How to teach the one you love (without them hating you)

How to teach the one you love (without them hating you)

Teaching any sort of thing to the object of your affection is a great way to make them hate spending time with you. In my new book, Finding Mr. Brightside, Abram takes the risk by trying to instruct the un-instructable Juliette how to play tennis. It pays off, sort of, but only because he employs many of the below tips in his teachings. 

How to teach the thing you love to the one you love (without them hating you): 

Don’t sound too authoritarian. Unless you want to answer a series of unanswerable questions, like, “Why are you being aggressive toward me when I’m just a beginner?” and “Aren’t we supposed to be having fun?”  

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"Songs that inspired Finding Mr. Brightside" playlist

1. “The Heart of Life” by John Mayer. Perfectly captures the perks of having an optimistic outlook on life, minus any of the usual greasy John Mayer residue. 

4. “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel. One of those songs where I never make the effort to find out what the lyrics really mean because then it might ruin the way it inspires me to leap up and take charge of my life for at least the next 15 minutes, give or take. 

2. “Girl from the North Country” by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. A song that makes me want to slow dance — aimlessly, somewhat-intensely, for hours — with the girl I love. In between laughing whenever the awkward “it curls and falls, all down her breast” lyric rolls back around. 

5. “I Won’t Let You Go” by James Morrison. How could you not want to hold hands with someone until the end of time after listening to this song 23 times in a row, on average?

3. “Titanium” by David Guetta (featuring Sia). What everyone who’s been hurt in the past would like to think they’re made of until the perfect someone comes along to prove them wrong (in all the right, nonthreatening ways). 

6. “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. All gone-mainstream jadedness aside, no road trip to the beach would be complete without a JJ selection. This one’s my extra-mainstream favorite.

7. “More Than Anyone” by Gavin DeGraw. The first line of this song—“You need a friend, I’ll be around”—is exactly how Abram operates when pursuing Juliette. No pressure, look my way as you see fit or not fit, I’ll just be over here eating popcorn and watching a whale documentary.  

10. “Whispering” by Alex Clare. A song that can add a creepy/dangerous-but-still-exciting/secret-filled tinge to the mood without totally killing it. 

8. “Quelqu’un m’a dit” by Carla Bruni. The song Juliette plays in her head as she’s making any one of her many decidedly French exits. Au revoir!

11. “Dark Side” by Kelly Clarkson. Because no one can make it more okay to appreciate the grimly unlikeable qualities of ourselves and the ones we love better than Kelly Clarkson. 

9. “She Wolf” by Shakira. The perfect song/video for a best friend like Heidi to play (and writhe around in a nude-colored tank top to) when she’s trying to get a laugh out of a tough cookie like Juliette. Ah-roooo!

12. “Broken Strings” by James Morrison and Nelly Furtado. A song that makes me want to break up with something—my smartphone?—just so I can find a way to beat the odds and get back together with it.  

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How to plot the perfect French Exit for the holidays

How to plot the perfect French Exit for the holidays

The holidays are a time of joy, peace, togetherness, and slipping quietly out into the night because you can’t take it anymore.

In my new book Finding Mr. Brightside -- click here for a chance to win a copy and a $25 Amazon.com eGift card -- Juliette is incredibly fluent in this kind of French … French exits, that is. A.k.a, leaving without saying goodbye to anyone. Yes, because she doesn’t want to be wherever she is, but also out of respect for the fun that others seem to be having despite the brutal circumstances.

Between office parties and family gatherings, you may find yourself in a similar panic-button situation this holiday season. By no means am I endorsing such disappearing acts, but it’s important to be realistic about the likelihood you’ll want to perform one, preferably without a trace.  

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Rejected Real Housewives of Beverly Hills taglines

In my new book, Finding Mr. Brightside, Abram and Juliette have a boredom-inspired back-and-forth over who can think of the better tourism tagline for Moscow (e.g., "Moscow ... because you gotta kill yourself somewhere, right?!").

Similarly bored this past weekend, my girlfriend and I decided to have a "Who can think of a funnier Real Housewives of Beverly Hills tagline" competition. The problem is, she won. So now, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, I'm devoting an entire blog to trying to top her after-the-fact.

Lisa Van Der Pump

Actual tagline: “Throw me to the wolves and I shall return, leading the pack.” 

Rejected tagline 1: Throw me to the wolves and I shall return, barking.*

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Timelessly bad babysitting tips from Tito Jay

Timelessly bad babysitting tips from Tito Jay

1. Dump out all the toys so that impossibly cute nephew -- a.k.a., the Chunkstah -- has more things to ignore while targeting the stuff he knows Mom and Dad don’t want him to touch. 

2. Pick up snowman globe together (which is surely on the Chunkstah’s do-not-touch list) and sing a duet of “Let It Go” to it. Repeat. Do not substitute “Let It Go” for “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” because, as you can both agree without saying anything, the latter doesn’t really go anywhere vocally.  

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13 irresponsible reasons to get a puppy for Christmas

13 irresponsible reasons to get a puppy for Christmas

And by you getting a puppy, I mean me, too, please, I really want a Golden Retriever. The problem I face is the same as the one Juliette encounters in my new book, Finding Mr. Brightside — namely, the brick wall I live with (and love everything else about besides her anti-puppy outlook) doesn’t think it’s the best idea. She thinks it’s the worst during the other 11 months of the year, too, but my dream seems to shatter against the brick-like “No” of her facial expression more loudly and tragically at Christmas.   

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What to do when you hate a Christmas gift

What to do when you hate a Christmas gift

It’s the thought that counts when it comes to Christmas gifts, but what happens when a thought has led to one of the worst things you’ve ever opened? In my new book, Finding Mr. Brightside, Juliette encourages Abram to forgo getting her anything for Christmas, at least until after she's (jokingly) killed herself, for this very reason—not because she wouldn’t appreciate the attempt, because she’s a bad actress who doesn’t trust her own facial expressions. But maybe the below tips would’ve changed her fa-la-la-la-la...

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Questions to ask before taking an antidepressant

Questions to ask before taking an antidepressant

In my new book, Finding Mr. Brightside, Juliette ascertains in about 2.5 seconds that Abram has no business being on Paxil—a frustratingly fixable mistake that makes it harder for her to continue ignoring, among other things, the existence of his business.

Wondering if you’re making (or about to make) the same medication mistake as Abram? See below for some Juliette-like questions you may want to ask yourself and your doctor.*

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How to write the perfect love letter

How to write the perfect love letter

In my new book that I can’t seem to stop blogging about, Finding Mr. Brightside, Juliette has a hard time expressing any feelings for Abram without immediately wanting to take them back. The love-related ones are particularly tricky for her. But maybe if she’d tried writing some sweet-everythings down in a letter, she could’ve reached the moment of truth sooner (before ultimately driving off to go shred the letter).

But how do you tell a person how you really feel on paper without freaking out both parties irreversibly? By taking a look at my below to-do’s and not-to-do’s, of course.

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What do your dance moves say about you?

What do your dance moves say about you?

In my new book, Finding Mr. Brightside, Juliette gets dragged out onto the dance floor by twerking dervish Heidi and instinctive robot buster-outer Abram. What does any of that even mean? See below for a more detailed explanation.

Here are the 8 known dance floor archetypes (that I can currently think of):

1. Twerking dervish. Has a tendency to indiscriminately rub butt upon the fronts and/or backsides of others. Can often be heard encouraging fellow dancers to do the same/return the favor (“Get it!!!”), as is the case with lovable scene-stealer Heidi in Finding Mr. Brightside.

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How to survive your next first kiss (in 7 sexy steps)

How to survive your next first kiss (in 7 sexy steps)

Most of the time we’re too drunk nervous to enjoy our first kiss. This is the case for Juliette in my new book, Finding Mr. Brightside, who struggles with her tendency to vacuum the romance out of the room whenever the timing seems sexy enough for a lip lock — e.g., skinny dipping in the Atlantic. If only she’d had the below first-kiss tips, she might’ve jumped in (face first) a lot sooner. Live, learn, make out.

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8 skinny-dipping tips for any inappropriately nude occasion

8 skinny-dipping tips for any inappropriately nude occasion

In my new book, Finding Mr. Brightside, the main characters (Juliette and Abram) find themselves having a scandalous skinny-dipping moment in the Atlantic ocean, oops. By no means am I personally endorsing such body-baring pastimes, but if you absolutely must show what your mama still considers to be hers, arm and leg yourself with the below tips first.

1. When the person(s) you’re near water with suggest skinny-dipping as an option, don’t act too excited — i.e., take off your clothes and jump in immediately — as this will make you look like "the slutty one of the group" even though it was someone else's skank suggestion. It’s best to make fun of their unoriginal idea first, but in a noncommittal way that lets them know you’re not a can’t-get-my-hair-wet blanket.

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How can leaf scoops save you hours on boring yard work?

How can leaf scoops save you hours on boring yard work?

What’s less exciting than raking leaves? Not much, but bagging them is pretty down there. Which is why this fall I invested in some stupid-looking (but surprisingly valuable!) leaf scoops. Should you follow in my scoopsteps? Maybe check out the below list of pros and cons first.

Leaf scoops pros: 

-Perfect for the self-frightened yard worker who can easily convince himself/herself that there’s a small anaconda or a brown recluse under every unturned anything.

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How not to plan your wedding in 7 easy steps

How not to plan your wedding in 7 easy steps

1. Before you do anything else, ask your friends and family how they think you should get married. Get as many opinions as possible—it’s always better to make highly personal decisions with the doubts of others swirling around inside your heads.

2. Hire a travel agent and pay them hundreds of dollars to tell you that your only viable destination-wedding option is an all-inclusive resort in Mexico that he/she directly profits from. You won’t regret it!

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Take 6 cold showers to become 20% tougher

Take 6 cold showers to become 20% tougher

I was 1 of approximately 4.2 people watching an episode of The Numbers Game the other day when the dorky host said it only takes 6 showers to become 20-something-percent physically tougher.  Immediately, my brain was like, “You could do that easily, Jay … NOT!” See how that ****head talks to me? Determined to prove it wrong, I grabbed a towel, headed for my newly remodeled master bath, and proceeded to ruin the experience of having had it remodeled in the first place.

Cold shower 1: After I stop hyperventilating, I focus on moving my arms and legs as much as possible, like a crazy person who intentionally takes cold showers might do. Eventually, the experience transforms from horrible to STILL HORRIBLE, but I manage to wash most, if not all, of my (hot) body parts while silently cursing myself. My testosterone skyrockets. It plummets back to normal once I get out of the shower and realize I’ve left soap in a variety of easy-to-reach places.

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6 cheap decorating ideas to make your house less embarrassing

6 cheap decorating ideas to make your house less embarrassing

1. Refresh your moldy shower curtain. Skip that $10k bathroom remodel and head to Target for a $10 shower curtain instead. Yes, you’ll still be stuck stepping into the same dank standard tub with golden shower head (no pun intended) every morning, but it’ll give your occasional houseguest something to admire while he/she makes your toilet gross.

2. Paint your fugly-colored walls. I get many-a-compliment from strange visitors about how much I’ve done to my house, all of which leave me wondering what I’m missing (aside from decorations). Are they seeing the same sparsely furnished rooms I am? Is that even possible when only 1 out of every 3 rooms has a working light fixture? Doesn’t matter — they’re admiring the new paint on the walls (with a fresh pair of eyes).

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9 tips for the next time you're pulled over for speeding

9 tips for the next time you're pulled over for speeding

Did your mother ever tell you not to speed? Mine did, especially on holiday weekends (more time for warnings). I listened. But according to the officer who pulled me over - quite possibly a rejected extra from 22 Jump Street - I was (allegedly) going 13 miles over on US Highway I-Should-Be-Able-To-Go-100-Because-There’s-Not-A-Car-In-Sight. Needless to say, I’m innocent.

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8 tips for posting your best selfie yet!

8 tips for posting your best selfie yet!

1. Position thyself far away from the lens as possible. Jesus, thank you, closer is not better when it comes to selfies. That being said, be careful that your freakishly long arm or too-green shirt doesn't overtake the true star of the show -- your face!

2. Pretend like you've been caught off guard (by yourself), and you're kind of reluctant to take a picture right now, yet you're trying to be a good sport about it.

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Things I can't manage to pick up around the house

Things I can't manage to pick up around the house
  • Item #1: Empty Amazon box. My rationale for not picking it up: I already have 6 of the same boxes shoved in my pantry, so I can't put it there. Plus, what if I sell something of questionable worth on eBay and need something to pack it in before I never get around to shipping it?
  • Item #2: Edited manuscript of new book (with assorted crumbs on top) that has since been re-edited. My rationale for not picking it up: Feels like one of those things I should keep in case I need to reference back to how much progress I've made in the past. Because that's really uplifting.
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How to play tennis inside your house

How to play tennis inside your house

Many people wouldn't classify tennis as a sport you can play, uh, with yourself, in the comfort of your own home, on the carpet. Well, I'm proving those haters wrong every day, albeit unnecessarily. How, you didn't ask? I'm proud to say one of the best features of my home is the ad-hoc "tennis wall" I've started hitting regulation tennis balls against with weirdly devoted regularity. Am I improving my game in the process? I'd certainly like to convince myself so. And you can, too.

Below are some tips for playing tennis in your house. Do try this at home:

Many people wouldn't classify tennis as a sport you can play, uh, with yourself, in the comfort of your own home, on the carpet. Well, I'm proving those haters wrong every day, albeit unnecessarily. How, you didn't ask? I'm proud to say one of the best features of my home is the ad-hoc "tennis wall" I've started hitting regulation tennis balls against with weirdly devoted regularity. Am I improving my game in the process? I'd certainly like to convince myself so. And you can, too.

Below are some tips for playing tennis in your house. Do try this at home:

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