Creative blocks are the worst. We talk with our pal Dena, a fiction writer, about her creative process, what a creative block looks like, and how to carve a path through it. We discuss the helpfulness of writing residencies, morning pages, writing groups, and journals. Plus some of the most fun and/or ridiculous ways to procrastinate (take the LSAT; enter Goodreads contests), and poets are weird. Dena shares a sample of her work, some of which has also appeared in online journals like JMWW, The Toast, The Butter; she is also working on a novel and is an editor of Elsewhere Lit. This episode sponsored by Zinkle Face Cream, the first face cream that zaps zits and prevents wrinkles, especially formulated for skin that's having an identity crisis. If your skin is in adolescent/adult purgatory, try Zinkle!

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What do we consider beautiful and why does it matter? If you're a woman you should definitely be pretty if you want to get ahead in your job. But not too pretty because then you might get fired. In the name of beauty Valerie has done some ridiculous things like buying face creams from a kiosk salesman named Antonio. Her Achilles heel is expensive face serums. And Italian men named Antonio. Regina tried a packaged food diet. Symmetry, good skin, full lips, and a square jaw are scientifically proven traits that make someone pretty. People are basically jerks because we assume the people who are symmetrical also exercise good judgement and are smart and great in every other way beyond good genes. Although you can't control whether or not you're symmetrical, you do have powerl over grooming, which is apparently accounts for 85% of attractiveness* so keep your nose clippers and eyelash curler nearby. Plus V&R talk expensive salads, cigarette diets, Elephant Man, and MFKing The Beatles.

*Not an actual fact-based statistic.

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A bunch of us have the feeling we're not qualified to be doing what we do. If you're a perfectionist, have a hard time asking for help, attribute your successes solely to luck, and can't take a compliment, you might suffer from imposter syndrome. Lots of people have this insecurity, including famous accomplishers Michelle Pfeiffer, Emma Watson, Kate Winslet, and Cheryl Sandberg. Some causes for feeling like a fraud include feeling pressure to achieve and being a minority member of a group. Solutions include: validating yourself by making a list of your assets and accomplishments, surrounding yourself with supporters, and realizing even Emma Watson and Michelle Pfeiffer feels this way. Regina sometimes feels like listening to Metallica, and she's no longer apologizing for it. Valerie worries she should have gotten stitches when she cut herself while slicing avocados, and she really hopes she never receives one of those suction basketball hoops with the spongy nerf balls.

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How do you find a life coach? Why would you hire a life coach? What does a life coach do? Valerie and Regina get the skinny on coaching from Vasavi Kumar, a business coach, who among other accomplishments, has appeared on Basketball Wives to help with anger management. Vasavi talks about the word "coaching," a bit about how she works with clients, and her own mentors. Tony Robbins is mentioned a lot.

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James C. Leary, best known for his role as a demon named Clem on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, talks about his career path from performing improv at Texas A&M and learning from Charna Halpern and Del Close in Chicago to moving to Hollywood to write features and act in shows like: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the telenovela Los Beltran, The Comeback, and a lot of commercials. We talk about the struggles of wanting validation from complete strangers and having an unquenchable thirst to perform. 

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