Jen Lancaster’s 5 Do’s and a Do-Over

There’s a reason why the fabulous Jen Lancaster has a bazillon-million Facebook fans.  She. Rocks!  And we’re as giddy as little schoolgirls at a Justin Bieber concert about the fact that she’s sharing her Do’s and a Do-Over today here at CLIND!

Jen’s bestselling memoirs are freakin’ hilarious.  Now, with If You Were Here, she makes her fiction debut and we couldn’t be happier about it.  In fact, when we discovered that If You Were Herehad more John Hughes’s references than a VH1 special-we were SOLD.  Because nothing makes us happier than waxing nostalgic over the movies we grew up with.  And we gotta love anyone that, like us, drooled over Jake and that damn Porsche in the movie Sixteen Candles.  Too bad our “Jake Complex” led us to make some very unfortunate dating choices growing up!  But hey, we don’t know about you, but there’s still a spot for him and his Porsche on our short list. *wink wink*

And we loved If You Were Here-it’s a fun read that will have you LOLing in every chapter!  A perfect pick-me-up after a long week!

If You Were Here follows Amish-zombie-teen- romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) through the alternately frustrating, exciting, terrifying-but always funny-process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that John Hughes’s movies made famous. Along their harrowing renovation journey, Mia and Mac get caught up in various wars with the homeowners’ association, meet some less-than-friendly neighbors, and are joined by a hilarious cast of supporting characters, including a celebutard ex- landlady. As they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings- with Mac taking on the renovations himself- Mia and Mac will discover if their marriage is strong enough to survive months of DIY renovations.

Sounds fun, right?  We have FIVE copies to give away!  Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win.  Doesn’t get much easier than that, people.  We’ll choose the winners on Friday May 6th after 6pm PST.  Good Luck!


Photo credit: Jeremy Lawson


5 DO’S

1. Be prepared. No one will fight harder for what you want than you.  Doing your homework gives you the confidence to fight.  Take job hunting, for example.  When people are asked to come interview, most applicants read the employer’s website and can parrot back the company’s mission statement if asked.  But if you want this job, dig deeper.  Work harder than your competition.  Research the organization in-depth.  Read trade journals.  Gain some perspective on how this employer has the competitive advantage, or what they might need to improve it.  Become well-versed in how legislation/lobbyists are changing the corporate landscape.  Take inventory of your personal strengths and practice explaining how these skills dovetail into the organization’s very specific needs.  Yes, it’s a lot of extra effort.  But if you’re properly prepared, the employer will snap you up if for no reason other than to keep their competitors from hiring you.

2.  Be charming. The above only works if you can do it all with a genuine smile on your face.  Life is a lot like one of my favorite reality shows – Survivor.  Yeah, it’s important to excel at challenges and carry your own weight around camp, but ultimately positive social interactions win the game.  Boston Rob always goes far because he’s smart and he’s strong, but being funny and cute has been of equal importance.  (Maybe he hasn’t won the million yet, but his charm is what keeps CBS asking him back.)

3.  Embrace failure. Despite your best efforts to be both prepared and charming, bad things still happen.  Learn that failure doesn’t define you; recovering from failure does.  When I was laid off from my executive job, I thought my life was over.  Yet during my jobless tenure, I discovered that I didn’t actually like working a boring corporate desk job.  If I hadn’t failed at being an executive, I’d never have had the opportunity to pursue a more creative line of work.  To pass the long, empty days home alone, I wrote scathing blog posts about being unemployed, only to discover that the act of writing fueled me.  Documenting the story of my failure turned into writing Bitter Is the New Black and the rest is history.

4.  More Ferris, Less Cameron.  Ferris Bueller said it best – sometimes you need to take the day off.  Life does move pretty fast sometimes, and if you don’t, say, steal your dad’s vintage Ferrari to cruise around the city on occasion, you might miss it.  Goof off once in a while.  Spend a long, leisurely afternoon with Real Housewives on the TiVo and some Ben & Jerry’s.  You might be surprised at how productive you’ll be if you allow yourself a minute to recharge your batteries.

5.  Charlie Sheen is not #winning.  Ever. Despite Sheen’s deplorable behavior, there are still women out there – clever, confident, capable women – who honestly believe they can change him.  And yet his string of unhappy ex-wives and girlfriends begs to differ.  Sure, it’s always exhilarating to date the Charlies of the world, but ultimately the stress of loving a bad boy is going to break your heart and make you wrinkle prematurely.  A nice guy will give you a happily ever after whereas a bad boy will make a few unhappy months feel like an eternity.  Choose wisely – there’s only so much Botox can fix.


Do not do it yourself. You know how your hairdresser makes a simple bang-trim look effortless?  Like, so easy that anyone could do it?  Including yourself?  And so you tried?  And had to wear a hat for a month?  You see, your stylist is a trained professional and she cuts bangs all day, every day, for fifty-plus weeks a year.  You cannot replicate this.  Do not try.  A while ago, my husband and I took this lesson to heart, only instead of cutting our own hair, we wanted to rehab a house after watching HGTV.  We rationalized, “Hey!  That’s not so hard!  We could rehab a house!  And I could write a memoir about it!”  And then I remembered the last time I cut my own bangs and those were the longest eight weeks of my life, so we didn’t buy the fixer-upper.  Instead, I let my character Mia give home renovations a whirl in my novel If You Were Here.  And when the first toilet came crashing through the ceiling in her office, I bet Mia wished she’d heeded my advice.  Leave it to the professionals.  You’ll thank me later.

To read more about the hilarious Jen Lancaster, head on over to her website or find her on Twitter and Facebook!

Thanks Jen!  xoxo, Liz & Lisa

153 Responses to “Jen Lancaster’s 5 Do’s and a Do-Over”

  1. Raquel

    I can’t wait to read this book. I love Jen Lancaster’s work. It always keeps me laughing!

  2. Sina

    Get out of my head, Jen Lancaster! LOVE your writing! Glad to know about this blog, too!

  3. Susan

    Can’t wait to see Jen in Portland in a few weeks! Need the free book asap so I can be ready! :)

  4. Kim

    Can’t wait to read this!! Love her real life adventures, can’t wait to read the “fiction (wink-wink)” ones!

  5. Jessica

    Can’t wait to read it! See you later this month, Jen, in Wauwatosa, WI.

  6. sharyn

    Wow this sounds really funny – I have never read any of Jen Lancaster’s books but I think I need to!

  7. Shelley

    At DC signing now! I cant stick around for the signing because its too crowded.

  8. Shani

    Sharyn…she is hilarious & snarky & right on the mark. Like a BFF if your BFF were a famous author !! Start at book one and go through the list. Funny

  9. Shani

    Jen is hilarious & snarky & right on the mark. Like a BFF if your BFF were a famous author !! Start at book one and go through the list. Funny

  10. michelle zanfardino

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Jen Lancaster! She is freaking hilarious!! I;ll never forget my first Jen purchase. After an anniversary dinner my husband and I decided that we would stop at the B&N to grab a starbucks and chill for a few. on our way out the door the book cover to Bitter caught my eye. When I read the cover I HAD to have this book. Never in a million gazillion years did I ever think I would read a memoir and like it. I’ve laughed so hard I’ve nearly peed my pants at times (after having two children sometimes we have to cross the legs when we sneeze or cough or laugh:). I hope I win this book, but if not it will be up top of the Mother’s Day most wanted list with Beth’s Bake off. Thanks for the change to win!!!

  11. Kristen

    Love Jen, and can’t wait for the book tour!!!

  12. Nina

    Love, love, love Jen Lancaster!!! I have religiously read every book she has written thus far. I would love to win a copy of this book!

  13. KLM

    I LOVE Jen Lancaster! Only she would comment on Charlie Sheen’s being a total loser! I would absolutely LOVE to read her book!

  14. denny144

    I’m going to tell my boss that I’m taking the day off because Jen told me to!

  15. Betsy

    Jen Lancaster is my favorite author ever!!!! I own all of her books and read her blog daily as well. I can’t stress how much I adore her. I have not gotten to see her cause I live about 5 hours away from any book signing but one day I will get to meet her I know it! I would love love love to win this book to add to my collection of Jen’s books!

  16. Cozy Reader

    Aside from the fact that I love this list…. so funny… I SO want to win this one!!! Pretty Please!!!

  17. Jordan

    Ahhhh!! Jen Lancaster!! Love her humor so much – she is truly one of my favorite authors :) I cannot wait to read her new fiction novel! Woohoo!!!!

  18. Kirsten

    Be charming. That is the BEST piece of advice Jen could give us!!

  19. Lynnetta

    I love, love, LOVE Jen Lancaster! And if you haven’t seen her YouTube video promoting this book, you have truly missed something! John Hughes’ references for days!

  20. Barb

    I would love to read this book! I checked out her website, and love the summary for this book. She’s snarky and cool! Definitely more Ferris and less Cameron in life—any author who likes that movie has got to be a favorite of mine!

  21. Amused

    I have read many of Lancaster’s previous books and enjoyed them all. I am excited to read her first foyer into her fiction.

  22. Lindsay M.


    Second, I cannot WAIT to read her first piece of fiction– her memories are the best! {Such A Pretty Fat is an all time fave}

    Third, this list was amazing and I SO needed to read the advice about not trimming your own bangs. Just wish I would’ve read it yesterday. Oops.

  23. Nicole T.

    Woo-hoo, can’t wait to read this book! Looking forward to it. :)

  24. Jessica

    Looking forward to reading this!! Thanks for the opportunity :)

  25. adina

    such a pretty fat was the first book by jen i read. i laughed so hard my husband kept coming over and reading over my shoulder.

  26. Christina

    Jen Lancaster is my favorite author and would love to have her new book.

  27. Anna

    Love Jen and so excited she is venturing into this new genre! Can’t wait to read it! I have all her other books lining my book shelves!

  28. Sara Wright

    The concept for this book sounds awesome! Reminds me of, “The Money Pit.” :)

  29. Mary

    Reading your interview, I felt as if I was sitting across from a friend. Ask anyone who has been fired how they feel about it 10 years later and they all say the same thing – It was the best thing to happen to me !

  30. Joani

    Please, please, please, I would love a hardcover of this book. I bought all her others but when I read this one on my new kindle I won’t be able to read the funny footnotes. Please, please.

  31. msamy

    sounds like Liz and Lisa found another winner in this one!! It’s on my list now, and I’m hoping that I get to read it sooner, rather than later~

    Thanks L&L for all that you do for all of us~

  32. Sheen

    I have yet to read one Of Jen’s books I really need to cause this one sounds like a fantastic read

  33. Linda Kish

    I would love to read this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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