AfterEllen on Pretty Little Liars

Aria’s rookie day at Radley goes about as well as you’d expect. The first thing she does is practically confess to killing Shana when Eddie Lamb reads her name off her name tag. All he says is “Aria” and she’s like, “Who, me? No, not me. I mean, yes, my name is Aria, but not like […]

Link Love

Here are my favorite things I found around the internet this week:

  • I would really love to own this tote bag.
  • My desire to be productive seems to surge in the summer, and these two podcasts are providing lots of inspiration and ideas.
  • I kind of lost respect for the Emmy’s when voters repeatedly ignored Friday Night Lights and Gilmore girls. It doesn’t help that they’re now ignoring Orphan Black too. But thankfully, I’m not alone in that sentiment.
  • Pretty Little Liars is back, and with it comes these hilarious recaps and a collection of the best tweets about each episode. You really should follow the live-tweeting during new episodes, #booradleyvancullen.
  • A nice summary of why I’d like to hire Coach Taylor to be my life coach.
  • And another nice summary of why Tumblr never ceases to entertain.
  • I’m excited to read Megan Abbot’s The Fever (and only have 37 people between me and it in library holds), and thought this was a good interview.
  • I happen to really like commencement season, and Shonda Rhimes’ speech is one of my favorites. This part has been turning over in my mind since I heard it:

When people give these kinds of speeches, they usually tell you all kinds of wise and heartfelt things. They have wisdom to impart. They have lessons to share. They tell you: follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true.

I think that’s crap.

I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.

The dreamers. They stare at the sky and they make plans and they hope and they think and they talk about it endlessly. And they start a lot of sentences with “I want to be…” or “I wish”

“I want to be a writer.” “I wish I could travel around the world.”

And they dream of it. The buttoned up ones meet for cocktails and they all brag about their dreams. The hippie ones have vision boards and they meditate on their dreams. You write in your journal about your dreams. Or discuss it endlessly with your best friend or your girlfriend or your mother. And it feels really good. You’re talking about it. You’re planning it. Kind of. You are blue-skying your life. And that is what everyone says you should do. Right? That’s what Oprah and Bill Gates did to get successful, right?


Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.

Lesson One: Ditch the Dream. Be a Do-er, Not a Dreamer.

Maybe you know exactly what you dream of being. Or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real. Just…DO. You think “I wish I could travel” — you sell your crappy car and buy a ticket and go to Bangkok right now. I’m serious. You say “I want to be a writer” — guess what? A writer is someone who writes every day. Start writing. Or: You don’t have a job? Get one. ANY JOB. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magical dream opportunity. Who are you? Prince William? No. Get a job. Work. Do until you can do something else.

I did not dream of being a TV writer. Never, not once when I was here in the hallowed halls of the Ivy League, did I say to myself, “Self, I want to write TV.”

You know what I wanted to be? I wanted to be Nobel Prize Winning Author Toni Morrison. That was my dream. I blue sky-ed it like crazy. I dreamed and dreamed. And while I was dreaming, I was living in my sister’s basement. Dreamers often end up living in the basements of relatives, fyi. Anyway, there I was in that basement, I was dreaming of being Nobel Prize Winning Author Toni Morrison. Guess what? I couldn’t be Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison. Because Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up. One day I was sitting in that basement and I read an article in the NY Times that said it was harder to get into USC Film School than it was to get into Harvard Law School. I could dream about being Toni Morrison. Or I could do. At film school, I discovered an entirely new way of telling stories. A way that suited me. A way that brought me joy. A way that flipped this switch in my brain and changed the way I saw the world. Years later, I had dinner with Toni Morrison. All she wanted to talk about was Grey’s Anatomy. That never would have happened if I hadn’t stopped dreaming of becoming her and gotten busy becoming myself.

Happy perusing and happy weekend!

Got a secret…

I have a confession to make.

Despite what some might call better judgement, and despite being almost 30 years old, I am pretty much obsessed with Pretty Little Liars.

There’s something about ABC Family shows. I always assume they will be silly and poorly acted and kind of stupid (Secret Life of the American Teenager, anyone?), but there are some seriously underrated gems. Luckily I am finally getting with the program(s).

During the first couple seasons, I saw more than a few ads for Pretty Little Liars and rolled my eyes and vaguely wondered how many secrets a sixteen year old could possibly have. But I finally decided to give it a chance, binge-watched two seasons in a week, and never looked back. It is so, so good. Like should be guilty pleasure good but is actually smart and well-acted so I don’t even feel bad spending so much time obsessively watching teenagers run amock.

If you haven’t seen the show at all, here’s the gist: Alison was a fifteen year old mean girl who went missing for a year. Her four closest friends have more than a few skeletons in each of their closets that only Alison knew about, and while they miss her, they’re also semi-relieved that she can’t work her mean girl blackmailing magic on them anymore. Which is why they are pretty alarmed when they each begin to receive text messages from a mysterious “A” threatening to tell all. They assume it’s Alison (because really, it’s one of the nicer things she would do), until her body is discovered. Then the messages only get worse. It’s been four seasons of lying, secrets, betrayals, and general mayhem as the girls try to figure out who A is and why he/she/they? is making their lives a living hell.

It’s seriously delightful.

Season 5 premieres tonight, and the story lines are bound to be more nonsensical and insane than ever. But man, is this show fun. A huge, huge part of the fun is following alone with the #booradleyvancullen live tweeting during each new episode. I’m not alone in this sentiment:

But my absolute favorite part of the Pretty Little Liars experience is reading the recap on After Ellen the day after a new episode airs. I briefly considered attempting to write my own recaps, but really, what’s the point? Heather Hogan is perfection. I have forbidden myself from reading them at work because of how hard they make me laugh out loud.

I know I’m probably too old to be this excited for a show about teenagers. Luckily I’m also too old to care. YOLO!

New episodes are on ABC Family on Tuesdays and you can find all four previous seasons on Netflix.