Ridiculous Qs: Would This Make You Kinda Love Kanye West?

Watch out, Jerry Seinfeld!  |  photo by rodrigoferrari//cc 

Watch out, Jerry Seinfeld!  |  photo by rodrigoferrari//cc 

It's week three of ridiculous questions, and this one was so out there, my husband said I probably shouldn't even post it. 

But I'm going to anyhow!

This week's question has to do with Kanye West. To my mind, few human beings are more annoying than Yeezus. I do recall a day when I really, truly liked Kanye West. Remember how fun this was:

Anyhow, now it's 2015 and this guy and his wife have officially become the most insufferable people on the planet. They have zero self-awareness, and rate at a negative 10 in the sense of humor department. For two people who have so much money and get to do so many cool things, they sure seem to be sad and serious all the time. Except when Kanye made this really funny speech at the BET Honors (spoiler alert: it's painfully awkward). 

But I digress.

Here's this week's question:

It’s the 2016 Grammys. Kanye is all set to perform something from his new album, So Help Me God. But when the music starts, he suddenly demands silence.

Over a hushed crowd, he states that he’s not really a rapper. He’s actually a comedian named James Smith who started this Kanye West alter ego in a Second City improv class around 2002. Though he does perform and record all the Kanye West music, it was always done as a joke. Taking the mic from Taylor Swift? Joke! His ridiculous fashion line? Joke, obviously! Marriage to Kim Kardashian? He can’t believe you guys fell for that one. He decided to finally come clean because things had gotten way out of hand. He literally could do anything crazy and get away with it, which didn’t seem funny anymore.

Upon hearing this admission, do you suddenly kind of love Kanye West?

Remember, these are insane, hypothetical questions intended to basically break your brain (in a good way! Kinda.). Please share you answer in the comments. PS Here's last week's Ridic Q. Have your own ridiculous question? Email it to heyeleanorproject@gmail.com.

On Compassion: Things We All Need to Get Over Already.

Let's all acknowledge that often times, we do know exactly what's going on in other people's lives.

I know that one friend from high school got divorced and has a new boyfriend. I know that girl, who I attended to 1st - 12th grade with, recently lost her mom to cancer. I know so-and-so had a baby; I know yada-yada just got married.

We all hear things, see things, know things. 


So why is it so hard to acknowledge this stuff in a real, meaningful way? I'm definitely of the mindset that a Facebook "Like" or "Congrats!" or "HBD!" is completely sufficient for giving kudos to another human being when good stuff happens (though a card or email or text is even better).

But when the shit hits the fan, we should all try a little harder.  

I recently had lunch with Lena, a friend who lost her husband to cancer. She mentioned that in times of tragedy, it's really interesting who shows up and who doesn't. Who calls, who sends a note, who comes to your house and does your laundry. She said hearing from her husband's former classmates, long-lost friends, relatives and coworkers meant so much to their family.  

I nodded in agreement, secretly thinking of all the times I hadn't "shown up."

Of course, with my truly close people, I am there. These are the people where there's absolutely no question that they would want to hear from me. But what about when a colleague loses a parent, or distant relative finds out they have cancer, or a person who you totally knew 10 or 20 years ago, but mostly lost touch with aside from liking their random Facebook update, is dealing with a terribly sick child?

If "maybe I should send a card" or "maybe I should go to the funeral" even crosses your mind, you probably should.

A few years ago, I skipped a childhood friend's mom's funeral. It's literally years later and I still feel crappy about it. There is NO WAY my non-appearance was noted. However, if I had shown up, my friend would've noticed. It would have made her feel good, even just for a fleeting moment-- not because it was me, but because it means your mom mattered to me. And her mom did matter to me! She was so kind and let us swim in their pool and eat all their food and stay up waaay to late watching scary movies we were waaay too young to watch.

But I didn't go because I was like, "would it be weird if I went? That would be weird, right? No one would notice if I didn't go, but it would be weird if I went. Right?"


And the reason I know this for sure is because I am still thinking about how I didn't go to my friend's mom's funeral. It still feels bad. I had people who'd only met my grandmother ONE TIME show up at her funeral. That mattered to me. And my friend Lena said total randos who sent a note while her husband was in hospice mattered. So often, we don't say or do anything because it's uncomfortable. Death and tragedy make us all act weird.

But just get over it already. We're better than that. 


In the past year, I've tried to be better about this, even when I thought hrm... that might be awkward.

The first was when my great-aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I made it a point to visit her & her husband in the following week. I called first to make sure they were accepting visitors. I hung out for less than 45 minutes (remember, sick people don't have a whole lot of energy). We had the best conversation and it was actually kind of fun.

Last spring, I heard a high school friend was battling a rare form of cancer. We hadn't spoken in years, but I sent her a card and some granola.  

Just a month ago, my honorary uncle entered hospice. This is a guy I've known and loved my entire life. He lives on the other side of the country, and I didn't feel like a card would cut it. But calling seemed so hard. What do you say? How are you? He's in hospice, so um, probably not that good. It took me five days to muster the courage to call. But I eventually did, and was kind of relieved when I got his voicemail. I kept it simple.

Hi Bob, it's Molly. Wanted to call and say I love you and I'm thinking about you. 

That's it. 

I don't know how my messages, visits, phone calls and cards went over. That's not the point. And I am not sharing this to be like look at me, I'm awesome! It's about getting out of your head (should I or shouldn't I?) and showing compassion for the people who've made your life better. A Like on Facebook is way easier than calling or sending a card, but sending a card is way easier than losing a loved one or dealing with an illness. Really, it's the least you can do. People won't think you're weird for reaching out or showing up, they will be touched.

And remember: one day, your shit will hit the fan. Would you rather people show up or not? Right.

So send a thinking about you card. Share a story via email. Call. Visit. Make a donation on someone's behalf to an organization they care about. Go to the memorial service. It's not weird. It's life. It's kindness.


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I'm no expert on this topic... If you're so inclined to share, how did people show up for you when you were grieving or going through a tough time? What helped? What didn't?

Want to connect with someone going through some stuff, but don't know what to say? Keep it simple. Here's an excellent piece called "How to Not be a Dick To Someone Who Just Lost a Family Member," written by an older-than-her-years high school senior who lost her sister. Brilliance. 


This Week's Best Stuff on the Internet

Warren G & Kenny G, making sweet, sweet music together. Neither has aged a day since the 90s.


Every day, I find myself thinking, DAMN YOU BUZZFEED & YOUR CLICK BAIT! But seriously, how great are these babies that look like old men? I don't even like babies and I loved that.

Can we all raise a glass to Nora, who's using her Internet fame (sorry Nora, it's true) for good

Even though Gwyneth is almost as annoying as Kanye West, and even though she used the word panty-dropper to describe this recipe, I still want to make goop's lemongrass baby back ribs

Are you a fellow misophonia sufferer? Maybe reading this NYT article will make you feel less alone/crazy.

File this video under "easy ways to be better at life."

How about this guy, who bought up a bunch of twitter handles and is trying to get them to their rightful owners? And he's not even making them pay for it! Faith in humanity restored.

I'm tired of hearing about people's perfect relationships. We all have problems & I applaud these folks for talking about theirs publicly

My friend Sarah talks about those times when you feel should-y about your business. You know, when you're like, I should get a Twitter account/write a book/start a blog. Read this & you'll feel better.

Here's a fun Hey Eleanor: Talk to your parents about death! Caitlin explains why you should, & tips for doing it.

Want to kick ass in the knife skills department? Check out this free Craftsy online course.

If you're on the paleo train (or just want to eat healthier), Melissa's got all sorts of tips for navigating restaurant menus with your waistline in mind. 

How great does this trip sound right about now? Calgon, take me away!

Finally, do you like quotes? Do you have a website/business/life? If yes, then you might love this.


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If you like these links, you might like following me on Twitter & Instagram, where I'm always sharing the coolest, scariest, funnest stuff I find on the web.

You can also sign up to get all my posts delivered to you via email. Easy!

It's a Cape, Not a Poncho.

Last time I visited my brother Andy and sister-in-law Shari in LA, Shari was all "capes this!" and "capes that!"

What in the hell is a cape

Oh, I see! It's like a poncho, but with less of this going on:


These capes sure looked adorable on Shari. And in fact, I once had a cape or two in my early twenties (I foolishly called them ponchos at the time... capes are so much classier!). I had not rocked a cape in quite some time, but Shari loved them and I was intrigued. 

Three months later, I was at Forever 21 (or as I like to call it, Forever 29), and stumbled upon the cape in the above photo. It looked fancy. Even decent quality! I've always secretly loved Forever 21, but in a Chic-fil-a at the airport kind of way-- so dirty, so good, so hiding in a corner while I eat it.

Since my capsule wardrobe buying freeze was over, I purchased it. 

When I threw it one the next day, I instantly felt put together, even though I was basically wearing a grandma afghan as a shirt. It's warm, comfy, stylish, not too restrictive, and in this case, not too The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. I got loads of compliments on it, and everyone was shocked about where I purchased it. It looks so fancy.

Check out the detail!

Check out the detail!

If you want capes on the cheap, hit up Forever 21. Capes-o-plenty! I can't find mine on their website (it's probably still at the store... who knows with that place), but here are some excellent alternatives.


I'm sorry, this cape only costs $47.80? |  Photo: Forever21.com

I'm sorry, this cape only costs $47.80? |  Photo: Forever21.com

This marled knit number is so chic and vintage! I could imagine Kate Hudson wearing it... except she kind of bugs me. 

Going anywhere? Wear this cape!  |  photo: Forever21.com

Going anywhere? Wear this cape!  |  photo: Forever21.com

Here's how you do fringed cape without looking like an extra in a Clint Eastwood movie (though if that's the look you're going for, excellent!).

Back to the 70s in this stripy number.  |  photo: Forever21.com

Back to the 70s in this stripy number.  |  photo: Forever21.com

Going to Sedona? You should probably pick up this comfy, cozy cape first. ($22.80)


Fair Isle cape city!  |  photo: Forever21.com

Fair Isle cape city!  |  photo: Forever21.com

Like a little color in your cape? Try this one!

Stripes and fringe unite!  |  photo: Forever21.com 

Stripes and fringe unite!  |  photo: Forever21.com 

Technically, this is a cardigan. But I like it!

Mid-range Capes

Love this white number!  |  photo: freepeople.com

Love this white number!  |  photo: freepeople.com

I'd wear this cape to a beach party or P. Diddy's white party. PS You should just click on the link because the other photos of this item make me want to shout, "HAND CHECK!"


Obviously this one comes from Anthropologie. 

Obviously this one comes from Anthropologie

This pretty number comes in green, too.


This lady looks classy as hell in this cape.  |  photo: neimanmarcus.com

This lady looks classy as hell in this cape.  |  photo: neimanmarcus.com

Gwyneth Paltrow would own simple, pretty cape  if it cost a thousand dollars more. 

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Anyone else feeling the cape these days? It's one of three clothing purchases I've made since wrapping up my capsule wardrobe... though I'm still working with about 40 pieces in my closet. It's magical!

For more fashion-y things I've tried, check out the time I wore a pink jumpsuit (it didn't go well) and the time I re-visited press-on nails

How to Give An Awesome Toast at Your Best Friend's Wedding

Last fall, my bestie, Margie, announced her engagement to her long-time boyfriend, Keven. I was so excited for them-- I love him almost as much as I love her. And in the midst of celebrating their Yay! We're getting married! moment, I was simultaneously having a OMG I'm probably going to have to give a toast! moment.

I actually wanted to give a toast.

It's an honor, plus Marge killed it at my wedding, so I had to return the favor. However, standing in front of a room of strangers, explaining why Marge is the best person, ever scared the bajeezus out of me. What if I couldn't stop crying? What if I lost my train of thought? What if I came down with the worst case of the flu the day before the wedding (spoiler alert: this actually happened). 

I wasn't willing to not do an amazing job. So I poured my heart and soul onto paper (or, more accurately, a Microsoft Word doc), and the final result kind of sucked-- too long, too about me & Margie (not about her and this guy she was marrying), and included every story about everything we'd ever done together. 

I had to seriously retool.

I proverbially ripped my speech to shreds and started anew. And you know what? I think my speech ended up being pretty darn good, and I did it by following these guidelines. 

The toast was not to be an ode to Molly & Marge, though secretly I wanted it to be!

The toast was not to be an ode to Molly & Marge, though secretly I wanted it to be!

1. Keep it Concise-ish. 

We've all been at that wedding when somebody gets the mic and won't stop. A friend's dad once gave a 27 minute speech... so, so awkward! I poked around on the Internet and it seems the ideal speech length is between three and four minutes. Enough time to get into some details, but not so long that people start getting uncomfortable (most wedding receptions are about five hours; if your speech is 15 minutes long, that's five percent of the total reception time! NOT COOL.).

Mine was about five minutes, which was more than enough to touch on our relationship, what makes her so awesome, how the bride & groom met & why you think they are a great couple. 

2. Know Your Audience

This isn't a room full of your college buddies. It's grandparents, aunts and uncles, maybe coworkers, and potentially people who have yet to meet your super-awesome best friend. So how about don't tell the story about the time you picked them up from jail or had to hose them down after they puked a yard glass worth of Long Island iced tea on themselves in Cancun*. You can be funny, but don't an a-hole. This is a toast, not a roast. 

* completely fabricated scenarios that do not apply to Marge.

3. It's Not About You.

My first speech was all "remember the time we had to hitch a ride with a pack of bikers when our car broke down... and remember when we went on that one trip to Colorado... and remember when we lived together in that total shit hole apartment with that one roommate?" Well guess what? I wasn't the one marrying Marge. That was Keven's job. My job was to honor their lives together. So if you're going to tell a story, pick just one.

4. Have a Point.

When you do pick a story, pick one that conveys a larger meaning. Maybe you tell a story that showcases your friend's ability to problem solve, their loyalty or innate ability to make even the worst of situations fun and exciting.

I told about the time Marge & I were so engrossed in conversation on a road trip that we missed our exit by 100 miles (whoops!). I used that story to demonstrate that when I find myself questioning my path in life, I never feel lost because I know she's right there with me, or a phone call away. I can trust her to get me back on track. See how that all works together?

5. You Don't need to Say it All.

Your toast is meant to honor the couple, not convey all of the feelings you've ever had about them. You can do that later, when you're drunk off merlot and ordering sliders and fries from room service at 2 am.

6. Find a Cold-hearted Proof Reader.

The key to a good speech is cutting out the crap. Sometimes it's really hard to know what's superfluous information in your own writing. So find a cold-hearted snake of an editor and let them trim the fat. PS I love doing this for other people!

7. Inside Jokes Are Kinda Lame.

Inside jokes are exclusive, not inclusive. If most of your audience won't get it, they'll be snoozing in no time. Keep those to a minimum.

8. Practice. Maybe Even Memorize.

I absolutely cringe at the idea of practicing a speech aloud, but it helps! Read through it out loud. Time yourself. Make a few edits, then do it again and again. Then, try it without your notes. Time yourself. If you can commit to doing this a few times a day in the week before the wedding, you'll be in great shape... so long as your speech isn't 15 minutes long (see item #1). 

I like to practice when I'm driving alone in my car OR in the shower. It's a fairly distraction-free environment where you don't feel self-conscious. Somehow, even with the flu, I was able to speak at this wedding without relying on my notes, which was possible only because I practiced. 

9. Tears are okay. 

I cried writing the toast, I cried practicing the toast, I cried thinking about giving the toast. I didn't cry when I actually gave it, which was kind of a relief because I am an ugly crier. However, I personally think dropping a tear or two actually enhances the speech. So if you start crying, it'll probably make people enjoy your speech more. Take a deep breath, think of something ridiculous like a squirrel in a Speedo and swim cap,  try this tactichave a sip of water and proceed.

10. Who Cares if It's Only Okay.

People only remember two kinds of speeches: Amazing ones and terrible ones. If you're reading this, you probably care enough to not totally blow it. No one will remember if a few of your jokes fall flat or you stumble over your words. The big thing is to honor your friend. They'll be absolutely touched by the fact that you got up there and did it just 'cause you love them that much.

So grab a glass, march up to that mic and let 'er rip. 

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See the comment section? That's where I'd love to hear more tips on how to give a great speech. Also, maybe stories of speeches/toasts that have gone horribly wrong. 

PS This wasn't my first scary public speaking experience. One time, I accidentally gave a TEDx talk. Another time, I spoke in front of a class of super successful people. And then there was the time I tried standup comedy. It all gets easier with practice. Promise. 

Quitters: Why I Quit Cleaning My House


I have a secret. But I can tell you, right? I know you won't judge.

Last spring, I quit cleaning my house.


It began as a way to quell my ever-mounting, pre-wedding stress. How in the hell was I supposed to plan a wedding, work full-time, do Hey Eleanor almost full-time, exercise, cook, be an awesome partner, friend and dog mom.... and keep my house clean? 

I couldn't pay someone to go to work for me, and I wasn't going to pay someone to plan my entire wedding (though a wedding planner was hugely helpful). The cleaning my house thing? I could pay someone to do that.

So I did. And I freaking loved it. 

For the two months leading up to my June wedding, we hired a company to clean every other week. They do the normal stuff, like wash the floors, clean the stovetop, but also things I never, ever got around to doing, like sweeping my front entry way, vacuuming the couch and washing the baseboards. Plus, they make the beds like you live in a hotel (my dream!). 

Initially, I was pretty ashamed of it.

Just who do I think I am?! Paying someone to clean my house for me?! Isn't that just a thing everyone should be doing themselves. I'm certainly not incapable of it in any way.  

But I loved coming home to a tidy and CLEAN house that smelled like Pine Sol. This is especially great when you have a cat, dog and two humans sharing a 1,200 sq foot space. So much crap and hair everywhere! It's hard to keep up.

The wedding came and went. And guess what?

I never cancelled the cleaners.

You'd think when I quit my job and started working for myself (making waaaay less money), that would've been the first thing to go. But no. I cut back on going out, buying clothes and fueling up my car. But the money we spend on a cleaning service is worth every cent. Here's why.

1. Less Distractions in My New Office

Since I'm now working at home, I'm extra tuned in to my surroundings. Dust bunnies in the hallway? I drop everything and start sweeping. Food-speckled stove? I stop writing and spend 40 minutes chiseling away. Between emails, phone calls and my needy dog, I have enough distractions as it is without getting sucked into a cleaning project. With a bi-weekly thorough clean, there's less to throw me off my game. Plus, I have an easier time letting things go-- the rug might need vacuuming, but the cleaners are coming tomorrow, so who cares! I can leave it. 


2. Less Irritations in My Relationship

Josh and I really do share duties around the house. He's so helpful and handy! That said, he works full-time, is getting his masters and also falls victim to filthy home blindness... which is to say, he doesn't always 'see' what I see. Therefore, I end up cleaning quite a bit more than he does. Having a little extra help with the deep cleaning stuff (for example, scrubbing the tub/toilet) makes it easier to keep the house clean, which means there's less filth for me to see and him to ignore. It's just nice.

As an aside, I initially felt really guilty that I couldn't keep up with cleaning our small-ish apartment. When I finally voiced that to Josh, he said, "That's exactly how I feel every time we hire a plumber or handyman to do a job I know I could do myself, but don't always have time for." I thought he was secretly thinking I was lazy. Nope. Just busy, like everyone else.     


3. I Simply Don't Clean That Well

I don't know if this is 100 percent true, but I just don't think I'm that good at cleaning. Maybe it's just that things almost always seem cleaner when someone else does it. Who knows!

4. Time. 

I'm not an efficient cleaner, at all. It would take me 12 hours to do what our cleaners do in 3. Truly. Not to mention the fact that it can become a black hole. I'll be dusting my dresser and next thing you know, I've got all of my clothes pulled out of it and am in the midst of giant organization project. An organized dresser is great, but did I really need to do that right now? Probably not. 

So there, I said it. I am a 32-year-old woman who works from home and pays someone else to clean it. It's fabulous.


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What's your [sorta] guilty pleasure that makes your life so much better? AND speaking of tidiness, part of the reason I hired a cleaning lady is because Elizabeth Dehn told me to. The gal knows her stuff. And here's an example of a small cleaning task that turned into a major closet purge. Sometimes getting rid of stuff feels oh-so-good.