The Real Simple Story, or Wearing Your Dirty Laundry in a National Magazine

The editorial staff at Real Simple is always searching for real women to feature in their magazine. You know, a group of friends who travel together every year, a woman who needs help organizing her closet, women who change their hair color frequently and so on. When I get these search queries, I often pass them on to women I know who might enjoy them. (Email me if you want me to add you to the list—it’s now my goal to get all my friends and family in Real Simple!)

The Background:

The message that will find me in the pages* of Real Simple had to do with women meeting with friends to play games, something I love. At my previous job, I worked with some bright, interesting people whose company I enjoyed. Being the wordy types (we were in the COMMUNICATIONS office, after all), we passed around a fantastic book, Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players by WSJ sports reporter Stefan Fatsis. I challenge you to read this book and NOT play Scrabble. It’s that compelling. Seriously. Click on the photo to read more.


Well, for those of you that play, you know how addictive Scrabble can be, and we began playing a few times a week. Several years later, the core group of Scrabblers work in different places, so we play online as life allows.

So Real Simple decided to pick us, along with four other groups of women, to talk about the joys of growing friendships through playing games. We’ll net about 300 words of the 10-page feature, which is about the length of this post so far. They took photos of each of us, but instead of shooting us together, they wanted to play up the online element of the story, so we were each photographed at home with our computers.

THUS the hot rollers:


The Good Parts:

1. On a separate day, I got a free haircut by, as my Scrabble friend Karen put it, the Jose Eber of my town, who was SO NICE.


2. The stylist and makeup artist CAME TO MY HOUSE and did my hair and makeup, right there in my kitchen. IN MY HOUSE.

3. The weather was dry, and I didn’t have to worry about the curly halo. In fact, my hair stylist said, “Your hair is behaving MUCH better today.” (It had been raining when he did my haircut, and he had visibly winced at the frizz factor when he started blow drying it.)

4. My friend Crista loaned me tons of cute clothing items to choose from and came and took pictures. Her mom loaned me her laptop.

5. The photographer and his assistant were really nice and it went quickly. Plus we shot outside. (Still nice to have a clean house, anyway!)


The Not-So-Good Parts

Well, it would have been more fun to be photographed WITH my friends, plus I know we would have figured out a way to sneak in a game!

Other than that, the photo editor at Real Simple had asked us to choose several outfits and have them ironed (!) and ready to go. The photographer would make the final choice that day. She advised lots of color and/or small prints, summery, fun, casual, sundresses, capris, etc. Whee!

Monday morning dawned, and I was ready.

House cleaned beyond all recognition? Check.

Six outfits laid out on the couch? Check.


I showered, and threw on a long, flowing skirt and, at the request of my hair stylist, a wrinkled white button down shirt (to protect THE HAIR). Since it wasn’t part of my carefully crafted collection of outfits, I just pulled the shirt out of the dry cleaning pile. I sat patiently and got my hair and makeup done and dispatched the photographer into the living room to choose my outfit.

He comes back into the kitchen, looks me up and down, and says, “I think I like you best in this. It’s really natural.”


Did I mention I was wearing a wrinkled shirt HEADED FOR THE DRY CLEANERS?



I thought so.

And that, my friends, is how I came to be wearing my dirty laundry while being photographed for a national magazine.

( I did convince him to let me wear sandals and change my shirt halfway thru the shoot, but who knows what they will use, plus, you should SEE THE WEEDS BEHIND ME. If this photo was bigger, you would. Argh.)


*Coming to a newsstand near you in August, 2007.


16 Responses to “The Real Simple Story, or Wearing Your Dirty Laundry in a National Magazine”

  1. B. Says:

    Love the curlers, and the narrative too, of course!

  2. Molly Says:

    Eeeee! I can’t wait for it to come in the mail. And I’m so happy you were able to avoid the curly halo. I am a hot rollers addict. LOVE them.

    You look great in the photos. Sounds like it was fun!

  3. Ashley Says:

    Crazy! So cool that you will be featured – the pictures of your house in a previous post were goregous.

  4. sdh Says:

    So glam! can’t wait to see it in glossy print. did your friends have their photo shoots already? how were their experiences?

  5. libound Says:

    Ah, how dare I call you – you are much too busy! Thanks for the skinny, it was fun to have it dribble out over a couple of days. Great topic, glad they found you, it all looks wonderful and such fun!

  6. Amily Says:

    Anna — You’re my third friend to be published in Real Simple!! So exciting!! I can’t wait to see the article! Your house looked gorgeous, as did you and I am sure no one will see any wrinkles or weeds…and if they do who cares, you’re going to be on newsstands across the globe…hehehe

  7. Maggie Says:

    Thanks to this blog entry, I can sell the “behind the scenes” story to the tabloids and pay my way through grad school. Awwwwwwwwesome. 🙂

    Would you mind changing your name to Britany?

  8. AML Says:

    Great story! Can’t wait to read all about ya in the magazine. And please add my email to your list of buddies that might be interested. You never know!

  9. onesorryblog Says:

    Cool story! Here’s a friendly reminder that the Sunday Scrabble Sweepstakes is back at One Sorry Blog. A word a week is all it takes. And tell your group of Scrabble-playing friends! Keep up the good blogging.

  10. Jayne Says:

    Anna–you look better in your dirty laundry than I could ever hope to look in our Real Simple spread!

  11. RookieMom Heather Says:

    Sounds so fun. Sign me up for online Scrabble and being “real”. The only time my husband beats me at Scrabble is when I’m pregnant. Sad but true.

  12. The Fluffy Mackerel Pudding might be my favorite « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] plural, but at least he didn’t get THIS, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere), and that magazine is now out on newstands everywhere, and it’s not everyday your hands are shown LARGER than […]

  13. Hands, ready for your close up? « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] I’ll spare you the photo of me in the wrinkled shirt. […]

  14. domanico Says:

    What a cool story! I will keep a look out for you!:)
    I’d love to be added to your email list.

  15. This is your house on Real Simple « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] Full story on this whole deal later. But you’ll have to excuse me while I go figure out what the heck I’m going to wear. […]

  16. Bride’s Connecticut, a custom wine label and a complete detour to Scrabble « Hank & Willie Says:

    […] people might not know my nerdy Scrabble background (who else do YOU know who has been in Real Simple magazine for playing Scrabble with friends?), and while I am not the player I once was (two children and a business will do that to you), I do […]

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