Jen Lancaster

My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being a Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or a Culture-Up Manifesto By: Jen Lancaster

My-Fair-Lazy-Jen-Lancaster

My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being a Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or a Culture-Up Manifesto By: Jen Lancaster

Synopsis:

Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces. In Jen’s corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing’s for certain: Eliza Doolittle’s got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure is an option.

Review:

It took me a while to get into My Fair Lazy, I read The Tao of Marth fairly recently so it was difficult to get back into reading another memoir by the same person, but once I did I really enjoyed it. I got to see how much Lancaster has changed since she first started writing. This book was published in 2010 but feels like it’s older, possibly because she hadn’t yet moved to the big house in the suburbs.

Lancaster makes me want to be a better person. Not like give to charity or volunteer, but make myself better by expanding my knowledge and trying new things. While reading this I made a mental note to really tackle my non-fiction backlog and learn something new, maybe even become an expert in something.

Recently I found an old document with goals written four years ago. I felt smug when I opened it because surely I’d get to cross something off and—I didn’t. I felt deflated and couldn’t help asking what was I doing with my life? The things on the list weren’t all difficult and were things I still want to do, so why am I not doing them?

Anyway, I really enjoyed My Fair Lazy and I could relate more to his Jen than the one from Tao of Martha. The only other memoir by Lancaster I have yet to read is Jeneration X and for obvious reasons I’m not in a rush to read it.

4/5

The Tao of Martha: My Year LIVING; Or, Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog By: Jen Lancaster

The Tao of Martha

The Tao of Martha: My Year LIVING; Or, Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog By: Jen Lancaster

Synopsis:

One would think that with Jen Lancaster’s impressive list of bestselling self-improvement memoirs—Bitter Is the New Black; Bright Lights, Big Ass; Such a Pretty Fat; Pretty in Plaid; My Fair Lazy; and Jeneration X—that she would have it all together by now. One would be wrong. Jen’s still a little rough around the edges. Suffice it to say, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that is exactly why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade. By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen will embark on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to craft making, from party planning to kitchen prep. Maybe Jen can go four days without giving herself food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage….Maybe she can grow closer to her girlfriends by taking up their boring-ass hobbies like knitting and sewing.…Maybe she can finally rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips.… Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than just getting drunk in the pool with her husband….again. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and artfully displayed charcuterie platters. Or maybe not.

Review:

Jen is at a point in her life where if I try and compare myself to her or put myself in her shoes I feel like my life is lacking. I’m twenty-nine it’s completely normal for me not to have the nice brick house in the suburbs or the dinner parties or all the other little superpowers she has. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that though.

It’s like when you get your first “real” job and you’re out of your parents house and you can’t understand why you still have a dinky bed while your parents have a nice bedroom suit. So you either accumulate a huge amount of debt or hoard money like it’s precious and don’t live your life. I’m in the middle (right now closer to the debt part, babies are expensive and I spend too much time on entertainment to have any real skills).

Anyway, this book made me want to get all crafty. She almost had me wanting to throw dinner parties, but it takes a lot more to get me to forget how awkward and horrible a host I am.

I actually started to wonder why I don’t do more craft projects. I’ve certainly got enough ideas pinned and I’m not a complete newb, I’ve crocheted stuff, and baked stuff, and painted stuff. I could totally get all crafty.

Then I remember the two year old permanently attached to my hip that doesn’t let me do anything fun without wanting to try it herself. It’s like I’m the most amazing thing in her world and if I’m doing it she has to do it because it must be the coolest things ever. It’s hard being someone’s world.

Since crafts are put on hold for a few more years I thought, well I could decorate the house for Christmas. I went so far as to image surprising my husband with a completely decorated house when he comes home from work and that’s where the fantasy ended. My husband is a perfectionist when it comes to Christmas decorations and anything I did he would have to go back around and fix. It’s annoying and totally defeats the purpose of me decorating the house.

Sorry for the rabbit trail, however, it does convey nicely what reading a Jen Lancaster book is like, to an extent. Liked the book, made me want to be crafty. Cried when Maisy died and I’m not even one of those animal loving weird-o’s. (I feel like I need to clarify that I was being sarcastic with this line)

4/5

I Regret Nothing By: Jen Lancaster

 

I Regret Nothing

I Regret Nothing By: Jen Lancaster

Synopsis:

Sure Jen has made mistakes. She spent all her money from a high-paying job on shoes, clothes, and spa treatments. She then carried a Prada bag to the unemployment office. She wrote a whole memoir about dieting…but didn’t lose weight. She embarked on a quest for cultural enlightenment that only cemented her love for John Hughes movies and Kraft American Singles. She tried to embrace everything Martha Stewart, while living with a menagerie of rescue cats and dogs. (Glitter…everywhere.) Mistakes are one thing; regrets are another. After a girls’ weekend in Savannah makes her realize that she is—yikes!—middle-aged (binge watching is so the new binge drinking), Jen decides to make a bucket list and seize the day, even if that means having her tattoo removed at one hundred times the cost of putting it on. From attempting a juice cleanse to studying Italian, from learning to ride a bike to starting a new business, and from sampling pasta in Rome to training for a 5K, Jen is turning a mid-life crisis into a mid-life opportunity, sharing her sometimes bumpy—but always hilarious—attempts to better her life…again.

Review:

I was excited to read this book, not just because it’s the first Goodreads giveaway I’ve won, but because I like Jen Lancaster. I thought Bitter is the New Black was great and really connected with Such a Pretty Fat.

I’m going to make a pros and cons list of what I liked and disliked about the books because of her enjoyment of lists.

Pros:

I thought her bucket list was good, there were several items on there I would like to do. I did think her information on the publishing industry seemed very one sided as though she was just saying what her publishers have told her, she might want to look into becoming a hybrid author. Just a thought.

I loved what she wrote about being in Rome, it reminded me a lot of my trip to Tokyo, and it bumped Rome up on my list of places to see.

I really relate to what she talks about regarding weight and because of that I liked the end of the book a lot. I’m glad she’s found what works for her and it made me smile because recently I’ve been coming to the same realizations about myself.

Cons:

She went overboard on the rants about social networking, internet trolls, and occasionally the younger generation. Since I’m technically a part of the younger generation it kind of irked me and came off like a grouchy old man screaming at kids to get off his lawn. I almost didn’t make it past the first half of the book because of it. Every time I got into what was going on she would start another rant and I’d get annoyed and put the book down.

Maybe the age gap between us is finally rearing its head?

That’s really the only con, though, it was so prevalent in the book that I nearly lowered it a star. If the book had been more like the weight loss portion and the trip to Rome or even the riding the bike parts, I would have liked it a lot more. Those rants really bugged me, it’s like that image of Pa Simpson yelling at the cloud.

The whole social media culture, and especially internet trolls, have gotten really bad, but it’s just as annoying to hear people complain about it. We know it’s there and unless we want to take away what makes the internet great then people are just going to have to get over the horrible people and learn to ignore them. And that’s all I have to say about that.

I like Jen Lancaster and even though I had problems with the ranting, I still plan on reading more of her books.

3.5/5

Sidebar: I’m guessing because of ereaders they have changed the cliff notes to just in the middle of the sentence she says Sidebar and then has her little comment. Seeing the word sidebar so frequently was a little taxing, I liked the notes, but maybe just an asterisk?