Monday, December 27, 2010

12 Months of FUN

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Now that Christmas is over, it's time to face 2011. What better way than by taking stock of the past year.

In the past year, I've tried to put the fun in unemployment, as much as my finances would allow:

1. Learned to surf
2. Drank absinthe
3. Went to a red carpet movie premiere
4. Saw advanced screenings of various movie and TV pilots and TV show tapings (Conan's last week on The Tonight Show!)
5. Visited Santa Barbara for the first time, revisited NYC and Palm Springs twice
6. Learned how to blog, write a non-fiction book proposal and am figuring out how to write a book
7. Went on countless disastrous, yet entertaining, dates ("Mr. What Are Your Views on Anal Sex"anyone?)
8. Learned to cook healthy meals that aren't carb-driven
9. Become a yogi (sorta)
10. Was an extra in a movie
11. Irritated the actor that plays Stefan on The Vampire Diaries twice in one week (and various other celeb encounters)
12. Tried dog walking. Quit dog walking
13. Discovered that I deeply despise spinning. May have something to do with not knowing how to ride a bike
14. Explored parts of LA that I never knew about
15. Expressed my creativity by volunteering with the Art of Elysium
16. Lost weight and greatly improved my posture
17. Made 100 new Facebook friends
18. Took an aerial fitness/circus arts class (and failed!)
19. Ran Runyon Canyon
20. Had a kneepocalyse (see #19)
21. Tried hypnotherapy
22. Quit smoking for good
23. Made $4,000 selling my stuff on eBay
24. Joined a pyrtamid scheme. Trying to extract myself from said scheme.
25. Thought about trying standup...

The overachiever in me would like to say that I tried standup or that I toured Europe or visited New Orleans or sky dived. But I think I've accomplished quite a bit in a year. And the fun isn't always in the activity; it's who you're with. And in being healthy. It may not seem like so much fun, but you're more likely to feel like having fun if you feel good.

So here's to feeling good to you, your family and loved ones as we approach 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010

How do you know?

I don't. Except that it's the stupidest movie title in a long time. But that's not what this is about.

I live my life thinking everything through. But sometimes, the gut tells you right away it's happening. Or it will happen. Or it's just stirring (and not from bad chicken).

I was informed about a job from a recruiter. Interviews are not happening until January. For some reason or another, I think it's going to work out for me. I have zero reason to believe that it should. I don't know anyone there, or the culture, or their style. But I just feel that it will be my next job.

Recently, I met a man and like a camera click, I felt a connection. I think he has a situation (translation a lady) but I think that it will all be okay. Maybe not for a while, but I just think it will. I don't know what it will be or when but somehow, someway, I think it will all come together (note: not from anything that I do).

So, the central question is: How do you know? A: I don't. I just have an intuition. Which may be a whole lot of malarkey. But my gut is telling me it's not. Here's hoping my gut is one the mark.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

False Starts

The momentum has stalled. I was seeing a lot of jobs being posted and was applying like a maniac. I was getting calls for phone interviews. Despite companies saying that they wanted to hire before the holidays, everything has stalled.

But I'm not stalling. I'm recuperating in Palm Springs.

A Facebook friend posted that she had a free hotel room in Palm Springs this week and for anyone to let her know if they want it. Well, I was nervous about saying yes because of the job search but I figured that I can always cut the trip short. So, I'm chilling in cold, barren and absolutely perfect PS.

I'm sleeping as late as I want. I'm not beholden to my DVR. I have no plans. I don't have friends to meet or FUNemployed activities. And it's wonderful.

I've started to write the FUNemployed book. Forget about publishers or agents. I will try to e-publish it. I'm shifting this ride into drive.

More positives: I've been called "young lady" more times than I can count and one older gentleman gave me a discounted coupon for dinner by saying, "You look like you should eat a good meal." So, basically, I'm young and thin here. I love snow birds!

I had sincerely hoped to have a job before the holidays so that I could rest a little bit easier. But it wasn't meant to be. I just keep telling myself that there is something around the corner. And while the job market celebrates the holidays, I'm going to get ready for the new year by rejuvenating, revitalizing and resting. In between book writing that is.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Counting today, I will have gone to 3 press events in the past 5 days: Jane Fonda's Workout DVD series launch (which I've already blogged about), a special advanced screening of Country Strong and tonight the red carpet premiere of How Do You Know (movie with Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson).

Not sure how I got on this circuit, but it's free. And sometimes you get gifts. I kinda like this life. Maybe this is the universe's way of telling me that I need to become a reporter. Or I'm just lucky and super deserving of free stuff!

The Workout launch had free food and drinks, samples of antioxidant drinks (they both made my stomach extremely unhappy. Perhaps I'm anti-anti-oxidant?). There was an awesome massage lady who stressed the importance of improving my posture (my right shoulder and hip are 4 degrees higher than the left. Ugh.) And of course the gift bag.

I got in to see Country Strong courtesy of Twitter. Since I love me some GP (I read GOOP after all) I couldn't resist. The movie was surprisingly a huge downer. And, the main character isn't GP but a guy named Beau. He's cute and a good actor but in the end it wasn't what I was expecting. Also, the young ingenue, Blair from GG, was the the object of desire for all the men in the movie. As a lady much closer to GP's age, it pained me to see the aging beauty being shunned. As I'm dating, I'm finding men really like the shiny new 20 somethings instead of the wise, worldly 30 somethings like me. But GP's character is also a self-destructive alcoholic. That may have had a lot to do with it.

As an aside and an inside scoop, a reporter sitting next to me was talking shop with another reporter and they were raving about Emma Stone. How she is truly a pleasure to interview and that celebs were clamoring to give quotes that sang her praises which is apparently a rarity. So, she's likely to have a big career.

Ok, back to the topic at hand. Event #3. I really have no desire to see How Do You Know. But, again, it's free. And it's a red carpet premiere. So, I'm going. If anything good happens, I'll be sure to let you know.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hanoi Jane is Skinny Jane

Yesterday, I attended the launch party for Jane Fonda's WORKOUT. It's a reboot of her fitness empire with 4 new instructors who each specialize in yoga, boot camp and strengthening (or something). And let me tell you, Jane looks good. Really good.

I found out about this party because I follow the yoga instructor, Tara Stiles, on Twitter. Despite being NYC-based, she travels periodically to LA and teaches free yoga classes at the Hollywood Standard. And boy do I love a free class.

I had thought there would be a yoga class offered so my friend and I arrived in workout clothes with our mats. Instead it was a launch party filled with press. The upside is that there was free massage, gift bags, food and the opportunity to get up close and personal with Jane Fonda.

She arrived about an hour into the event and whisked her way to the front to give a speech. I was very close to the podium so I was stunned when my eyes landed on Jane. She is skinny, svelte and looks amazing. Her body is banging. She is twice my age and half my weight. (Kidding. Well not really).

Instead of feeling bummed, I decided that it is inspirational. If she can look as good as she does at her age then I can certainly keep up the improvements that I've made and keep going. Because I really want people to say "Damn girl! Oh, excuse me....umm, Ma'am" when I'm her age.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beware the group coupon

One of the recent innovations in the down economy is sites that offer you the opportunity to buy discounted services. Through Groupon, Living Social, Buy With Me, Tippr, et al. you can buy exercise classes (yoga, circus arts), beauty services (haircut, highlights, brazilian blowout), dinner ($30 of dinner for $15) and lessons (surfing, skydiving).

When I first learned of these companies earlier this year, I signed up to receive emails from every one of them. I mean, my mantra is to get out and do things and since I'm not working, it needs to be cheap.

So far, I've done the following: aerial fitness/circus arts class, surfing lesson, haircut, spinning classes (5 for $30), hypnotherapy and speed dating (bought, not yet used). I'm happy with the prices that I paid and the experience of purchasing through with Groupon, et al. Unfortunately, the companies that provide the services themselves are the ones to be wary of.

Here are some tips:

1. Wait, but not too long: I don't think that the service providers actually realize the uptick in business they'll receive and they get bombarded. So, if you can wait a bit it may make sense. But on the other hand, the service providers offering the discounts may be having some financial trouble. So don't wait too long.

2. Carefully read the offer and the fine print: Remember that Groupon, et al are marketing tools and the service providers want to put their best foot forward. On more than one occasion, I missed something in the writeup or the fine print. The hypnotherapy appointment? It was a group session. If you've never done it before, trust me being in a group is not the way to do it. The aerial fitness class was actually a circus arts class. I expected aerobics with bands hanging from the ceiling. Instead, I was learning the trapeze and how to climb a curtain. Which would be fine except that I'm deathly afraid of hanging upside down. Oopsies.

3. Mapquest the location: My spinning class studio has an address in Burbank but it turns out it is really far away. I had thought it'd be easy to get to and didn't bother to Mapquest the address before hitting purchase. It ends up taking me 30 minutes each way, so I've only used 2 out of the 5 classes. I have 3 weeks before the classes expire so  I'd better get in gear (bad pun.)

You may be a lot wiser than me and already use these tips automatically. In which case this post was useless for you. But if you're like me and get blinded by the idea of a sale (70% off!!!) then learn from my mistakes and pause before you purchase.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Please President Prioritize

What's wrong with the heading of this post? It's out of order. Which is precisely my point: President, Please Prioritize.

Obama has a lot going on. I don't envy him. But, I think that the most important issue that this country is facing today is unemployment. Millions of Americans are unemployed and many are facing losing their unemployment benefits. I know that Congress and the President are discussing this issue and will hopefully find some relief for our fellow Americans. I'm lucky that I'm not in this pool of people but I can empathize with their plight. It could easily be me.

I think the larger issue at hand is getting jobs created. As I'm hitting the job trail hard, it seems as though there are more jobs being posted and more companies actually calling candidates. I'm not sure if it will result in hiring (for me or anyone) but I'm hopeful. However, I have heard from several recruiters that there are so many candidates it's like nothing they've ever experienced. Too many candidates, too few jobs.

Just to be clear: I'm all for universal health care, repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and diplomacy with North Korea. But finding a solution for the economy needs to be first and foremost. It's not a fast or easy fix. It needs focus and attention. NOW. Everything else can follow. So, Obama, call me. I'm really great at creating status sheets.

(Ouch. That's from me nailing my shin on the way down from the soapbox. I'll stick to fun in the future.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Let's Have Some (Food) Fun

Admittedly, I haven't been the best FUNemployed spokeswoman as of late. So, let's turn this around shall  we?

A girl has got to eat. And as I've been rehabbing my eating habits, I've been cooking a lot. I've made kale chips (kinda like potato chips but healthy) and a lentil and potato stew. These were tasty, but my real motivation for eating this way is so that I can allow myself to eat like a fat kid. Specifically, burgers and chicken tenders.

I have been on a mission to find the best burgers LA has to offer. This was a subconscious mission until I was speaking with a gentleman at The Counter in Hollywood. We started talking about burgers around the city and I surprisingly had a lot more to say than he did. He even took my suggestions for his next burger journey (and my phone number).

Right now, I'm obsessed with 8oz Burger Bar and their eponymous burger. They have a happy hour deal that gets you a burger, side and a drink (I think beer) for $15. Steeper than a lot of places but believe me, it's worth it. The rest of my top 4 are: Bowery Burger, 25 Degrees, In 'N Out. But if you have a good suggestion, throw it my way. I'm the Burger Queen. And I must taste.

Chicken tenders is a much lonelier category. I've sampled, dabbled, dipped and swallowed. By far, hands down, the best tenders are at the Tropicana Bar (pool) at the Hollywood Roosevelt. Just the right texture...crispy, not greasy and not stringy. The tenders are delicious when dipped in ranch or by themselves. I wish I had more to offer you in terms of a good tender in LA but, alas, it seems to be an underappreciated menu item. So, hit me up if you've got something. Again, I must taste.

I firmly believe in cooking to be healthy and frugal. But, every now and again, everyone deserves a splurge. What's your food obsession?