Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Chelsea Handler Christmas

Hello! And Happy New Year!

I had a wonderful Holiday week in New York. More on that below. First I'd like to talk about the three fun books I read over my week in New York. This is, after all, a book blog.


I am a Chelsea Handler fan. For some reason during law school, I stopped watching her show (probably because I got really busy and serious, and there was no time for frivolity in my life - especially once I was on Law Review), but I have always enjoyed her writing.

Now that I've read all of her books (I read My Horizontal Life and Are you There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea quite awhile ago), as well as a book by Heather McDonald, I totally feel like I am friends with all of Chelsea's crew. I have a lot in common with all of them - I pee my pants occasionally when things are really funny. I also like margaritas and tropical vacations. So you see, I would fit right in.

However, I'm not quite sure I could handle all the shenanigans they get into. I am extremely gullible, and I would fall for every lie Chelsea would tell me. I am also a terrible liar, so I could never get revenge by playing practical jokes on anyone else. This is still part of my pitch for them to invite me to parties.

Anyways, I read the following three books last week (which is kind of a record for me), and I enjoyed each of them immensely - mostly because I didn't have to think; I could just laugh. And I did. To myself. On the couch while everyone else in the room thought I was a weirdo. Now that I think about it, that's not an uncommon occurrence.

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

By Chelsea Handler

I guess there's not a lot to say about this book of essays other than they are great if you're a fan of Chelsea. She's not afraid to tell you embarrassing stories for a laugh. But it's not the kind of shallow or minimal revealing that you normally expect from celebrities who write memoir-type books. She really does let the reader into her life, and she makes no apology for her behavior. She is who she is. And what she is is hilarious.

There are stories from her childhood - about her father, her sisters and brothers - and about a friend who introduced her to "the feeling." Just read it. There are stories about her friends and her ex and let me be honest: I don't think I could date her. As I stated above, I'm really gullible, and she pulled some serious crap on him. He must have had the patience of Job. But, she's hilarious and fun, so that probably balances things out.

But more than just the stories she tells, I love the way Chelsea writes (yeah, I can call her by her first name). Her use of language is good, and whenever you think you know where the sentence is going, you don't. She not only knows how to tell a story, she can actually write.

Of course, if you're looking for substance or for intellectuality, you won't find it. This is a fun book - the type you can read in an afternoon. But that doesn't mean it's not smart. Enjoy!

Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me

By Chelsea's Family, Friends and Other Victims

In case you didn't know this, Chelsea loves to tell lies for the sake of laughs, and nothing makes her laugh harder than seeing her friends miserable. Paradoxically, each writer in this book will tell you that Chelsea values honesty and truthfulness over all else. She will lie to you, mock you, torture you and make you extremely uncomfortable, but only if she truly cares about you. And once she's your friend, there's no one more loyal (while she's plotting against you, of course).

Each chapter in this book is written by a family member, friend, or co-worker that has suffered as a result of Chelsea Handler's lies. Of course there are great stories from her family - stuff she pulled on them, even when she was in grade school. There are funnier stories from her current set of friends - most of whom write for or work for her show in some other capacity.

Some of the contributors tell just one big, long, torturous story about how badly they were tricked by Chelsea. Others tell a series of little lies Chelsea's told. Sometimes Chelsea tells a lie and then forgets about it, without realizing how her lie tortures her victim.

Once you read this book, you will be grateful for your work environment. Or maybe not. Maybe you would rather work in a place where you can never leave your computer unlocked, where you absolutely can never trust anything a co-worker tells you, and where practical jokes are waiting around every corner.

Again, there's not a lot of intellectual stimulation to be found here, but it's a great book for an airplane or to read a chapter here and there in waiting rooms or during your lunch hour.

You'll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again

By Heather McDonald

I rather enjoyed Heather's chapter in the Lies Chelsea Told Me book, so I had high expectations for this book. Heather is a funny writer. She's also a funny girl. It's just that she's got a different writing style than Chelsea, that's not always quite as LOL funny.

The premise for this book is that Heather was a virgin until she was 27. In Hollywood! While trying to make it as a comic and a writer! This is the story of how she eventually lost her virginity and met the man of her dreams, who eventually became her husband. It's a modern day love story - with a lot of dry humping.

Heather's choices for the stories to tell about men she dated are great - all of the men are different, but none are total cliches, which I kind of expected. None are totally one-dimensional, and Heather is honest about her mistakes and her naivete. I was instantly hooked with the title of the first chapter: "Can't a Girl Dress Like a Hooker, Dance like a Stripper and Kiss Like a Porn Star and Still be a Nineteen-Year-Old Virgin?"

Her humor isn't as in-your-face as Chelsea, but sometimes I prefer things a little more subdued. This is another great book for an airplane or an afternoon at home with a cup of tea and box of cookies.

Alright, now we can move on to other stuff that happened over Christmas.

Christmas Break:

We flew in on Christmas Eve and went to dinner with Mike's mom and her boyfriend. It was delicious. Christmas Day we got up, had a delicious breakfast cooked by Mike's Aunts and opened gifts. I was full. Then all of Mike's family came over as well as some of our sister-in-law's family. We had a HUGE meal, and a ton of dessert. Then more gifts. Also, I kind of drank a lot of wine and some champagne. Therefore, I spent the day after Christmas with a big hangover. Luckily, I had books to get me through it.

I saw my friend Tara, and that was really fun - even though all we did was hang out at her house and make cupcakes. We also took a day and went into the city, and we even brought the baby. Afterwards, we had a nice dinner at Mike's Great Aunt's house. Mostly it was just a really great time, visiting with family. And eating.

I ate a literal ton of food. Ok, not a literal ton, since I only gained 6 pounds, but it felt like it. Do you like how I phrased that? "only gained 6 pounds." Like it's an accomplishment to gain less than 10 pounds on a trip to New York - especially over the holidays. But actually, it kind of is. So what? It's a new year, and with that comes new resolve to get healthier and stay that way.

To that end, Mike and his family (and me, of course) have started a blog together to track our weight loss attempt this year. It's a private blog - just for us, so there's no link here, but I wanted to tell you about the idea, because I am kind of excited about it. Participating in the challenge are Mike's two aunts, and his brother and wife. That's a total of 6 people. The challenge is simple: lose as much weight as possible and get healthy. For each pound lost, $10 is contributed to a communal pot. We pay for Mike's aunts' weight loss, they pay for Mike's brother and his wife's, who in turn pay for ours. That way everyone is accountable. At the end of the year, we'll use the money to go on a trip together, where we can all take pictures of our new bodies. I can't wait. I'll be keeping track of my progress here throughout the year too, so stay tuned.

We also spent a lot of time with our adorable little niece over our trip. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure, since I know you're dying to see them:

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