Review: Open Book | Jessica Simpson

I used to sing. Shut up, I did. I started with Tejano music then moved on to Freestyle music (it made a comeback in the 90s and you had to have zero talent). Then I opted for pop music because it appeared that that’s where the money was at. If Britney Spears could get a record deal, how hard could it be?

14-year-old me got to work. I had no mom-ager and no social media, but I did have the internet. I began signing up for toll-free numbers so I could record myself singing on them and then promote them on forums for people who wanted to be popstars (a very popular career choice at the time). I checked the numbers multiple times a day to see if anyone left messages of praise, which is really no different than the way social media works now. Just like my social media accounts, I had none.

I signed up for talent shows, with my most memorable performance being the one where I sang a Pink song and forgot the words the minute it started. I mailed letters, hand-written letters, to every record label I could find on my wonderful dial-up. Nothing. My last straw came when I began cold-calling record labels and the receptionist at Jive Records told me I needed to “buy a book on how to break into the music business” before hanging up on me.

That was it. At 14-years-old I was washed up and done. No record deals. No millions of fans. No mom-agers trying to act like my bestie. Nothing. Meanwhile, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears were stealing all of my applause. I swore off pop music then and there. What a stupid genre anyway. “I’m a genie in a bottle”? I didn’t know the writers for the Mickey Mouse Club were bound to the actors for life. That’s some price to pay for a Disney career. Pfft. Anyway, when Jessica Simpson came along she stood no chance with me. Don’t even ask me about her show Newlyweds; I watched The Osbournes.

Then, a shift. She got divorced. The woman who was forced to talk about her virginity ad nauseam was now exploring her way through Hollywood, at least according to the tabloids which I believed.

Finally, she’s cleared things up for us, years after I’d forgotten all about her “bad girl” time. I read Jessica Simpson’s memoir Open Book and I loved it. Here’s why.

First, she was pretty honest about her skank days as well as her marriage to Nick Lachey – the cute guy from the B-team boy band 98 Degrees. Honestly, that was all I wanted to know about. She. Spills, y’all. And not just about Nick. Tony Romo. Jerk John Mayer. Her alcohol addiction! It’s all in there! She talks about other stuff but let’s be honest, we want the tabloid stuff.

Here’s why you should read it: for years Jessica Simpson has been a laughing stock for everything from her intelligence to her weight, yet she’s happily married and owns a multi-billion dollar company that SHE BUILT. Hahaha LOL yeah, she’s a real joke ol’ Jessica Simpson is.

She’s been through it and actually has a great story to tell. Through it all, she’s remained committed to being herself, as well as finding herself when she got lost. Question her intelligence all you want, but the woman is always learning. I think you’ll enjoy her memoir.

Also, from this day forth I hereby declare it illegal to criticize her “mom jean” look. That look came back and now everyone looks terrible. Take it from me, you don’t see me in the tabloids.

Funerals Bring Out The Kid In Me

Age is nothing but a number. It’s such a cliché thing to say but it’s true. It has to be or the reality is I’m mentally aging in reverse. In fact, don’t even ask me how old I am. I’m relearning numbers.

Recently I attended a funeral that I was not prepared to attend. Not because of the sadness and what have you. I didn’t have anything to wear. I’ve succeeded in not having to dress like an adult for work but completely disregarded the fact that there might be non-work events that may require attire that is not in the form of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I can never get it right.

So, the day before the funeral I bought an outfit that included a pair of slacks that matched a blazer I had. Well, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve worn that blazer and in addition to it having shoulder pads, it had also shrunk to an unreasonable size. On top of that, it was really cold outside and my painted-on blazer wasn’t going to cut it so I wore my peacoat over it. I couldn’t put my arms down. Paired with my 5-inch heels that I also hadn’t worn in a couple of years, I was miserable. It only got better when we got to the church. We arrived 10 minutes before the service and the place was packed. So much so that we had to park across the highway from the church, and thus began this entire ordeal.

It was a good 5-minute hike uphill to the church and by the time we got to the top I was really regretting my outfit choice. I spent the next 1.5 hours hating life, which is admittedly a pretty selfish thing to feel at a funeral. But I couldn’t help it. I felt like I couldn’t move, which is also a selfish thing to be annoyed about at a funeral. To compliment my poor outfit choice, I made a bad hair choice: I wore it down. Every time I had to move it out of my face I had to lower my head because my arm wouldn’t bend past a 45-degree angle. I looked like a mannequin.

The uncomfortableness, by the way, spilled over into conversation. Because we’d gotten there right before the service started (and apparently everyone else had camped out) there was nowhere to sit. So we ended up in a lovely standing spot next to my husband’s friend and his more comfortable looking wife. I like this better-dressed-than-me wife but it’s hard to have a conversation with her because we have nothing in common, obviously. Nevertheless, I tried. Recently I decided to go alcohol-free from Jan. 1st to April 1st so I thought I’d ask her about her break from alcohol. The conversation was going great until I told her I was doing this strictly for vanity purposes. No other reason – not my health, not my family. I want to be able to feel comfortable and move all of my limbs freely in my clothing. Also, sucking in my stomach is starting to hurt. She raised her eyebrows and said “oh”, then turned around and that was the end of that conversation. Whatever.

The bummer about the end of that conversation was that my attention was redirected to my feet. I hadn’t worn heels in a long time and after walking up a mountain and standing for nearly 20 minutes, my dogs were barking. I tried leaning against a wall but that only worked for a few seconds. At one point my husband asked me if I wanted him to get me a chair and like a modest idiot, I told him I was fine. I looked over at a woman across from me – who was comfortably sitting in a chair – to see what page in the service pamphlet we were on. There were still 3 fucking pages to go. I was not fine.

Then, as though I was being tested by Jesus or blessed by Satan, an older woman (adjacent to me) got up from her chair. “She has 10 minutes”, I thought to myself. At approximately 10 minutes and zero seconds, I sat in her chair, confidently. Zero regrets. Look, she had a cane to hold her up and I didn’t, OK?

Sitting didn’t matter though. It only made my blazer tighter. As people cried during the eulogies, I focused on not tearing through my blazer like the Incredible Hulk.

Eventually, the service ended and after half-hugging the family (because I was too scared to bend my arms too much) we made the 5-minute trek back to the car. BTW, not one person offered us a ride to our truck even though I looked like I had just learned how to walk. That was probably my karma for stealing that chair so I guess we’re even.

So there you go. My proof that age is nothing but a number. I may never learn how to be a real adult but I have learned what to do when life hands you a tight-ass blazer: you work your way through it until you can take it off and move again.

LOL JK the moral of the story is: wear shit that you feel comfortable in, settings are irrelevant. You do you. The end.

The Typical Jenn Experiment

Did you know there are perks to working a job you hate? There are very few of them, mind, and some people may think of them as “reasons to not set the boss’s car on fire” as opposed to “perks”, but they do exist. One is a paycheck. Another, for me at least, is sometimes a client of mine will host an event that buys them another 3 months before I start flipping desks.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of doing marketing for their first big comedy show. Their special guest? Jamie Kennedy. Some of you may remember him as the nice guy from Scream or as B-Rad from Malibu’s Most Wanted. Some of you may remember him from his show, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment. Some of you may have no idea who I’m talking about. If that’s you – congratulations – you’re basically 90% of the people who saw my advertising. To be fair, I didn’t even know he did stand-up comedy which I think technically puts me right up there in that 90%.

The turnout was less than ideal, which was a shame because he was actually very, very funny. I can’t speak for everyone but I was surprised, primarily because when I was looking for clips of his stand-up to promote his show, I couldn’t find anything that even slightly made me giggle. Leading up to the show I thought we were screwed. On top of that, I’m in a pretty conservative town so images of people getting pretend offended were constantly swirling around in my head. Well, I was wrong.. kind of.

From beginning to end, his show was hilarious but, more importantly than that, it served as an odd source of inspiration for me and my writing. One of the first jokes he made was about the low turnout; he ended the joke by asking “who did the marketing for this?”

Yeah, that would be me who did the marketing.

I laughed so hard because you know what? When you’re right, you’re right. I probably could’ve done a better job promoting the show but I didn’t because the fact is, I’m not good at marketing. I don’t even like it. I got into marketing because I didn’t know I could make a career out of writing this kind of stuff and I wasn’t sure what else to do. (BTW, I still haven’t figured out how to make a living with my writing so it turns out I’m also bad at making progress.) Marketing is what I do to pay the bills but I know I’m just not very good at it. I can’t even properly market my blog. It’s true. Look at my follower count, I’ll wait….. Yeah, and this blog has been up since 2015.

Anyway, Jamie Kennedy’s comment made me realize that I need to be more aggressive about figuring this out because there are plenty more “who did the marketing for this?” where that came from. That’s a bleak future.

The laughter continued, and just when I thought “hey, there hasn’t been one ‘boo’ yet, this is great!”, Jamie Kennedy made the mistake that every comedian makes: he made a joke that offended someone. “Here it goes”, I thought.

Of course, I’m being sarcastic. Jamie didn’t make a mistake. He was doing what we paid him to do: tell jokes. And watching him explain to this heckler that everything he was saying was a joke and reminding her that she was at a comedy show was a fucking downer. He shouldn’t have had to do that. Luckily, her bullshit didn’t ruin the show; he even got a standing ovation when it was over.

I could debate about situations like this all day but that’s not the point of this post. The point is, I wrestle with posting some of the things I write about all the time, and it’s a bit of a problem. I’ve refrained from sharing some of my stories because I worry about how they’ll be perceived, even though I actually put a lot of thought into what I write. I was even hesitant about writing this.

Then I heard Jamie Kennedy asking “who did the marketing for this?” and I thought, fuck it. If I’m going to figure this out there’s only one way to do it, and that’s to write.

Not every story I share will be great, I know that, but I’d rather put them out there than risk the possibility of losing any opportunity to do what I’ve set out to do: make you laugh. Because in a time where everything seems to be going from worse to horrendous, I think we can all agree that laughter is one of the bright spots. So I hope you’re ready to read about my fucking TERRIFYING trip to Jamaica because that story and more are coming. And who knows, maybe I had nothing to worry about in the first place. It’s not like I’m attracting hundreds of thousands of readers. I do my own marketing after all.