Holy Crap This Thing Is Aweseome #4: My Writing Group Has a Book Now!

Hey blog followers!! BIG NEWS!!!

For the first time ever you can now purchase a thing in which my writing is printed and stuff!!! WHAT?!

It’s just two short little essays from me, but this is exciting because when I first moved to Stars Hollow, I was invited to join a very special group of writers who are all far more talented than I am, but they think I’m funny and they always give me great advice, so I’m keeping quiet about the fact that I totally don’t deserve to be in their presence. Seriously. This group has been meeting for over 30 years and has seen many writers come and go, but one thing is for sure: the level of talent here is baffling. To say that I’m honored to be a part of this is the understatement of my year.

Anyway, so we all decided to pool our money and put together an anthology of our work: nonamebookcover

Oh, how pretty… I love it.

And you can buy it from our local bookshop (to whom the collection is dedicated), The Hickory Stick Bookshop, by either clicking on the image or by clicking right here. Whichever you choose.

And I sincerely hope that you do buy it, not for the sake of reading my stuff, but for the sake of exposing yourself to the ridiculous amount of beauty that is everyone else’s work. Seriously. You will be baffled when you read it and you’ll want to read so much more.

Oh! Also, if you’re interested, we’re having a reading and a signing at The Hickory Stick Bookshop on Sunday, December 4th at 3pm! There will be refreshments and everything!

This is big, you guys. This feels good.

*This is an installment of the Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome series in which I pick one thing that I am loving right now and I tell you all about it because I want more people to be aware of the existence of that person or thing. I do not get paid for these and I pick them purely based on my own interest in them. 

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The Great British Rollercoaster of Emotions

Fiancé was out of town this past weekend, and I actually did pretty okay. I managed to make food for myself and everything, so I was feeling super successful.

But then I got hit with the blues. I was sitting all alone in the house and feeling really sad because, you know, why not, right? So I decided to watch the Great British Baking Show because that show can only cheer people up. Seriously, the worst thing that ever happens is that someone’s ice cream gets taken out of a freezer too soon – AND THEN THEY ALL HELP EACH OTHER FIX IT BECAUSE BAKING MAKES YOU LOVE EVERYONE. (This is not a reference to being high, although that might also be true. I’m not sure.) Seriously, this is a competition show, but they’re all so nice to each other and then they eat cake. How could you possibly be upset by this? There’s not even any money at stake! It’s prize is just being called the best baker. I love it.

Anyway, I was all ready to cue up the only season that was available on Netflix when I discovered that IT WAS GONE. When did this happen? Why did it happen? WHAT THE F, NETFLIX? WHERE IS MY SOURCE OF JOY???

My sank deeper into my couch and my depression.

But then I found the PBS app on apple tv… and lo and behold THREE SEASONS WERE THERE. VICTORY WAS MINE.

Me: FIANCÉ.

Me: I HAVE ALL THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW

Me: ALL OF IT

Fiancé: How?

Me: I activated the PBS app on apple tv

Me: WHICH IS FREE.

Fiancé: O

Fiancé: M

Fiancé: G

Me: YEAH.

Me: ALL THREE SEASONS.

Me:ALL THREE

Fiancé: Don’t forget to go to work tomorrow.

Me: Boooooo.Why would you bring that up at a time like this?

And then the worst thing ever happened: They weren’t free, you guys. The PBS app had lulled me into a false sense of security. IT TRICKED ME.

Me: SON OF A BITCH I HAVE TO PAY FOR THESE EPISODES. I knew it was too good to be true…

Me: ….Can we donate $5 a month to PBS?

Fiancé: Can we write it off on our taxes?

Me: Yes. (It should be noted that I did absolutely zero looking into that fact. For all I know, this was not a tax-deductable thing, but at that moment, nothing was going to stop me. Oh, and upon further research, yes, it turns out that we can. I think. I don’t really know how that stuff works.) And I can watch GBBO, which means I can stop texting you and bothering you while you’re hanging out with your friends.

Fiancé: Sure.

See, friends, it’s all about making offers they simply cannot refuse.

via GIPHY

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I love you.

fullsizerender

I let myself be sad and angry yesterday. I let myself cry at work and sink into a deep depression. I let myself sigh heavily and shuffle about in a daze. And I let myself get scared.

I gave myself one day.

But I’m not giving into that.

I have grown up believing that good conquers evil and that Love conquers all things, and it’s easy to lose hope in that sometimes and to believe that everything is terrible and that I should start hating and stop loving some people, but that’s how things get broken. And that’s how things stay broken.

Nothing was ever fixed with hatred. Things are fixed through love and understanding, and it’s usually not easy to love when things are badly broken.

But today, I want you know that I love you. If you’re feeling scared and alone, I love you. If you, like me, are worried about your rights and the rights of those you care about, I love you. Even if you voted for him, I love you.

Today I’m committing myself to loving more fiercely than ever before. I will smile in the face of anger and I am going to live a more intentionally loving and kind life.

This means having tougher, but kinder conversations. This means trying to gain understanding instead of shouting about how right I am. This means admitting that I’m wrong sometimes. This means choosing to not pick a side until I’ve done more research and it means knowing an accepting that not every person on each side is the same. This means standing up for what I believe in, not matter the cost.

Yesterday I was scared and I was sad and I was angry.

Today and tomorrow and every day after that, I’m choosing love instead.

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Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome #3: Stress and Joy with Sabrina

Earlier today, after wrapping up my NaNoWriMo word count for the day, I rewarded myself with some time to catch up on some of my favorite YouTubers.

If you watch the vlogbrothers channel, you know that Hank just had a baby and is on paternity leave (yay fatherhood!), so on Fridays, his usual videos are being taken over by the lovely Sabrina from Nerdy and Quirky, and her debut video in this slot was AMAZING.

I’ll let you take a moment and watch it right now. In fact, I’ll join you.

 

I love everything about this.

Yes, stress can be a bad thing, but… what I love about Sabrina’s point is that stress, like fat, comes in good and bad forms.

I am the type of person who performs well when time is of the essence. For example, I’ve set a goal for myself to write a blog post every Friday, and I’m holding myself to that goal while also trying to attempt NaNoWriMo, while still working a full time job, and working with teens twice a month for a few hours at a time and planning a wedding and saving up to buy a house (or maybe build one) and taking care of a really smart and active dog and reading more and trying to also spread joy and happiness and good vibes in one of the undoubtedly negative periods of our country’s recent history. And then there are all the shows on Netflix to catch up on. It’s exhausting.

But Sabrina made me realize that if I was doing none of these things, if I was just sitting around and drinking coffee and working on nothing, I would feel no reward. I would get none of the joy that blogging and noveling and bookselling and the wedding planning and everything else brings me.

Good things take work to create, but it’s good work. It’s fulfilling work — and when you’ve worked really hard to get something good, that thing feels so much better.

I’m so glad that I watched this video today and was reminded that some forms of stress are worth having. They are the fires under our asses to get us moving towards the joy in our lives.

So the next time that you’re sitting at your desk, wanting to tear your hair out because STUFF ISN’T HOW YOU WANT IT RIGHT NOW, just take a moment and remind yourself why you sat down there in the first place and try to smile even though your blood pressure is rising. Think about what it is you’re working towards and why this will all be so worth it.

And remember, you can do it. I believe in you.

Speaking of which, what are you working on that’s a source of good stress in your life? Tell me about your happy projects in the comments and let’s support each other through it all!

Spread joy, everyone.

*This is an installment of the Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome series in which I pick one thing that I am loving right now and I tell you all about it because I want more people to be aware of the existence of that person or thing. I do not get paid for these and I pick them purely based on my own interest in them. 

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Love from a Local at the Gilmore Girls Fan Fest

Holy cow, everybody, I just lived a dream.

As some of you may recall, I live in the real Stars Hollow – as in the town that is the inspiration for the setting of Gilmore Girls.

As most of you probably know, this town played host to 1500 fans of the show for the Gilmore Girls Fan Festival and OH MY GOSH IT WAS AMAZING.

By now, you can google a bunch of articles detailing the entire weekend’s agenda and noteworthy moments, but now that the weekend is over and our town has gone back to normal, I want to tell you what the biggest thing was for many of us locals:

Everyone was SO. FREAKING. NICE. The weather was cold and gross and rainy (very un-Stars Hollow), but every person was smiling and appreciative. Every customer I helped was happy to be there and kept thanking me and other locals for opening up our town to them. Everyone was there to have a good time and they didn’t let crummy weather or long lines get in the way of that.

1,500 people. And all of them were lovely. Every. Single. One.

So I just want to say thank you to every attendee, every volunteer, every cast member, every crew member, every festival staff member. All of you. The town cannot stop talking about much we loved having you here, and many of us genuinely missed you all on Monday morning. You lit up our town and for one weekend, things here felt like they were on a new level of magic. So, thank you, thank you, thank you.

And now… back to reality.

 

via GIPHY

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Growing up does not have to be boring.

I am an adult, for all intents and purposes. Legally, I’m considered an adult by age alone. I can fight for our country if I want to. I can drink. I make responsible financial decisions and I’m responsible for the life of another being. People depend on me for things.

But I’m also still really into having fun. Fiancé and I play videogames and board games. I read children’s books and young adult books and sci-fi and all sorts of stuff like that. I buy nerdy t-shirts and think cartoons are great.

Basically, I still indulge in what some would call “childish” things. In fact, I don’t just indulge in these things, but I’m openly enthusiastic about them. These are not closet hobbies. These are part of my character.

And whenever these things come up around certain people, I get these… looks. Sometimes they are looks that say, “You’re such an adorable human being for your childish ways,” and sometimes they say, “Okay, but seriously. When is this going to stop? When are you going to grow up already?”

And the answer to that second one is this: I already have and I constantly am.

My childlike (there is a difference, by the way, between “childish” and “childlike” and I prefer the latter) ways are things that I don’t want to lose. They are the qualities that I like best about myself.

And even if you think I am just a kid in an adult’s body, what is so wrong with taking a page out of their book? Kids are happy (for the most part) and they’re honest. Kids are open to new ideas and they are imaginative. Kids have fun. Who ever decided that we ought to stop doing that just because a few years have passed?

So yeah, I’m growing up, but I’m still making life a fun game for myself. Cleaning the house? It’s a game. I earn points. Paying taxes? My friends and I get together for a tax party and get through it as a group with fun music and alcohol (which is not for children). Voting? If we are able, We make it a group event and we celebrate afterwards.

Because life should be fun, no matter how old you are. Fun shouldn’t be a special occasion, it should be a constant priority, and advancing in age shouldn’t mean decreasing the amount of fun you have. In fact, it should be quite the opposite. Your job should be fun. Your friends should be fun. Your relationships should be fun.

And you know what? You’re an adult. You get to decide whatever  you want to do with your life, right? So why wouldn’t you choose fun?

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Holy Crap This Thing Is Awesome #2: The Dirty 30 Movie, etc.

So Fiancé and I were pretty darn stoked when we found out that our favorite YouTubing trio, Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig, and Mamrie Hart were coming out with a full-length, studio-produced, fully legitimate movie, Dirty 30.

 

But we were also a little nervous.

What if the movie wasn’t good? What if the rest of the world just thought it was just a sad attempt at trying to be “real” performers? If it didn’t go well, it would be a small form of proof that millennials are, after all, just idiots who are pretending to do real stuff, right?

But oh my gosh, you guys: This movie was fantastic. It was so good. It was funny, it was well written, the quality of the production was amazing, and the acting was great! We freaking loved it – and not just because we wanted to. The movie ended and we were relieved. And then we watched the special features and Hannah said something that was really awesome:

“When you run your own channel and make all your own content, you wear all the hats, you know, and you’re trying to make sure that lighting is right and that sound is right, and you’re writing and you’re editing in your head while you’re performing, and it’s this… this beast. When I came to set the very first time for the first film that we did together, I almost felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I wanted to help rig something…” -Hannah Hart

This hit me in a weird way, because I feel like it’s the exact thing that everyone who craps all over the millennial generation needs to hear.

Let’s take a quick moment here to define a millennial: A millennial is someone who was born between 1981 and 1997. So… at the time of writing this, millennials are anywhere between the ages of 19 and 35. I don’t know how many people actually know that. So… there it is. Millennials are adults. We’re not just starting to enter the workforce. Many of us are already in it.

And there is a stereotype that millennials are vapid, selfie-centered jerks who don’t want to work hard or put in the effort to get what they want.

But that’s just not true. Sure, there are members of my generation who are that way, but you know what? There are crappy people in every generation – and there are amazing people from those generations, too. We’re all just human beings.

And in a small, but cool way, this movie proves that the millennial generation is so much more than the general public likes to say we are. Yes, I do realize that it is a silly comedy movie. I don’t think it’s a world-changing documentary or anything, but can we just take a minute to recognize how much work goes into making a freaking movie? A lot. And I could go into a lengthy post about the importance of “silly comedy,” but that’s a post for another time, I think.

This film was written and produced by Mamrie Hart. She worked really, really hard, and gathered together a group of YouTubers who were dedicated to making this project great. Why? Because they have all had to generate their own success. Grace Helbig had to go out on her own and start making her own content in order to get to where she is. Hannah Hart has created a community of loving ad caring viewers who get out in the world and make a difference. If you don’t believe me, do your research. Start watching them and paying attention.

Fiancé and I have been long-time viewers of these creative women in our generation and we could not be prouder of them right now. They’ve looked at the world and said “You’re wonderful, but we’re going to shake things up a bit and do things our own way,” and it has worked for them. I’m really glad that they represent our silly, weird, instagramming generation in a spectacular way.

So go rent or buy Dirty 30 on iTunes. Go check out the stars’ YouTube channels (links below) and following them on social media if you don’t already. Because holy crap, you guys, they are just so awesome.

Links:

The Dirty 30 Movie: http://dirtythirtymovie.com/

Mamrie Hart’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/YouDeserveADrink

Grace Helbig’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/graciehinabox

Hannah Hart’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/MyHarto

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When I Said Yes, I Learned to Say No.

Getting married is often seen as a sign of adulthood. I don’t think it’s a universal rule, but I don’t think that it can be argued that marriage is a thing for children. So, when I got engaged I expected to learn a lot of things, but learning to say no wasn’t one of them.

I’ve never been good at saying no to people. I am at my very core a people-pleaser. If someone is sad, I want to cheer them up. If someone is angry, I want to fix it. If I am the cause of any negative feelings, I have a tendency to spiral into a deep hole of self-loathing. After all, my whole internet (and “real world”) presence is all about how you are awesome and I am foolish and while we are all a little foolish, we need to learn to embrace it and learn to love ourselves. Together.

So for me to say no to people is… rare. And painful.

But now I have a lot of people and businesses offering to do things for me. And I have a lot of people telling Fiancé and I what our wedding should and should not be like and how things are done and why we shouldn’t do them differently.

And I’ve had to say no. For the sake of saving our sanity and having the wedding that we want.

“No, we do not want passed hors d’oeuvres.” (but yes, I will always google how to spell that word)

“No, our wedding party will not be a traditional one.”

“No, we will not be doing <insert traditional, but gross ceremonial thing here> because it doesn’t jive with who we are.”

“I understand that you’re nice and just trying to run a business, but no, I will not be paying that much for flowers.”

These are all things that used to terrify me. I’m the girl who goes to a flea market and bargains to pay more for something. If I’m being taken advantage of, that’s bad karma for them, right?

Wrong.

And I always used to think that I could avoid saying no by disguising it with a yes, but that doesn’t work here. Sometimes, especially when planning a wedding, you have to say “No.”

And the other tricky part? Not apologizing for it.

The guilt I feel over turning people down is staggering, but I’m also learning that it’s a little egocentric. Obviously, I will always take other’s feelings into account (or I’ll try to), but it turns out that everyone’s success doesn’t rely on me. It turns out that saying no to some people is actually helpful in weird ways. It feels terrible to say it, and I will be far from bitchy about it (or, again, I’ll try), but I don’t need to beg for their forgiveness over it.

And all of this is because I’m learning something bigger: Our dreams and what we want is worth fighting for.

Fiancé and I have built what we feel is a beautiful dream for our wedding day. We reserve the right to stick to those plans even if they make others confused or ask questions. If we find vendors who won’t do what we want, we’ve learned that there are vendors and people who will, and saying no to one means saying yes to another. We can’t hire everyone and we can’t make everyone happy, but what we can do is celebrate our love the way that we want to with the people that we want to and hope that everyone has a blast in the process.

So, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to say no to people when it comes to standing up for what you want and who you are. Be kind about it and be gentle (we are, after all, all human beings), but if you are also a person who hates saying no, give it a shot. Pick your moments, of course (so maybe don’t start with your boss), but find someone, who you are constantly just saying yes to in order to avoid confrontation (roommate? sibling? friend?) and say “You know what, that’s not what I want. Can we do something different?”

Chances are, they might say yes.

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23 things to make you smile. Right now.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve been making more of an effort to spread cheer and optimism over there. I don’t really know what started this, but for some reason lately, I’ve been trying to broadcast happiness on a grand scale. Maybe it’s because the headlines lately have been exhaustingly sad and rageful. Or maybe it’s just because I like happy things and I honestly don’t think the world can have enough happiness. Either way, yesterday, I asked people on twitter to only tweet about the good stuff happening and using the hashtag, #HappyTweets. Now, I’m not a person with a ton of followers, so this didn’t take off quite as much as I’d hoped it would, but that’s okay. I still managed to tweet happy things, and I’m going to keep this going, even here on the blog.

So… in the event that you just need a reason to smile, here is a list of things to be happy about in spite of what the news tells us:

  1. Puppies. I tweeted about this yesterday, but how incredible is it that we live on a planet on which puppies exist? Puppies, possibly the cutest things ever, happen all the time. They’re just all around. And then, on top of them being cute, THEY LOVE EVERYONE. Have you ever met a puppy that didn’t want to snuggle or play? Many books have been written on the love that dogs give us, but I think puppies deserve an extra boost right now because we are so lucky to live in the same universe as them. Just soak that incredible fact in.
  2. Artists. Okay, so I’m also floored by just how amazing it is that we are living at a time when people like Jenny Lawson, Hank Green, J.K. Rowling, Hannah Hart, Ben Folds, Rainbow Rowell, etc. all create stuff that we get to enjoy and learn from. Every day, there are amazing artists of all types creating things that we just get to sit down and be like “THIS IS A THING I ENJOY” and then we get to walk away feeling inspired by those people and things they do. Especially now. Now we are in a time when content is just constantly available to us – and often for free. This brings me to the next thing…
  3. The Internet. Okay, I know: The Internet can be full of terrible people, but you know what? It’s also full of amazing people and amazing communities. Before the Internet, the only people available to you were just the ones physically surrounding you. If they weren’t into the same stuff you were, that was just the pits. Now? Now you get to go online and log onto some forum or social media account and say “HEY, I’M REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT FAKE LIZARDS MADE OF SAND AND WAX.” and someone else could be like, “OH MY GOD, ME TOO!!” and now you have a new friend who is in a totally different country. The Internet is an amazing place for people in search of community and friendships. I met the love of my life because of the Internet. I’m able to write and have a small group of readers because of the Internet. I’m currently listening to music because of the Internet. All the jerks out there? They are nothing in comparison to the awesomeness that I find on the Internet.
  4. Books. THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES OUT THERE TO READ. FAIRY TALES AND REALISTIC FICTION AND MURDER MYSTERIES AND SCI-FI AND HISTORY. IT’S ALL OUT THERE JUST WAITING FOR YOU. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
  5. Flowers growing through cracks in the sidewalk. This doesn’t need any explanation. Tiny, delicate, beautiful things emerge and break through the toughest of materials. As cliche as it is, this metaphor is wonderful and we should all remind ourselves of it daily.
  6. Music. No matter your taste, music is out there for you to fall in love to and with. Perfectly timed melodies and beautiful lyrics come to us in all sorts of ways and we get to apply them to moments in our lives as though someone is building a soundtrack for us. I just love it.
  7. Coffee. 
  8. Your ideal weather. For me it’s 77 degrees and immediately following rain. I love rain, too, now that I’m thinking about it. Sure, weather can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but when it’s also kind of amazing. Just picture your perfect day, weather-wise.
  9. Details in architecture. This one comes from my bestbian, Leah. She loves walking around the city with her headphones in and just looking at buildings and trying to notice their unique details. She’s the best.
  10. Having a best friend. Many of us can think of our best friend(s). That person is someone who we can call whenever and just vent to. Best friends are the people who like you anyway. They’re the best.
  11. Riding trains. I’m sure many of us have different feelings about train travel, but there is something so very classic and, as Leah puts it, “British” about the experience. She and I love British things, so this is in our happy column.
  12. Good television. We are in an age of amazing television right now. Shows that are beautifully written and make us think. This is awesome. I, personally, love great dialogue. Great dialogue is great.
  13. Crawling into a made bed at the end of the day. Oh man, is there anything more relaxing?
  14. Wearing an outfit that you know you look really, really good in. Admit it. You know what outfit this is and it is the thing you feel best about yourself in. Because you are really ridiculously good looking in it and you can do anything in that outfit.
  15. Pajamas. Duh.
  16. Making other people smile. 
  17. Rivers, lakes, and oceans. Bodies of water always seem to make me happy. I don’t know why, but they’re lovely. I’ve always really liked that line from Pocahontas where she says “my favorite thing about rivers is that you can’t step in the same river twice.” That has always made me smile.
  18. I know I said puppies already, but let’s just give a shout out to all baby animals. Baby animals are just the best.
  19. Hugs. Good hugs are great. Even if you’re not a hugger, somewhere out there is a hug that you love. I believe in that.
  20. When everything is where it should be. I personally hate cleaning, but I love when everything is clean, so I force myself to go through the grueling process of getting it there because I know the reward is worth it.
  21. Checking off everything on your to-do list. I rarely get to do this every day, but man isn’t it awesome when it does happen? Yes. Yes it is.
  22. Live shows. In an age of digital everything, there is something even more amazing now about seeing something live. Last night, Fiance and I were lucky enough to see Ben Folds in concert and I’m still on Cloud 9.
  23. Love. This will be my last one, because ultimately, it is the most wonderful thing in the world and it is everywhere. Sometimes we struggle to see it clearly, but at the end of the day, when you’re feeling really crappy, I think it’s nice to remember that love is out there. Even if you’re not feeling it, I think it’s nice to know that it’s there. It’s nice to think about what you love and who loves you in spite of yourself. I think it’s nice to love yourself. It’s nice to remember that there is a puppy out there who will love you. Love, as a noun and a verb, is something that constantly amazes me. The fact that we are able to love and feel loved is something truly remarkable. Random acts of kindness are random acts of love and if you really sit back and think about it, isn’t that just the most lovely thing of all? I think it is.

So that’s my list as of this very moment. It’s incomplete and constantly changing and being added to, but I invite you to write about what makes you happy in the comments. Tweet at me with happy things using #HappyTweets. Don’t let the crappy headlines win. Flood the world with joy whenever possible.

Ready? Go.

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Because I love her and she is amazing.

My best friend — my bestie, my bestbian, my maid of honor, my hero, etc. — is starting her first real lawyer job tomorrow.

via GIPHY

But wait. It gets better. She is not about to be one of those lawyers that everyone glares at because they’re evil or whatever. No. She’s gonna be one of those lawyers who actually makes lives better.

“What is she doing?”

Good question.

My bestbian is going to be working for a law firm that defends sexual assault victims. She’ll be doing legal research to help win cases against sexual abusers. SHE IS ON THE LIFE-SAVING TEAM, YOU GUYS. SHE IS BASICALLY A SUPERHERO NOW.

So, she starts on Monday and she is so excited and so terrified. This is her first real job after law school and it is undoubtedly going to not be filled with joy and wonder all of the time, but she gets to go home at the end of the day and say “Today I played a part in making someone’s life better,” and that is amazing and she is amazing and I am so full of love and adoration for this person who has been the Tina Fey to my Amy Poehler for the past ten years. She is my soul mate and I am in awe of her every single day.

So, will you all please just tweet at her and tell her how amazing she is and how incredible she will be at this job? She’s nervous. Because she cares. She cares so much and she is the best person for this job and I am so unbelievable proud of her. So here is her twitter handle: @MsLBrady

Flood her phone with messages of love and joy and inspiration! Go forth and virtually high-five her!

I love you, Bestbian.

 

via GIPHY

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