Welcome to the official 2000th post here at Girls of a Certain Age, and thanks to all of you who contributed questions to what has turned out to be quite a mega-Q&A indeed. I got around to answering pretty much everything, although I chose only to answer a single question from those of you who asked more than one—I was a bit overwhelmed by the volume of questions lobbed my way—and some of the queries seemed better suited to be considered as actual future posts. Do have as much fun reading the following as I had writing it.
If you weren’t in the media, what would you be doing?
I think I would have made a really good rock star, were it not for the fact that I’ve got nothing in the way of musical talent.
What about your current life would most surprise your younger self?
All of it. But in particular, that I came to the city of my dreams, and that many of my dreams came true here.
Would you mind discussing how you make a living and afford not only fabulous clothes but also travel and a kick-ass apartment in NY?
Not at all. For a little over a decade, I had a great job that paid very, very nicely. I saved wisely and invested well. This has allowed me to pursue my current, beloved, and yet not hugely lucrative professional endeavor.
Seriously, where do you keep all of the amazing clothes you suggest? What are your closets like?!?
I don’t buy even a fraction of all the items I suggest! Which is not to say I don’t have plenty of clothes, which fit in one small walk-in closet—with the help of the miracle that is Huggable Hangers—and a roomy chest of drawers.
How do you monetize your talent? What amount comes from affiliate linking and click throughs from your readership?
I make money on the blog through affiliate linking. This means that when I link to, say, a dress from Nordstrom or Shopbop or another major retailer and you buy it, I get a small commission. There are many, many items included on this blog that are from smaller retailers that aren’t part of any affiliate program, however. And I never, ever link to anything I wouldn’t want to buy for myself, commission or no commission.
How do you find such cool online shopping sites? I’d love to know how you search.
No particularly compelling answer to this one; I’m just always on the lookout.
How much time do you spend online per day between research and writing?
It varies wildly. Some posts are easy: the idea comes to me fast, I find the right pieces immediately, and I know just what to write. Other times—particularly when it comes to assembling links—it can just take ages.
What did you do the day after your last day at Lucky?
It was not a bad day at all: I had received about a million sweet, supportive emails and Facebook messages, and that day I sat down, and read and responded to them all. Then I had lunch with a friend and dinner with another friend. And somewhere in there, I cried a bit.
What did you REALLY think about Lucky mag post you?
I’m just going to continue to take the high road on that one. Make of that what you will.
Do you think Lucky magazine invented the now ubiquitous “obsessed” language in regards to style?
If so, I’m sorry.
How do you break a funk (personal, professional, creative)? Do you ever have those moments (hours, days) of downward spiraling, and if so, how do you pull yourself up and out?
Of course I have funks! Some quite monumental, deeply personal, and tough to climb out of, and others so fleeting as to be over almost as soon as they began. Keeping company with good friends, keeping moving, and, alternatively, knowing when the right thing to do is just curl up in a ball on the sofa until it passes are a few things that keep me going.
If you wrote a screenplay about your life, who do you want to play you in the movie? Would it be a rom-com or a dramedy, or just a really good movie?
Sandra Bullock. Or maybe Mary Louise Parker or Jennifer Jason Leigh. And: a dramedy, for sure. Wouldn’t most of our lives be?
I confess, I’ve always wondered how you segued so smoothly from pop culture to fashion, or from music writing to shopping, from Spin to Sassy to Lucky? How did you manage to NOT get pigeonholed (which is how I see it from outside) or do you feel there is a hidden connecting logic?
When I was at Sassy I already followed and wrote about music; when I was at Spin I was definitely already a dedicated shopper and lover of clothes. And so on. It all just kind of flowed together.
Who are your role models/mentors/heroes for fashion, writing, being a boss, or just in general?
I have had one great mentor, a woman named Amy Gross, who was my boss during the time I briefly worked at Elle (and who went on to edit O for many years), and who taught me a lot about being an editor, a boss, and an all-around decent person. Now she leads meditation workshops. An awesome human, and an object lesson in how it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.
What sites/bloggers/media do you read?
Is it awful to say that I don’t read too many other bloggers? So many of them are really young, and I just don’t relate. I know that other good bloggers-of-a-certain-age exist, and at some point, maybe I’ll do a roundup. If you read my links, you know I am a bit all over the place in my tastes, but I do tend to check in very regularly to New York Magazine’s site, as well as the New Yorker’s. I like Cup of Jo. And my love for Go Fug Yourself is forever.
I loved the books you did. Would you ever do another?
The books being referred to here are a couple of style guides I co-wrote at Lucky. I likely won’t do another book exactly like those, but I have been working on arriving at the exactly right book idea for some time now. I actually wrote a proposal for a memoir, then decided I didn’t want to write a memoir. Then I had a new idea, and decided it wasn’t quite on the mark either. I will figure this one out, ladies. Hopefully sooner than later.
Would you ever consider hosting a meet & greet for your loyal readers, either in NYC or in your travels (perhaps in LA, hint, hint?)
I would love to! The only obstacle is that it appears to be no way to do so without charging those who attend to help pay for the venue and drinks, and I can’t bear the idea of that. I welcome any and all alternative ideas.
Which well-known person have you met who left you truly starstruck?
What would you still like to do that you haven’t done?
A lot more traveling.
What aspect of your daily (or nightly) life would most surprise us?
I go to bed earlier than most 11 year-olds.
Who do you look to for style/creative inspiration?
The ever-stylish ladies on the streets on New York City.
If you could change one thing in the fashion industry, what would it be?
People would be nicer.
What is the one outfit you reach for when you want to feel completely confident, flawless (or nearly), chic as hell?
Something as comfortable as it is chic, because I can’t feel stylish if I’m not at ease.
Do you retain any sense of your “Texas-ness?”
Not a speck.
You’ve been interviewed a fair amount. What do you always wish people would ask?
Nobody ever asks about my dogs.
Highlight: My first byline in Rolling Stone. Lowlight: Having to lay people off from Lucky during the recession.
What’s your favorite book, movie, and NYC restaurant?
My favorite book changes all the time, but I do love anything by Dawn Powell. Is it shallow to say that I’ve got a really abiding affection for This is Spinal Tap? And my favorite New York restaurant is a Chinatown hole in the wall called Spicy Village.
There are some brands that you profess to love and feature frequently on your site. Do you ever get discounts from a brand for promoting it on your website?
I would never profess to love a brand I didn’t actually love. I always say no to offers of free items “for review,” and accept discounts almost never.
What kind of kid were you?
A very serious one.
Do you date much? If you do, how do you meet people? If not, are you okay with that?
I date when I’m in the mood to. I meet people through friends and sometimes online (though I’ve been logged off for quite a while). And occasionally, men will just drop back into my life from the past. Currently, I find myself single—happily so—and not really looking.
What are your thoughts on feminism? On being a single and childless woman in 2016? (not necessarily in a “that’s none of your business” sort of way, but in a “there’s so much ‘noise’ surrounding those topics,” and I wonder how you relate, or don’t, or ignore it, or whatever)?
I am a feminist, and have identified as such since I was a teenager. I didn’t like being married to the person I married, so being single is a vast improvement. And—as I have said in this space before—for a set of reasons both within and outside of my control, kids weren’t part of my journey. I’m OK with that. And then on some days, I’m not. But I know that I’ve taken the path that feels most right for me, and I’m grateful to live in a time that allows women to do just that.
I would love to hear your best tips for purging old clothes, shoes, accessories, etc so what you have left works best for you. How you decide what to keep and what goes? Do you have any guiding principles you follow to make the process quick and effective?
No hard and fast rules, but I definitely don’t follow the if-you-haven’t-worn-it-in-a-year-toss-it rule. Horrible advice! You never know when you’re going to fall in love with a piece again.
What are your favorite fragrances?
You had mentioned that you were flirting with the idea of moving to a more rural area after a trip to the country. Have you made a definite decision at this point — if so, what’s the verdict?
For now I think it’s just a dream. New York is home.
You have mentioned that you have a neuroma. What shoes make your feet feel great and do your No. 6 clogs aggravate the neuroma?
For those of you who are lucky enough not to know, neuromas are painful nerve growths that make wearing heels an impossible dream. For probably five years I just wore flats with orthotics, which was no fun, but went a long way toward correcting the problem. I find my No 6 clogs to be very comfortable, which is surely why I have so many of them. And I love sneakers and a big clunky boot.
Is there anyone that you’re particularly proud to have known before everyone else did?
I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a point of pride, but Malcolm Gladwell and Spike Jonze were both good friends long before they hit it big.
Please tell us the funniest/naughtiest story from the Sassy days. Some of us are OBSESSED.
This is a tough one. You really did have to be there for most of the hilarity, and it all sounds impossibly dorky in the retelling. I will say that I feel incredibly lucky that I landed there, and had the opportunity to be part of something that went on to mean so much to so many of you. And I’ll add that the one time Andrea Linett insisted on evacuating the entire floor (a floor we shared with Ms magazine at the time) because she thought she smelled smoke (there was none) was not un-hilarious.
What was your favorite female-led band in the 90s?
As problematic a character as Courtney Love is, I’ve got to say Hole.
Who in the magazine world are you grateful you worked with/for? Who would you never work with/for again?
I have had some great bosses: the aforementioned Amy Gross at Elle; Kurt Andersen at New York; Craig Marks at Spin; and James Truman at Conde Nast all taught me huge amounts about being a better writer and editor. As for co-workers: I loved everyone at Lucky. As for the second half of your question: high road.
Who are your greatest loves, present or past? I get the sense that there are some pretty special nephews and dogs right at the top, but who else rounds out Your Chosen People – Hebraic pun only slightly intended? So often for girls of a certain age the expectation is that it would simply be children/partner at this point, but I think there is something very culturally meaningful when you talk about making your own family from some other deep loves in your life. Who are yours?
Excellent question, and an especially resonant one for a person who, as you mentioned, has neither a partner or children. I’ll focus here on my current loves if that’s OK. On the tip-top of the list is my family of origin. My mother Eve and my two brothers, Mike and Todd, are there for me always, particularly during tough times. I talk to at least one of them every day. To be so close to three people with whom I share so much history is a gift. And my cousins Jon and Ben, who are like my two auxiliary brothers. Then there are my very, very old friends from college, Margaret and Lexi and Stephen, and the friends I’ve had seemingly forever here in New York and mostly from the publishing world, like Tribeca Mom; and Kate, who I once lived a few floors away from on Second Street, and who was my editor a million years ago at the Voice; and Craig, who I met when he rang me up to write for Spin; and Rene, a wonderful novelist who used to be married to Craig. And Ben, who went to graduate school with my ex-husband, but who I got in the divorce. My friend DeeDee, who lives out in LA and who I almost never see but who I love like a sister, and Andrea, who I sometimes forget isn’t my sister. And my sisters-in-law, who, for all practical purposes, are. And, of course, my newest friends, Michelle and Jack, who live just downstairs and who I adore impossibly.
I’d love to know what you have in the works for the coming year.
At the moment, my pal and co-conspirator Andrea Linett and I are cooking up a little project that could turn out pretty great. More news as it develops.