Tag Archives: Jenny Lawson

Top 5 Reasons To Go To BlogHer

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of attending Blogher ’14.

I can’t even begin to decompress and describe the mind bomb that is this conference. 4,000 bloggers, most of them women, in scenic California, partying it up, networking, and honoring each others’ voices.

I arrived in San Jose, CA on Thursday afternoon and was greeted by cupcakes (made out of lentils???) in a beautiful city. I ask you, does it get any better than that?

San Jose CollageWell yes, it does. Because there are keynotes. AMAZING, funny, gorgeous, talented, and freaking cool keynotes!

Who was on the list?

Jenny Lawson – who you may know as The Bloggess, and author of the hilarious memoir, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I met her, and we talked about funny female authors, and we both just finished reading Nora Ephron for the first time, and she signed my book “Knock Knock, Mofo”. Isn’t she great?

Tig Notaro – the comedian best known for her stand up show discussing the humor and heft of having breast cancer. You can download free tracks of her stand up at her site here, including clips from her famous show, Live.

Arianna Huffington – as in the founder of The Huffington Post! Best speech of the keynotes; she was inspiring, charming, funny, and flawless. And you know what? I met her too, and I spoke to her in Greek! *seriously might faint just thinking how awesome that was*

Kerry Washington – the actor and activist. She shared behind the scenes stories from her show, Scandal, as well as why civil rights and philanthropy are so important.

Keynote CollageWhy go to BlogHer?

BlogHer is drastically different than writers conferences, in my opinion. When you go to a writers conference, there’s a pretty strict schedule of classes to attend. It’s more about learning, networking, and deciding about indie vs. traditional publishing routes. It’s awesome and definitely motivating, but different.

1. BlogHer is basically a giant party.

No I’m not kidding. That’s how it feels. Everyone is smiling. Everyone wants to meet people. Everyone wants to know what you blog about and which classes you attended, and which yogurt you picked in the Yoplait #tasteoff challenge!

Shocker! We picked Yoplait.

YoplaitThat’s me and the illustrious August McLaughlin
hanging out with a giant spoon. #GoodTimes

The Expo room with all the vendors is fun to bum around. And for those looking to write sponsored posts, the connections are yours for the making!

2. The Keynotes

See above. Then wipe the drool from your chin. I can’t wait to see who’s on board for next year’s keynotes.

3. Voices of the Year Community Keynote

If you want to hear the voices that are groundbreaking in the blogosphere, attend the VOTY celebration. I was in awe of these women. And I want to share them all with you. Here are the 12 Voices of the Year that spoke at the conference. (All were phenomenal, but I starred the ones that spoke the most to me personally.)

*Parri Sontag ~ Her Royal Thighness ~ Leisure Suits, Braces, and Beanies: My Life as a Dodgeball Target

Kristin Vanderhey Shaw ~ Two Cannoli ~ More Than Words

Tammy Soong ~ World’s Worst Moms ~ First Reason Not to Get a Tattoo: Your Mom Probably Has One

*A’driane Nieves ~ Butterfly Confessions ~ America’s Not Here For Us

*Meredith Bland ~ Pile of Babies ~ 9 Awesome Things About Having a Physical Disability

*Janelle Hanchett ~ Renegade Mothering ~ We Don’t Start With Needles in Our Arms

Phyllis Myung ~ The Napkin Hoarder ~ Sometimes I Still Wish I Was White

Ashley Garrett ~ Baddest Mother Ever ~ It’s All One Life

*August McLaughlin ~ August McLaughlin’s Blog ~ My Big Brindle Heart: A Love Story

*Grace Sandra ~ Grace Sandra’s Blog ~ Letting The Stupid Little Ni**er Go

Jenna Hatfield ~ Stop, Drop, & Blog ~ The Bridge That is Any Bridge

Lisa Page Rosenberg ~ Smacksy ~ The View From Here

4. Networking and Friendships

Business CardsHoly business cards, Batman!

There are 4,000 bloggers in one building and you get to hang out with them!!! I actually ran out of business cards.

Also, meet bloggers you follow online.

After using Twitter as a ginger beacon homing device, I met up with Aussa Lorens from Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy.

Photo credit - Aussa Lorens

Photo credit – Aussa Lorens

You know who else I Twitter stalked?

Hege and Cotille from StitchFix! Photo coming soon as it’s on Cotille’s phone, but the girls will be sharing their photos from BlogHer and all the StitchFix fashionistas at the conference using the hashtag #StitchFixInTheWild.

*double squeeee* I even went out to dinner with them! And we leisured on Santana Row, San Jose’s trendy hot spot for restaurants and clothing boutiques.

But best of all was meeting fellow blogger, longtime friend, and founder of #GirlBoner radio – August McLaughlin!

August and Jess

Photo credit – August McLaughlin



5. BlogHer is literally a giant party.

The end of the conference is a big, outdoor party. And Rev Run from Run DMC was the dj. #ILoveThe90s

Rev Run Run DMC

Do you need any more reasons than that?
So, will I see you at BlogHer next year?






The Last Minute Gift Guide of Funny Books

Whilst completing the first draft of my book, I read a lot of humor books. Memoirs, satirical essays, and some estranged fiction. The majority of which, I absolutely loved!

So if you’re running around, still trying to find gifts for everyone on your list, (or a few for yourself), look no further.

Jess’s Last Minute Gift Guide of Funny Books for Funny People!

For the Coworker With the Same Sick Sense of Humor As You or the Family Member You Want to Shock Most:

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

There has to be some Sedaris on the list! I’m also a big fan of Holidays on Ice and Me Talk Pretty One Day. This book is full of childhood tales from Sedaris, as well as travel essays illuminating you on topics like healthcare and Santa Claus. The latter of which is by far my favorite chapter, titled Six to Eight Black Men, which made me laugh so much, I called my mother and did a dramatic reading over the phone for her.

For the Person Who’s Having a Hard Time Embracing Their 30’s

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

I LOVED this book because I felt like I shared so many of the same experiences growing up as Ms. Crosley did. We both loved My Little Pony, we both hated bugs, and we both thought summer camp was overrated. Clearly we were soulmates.

I loved reading about Sloane maneuvering her way into adulthood with witty quips and full-fledged childish behavior! “Can I get you anything?  Coffee? Tea? A pony?”

For the Celebrity Obsessed Friend Who’s Never Missed an Episode of The Office

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

I appreciated learning more about The Office’s Kelly Kapoor before she was Kelly Kapoor. For instance, did you know Mindy Kaling spent a substantial amount of time impersonating Ben Affleck on an off-Broadway stage? True story.

I enjoyed her conversational style and willingness to bare all her insecurities over dieting, diversity, and writing. Definitely excited for her that she has her own show now, that girl worked for it!

For Your Most Sarcastic Friend or the One Who Says They Hate Going Out But In Fact Go Out All Of the Time

The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro

This book was recommended to me by an agent at DFWcon. She told me if I was writing comedy, I needed to read Laurie Notaro, who has quite the list of popular titles to her name, but this is the one I picked up.

In The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club, Laurie regales us with apartment story horrors dealing with fumigators and children, spending the last bit of your paycheck at the bar, and knowing who your true friends are. It’s a guidebook for living life on the accident-prone, awkward moment, laugh with your besties side!

For Explaining to Strangers Why You Are the Way You Are

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Some of you may know Jenny Lawson as The Blogess. In this “mostly true” memoir, she recounts her bizarre childhood which included loose bobcats in her house as a highlight!

From first jobs to dating to married life to giant metal roosters, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is hilarious! And get the book because the pictures are worth it! Her dad was a taxidermist so there’s lots of pictures of animals!

Another example of very conversational (blog like) style writing in which you feel like you are in cahoots with the author.

For the Commuter or Traveling Friend (Get the audio book!)

Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits and You Can’t Drink All Day if You Don’t Start in the Morning by Celia Rivenbark

I’m serious, y’all. Get the audiobooks! Celia Rivenbark reads them herself and her no-nonsense, southern charm just bites with hilariousness!

She covers everything from home entertainment to how to make Miley Cyrus shaped pancakes for your daughters sleepover.

I’m telling you, this woman is a genius and I wish she was my neighbor.

For Your Book Club

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

My book club read this one and had a great discussion. Bonus – it’s lighter fare in terms of book club reads, in that the author uses humor to tell a story. So if you want a book with guts for the story, but dressed up in a…little black dress…then this is definitely the book for you!

At the time the book takes place, the author is newly divorced, after her husband left her for a man named Bob. The she suffers in a horrible car accident. She ends up moving in with her mennonite parents and finding a way to move forward while acknowledging her past.

For the College Student or Mentor

I’m Down by Mishna Wolff

A tale of finding one’s own. Mishna Wolff grew up in a poor, Black neighborhood with her single, white Dad who believed he was Black. Except that he wasn’t. And neither was her mom. Yet her father did everything he could to make Mishna “down”.

Struggling to fit in, Mishna practices basketball almost as much as her playground insults. But all she really wanted to do was stay in and read a book.

The author has been a public speaker at universities since her memoir’s release and it’s both a humorous and poignant tale about coming of age and coming to terms with your family.

For the New Mom/Aspiring Career Woman

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I mean really. Tina Fey’s book is for everyone.

But I think it will especially appeal to new moms and women struggling to climb the ladder. Fey’s memoir shares funny stories from her childhood about summer theater as well as her honeymoon disaster of a cruise.

But best of all are her tales about her improv days in Second City and breaking into Saturday Night Live. She’s both a risk taker and an insecure actress. She shares the ups and downs of doing a photo shoot, working with mostly men, and how she only lasted 72 hours when it came to breastfeeding.

There’s no subject left untouched. And she’s ok with that. She’s bossy. 🙂

Those were some of my very favorite reads this year!

What funny books do you love? What title do you want wrapped under your tree this year? Are you done shopping?

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