March 2014



Books Worth Reading: Eightysixed by Emily Belden

Written by , Posted in Book Reviews

Thanks in part to an entire day of jury duty and no glimpse of a courtroom, I poured through Emily Belden’s newly released memoir, Eightysixed: Life Lessons Learned, in under 48 hours. Eightysixed is definitely a page-turner and it felt a little bit like I was reading my own inner dialogue from my early-mid twenties…minus Emily’s “eat, pray, love” experience, unfortunately. I was super excited to interview this fellow Chicagoan and blogger for Lion + Maven’s very first author interview…read on!

Lion + Maven | Eightysixed by Emily Belden

Q: Your memoir, Eightysixed: Life Lessons Learned, debuted last month on Amazon as the #20 best-seller in Women’s Memoirs and #3 in the chef’s category. What can readers expect when they pick up your book?

A really honest and hilarious recount of what it’s like to navigate your 20s. I like to say it’s a blend of Mean Girls, Sex & The City, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and 50 Shades of Grey.

Q: Eightysixed actually started out as a post on your blog Total E-bag. How did you make the jump from blog to book?

I saw how well one of my posts did (the #37th most-visited WordPress blog in a day) and thought there was something to that. Maybe people would really be interested in knowing the backstory of it all. So I committed to the manuscript and never looked back.

 Q: You’ve enjoyed some pretty amazing meals in this city, including the experiences at Schwa and Alinea that you wrote about in Eightysixed. When you’re not dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, what’s your favorite “hidden gem” in Chicago?

My new favorite sweet spot is Beatrix. It’s right in the heart of River North and I swear by everything from their wine list to their 6-inch cookies to their turkey meatloaf. It’s my go-to spot for dinner with the girls.

Q: Your book isn’t the only thing that’s landed you in the public eye. You and your fiancé, Ryan, were on the Today Show after you glued 59,670 pennies to your bedroom floor last year to create The Penny Floor. How did you come up with the idea and were you sick of pennies by the end of it?

I was sick of pennies one-square-foot into the game! The idea came totally from Ryan, he’s the true creative genius between the two of us. One day I came home, and he was gluing money to the floor. So, I just thought, “Ok, I guess we’re doing this…”

 Q: In addition to writing, you also run an online greeting card store called Happy Happy Gay Gay. How did Happy Happy Gay Gay come about?

One of my gay friends got married in California right after DOMA got shot down. I wanted to send a card, but nothing was sassy, sexy, sarcastic enough. So I thought, what the hell, I’ll make my own. One card turned into 10, turned into a fully-functioning eCommerce site.

Q: Now that you’ve got your first book under your belt, any upcoming projects fans can look forward to after reading Eightysixed?

Eightysixed will be adapted to film, so I’m currently working on the infant stages of that process. After that’s squared away, I’ll start the work on my sophomore book, which I expect to be out sometime next year.


Now a few quick-fire questions, just for fun!

Q:  Favorite book?

Beautiful Boy

Q: Go-to cocktail?

A glass of Pinot Noir

Q: Guilty pleasure?

Vanderpump Rules on Bravo

Q: Best advice?

Do you.


Anxious to grab your own copy of Eightysixed? Lion + Maven readers can receive a 30% discount on the book by clicking here and using code QF73U now through March 24!

Lion + Maven | Eightysixed by Emily Belden


  1. Tomissa Porath
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