Q4U: Guilty Pleasures

Every once in awhile, on a Friday night, my husband will be at work and my kids will be gone at sleepovers and I’ll have a whole evening to myself. This is maybe twice a year. But when it happens… ah, bliss.

I carefully select some fruit and cheeses for my dinner, and pour a glass of merlot. Then I get comfy on the sofa, put my feet up, make sure there are no books or manuscripts within arm’s reach… and settle in to watch two, maybe even three TV shows in a row. I always have several saved up—I TiVo a lot of shows but rarely watch any. So I might have some episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” or “House” or “The Closer.” You know, pure entertainment.

And I will relax and forget about everything and just enjoy my wine and cheese and my shows.

That’s my guilty pleasure.

What’s yours?

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  3. Amanda G on April 17, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    >Amendment: I'm reading the responses of others and thinking maybe my "guilt meter" is tuned too low, because I don't think of Borders as a guilty pleasure, either … or truly well made, realistic TV shows … otherwise I would have a bit more guilt in my life.

  4. Amanda G on April 17, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    >Ice cream! Revisiting seasons 1 & 2 of Bones (the only ones I think are worth owning), or Colin Firth's Pride & Prejudice (ha, I say that like he directed it … but he will always be the only Darcy for me!). I wouldn't count the latter as a guilty pleasure except that I sometimes watch a scene three or four times before moving on to the next one, analyzing every expression.

    Oh, and every once in awhile, there's also … :whispers: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. :dashes away in shame:

    I do not in any way consider writing a guilty pleasure! Or reading, unless the book is so train-wreck awful that I'm finding it entertaining, which is a rare occurrence for me but has happened.

  5. Aine Willis on April 17, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    >Cleaning house! Isn't that insane? But, seriously … if you clean when the husband and kids are all gone … it STAYS clean for a few hours. Once the housework is done, I sit in my favorite chair and read.

  6. Rev. Alfredo on April 17, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    >My Guilty Pleasure?
    Sitting on the porch talking with God about what HE has given me to write and share with the world. Presently, I write Christian books, Fiction, 9/11 (articles & poems), Poetry – Love, Christian, General- both in Spanish and English, and Articles, Christian and General. During these moments I pray fervently to God because I am unpublished, praying for a door to open or for God to open that door. I love writing. Guess that is my second guilty pleasure. Feel free to get in touch with me.
    Rev. Alfredo

  7. Anonymous on April 17, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    >Let's not forget American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Apprentice, Project Runway and Top Chef–very guilty as charged.

  8. Ann Marie Wraight on April 17, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    >I have to work extremely long hours and wear fairly smart clothes and not very comfortable shoes…so my guilty pleasure is getting into my tatty, ancient pink pyjamas and lazing on an old sofa we have outside…we own a small farm so the country sounds of the sheep and chickens going about their business is bliss…an ouzo on the rocks is always appreciated of course!

  9. Carol J. Garvin on April 16, 2010 at 11:33 PM

    >An unscheduled free afternoon is my idea of a bonus. At one time I'd sit down at the piano and lose myself in hours of music, but arthritic fingers have eliminated that pleasure. Instead, if it's a warm enough day I'd make an iced mocha frappuccino, turn up the volume on my favourite Pachelbel CD and spend the time daydreaming out on the back deck. If it wasn't warm enough I'd probably still go out there, but I'd take an afghan and a cup of Chai tea. Doing absolutely nothing is sinfully self-indulgent.

  10. Jil on April 16, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    >Hubby safely off at an antique show for the day,it's just my dog and me so I take out my paints.It's the most wonderful feeling to have Wild horses come alive under my brush strokes while Susan Boyle or Phantom of the Opera transport me to a state of bliss.

  11. Angela McCallister on April 16, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    >I'm not much of a gamer. In fact, I don't play Xbox or Playstation. I don't have a Wii or DS. I don't really even watch TV. I doubt that even any of these would be reason to feel guilty while indulging anyway.

    But I'm a closet Mafia Wars freak. I do my best to sneak in a little time each day on FB just to play. My family and friends think it's a sign of retardation, but really??? Is it any different than Farmville? I have to skip my posts so others can't see I've been on there 🙂

  12. Anonymous on April 16, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    >"HOUSE" and "THE CLOSER" are definitely guilty pleasures. Love, love those shows!

  13. Botanist on April 16, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    >Finding a quiet spot in the sun with a view, maybe a bench down by the sea, and getting out a pad & pen and…going wherever my mind wants to wander. Sketching, plot outlining, writing, whatever.

  14. Care on April 16, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    >A box of chocolates that has a map! (like I need one:)
    and an old black and white movie like Paper Moon or Grapes of Wrath or…

  15. Gwen Stewart on April 16, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    >Wearing cute shoes, eating dark chocolate, and watching bride show marathons with my daughter on Sunday afternoons.

    Oh, and getting up at 3 AM once in a while to write and cruise the net. I love being up while the world sleeps.

  16. Messy mommy on April 16, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    >"Guilty Pleasures": Watching Being Erica on demand or Psych, borrowing my daughter's DS, playing House of the Dead with my DH on Wii, getting a hamburger and Dr Pepper at a fast food place 🙂

  17. annegreenwoodbrown on April 16, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    >Wearing my pajamas until mid-afternoon.

  18. Rebecca Lynn on April 16, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    >My guilty pleasure is definitely the Food Network. I am definitely a foodie, and anytime I can be watching Food Network shows, I do. Unfortunately, it can't happen all the time. 🙂

    Give me a little Bobby Flay or Tyler Florence, and I'm good to go for days and days.

  19. Walt M on April 16, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    >I like good chocolate or a good beer, though definitely not together.

    Also, if everyone's out, I might head to the bookstore and enjoy coffee and reading.

  20. katdish on April 16, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    >You say reading a book doesn't count as a guilty pleasure, but what if it's a book about shiny vampires?

    Yes. I admit it. I'm on Book 3.

  21. Katrina L. Lantz on April 16, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    >My guilty pleasure: Lurking on agent, editor, and author blogs. With two babies in the house, MEtime is rare. I should be exercising, but I'm "studying" the industry instead. Guilty.

  22. REG on April 16, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    >No guilt. Just pleasure. I listen to Chayanne sing a couple of songs on my ipod then I go attack my husband. After all, what is better than sex?

  23. D.J. Morel on April 16, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    >Mine is video games, the solitaire type or Pogo.com. I love beating the computer players at Monopoly. But always come away feeling like I could have actually done something productive with that time.

    You're absolutely right, reading is not a "guilty" pleasure. It's just a pleasure. I never come away from reading time regretting the time I gave even the trashiest of novels.

  24. Ash on April 16, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    >What I enjoyed all week as hubs was on a rare week-long business trip.

    Popcorn for dinner after the boys go to sleep. Usually in bed. Pure bliss if I catch a L&O: Criminal Intent marathon.

    It's the little things, ain't it?

  25. daniellaindie on April 16, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    >As a Lit major, there was a huge stigma against anything that wasn't "REAL" literature. However, just like I adore junk food like Dr. Pepper and Fritoes, I love junk lit. So my guilty pleasure is staying up late at night reading one of those trashy, bodice-ripping romance novels. It always makes me feel good because I know I can at least write as good as THAT, and THAT got published! =)

  26. Loree H on April 16, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    >All you can eat Crab Legs!

  27. Valerie on April 16, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    >Aaah, a night alone in my house. Very rare. First, I make sure the house is clean so I'm not annoyed (except for my kids rooms, just shut the door), then I get my favorite take-out so I don't have to cook….maybe some fabulous Thai or sushi….a bottle of my favorite wine, and settle in to watch a movie that noone else in my family would be caught dead watching….like Pride & Prejudice, or The Other Boleyn Girl. Heaven!

  28. Sue Harrison on April 16, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    >At this point in my life, alone time is my guilty pleasure. A whole 24 hours with no one to clean up after or to cook for or talk to except my dog! How often has that happened in the past ten years? Never. But as all writers know, fantasy can be as good as the real thing!

  29. Liesl on April 16, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    >Eating Reddi-whip out of a can.

    Eating Nutella out of the jar.

    Reading certain books that everyone has read but everyone wishes they could roll their eyes and say they'd never sink to such levels.

  30. MJR on April 16, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    >Hmmm…well, here are a few

    Watching WHAT NOT TO WEAR and then fantasizing that my friends will get me on the show

    chocolate croissants, Milano cookies with milk

    chick fliks of all kinds (as long as nothing really sad happens–I can't watch those)

    nice oold glass of Chardonnay or a frozen margarita

    McDonald's hamburger and French fries

    reading about celebrities in People

  31. Colette on April 16, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    >Trade the cheese for chocolate, the merlot for cabernet, and make the TV show Mad Men and I'm right there with you!

  32. Anonymous on April 16, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    >MERLOT?! I can't read this blog anymore

  33. Dominique on April 16, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    >Right now my guilty pleasure is watching episodes of Bones, which I've been doing way too much of lately.

  34. Laura Marcella on April 16, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    >Oh my goodness, paradise!

    My guilty pleasure involves chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate!

  35. carolynyalin on April 16, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    >When my daughter goes down early and we have the night to play, we'll take out Rockband 🙂 and live out our other lives as musicians…

  36. Keli Gwyn on April 16, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    >My guilty pleasure is visiting the Coach outlet store and inhaling the scent of new leather while exploring the many tempting handbags and accessories.

  37. Diane J. on April 16, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    >I have two guilty pleasures:

    Away from home: Borders, I could stay there all day, although the staff will look at each other with that "Poor lady has no life" look.

    At home: HGTV and puff magazines (tabloids, pure puffery). And a bowl of popcorn.

  38. Kristen Torres-Toro on April 16, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    >Love "the Closer!"

    I love potatoes, so something with french fries. Or chocolate and Coca-Cola.

  39. T. Anne on April 16, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    >Well I was going to say reading a book by the pool, but since books don't really count I'll confess that I indulge in an episode of Y&R every now and again. Plus all those reality shows I watch with my husband. I think we tivo every single one.

    Have a great weekend.

  40. SM Schmidt on April 16, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    >My guilty pleasure is taking the night off from everything to game. I never allow myself endless playing hours if I'm at school or a chapter is waiting to be revised. A lovely mindless activity I don't allow to have anymore pressure then I care to put on myself.

  41. Anonymous on April 16, 2010 at 10:16 AM

    >Too many to list: Antiques & flea market shopping, dark chocolate, Mad Men, White Collar, NYC Housewives, browsing & shopping at bookstores, nachos & margaritas…the list goes on. Guess I like to be spoiled!

  42. Richard Mabry on April 16, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    >After reading all these "true confessions," I'm tempted to say that my guilty pleasure is "gossip," but I won't.

    I enjoy playing golf every Wednesday, even when I'm working under deadline and absolutely know that I'm never going to make it if I don't sit at the computer from dusk to dawn. Somehow, I always manage, but I still feel guilty…until I hit that drive off the first tee.

  43. Renae M on April 16, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    >Pajama Day! Love a whole day of not GOING anywhere, so I'll celebrate by staying in my pajamas for the day, instead of just until 10 am. Also watching Aliens for the umpteenth time. I finally stopped deleting it from my DVR so I can watch it anytime I want.

  44. Mira on April 16, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    >I love time alone – completely delicious.

    For me, computer games. Although I have to be careful. Those are so addictive for me, I won't let myself buy any more until the summer. Otherwise, I'll end up quitting school and my job because I can't leave my computer. Must…get….to…the…next…level.

    It's weird, but life is so much easier in a computer game. Sort of odd that way.

    Rachelle, I could be wrong, but reading between the lines, you sound tired. I am not a Doctor, but I pretend to be one on the internet – and I prescribe for you a completely relaxing and nurturing weekend. Not optional – mandatory! It's medical, you have to do it.

    Have a very nice weekend everyone else, too.

  45. ChrisChat on April 16, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    >Okay, reading books won't be my guilty pleasure (today) but they are my addiction.

    The real guilt and with it a silly feeling…daydreaming. Complete and useless sitting in corner chair, headphones on or off and just daydreaming. Or watching any multitude of favourite TV show or movies and putting myself into them through daydreaming.

    Or just sitting with a silly slinky or hunk of clay or doodling with crayons.

  46. Kate H on April 16, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    >Evening alone: Watch one of my favorite movies, Somewhere in Time or A Room with a View or a Jane Austen. Sometimes for my birthday I get a whole day, and then I'll take a walk on the beach and spend time in my favorite coffee shop writing.

  47. Arabella on April 16, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    >My husband used to work shifts at the firehouse, which gave me nights to myself, but not any longer. He does go out of town occasionally, though, and, sometimes, my children will go to a friend's house on the same night (miracles do happen). I like to have a glass of wine and make an easy dinner–usually a quesadilla on a rice tortilla, and then I watch a chick movie that my husband would not appreciate.

  48. Jessica Nelson on April 16, 2010 at 9:26 AM

    >Hahaaa, okay, so our livers don't eat chocolate….*snorting and grinning*

  49. Jessica Nelson on April 16, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    >Reading a book doesn't count? Then I think eating chocolate shouldn't count as a guilty pleasure either. *grin*
    I just heard on the radio that it's healthy for our livers to eat dark chocolate! Woot, woot!

  50. David Jarrett on April 16, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    >Skip my normal weights workout and any chores that have to be done — they can all wait for tomorrow. Enjoy some quiet time all to myself. Lie in bed reading for half the day. Play golf if I feel like it in the afternoon. Watch a a favorite DVD (Quigley Down Under, The Sand Pebbles, Gladiator, etc) at night — no news programs. Eat whatever leftovers are in the refrigerator and maybe a can of soup for dinner, but nothing that involves wasting any time in preparation. More reading (fiction only) until I fall asleep around midnight.

  51. sharonbially on April 16, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    >Munching. It's not just a guilty pleasure: it's a bad habit. But I love it! Sitting at my computer I munch all sorts of salty treats: cashew nuts, Wheat Thins, sunflower seeds…. At night after dinner, it's sweets: chocolate, cookies, raisins. Amazing that my weight hasn't budged in 20 years. Must be stress…

  52. Mary Aalgaard on April 16, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    >When I'm kidless, I make myself a delicious stir-fry dinner (my kids don't eat it), have a glass of wine if there's any at my house, and either watch Biography, if it's a good one, or pop in a fav movie. Ah…

  53. Julie Weathers on April 16, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    >Guilty pleasure. This more than a one night thing, but I look forward to my writer retreats with friends. I'll miss it this year and I am sick about that.

    One night guilty pleasure is going to a good steak house and having a great steak, a couple of beers or margaritas and then going home to watch a movie or paint.

  54. Shannon Taylor Vannatter on April 16, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    >Wear my jammies all day, don't comb my hair, or put on my makeup, eat chocolate, drink endless cups of coffee, and write all day.

    I'm published, but writing is still a pleasure and not a guilty one.

  55. tracey solomon on April 16, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    >well.. I don't feel guilty bout them.. but here are my simple pleasures:

    Knitting- with beautiful, soft yarn.
    Getting my nails done regularly.
    making time to run/walk.
    writing. (not yet under contract, it's an investment of my time without guarantee of return. Some would call that selfish.. I do not:)

  56. Cindy Swanson on April 16, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    >My guilty pleasures? Occasionally watching shows like "Real Housewives of Atlanta," with the awed fascination rubberneckers reserve for a trainwreck.

    And sometimes (hanging my head in shame) reading celebrity magazines like "Star" and "OK." (Just to look at the fashions the beautiful people are wearing, of course!!!)

  57. Siddhartha Herdegen on April 16, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    >I’m sure I’ll catch grief for this from the skim milk crowd but my guilty pleasure is to eat warm peanut butter cookies with a tall glass of cold half & half.

  58. Steph on April 16, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    >It's a Hugh Grant movie while I paint my nails, usually Music and Lyrics (and Rouge Noir).

  59. cool dad on April 16, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    >My guilty pleasures are so many that listing them makes me feel guilty: Watching sci-fi TV shows, catching an action flick that Cool Mum would not watch, playing Wii, baking frozen onion rings and consuming with lots of ketchup, and scarfing down entire cupcakes (these cupcakes are big) from the amazing bakery around the corner.

  60. Maria on April 16, 2010 at 8:37 AM

    >I'm glad that reading doesn't count as a guilty pleasure. As a mother of three, 5 and under, it certainly feels like it sometimes. After my family and my religion, reading is my love.

  61. Roxane B. Salonen on April 16, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    >Rachelle, oh, that sounds so lovely! Hmmm….coffee or lunch with friends, my couple days a week at the Y walking on the treadmill and riding bike while reading a book, and my weekly writing night out. As a mother of five, these little reprieves are hugely important for my sanity and productivity!

  62. Rachelle on April 16, 2010 at 8:23 AM

    >It's fun reading all these!

    Newsflash: Reading a book doesn't count as a guilty pleasure.

  63. mary bailey on April 16, 2010 at 8:10 AM

    >My guilty pleasure happens tomorrow when I have a Girls Day Out with my sister. We're driving out of town to go to a big used book sale. Since we have different schedules and she has a new baby, we rarely get to do anything together. The reason I feel guilty? My 10yo son is making me feel like the World's Worst Mom for not taking him with me!

  64. Kat Harris on April 16, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    >Spending hours at the greenhouse or in one of my gardens. Aaah, heaven.

  65. Cynthia Watson on April 16, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    >If my kids are both out (they're 20 & 16), I will saute a small steak in LOADS of butter, nuke a Yukon Gold potato, pour a tall iced tea (with tons of ice) and take it into the livingroom to watch a movie (usually something like Julie & Julia). Then I'll make some really rich, dark coffee & grab a plump, gooey butter tart.

    Hey, maybe I'll do that tonight!

  66. Sharon A. Lavy on April 16, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    >I feel guilty that I need that alone time so badly.

    So I don't always do the same thing.

    Writing is one. Or just reading something from my TBR stack. Without interruption!!!!

  67. Terri Tiffany on April 16, 2010 at 7:44 AM

    >Turn off all the phones and read Jodi Picoult's latest novel.:)

  68. Wendy Paine Miller on April 16, 2010 at 7:36 AM

    >I’ve watched more seasons of The Bachelor than I care to admit. Every time The Notebook is on I end up watching it and crying and I can eat just about a whole bag of pistachios.

    These are going to be fun to read. 😀

    Happy Weekend,

  69. Scott on April 16, 2010 at 7:29 AM

    >On the very rare instances where it's just me in the house . . . I pull out the extended versions of the complete Lord of the Rings movies and watch them! No interruptions. No "what are you doing?" (even though it's obvious), just me and the brilliance of Tolkien come to life in high definition! Wowzer!

  70. Barbara Krasner on April 16, 2010 at 7:26 AM

    >On Demand TV shows – my favorite is Mad Men – and weekly 90-minute massages. Integral to this is not picking up the phone when it rings or checking my Blackberry for incoming emails.

  71. Jason on April 16, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    >Matthew, there's just no reason to smoke a good cheese. 🙂

    Anyway, when the wife and girls are away my guilty pleasure involves chocolate milk, a box of Nutter Butters, and endless video gaming…

  72. Matthew Rush on April 16, 2010 at 6:51 AM

    >Oh, and I forgot to mention: My favorite cheese is Smoked Gouda.

  73. Matthew Rush on April 16, 2010 at 6:50 AM

    >Definitely Sushi, Sapporo, and Hot Sake. Followed by some great sports, football, basketball, soccer, or even baseball; depending on the time of year.

    Thanks for sharing Rachelle.

    Today's guest blogger is Rachel Alpine!

  74. Jessica Nelson on April 16, 2010 at 6:11 AM

    >Ahhh, I LOVE House. He's a pleasure, no guilt involved. *grin*
    Actually, I like choc. chip cookie dough. It's so bad for me but I'll eat it and read or eat it and watch something.
    Have a great, guilty-pleasure weekend. 🙂

  75. Amy Sue Nathan on April 16, 2010 at 6:09 AM

    >At the moment my guilty pleasure takes place in the early morning – the only time I'm awake and both my kids, ages 18 and 14, are asleep. I plunk the laptop on my lap, sip my first cup of coffee and watch recorded episodes of The Locator until it's time to be part of the real world.

  76. Lisa Jordan on April 16, 2010 at 6:04 AM

    >I'm rather boring. For me a guilty pleasure would include watching online episodes (no Tivo) of my favorite shows while knitting, scrapbooking, or stamping.

  77. Katie Ganshert on April 16, 2010 at 5:15 AM

    >That sounds heavenly!!

    All of a sudden I'm craving sharp cheddar on crips apple slices! Oh, yum….

  78. Lydia Sharp on April 16, 2010 at 4:59 AM

    >Splurging on date night (with my husband) at the movie theater. 🙂

    Funny you brought this up now, since we've been waiting for this coming Saturday to arrive all week. Usually, I work every Saturday night, but I just happened to not get scheduled this Saturday, so we're going to see Clash of the Titans in 3D. It will be overpriced, kid-free, and a full night of fun.

    I can't turn off the writer side of me when watching movies, though. I'm expecting to see all the flaws along with the good stuff (I've given up trying not to), and hoping for an epiphany on one of my current projects as well. 😉

  79. Liberty Speidel on April 16, 2010 at 4:26 AM

    >It depends on my mood, but usually there's chocolate involved! 🙂 I like classic films, and my hubby despises them, so I'm likely to curl up with a big bowl of the chocolatiest (is that a word?) ice cream and an old movie to relax.

    Like you, that alone time doesn't happen frequently–I have a toddler and another baby on the way, so I see less and less 'me' time in my future!

  80. Aimee LS on April 16, 2010 at 2:21 AM

    >Because I'm unpublished, writing is still my guilty pleasure.

    Sometimes on a weekend my son will be asleep, my husband will be home (but busy) and I will take the car to the beach, or a gorgeous park nearby and sit there with the sound of water and just look for the right answers to what I'm doing or think about my characters.

    The time always passes in the blink of an eye.

  81. kathleen bittner roth on April 16, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    >Since I live with one foot in the U.S. and one along the Adriatic (where I am at the moment), I love to take off by myself and walk the lungo mare, a 12k walkway along the sea's edge. Then I stop at an outdoor coffee house, one close to the water, and simply watch the sea without thought. Nothing soothes, relaxes, refreshes or inspires more.