root for my children’s successes. They are often the calm in the storm.

Lately I’ve grown close to a second set of women thanks to this second career (see the symmetry there?). The writers I’ve met in the past five years have been not only generous with time and advice, but passionate about some of the same things I love. It’s a gift to be able to collaborate with them. To support them. To laugh and share pictures of really cute “heroes” with them! I just returned from a mini-retreat weekend with a handful of these MTBs (most trusted bit@hes) and feel completely reinvigorated and unblocked. So, although they won’t be sitting at the table with me tonight, they will be there in spirit.

Perhaps it’s fitting that I am celebrating friendship on the same day that this book releases, seeing that friendship is one theme of the story. Whether it is the heroine (Avery’s) friendship with Kelsey and Emma, the hero Grey’s with his buddy Trip, or Grey and Avery’s friendship-turned-love affair, the importance and challenges of those bonds are ever-present.

If it’s been a while since you’ve organized a friendly celebration of any sort, what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and make some plans!

XO-Jamie