Little Girl & the Big Apple


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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?


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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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It was really #Junobigdeal

As you’ve likely either heard or experienced firsthand, the crippling, dangerous, worst blizzard of all time that was supposedly going to slam into NYC hard on Monday night (according to the hyped up media outlets) insanely under-delivered. It produced, what us Midwesterners commonly refer to as “some snow.” Regardless, the city pitched a fit, and most of us spent Tuesday working from home. I’ve been lazy with bringing my camera out to document anything lately, but here are some photos I snapped while taking a lunch break walk around my neighborhood of Washington Heights.

I hope your snow day was filled with warm beverages, cold adventures, and spent beside good friends.

Snowday 1

Snow Day pic 5

Snow day 6

Snowday 3


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2015.

It’s 2015. Allegedly, it’s been so for 8 days.

I wasn’t going to do a 2014 recap because I didn’t seize that window of opportunity like I had planned on, and everyone’s over those by now. But real talk, everyone was over those way before they started. Plus, I’m HBIC here and I want an evergreen way to summarize my year, so pardon my insistence.

Matt Nathanson 2

My highlights of 2014 consisted of:

  • A lot of traveling home to the Midwest (OH, IL, MI) and thus, seeing many of my favorite people, multiple times throughout the year
  • Switching up my career by accepting a wonderful job in an industry I’m passionate about
  • Performing improv for the first time ever on the UCB stage
  • Seeing Billy Joel perform at a live taping of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
  • Countless brunches with friends, celebrating both the big moments and nothing at all
  • Watching live interviews with Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader
  • Meeting Fred Armisen and making him laugh
  • Cheering on the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team, as they made it to the Elite 8
  • Visitors in NYC! My weekends with Alex, Jenna, Robinson, Mike, and my parents were all wonderful and special in so many ways
  • And generally, anytime I ordered a Dominos pizza (light cheese, jalapeños & mushrooms), because I’m low maintenance and proud of it

In 2014, I lost some friends, gained some friends, was heartbroken to miss a dear college roommate’s wedding, moved back in to an apartment I had lived in twice prior, dyed my hair a handful of times, completed jury duty, bought a really wonderful jacket for $40 and fell in love with One Direction. It was a mixed bag.

Sinatra

For 2015, my mantra is adventure. If I was a millionaire, this would be the year I backpack around the globe, but I work in media so I’m settling for local day trips. Here’s my three-pronged approach at cracking this one open:

1) Read more. 52 books in 52 weeks round deux. Last year, this was a miserable failure – BUT I did purchase a subscription to the Times as a 25th birthday present to myself (how ah-dult of me) which I now read regularly. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

2) Play more. Go on more physical excursions. Photograph places and people. Experience more fun. There’s only so many weekends in my twenties I’m willing to give up to takeout and Netflix. No matter how inciting that sounds every single time.

3) Take more risks. Say yes more often. Live a little outside my comfort zone. If history serves, the best adventures typically result from these instances.

Jack Kerouac

So, what are your goals for 2015? Better question – how are you yielding one week in?


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Entertaining in the Empire City: Jess’ go-to Guide

Happy Friday! It’s the last day of the workweek and my the last post for the Entertaining in the Empire City series. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22 excited about both!

Today’s recommendations come from my best friend and roommate, Jess. Background info: I met Jess over a decade ago – participating in a variety show for our hometown theater. I became true friends with Jess when we were hired by Retail-Giant-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to deep clean their store with steel wool and a variety of semi-toxic cleaning products. I stayed friends with her for too many reasons to list. Top of my mind reasons include: Jess can hold a conversation with anyone, she’s never afraid to ask for what she wants, and her Instagram is a carefully curated work of art. She has the voice of Beyoncé, the face of Taylor Swift ;) and she always knows what she wants for dinner. The fact that she selflessly offers sound advice and unconditional support when you need it is just added bonus. (I really just keep her around for her Instagramming abilities).

So last but not least, in her words, here is Jess’ list of her favorite New York spots to show to out-of-town visitors.

Housing Works Bookstore, Soho: This place makes you feel like a hipster Belle in a bookstore paradise with spiral staircases and hundreds of rare, new, and used books. Pair that with a non-fat latte and decent record collection for browsing. Who needs a prince anyway?

UCB Cagematch, Chelsea: It goes without saying that Amy Poehler knows what’s up. Basically everything she touches turns to genius so it’s no surprise her underground improv den is sweaty, rowdy, and a whole lot of fun. I took my dad here for a midnight Cagematch show. He came for the PBRs, but stayed for the impressive fart jokes.

Le Cheile, Washington Heights: This one is just me being selfish. This adorable Irish bar is 2 blocks from my apartment. With its local art, subway tile decor, and locally sourced brews this place gives Brooklyn a run for its money. Oh, and the GIANT grilled cheese is kind of out of this world.

Fort Tryon Park, Washington Heights: If you want to blow a tourist’s mind take them to this park. It feels like you’ve been dropped inside a mythical fairy land complete with beautiful flower gardens, tangles of tree branches overhead, and castles filled to the brim with medieval art. Oh, and somehow you’re still in Manhattan.

PUNDERDOME 3000, Gowanus, Brooklyn: Alright, I’ll hand it to Brooklyn for this one. PUNDERDOME is a weirdly wonderful evening once a month where pun aficionados convene in a battle royal of wits. Don’t question it, just go. It’s a pun of fun (get it?!).

 

And that’s a wrap on Entertaining in the Empire City, folks! Anything we missed? Anything you’re dying to check out?


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Entertaining in the Empire City: Anela and Mandy’s Favorite Spots

Day three. You know the drill. These two ladies are one-of-a-kind friends, and both have such unique takes on their favorite spots in the city. I met them both at the same former job (at different times), and even both being ladies of fashion, their tastes couldn’t be more different.

Up first, Anela – who was born and raised in Long Island and bleeds Brooklyn to the tee. She’s lived all over the boroughs, recently traveled to Africa, and finds inspiration everywhere she goes and in everything she does. She’s quirky, fun, and endlessly curious. Here’s what she has to say:

Anela prefaces, “These are my all time favorite places to eat. They really have an old school vibe to them, and are very New York. I’ve gotten to know them well, and I have to say they have stolen my heart. ”

As mentioned previously, my friend Mandy is another one of the fashionistas I surround myself with on the reg. Her Cali roots have instilled her with a sense of adventure and a professional drive that never gives up. For someone who I forced to call me “Princess” for the first three weeks we were acquainted (the same name didn’t vibe well with me off the bat), I’m surprised (and delighted!) that we are as close as we are now. But more so than that, I’m grateful, because I can’t imagine my New York life without her honest, rom-com-y, positive outlook on life. Here’s a few of Mandy’s favorite places she likes to show off to visitors.

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