Little Girl & the Big Apple

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What I’m Watching: Fall 2016 edition

Well, well, well. Here we are again, new primetime season. It feels like just yesterday we were talking about A to Z (RIP), Marry Me (RIP), and the final seasons of Parks and Rec (RIP) and Parenthood (super RIP). Yes, NBC did slay my soul last season. Although original content distribution platforms and timetables are ever-evolving, it’s still safe to say television amps up the in the fall. Every September+ brings a fresh batch of new shows to get pumped about and returning favorites to mark your calendars for.

A few important notes before I get to the meat and potatoes:

a) As you may know, I gravitate toward comedies. I’ve been weaning myself into more dramas lately with goodies like Breaking Bad (re-watching), American Crime (still working on but loving so far!), The Wire (watched because I liked American Crime and Amy Poehler told me to), and The Americans (also really great). People don’t actually consider Orange is the New Black a drama right? I digress…

b) This year’s new shows are really laser-focusing on that 90’s-obsessed Gen Y and Millennial audience. (Note: that’s me and yes, I am listening.) I see you throwing these actors from decades past in my face. Looking at you Rob Lowe, John Stamos, Fred Savage, all ya’ll Muppets, NPH, Jamie Lee Curtis, I COULD GO ON. But here’s the deal: it’s one thing to entice an audience – and an entirely different thing to keep them around. Like everyone else raised with Beanie Babies and water beds, I tuned into Girl Meets World (#respect), and it was apparent Disney brand-slapped Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel hard. I realize rolling beloved actors into brand new characters is an entirely different feat, but don’t stake your campaign/show entirely around talent. Here’s to hoping the writers and producers of these new series also do their homework so that some of these new players (especially on networks) build some audiences who stick around.

c) This season is TOUGH. With hardly any returning favorites and new series I’m only slightly intrigued by, I’m a little less than enthused with what’s on the table. This summer set a lot of high standards for programming (OITNB, Difficult People, Wet Hot American Summer, The Fosters, Mr. Robot, probably a lot more I’m forgetting), so maybe that’s what makes falling into the fall a littler scarier this time around.

Now with all of that out in the open, here’s what I am most looking forward to tuning into over the next few months. [All times listed in ET, the only timezone that matters ;)]

fall tv lineup

Brand spankin’ new content:

  • Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (NBC): The network god (NBC) and its vastly talented holy spirt triple threat (NPH) is are attempting to bring back the variety show format to primetime television. For as much street cred and punch as NPH can pack, I’m not quite sure if an audience will stick the landing. Regardless, I’m there for the ride. Premiered September 15th and will continue airing on Tuesdays at 10pm
  • Life in Pieces (CBS): I don’t know that the world needs a new Modern Family (mostly because the original is still holding up just fine), but I’m curious to see CBS’s supposedly “edgier” twist on “authentic” family humor told through chopped up vignettes. Premieres on Monday, September 21 at 8:30pm
  • Blindspot (NBC): While the premise (a memory-less tattoo-mapped girl winds up in a bag in Times Square) is a little hokey, NBC has been doing their darndest to push this show and I could stand to get in on an action-based thriller. Premieres Monday, September 21 at 10pm
  • The Muppets (ABC): I mean, I think we’re all curious. And as a single adult woman, I would love to live in a world where “did you see what happened on last night’s Muppets?!” is an acceptable and interesting first-date topic. Please grant my wishes, ABC! Premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8pm
  • Scream Queens (Fox): Scream Queens to Fox feels like Blindspot to NYC. Couldn’t be more different re: premise (SQ= Lots of lady-power helmed by JLC that’s purposely silly-scary, put on by the makers of Glee and American Horror Story), but there’s just so. much. promotion. Did you guys know I work in marketing? So yeah, I’ll check it out. Premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8pm
  • Grandfathered (Fox): My conscience knows this isn’t going to be an older Jesse Katsopolis (just wait for Fuller House, Mandy!), but even after all the greek yogurt commercials, I will still follow John Stamos around like a lost puppy. Premieres Tuesday, September 29th at 8pm
  • The Grinder (Fox): I welcome back Rob Lowe and Fred Savage to my television set with open arms in this weird, impractical, lawyer-centric story line. Premieres Tuesday, September 29th at 8:30pm
  • Wicked City (ABC): True Detective for network? But it’s with Chuck Bass and set on the 1982 Sunset Strip with a focus on serial murders. Enough buzzwords for me to at least give it a shot. Premieres Tuesday, October 27th at 10pm
  • Master of None (Netflix): Aziz Ansari’s new series about a New York actor (loosely based on himself who, as he puts it, “[is] in his early 30s, he has good friends, and realizes, ‘Oh shit, I’m an adult now.’” Aziz is a hilarious genius, and if this show remotely resembles his previous work (Parks and Recreation, his book Modern Love, his standup in general), I’ll likely be a huge fan. Premieres Friday, November 6

Oldies but goodies (aka returning, and some revised, favorites):

  • The Mindy Project (Hulu): Premiered September 15th
  • Modern Family (ABC): Season seven premiers Wednesday, September 23 at 9pm
  • Jane the Virgin (The CW): Season two premieres Monday, October 12
  • Transparent (Amazon): Season two premieres Friday, December 4
  • New Girl (Fox): Season five premiere date TBD

What else am I missing? Because I truly am always looking for more reasons to skip the gym.

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In the grasp of dusk and summer

With summer winding down (or “over,” if you view the world from the Labor Day = autumn calendar), I thought I’d catch us all up to speed from the past season. Real talk: the past few months been challenging, to say the least. Things happened: amazing things, utterly terrifying things, I-have-to-nurse-myself-to-sleep-with-a-bottle-of-wine-if-I-want-to-get-any-shut-eye-tonight type of things. All of them. But we’ve (almost) made it to a new season, so you know it couldn’t have ended up all that bad.

For myself and strangely enough a number of my very close friends, seismically insane occurrences happened in the recent months. But I choose no longer to dwell on the happenings-that-must-not-be-named. Perseverance, determination and plain old instincts of survival got us (mostly) through. I’d like to instead reflect on some of the good things that happened over the course of my summer in the city. As it’s easy to forget the simple pleasures of day-to-day life when you’re going through a tough time, it’s so important to not. Often it’s the little things that add up to the big things, and I personally think those are what ultimately save you. So without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite things I did over the past few months that helped me rise above the hellstorm that was the summer of 2015. (Note: I’m focusing on events that happened in the city, even though my real favorite moments were likely any time I got away. New York, I love you, but summers are tough.)

My top 10 favorite happenings from the summer of 2015 in the city:

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10. The first GOP Debate on Fox. I couldn’t not include the most tuned-in election event that’s ever been. Not to mention this week’s workout schedule has been meticulously planned around debate numero dos. (Tonight on CNN for any interested parties, Happy hour at 6/Trump-show at 8 ET)

9. Finally catching a Yankees game. It had been a long time coming, so I was thrilled to finally cross this off my bucket list this summer. Also: the ticket was only $13. PLUS they happened to be playing the Cleveland WINdians. And Cle won. Winning all around!

8. Any time spent at the beach. Because summer without a beach is no summer at all.

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7. Finally paying attention to The Cloisters. At long last, I ventured up to the castle filled with art residing in my backyard! And regardless of where you live in this city, you too should make the trek; it’s worth at least one visit.

6. Birthday Times Square madness. A few months back I crafted this wild idea about a chain restaurant bar crawl in Times Square, and lucky for me, I have an amazing group of friends who indulged me in this silly endeavor.

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5. Seeing Hamilton. By the grace of The Good Lord Almighty in heaven, I was blessed with a chance to see this force of theatrical magic for less than $500. I’ll just leave you with this for a review: everything the critics say about it is true. Run, don’t walk, to catch Mr. Lin Manuel rock rap your socks off and completely change your perception of what theatre can say and do for a community (hint: it’s much more than entertain).

4. Any time spent on a rooftop. Because summer without a rooftop (many rooftops!) is no summer at all.

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3. The 17th Annual Del Close Marathon. A how-to post is in the works for next year, but this was the year I hardcore DCM’d it up. (DCM is a nonstop weekend-long improv festival, for those who don’t know. I obviously have not and will not pick up long-distance running any time in the near future.) This year’s experience entailed hours (14! 14 hours!) of waiting in the pouring rain with total strangers who – by the end of the weekend – became extensions of myself, some of the best comedy blocks I’ve seen to date in this city, and the most impossible question I’ve ever pondered: Marry, bop, kill: Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally, Zach Woods.

2. Surprise taping(s) of The Ellen Show at 30 Rock. One of the best things about NYC is the randomness that ensues when you let the city take you for a journey. A friend and I went for a late-afternoon walk/break from work and wound up in the audience for two shows (the second in VIP!) of Ellen that were taping in midtown. The whole experience was the best kind of whirlwind (Ellen! Hillary Clinton! A P!nk set!), and a great overall reminder that sometimes in life, the most awesome and random shit is waiting for you – right around the corner.

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1. Accepting The Job. Oh yeah, that little thing that happened at the forefront of the season. Early this summer, I was offered a position with the company I moved to New York (now over 4 years ago) with ambitions of working for. Currently a few months in, I still pinch myself daily. Although I am not yet in my dream role (Do I know my dream role? Does anybody?), this happening was a pretty big deal to me and I am very much looking forward to seeing what can blossom out of this opportunity.

So summer of 2015, I bid adieu to you; you have definitely been one for the books. And fall of 2015, you ain’t seen nothing yet. (You literally ain’t – seven more days!) And I know, at the very least, there’s a handful of us waiting with bated breath.

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A DC Independence Day

If your parents aren’t interested in American history, maybe don’t plan a family vacation to Washington DC.

If you hate being amongst huge crowds of humans 24/7, probably don’t travel over the Fourth of July weekend.

If you do not enjoy walking around, sight-seeing AND all of the above things also exist, our nation’s capital over Independence Day is definitely not for you + your family.

But guess what my parents and I did over this year’s holiday weekend!? An expensive monuments cruise which showed us nothing, a three-hour bus tour guided by the world’s least funny non-comedian that was so hot we almost melted, and crowded, expensive brunches filled with annoying tourists (like us) were the highlights. BUT. I did capture a handful of mediocre photos, and, of course, it was nice to spend the holiday with family. Plus: DC, as clean and structured as it is in contrast to NYC, always makes for a nice getaway from the daily grind of a sweaty Manhattan summer. At long last, here are a few photos I managed to shoot during that hot and humid weekend at the beginning of July.


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More Bounce in California

A few weeks back, I had the privilege of visiting the land where the seasons never change – Los Angeles, to be specific. I went out for a good girlfriend’s wedding and stayed to spend time with some friends who left me in New York  permanently migrated out west. The catch phrase of my trip was “I’m moving to LA!” and I haven’t stopped thinking about how differently my life would have unfolded if I moved out there in 2011 as planned.

I unfortunately didn’t take any real photos at my friend Ashley’s Malibu wedding, so a few cell phone pics and my word will have to suffice, but you guys – it was the most gorgeous wedding I’ve attended in my life. The church overlooked the ocean, she had her wedding party photos right on the beach, and even the cake was picture perfect (and tasty!). I won’t even get started on how perfect the bride looked. I am so insanely happy for and proud of my friend; she is hands-down one of the best humans I know and seeing her more often would make my heart smile. And now that I know how much I dig California… we’ll see what I can manage. : )

I spent a few days post-wedding wandering around Venice and Santa Monica, hiking up to the Hollywood sign and falling deep in love with everything “old Hollywood” (my number two catchphrase from the trip). I wanted to find out if they really do have more bounce in California than all y’all combined, and according to my findings, they do (sorry, NY). Here’s a few of my favorite photos I captured from my California adventures. And City of Angels, let’s not go another four years without seeing each other, deal?

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Smart Starting the Week

Last night’s Junior League workshop at the Covenant House was extra inspiring and truthfully, just what a Monday ordered.

It wasn’t surprising that our speaker, Meagan Hooper, the 33-year-old former hedge fund COO and current CEO and founder of bSmart Guide had some legit advice to hand out. If you didn’t know, bSmart Guide is a community platform that inspires and connects women entrepreneurs with aspiring business ladies. Not only was it inspiring to hear Meagan’s personal story of overcoming [many and very tough] obstacles to get where she is now, but also, her passion is connecting and advocating for powerful and not-quite-yet-powerful women to do the same. And guys, need I remind you: lady power is dope.

Lady Power

This workshop was meant for the kids, but I definitely got just as much out of it. The most impressive takeaway for me was that Meagan was someone who was behind for a lot of her life, and had to really fight to catch up (and eventually throttle, full speed ahead) to and past her peers. It took a lot of time and a ton of effort, but she was a freakin’ COO at 27. Nutso encouraging, and just when I needed to hear it.

Anyways, instead of just rambling on about how great she is and how much she has accomplished, here are the top 5 lessons I, and even though you weren’t there, you too, can take away from Meagan’s story:

1. When you’re the assistant, play a King. When you’re in charge, play a two. Demeanor matters.

2. Always know your objective. Repeat it like a mantra daily. Why are you doing all of this? There’s a reason, and it’s worth it.

3. If you want your bosses job, start acting like your boss.

4. Everyone’s afraid. Don’t let fear intimate you because everyone else is just as frightened.

5. Don’t let where you come from dictate where you’re going. The two don’t have to share anything in common.

What’s the most inspirational story or saying you’ve heard lately?


In the Heights

GW Bridge

I haven’t taken out my camera recently, so with Sunday’s gorgeous weather and nothing on my agenda, the timing felt right. My roommate and I took a casual four-hour stroll in our neighborhood, and I photographically documented some of the sites. It was a day filled with leisurely exercise, a guacamole BLT sandwich (aka heaven), and a sunscreen-scented headband reminding me of that season called summer; what more can you ask for? Here’s a few photos of the George Washington Bridge, the little red lighthouse, Hudson View Gardens and Fort Tryon Park — in other words: our backyard.

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Recently, at the Theatre

Going to the theatre has long-been my second favorite multiple-hour escape from reality – nothing can beat hard drugs (joke!). I truly believe that live theatre is magic in its truest and purest form. And when executed correctly, it can be beautiful, mood-altering and maybe even life-changing if you let it.

That said, it doesn’t take a lot to entertain me. And that said, it does take a lot to truly wow me (i.e. give me the chills, perhaps force me to show some emotion in front of strangers without the involvement of the aforementioned hard drugs (still kidding! promise!), etc.). The performances I’ve had the opportunity to take in so far this year have all done a great job at all of this. My goal was to see one show per month, not necessarily Broadway, but it just so happened to pan out that way. It was also by happy accident that I’ve averaged two shows per month so far in 2015. You’ll see no complaints here.

Here’s a very brief synopsis on each of these shows, as well as my abridged thoughts on them all. I’m not going to attempt at rating them because they are so wonderfully different. Sucks to be you, Tony Awards Administration Committee.

Jan - March Broadway

Disgraced: The easiest way to summarize Disgraced is to say that it is a play that explores how race and religion affect your relationships and identity. I was heavily persuaded to see this by my friend and I’m so, so glad I got the chance to. Columbus’ own Joshua Radnor (Schmosby!) was in this, but the whole ensemble did a fantastic job. This set was an intricate and beautiful portrayal of an UES apartment; I wanted to move in when the show was over. And fun fact: my friends and I were so impacted and inspired by this play, we went to a really hip and trendy bar (definitely not the Times Square Planet Hollywood) to discuss its themes for about two hours post-show. The last time a play had such a profound effect on me was… well, never.

Constellations: This play takes a look at one relationship and examines the infinite possibilities of each moment that makes it up. It touches on choice, destiny, and how the different thoughts we process, words we speak, and sometimes even the tones we take can vastly change the course of our lives. With just two actors (I have to admit, I came for the Jake Gyllenhaal and stayed for the Ruth Wilson), and at least 8,000 scenes (a scientific approximation), this book must have been a bitch to memorize. And I must say, the acting was truly of another universe.

Favorite quote: “We have all the time we’ve always had”

Tony guess: Ruth Wilson for best leading actress in a play

Cabaret: Set in 1930s Berlin as the Nazis were rising to power, the classic musical Cabaret is about living, loving, and being persecuted for who and how you choose to live and love. But unless you are a two-months-ago-version-of-me, you probably already knew that. I, alas, did not, so my friend and I had to see Cabaret *twice* in less than three weeks. I simply could not get over (and for the record, still haven’t) Alan Cumming’s greatness. We were able to see both Emma Stone and Sienna Miller portray Sally (both fine, in different ways), but Cumming was the main attraction for me.

Killer lyric: “Life is a cabaret, old chum. It’s only a cabaret, old chum. And I love a cabaret.”

Life guess: Alan Cumming for King of the World

Hand to God: This play, set in rural Texas, is about the process of a possessed-by-the-devil hand puppet taking over a child’s life, as he copes with his father’s recent death and his mother’s lack of dealing with it. This was definitely the most wild-card-feeling play I’ve seen yet, and definitely pushed the envelope – probably more than what, in my opinion, was necessary. This play was super original and again, definitely sparked good conversation during intermission and post-performance, but I think this could be too progressive for the masses. Noteworthy: Steven Boyer, who plays both the protagonist (Jason) and the antagonist (puppet, Tyrone) deserves the highest accolades. I couldn’t imagine that switching emotions so quickly and acting as a damn ventriloquist for two hours a night is an easy feat.

Tony guess: Steven Boyer for best leading actor in a play

Fun Home: Simply, this new musical is about seeing your parents through the eyes of an adult. It’s based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir and happens to be the first mainstream musical about a young lesbian. I can’t describe it any better than: “My dad and I both grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town. And he was gay. And I was gay. And he killed himself. And I… became a lesbian cartoonist.” And I… just saw this yesterday, and haven’t stopped thinking about how original the music is, how talented the entire creative team is, how superior this ensemble was, and most of all, how natural and honestly they integrated this seemingly tough subject matter into fun songs that carry a lot of weight and thought-provoking material. I’m a really, really, really big fan.

Killer lyric: “I don’t know who I am; I’ve become someone new. Nothing I just did is anything I would do.”

Tony guesses: I just want this to sweep. All of the actors & actresses are noteworthy, and I also dig the set, music, book, production, etc., so nothing would surprise me here

Have you been to the theatre lately? What should I see next month?


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