Valerie Frankel

Valerie Frankel's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Y'all know how much we loved Thin is the New Happy and It's Hard Not to Hate You by Valerie Frankel. Well, she's baaaack with Four of a Kind, a novel we're considering one of our new faves. It's about the secrets lives of four women and a monthly poker game (get it? four of a kind...) where they lay their cards on the table- literally. It's juicy, hilarious and insightful with just the right amount of sass. There's a character to which every woman can relate. As you read, are you Bess, Robin, Carla or Alicia? Excited to read it? You're in luck! We've got 5 copies of Four of a Kind to give away- 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.

We also love Valerie's list of things she wishes she'd told her teen self. (We hate to admit it, but she's so right about #2.)


1.     Find Your Truth. At first, I tried to fit in. I acted and dressed like a born-on-a-schooner preppy. As a pudgy, frizzy-haired Jew, that didn’t play. Then I tried not to fit it, and went full-on ‘80s punk with a black-and-orange Mohawk, safety pin jewelry, and snarly attitude. As a suburban New Jersey doctor’s daughter, the Cockney guttersnipe thing was a bit forced. Somewhere between those extremes was the real me. I would’ve figured out my personal style—and drawn confidence from it—a lot sooner if I’d stopped trying to look and act just like my peers, or nothing like them.

2.     Let Mom Win. My mother and I had some epic battles during my teen years. Now that I’m a mother, and my two teenage daughters often drive me up a freakin’ wall, I can see now that—in some cases—I should have just gone along with Mom’s plan. If for nothing more, we would have argued less. We might’ve learned to smooth over some of our big conflicts if we hadn’t fought the little ones to the death.

3.     Forever Is For Later. Why did I think any guy I spoke to might be my next major boyfriend? I put the pressure of eternity in a hallway “hello.” If I hadn’t hung my romantic dreams on, say, a guy I made eye contact with on the cafeteria patio, maybe I would have actually managed to talk to him.

4.     Appreciate Your Weight. I thought I was a hideously fat teenager, but I would be thrilled now to weigh what I did then. My teen years set the foundation for thirty years of bad body image that followed. If I could re-do it, I would have elevated my thinking from constant self-criticism to appreciation. It’s a lot to ask of your teen self, or any teenager, to be grateful for what you have and not to obsess about what you want, though. It’s a lot to ask of forty-year-olds, too.

5.     Write a series of books about young witches and wizards at a secret school for magic in England. Or, for that matter, Take your babysitting and waitress savings—$500 in 1983—and buy shares in Microsoft. Today, they’d be worth $1,000,000,000,000. I shit you not.

Thanks, Valerie!  xoxo, Liz & Lisa

To find out more about the fabulous Valerie Frankel, visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Best books of 2011 by Lisa

Like Liz mentioned in her best books of 2011 post, we read a f*ckload of books this year. And deciding which books made our favorites list was almost harder than deciding which movie Ryan Gosling looked hottest in this year. (For the record, after careful consideration, I've decided on Crazy, Stupid Love.) And even though it has NOTHING to do with this post...


Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

One more little thing before I get to my list o' books...what kind of end-of year post would this be without another AWESOME giveaway? (Liz gave away ten yesterday so of course I will too!)  Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a BUNDLE O' BOOKS that includes novels from Meg Mitchell Moore to Kristin Hannah to Jackie Collins to Meg Cabot!  Check out the picture below to see all TEN books the winner will receive. We'll choose the winners on Monday December 26th after 6pm PST.

So without further adieu, here's my list.  And don't forget to tell me what YOUR fave novels of 2011 were!


1. The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore You know that feeling you get when a book sucks you in so hard and so fast that you think about the story and the characters when you're not even reading it? That's what happened to me when I devoured Meg Mitchell Moore's debut novel. I found her book about what happens when all of the children come back home to their parent's house at the same time so engaging and powerful that it resonated with me long after I finished reading it. So much so, that I knew it would make this list long before I ever officially created it. The Arrivals makes the perfect gift for any book lover who likes to dive in and barely come up for air until she's reached the last page. (PS: It also has one of my favorite covers of the year.)


2.  A Year and Six Seconds: A Love Story by Isabel Gillies  When I wrote about Isabel Gillies just last month, I was crushing hard. Swooning. In love. All of the above. And let's just say, the crush has only deepened since. (I've re-read the book since writing that post and have to say it was even better the second time.) It's a beautifully written true story about the deep pain and loss of heartbreak and divorce and the deep resilience and sense of humor of love. Ladies, if you haven't yet read this memoir, treat yourself to a copy this Christmas.
3. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio  We named Sarah Jio our Lit IT Girl for a reason. I was so engrossed in this novel about riding a high for ten years and then having to start over that I could not put this debut novel down. And when I say couldn't put it down, that's not an exaggeration. I carried it with me everywhere and, at one point, was reading it while feeding my daughter. This novel makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves a good mystery and a good love story all rolled into one. (And BTW, Sarah Jio isn't done wowing us for 2011, she has a second fabulous novel, The Bungalow, coming out on December 27th. Yes, two in one year! Be looking for her 5 Loves and a Dud and, of course, a chance to win one of 5 copies of The Bungalow later this week!)
4. It's Hard Not to Hate You by Valerie Frankel   In a nutshell, I had a baby at the beginning of this year so I needed a damn good laugh (or a thousand million!).  And with this memoir, the hilarious Valerie Frankel may have just given me the best baby gift of all (sorry, Mom!) In a nutshell, after a health crisis and unlocking years of pent up rage, Frankel discovers that your Bitchy Twin might just be your funniest, most valuable and honest ally. One of the funniest books I read all year (and that's sayin' a lot because there a lot that had me laughing), there was no question this book was going to make my list. Put it in the stocking of anyone who needs a good, healthy LOL.
5. If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster  When one of my favorite authors of all time made her fiction debut, I felt like one of those crazy people that lines up for the latest Apple gadget or to try out for American Idol. I might as well have stayed up all night and slept in the rain on the sidewalk as I waited for this book to come out. And once I got my little mitts on it, I was over 'da moon (me and her million other fans!). It's a story that asks- can your marriage survive a DIY renovation? It follows Amish-zombie-teen- romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) as they go through the  funny-process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that John Hughes’s movies made famous...and a lot more! The John Hughes references alone make this novel a must-read!
And one biography pic!
Y'all may not have known that, in addition to being a memoir whore, I'm also a biography whore!
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. In a word, fascinating.








Valerie Frankel's 5 Loves and a Dud

Valerie Frankel. She's funny as all hell. She's the author of, like, a gazillion books (including the critically acclaimed weight-loss memoir, THIN IS THE NEW HAPPY & A SHORE THING- her "collaboration" with Snooki!). And, well, we're pretty much in love with her. So we're over the moon that she's here to celebrate  IT'S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU her latest must-read memoir about embracing your Inner Hater (we so love that!) and to reveal her 5 Loves and a Dud. Her dud will having you LOL'ing your ass off- Sorry, Kim Kardashian, but it's sooo true. More on that in a minute.

But first...

Here's the skinny on IT'S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU: In the midst of a health and career crisis, Valerie uncorks years of pent up rage, and discovers you don't have to be happy to be happy. You don’t have to love everyone else to like yourself. And that your Bitchy Twin might just be your funniest, most valuable and honest ally.

“The hate in you has got to come out.” After being advised to reduce stress by her doctor, humorist Valerie Frankel realized the biggest source of pressure in her life was maintaining an unflappable easing-going persona. After years of glossing over the negative, Frankel goes on a mission of emotional honesty, vowing to let herself feel and express all the toxic emotions she’d long suppressed or denied: jealousy, rage, greed, envy, impatience, regret. Frankel reveals her personal History of Hate, from mean girls in junior high, selfish boyfriends in her twenties and old professional rivals. Hate stomps through her current life, too, with snobby neighbors, rude cell phone talkers, scary doctors and helicopter moms. Regarding her husband, she asks, “How Do I Hate You? Let Me Count the Ways.” (FYI: There are three.) By the end of her authentic emotional experience, Frankel concludes that toxic emotions are actually good for you. The positive thinkers, aka, The Secret crowd, have it backwards. Trying to ward off negativity was what’d been causing Frankel’s career stagnation, as well as her health and personal problems. With the guidance of celebrity friends like Joan Rivers and psychic Mary T. Browne, Frankel now uses anger, jealousy and impatience as tools to be a better, balanced and deeper person. IT'S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU sends the message that there are no wrong emotions, only wrong ways of dealing with them.

Sounds fabulous, right? We think so! Just leave a comment and be entered to win one of five copies of IT'S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, October 23rd after 6PM EST.



I’m a big fan of little loves, the tiny day-to-day detail that lifts my mood. Five of them:

1. Using maple syrup to sweeten coffee. I was shocked and horrified to learn that Splenda is as bad for the body as white sugar. I’d been using packets a day for years. My Whole Foods friend Nancy suggested I use honey in my coffee instead. I tried it. Feh. Then my mom gave me a gallon of maple syrup that her neighbors in Vermont made from trees in my parents’ yard. A gallon. There aren’t enough pancakes in the world. I started adding it to coffee, and am now addicted. It’s an organic, natural sweetener I can feel enthusiastic about using, and it tastes great.

2. The cardigan coat trend. This is my daily look: jeans, a tank top, booties, and a big cozy nubby cardigan. This silhouette is the definition of casual chic. It’s flattering on just about anyone, comfortable, mindlessly easy and current.

3. The floss stick. Any brand will do, but I like these. A simple piece of plastic turns a gross boring chore into a fun quest, like searching for bats in a mysterious cave. Greatest personal care invention since the vibrator! Okay, that might be overstating it.

4. Hanco’s Vietnames sandwiches. Nine days out of ten, I don’t eat meat. On that tenth day, I go full pork, and have a Hanco’s classic sandwich. The bright, tangy carrots and radish combined with rich ground pork, packed into crispy crunchy bread. Hmmmm.

5. Fleece electric blanket. It’s about that time of year. The kind I have has a separate dial for each side of the bed. That’s crucial. My husband is always too hot (not to brag), and I’m always freezing cold. I switch on my side an hour before bedtime, and slip into coziness.


I loathe so many things and rude behaviors, I wrote an entire book about it. What really bugs the crap out of me lately, is the simpering baby voice way Kim Kardashian drawls, “Thank you.” Sounds like, “Thenquewwwww.” It oozes out like toxic sludge. It’s like she was taught to pretend to be gracious, or to go through the courtesy motions, but she doesn’t really give a crap what anyone else does or says for her. If I ever met her, and she drooled, “thenkewwwww,” to me, I’d slap that mush right out of her mouth. God, I hate the sound of false sincerity. I teach my daughters to declare gratitude, loud and proud. “Thanks!” Appreciation isn’t some gas that leaks out of silicone tire lips. It’s a punctuation mark. A point! THANK YOU for reading this.

To find out more about the hilarious Valerie Frankel, follow her on Twitter and Facebook and check out her website. And don't forget to buy her book!

Thanks, Valerie!


Liz & Lisa