Jen Lancaster's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Happy 3rd Birthday to our perfect baby, Chick Lit Is Not Dead. Thank you for never keeping us up all night, never having a diaper blow out, for never going through those terrible twos--and most importantly, for never talking back! We love you. In the last three years, we've hosted over 150 authors, launched five features (number six revealed today!) and written two (almost three) books.

But today it's all about the number ONE.

One majuhly talented and funny as hell author who's on our site to help us celebrate...

You know that feeling when you see a young guy that's so hot you don't care that you're openly salivating like a cougar in heat?

Or when you bite into that rich, chocolate dessert that's so good you don't care that it's going straight to your ass?

Or when you cry just a little when Phillip Phillips makes it into American Idol's top 24. (Okay, maybe that's just Lisa.)


That's how we felt when this author not only said YES to our invitation to help us celebrate, but to launch our latest feature: 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me.

Jen. Effing. Lancaster

Need we say more?

Oh and just for shits and giggles, we also asked if she'd give away FIVE copies of her fabulous novel, If You Were Here (out in paperback March 6th). She said yes to that too. Y'all can thank us later. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win one of five copies. We'll randomly select the winners after 6pm PST on Sunday, March 4.

So we're not going to make you wait any longer because we're not dumb asses. We know you want to find out what Jen Lancaster has to say.


First, happy anniversary! Cheers to three great years of bringing chick lit authors and readers together!

I’m really excited to share the advice I’d give to a teenage me. This topic is at the very front of my mind as I’m in the middle of writing a novel called Here I Go Again which takes an in-depth look at the origin of high school mean girls. The central theme is how decisions we make in the past can impact us for years to come. (I realize this sounds uber-serious, so please note there’s also a time travel element and a tribute to David Coverdale of Whitesnake.)

Anyway, if I could offer a seventeen year old Jeni five bits of advice, I’d say the following:

1. Stop calling yourself “Jeni” and dotting the “i” with a sunflower. You sound like an asshole.

2. Okay, the first suggestion is pretty specific, so I’ll do six instead. Ahem, here goes… everyone is currently going through something. Yeah, maybe you know some girls who seem to have their shit together more than you. Maybe they’re thinner and more popular, maybe they’re dating the guy you wish you were with, maybe they have a designer bag for which you’d kill. Don’t waste your time envying them because you have no idea what happens behind the closed doors of their life. All is not what it seems. Maybe the skinny chick has an eating disorder. Maybe the girl with the hot boyfriend puts up with his abuse. Maybe the one with an awesome bag would rather have nothing if it meant her divorcing parents weren’t engaged in a possession-based arms race. Don’t let yourself be distracted by what anyone else has or what you believe you lack. You just worry about you. The grass is rarely greener.

3. Don’t be so wrapped up in looking cool. Follow the Tao of Snookie on Jersey Shore when she says, “You do you and I’ll do me.” (I assume this is more of a “to thine own self be true” aphorism and not something sexual.) (At least I hope.) Be who you want to be, not who everyone peer-pressures you to be. Individuality is cool. Following the pack for the sake of belonging isn’t.

4. You’re not fat. Seriously, you’ll never have the metabolism of a seventeen year old again. Appreciate what you have now, because trust me, your ass will never be this high again.

5. If you believe high school is the best time of your life, then you’re doing it wrong. “It gets better” should ring true for almost everyone. If it doesn’t resonate with you, then you’re probably your high school’s version of Regina George. Fix that shit immediately or you’re going to be the gal who peaked at seventeen and who everyone shuns at the reunion.

6. The harder you work now, the easier it will be when you get older. I coasted through high school, doing what was expected and not a lick more. Then in college, I did even less. Sure, eventually everything worked out for me, but not without having to move some major boulders in my thirties. I wish that I’d possessed awareness that my path would have been so much smoother if I’d buckled down when I was building a foundation.

Now if only I could travel back in time and tell my high school self these things…

Anyway, happy anniversary, thanks for having me, and rock on!

Thanks, Jen!


Liz & Lisa

If you're not already, you should be following Jen Lancaster's hilarious and refreshingly honest blog, Jennsylvania. And be on the look out for her upcoming book, Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner.


Five Things Liz & Lisa didn't know about...Jen Lancaster

So let's be honest.  No one comes up with better titles than NYT bestselling author Jen Lancaster. When we first came across Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-centered Smart-Ass, Or why you should never carry your Prada bag to the unemployment office a few years ago, the title stopped us in our tracks. Any book with that funny of a title just HAD to be good.  And it didn't disappoint!

Now on her fifth memoir, Lancaster just keeps getting better and better!  In her latest, My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover if not Being a Dumb Ass is the New Black, or a Culture-Up Manifesto, Jen attempts to achieve cultural enlightenment and gives us a front row seat to the hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration she encounters along the way.

And we're as giddy as schoolgirls that she reached deep down for five things we didn't know about her.  Liz is a huge fan, even going so far as to stand in line for over an hour at a Pretty in Plaid book signing and then shamelessly forced her to take the copy of I'll Have Who She's Having that she had brought for her. (Sorry about that Jen!) But it was worth it to meet her-she was just as fabulous in person as she is in her books.

We just gave away a copy of the fabulous My Fair Lazy last week as part of our Flip for Liz & Lisa giveaway. And guess what?  We have two more copies for some lucky readers!  Just leave a comment to be entered!

5 Things Liz & Lisa didn't know about...Jen Lancaster!

You guys want five things no one knows about me?  Considering I make my living by writing about myself in books, on my website, though my syndicated column, and via Twitter, that’s a little harder than it sounds, but I’ll do my best.

Okay, first… I am Always Prepared. I’m prepared to the point of needing to capitalize the first letters of the words Always Prepared for I’m that prepared.  I perpetually hurt my back and strain my shoulder because of the amount of preparations I’m always carting around in my handbag.  Of course, I have the requisite chick-stuff in my bag… lipstick, compact, wallet, keys, sunglasses, pens, notepaper, business cards, dental floss, sunglasses, mints, gum, Kleenex, Kindle, iPhone, iTouch, hand sanitizer, dog treats, combination lock, four kinds of tampons, earplugs, a spare string of pearls in case I forget to wear them, and three different tubes of mascara depending on if I’m going for fullness, length, or curl.  Yet it’s those extra items that make all the difference in terms of preparedness.  For example, right now I’m not only carting around a gossamer-thin-matches-everything cashmere Burberry wrap but also a folding Benchmade combat knife.  I mean, how many times have you found yourself chilly or in need of a sharp knife for stabbing?  Well, not me, for I am Always Prepared.

Second, apparently my friends find my preparedness an endless source of amusement. I’m often tasked with emptying the contents of my purse at parties.  And yet I’m the only one of them who can pack for seven days on the road with a single carry-on bag.  I’m pretty sure that means I win.

Third, I missed the entire summer after my sophomore year of high school due to a particularly virulent case of mono. For two months, I did nothing but watch James Bond movies and read Danielle Steel books, thus beginning a lifelong love affair with smart-mouthed British dudes, well-timed explosions, and epic, cheesy romances.  Should Hugh Grant ever make a movie where something blew up, I’m pretty sure my heart would fly out of my chest.

Fourth, despite having my last three books debut on the New York Times best seller list, I can’t quite shake the feeling that the success is fleeting. Ergo, I still have every outfit I used to wear while working as a temp.  Should I suddenly need to take a letter, make a copy, or fetch some coffee, I’m all over it.

Last, I recently pre-ordered the entire set of Mad Men Barbies. (Seriously, how does any fan of the show not want these?  I mean Don and Betty Draper AND Joan Holloway?  Come on!)  However, in order to be allowed to purchase the Roger Sterling doll – and everyone wants a lecherous old white-haired Barbie, yes? - I had to join the Barbie Fan Club.  My official collector packet came via UPS.  I had to sign for the big pink envelope and I’m fairly sure my UPS guy is still laughing at me.  Mattel even sent me an official fan club membership card.  I carry it in my purse for I am Always Prepared.

You can read more about the lovely Jen Lancaster at her website or follow her on Twitter so you don't miss her sassy tweets!

xoxo, Liz & Lisa