I didn’t know much about Ben Platt until he was already departing the company of Dear Evan Hansen. While I’m disappointed that I missed seeing him the role, I fell in love with his vocals on the original cast recording soundtrack.
I couldn’t believe he hadn’t released a solo album yet. Now, he has–and it is terrific. Listen to Sing To Me Instead, out now!
Andy & I recently bought a board game, Clue: Golden Girls (to go with our newfound obsession with watching reruns of The Golden Girls), and invited a few friends over for a game night. This is the second time we’ve hosted a themed game night (the first was Murder, She Wrote), and we go all out: We craft specialty cocktails, tailor our food/snacks to the theme, and sometimes even tailor the decor!
Because we’re crazy, we ended up with another Golden Girls game (Golden Girls Trivia) to play, thanks to an impulse buy on a “quick” Target run. Clue is one of my favorite board games because it’s the type of board game I feel is easy for many people to pick up, so we actually own a few incarnations of the original game.
Two of our friends who came, I’ve known since college, so the night also turned into a mini-reunion of sorts. It was so much fun to reminsce about the old days and learn some new things about each other and our former classmates.
We started out with the trivia game, even though our friends were hesitant about—we do have 70 episodes on our DVR and watch almost nightly—but everyone seemed to have a pretty good grip on the show (or were just lucky guessers).
After playing trivia, we took a break for some snacks – as Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia regularly do on the series. Naturally, we had cheesecake, sliced fruit, and some other party food. We also crafted two cocktails based off of two of the characters: A Rosé-Lemonade & a Petrillo (check out the recipes below).
Getting down into the actual Clue game was a lot of fun. Even though it’s my favorite game, I’m devastatingly bad at it. I can never remember to keep track of what cards have been shown (and to who), so I always lose. But this time, I took better track of what I should have. It turned out I was steps away from knowing who it was that stole the last piece of cheesecake, but was beat out by one player’s move. Isn’t that the worst?
I haven’t posted since March. I’m the worst blogger ever.
However, I do have good reasons for my lack of posts: Since my last entry I’ve had a birthday (which I finally published after it had been sitting in my drafts for the longest time), celebrated Easter with family, had some dental work done, and started a new job! And while it may not seem like a lot written out, it seemed to take up a lot of my life over the past few months. Just the process of fixing my cracked tooth and replacing it with a crown, took weeks alone.
Besides turning another year older (and throwing the coolest Breath of the Wild themed birthday party), I decided to leave my job. I had been there for a little over three years, and while I really enjoyed being part of the small design team there and the type of work I was doing I definitely felt that it was the right time to move on. But of course, there’s a ton of work that you have to do when you make a decision like that: I had to research companies (especially since I was unsure if I wanted to stay in the same industry), prepare for the interviews I was asked to, and line up a few interview outfits. Plus, I had to get ready to leave the job I had been at for the past few years – including taking home personal items in short bursts so as not to alarm anyone of my intentions. It’s difficult to do, but it’s also an emotional process – which I think most people would agree with (whether they hate their job or love going into work but need something new or something more).
I learned one major lesson, thought it was towards the end of my interviewing journey: Don’t refer to your interviews as interviews – call them meetings. I’m somewhat of a nervous interviewee. I’ve heard a lot of tips before: Do a superhero pose in the bathroom or empty elevator to give yourself a subconscious confidence boost, do mock interviews with a friend, and more. But this time around, I found a new and really interesting tip: Don’t refer to your interview as an interview, refer to it as a meeting. You do this because meetings are easy and generally painless. There’s little or no pressure, and you are normally able to present your ideas and plans in a calm and inviting environment. And an interview really is just a meeting, it’s just a word that has taken on so much more. Plus, when your interview is reframed as a meeting you are able to attend the meeting with the same goal as the person calling the meeting (or interview). I’m now able to interview my interviewer, instead of being afraid of how I’m coming across and possibly losing out on an opportunity because of nerves. This way you free yourself to gain more insight into what your potential new employer is expecting, how you fit into the equation, and if you truly want to work for that company or not. Sometimes, you may find out at an interview that this isn’t really what you wanted – and that’s okay (so long as you aren’t wasting people’s time).
As for my new job? So far, I’m absolutely digging it!
I turned 29 two weeks ago, and I had the best time. My birthday fell on a Friday this year, so I decided to take the day off of work and make the most of it. I’ve been meaning to make a habit out of taking daily walks around my neighborhood to fit in more physical activity and catch up on podcasts and audiobooks.
I let myself sleep in, had a nice breakfast, and then headed out with my favorite podcast ready to go. I had nowhere to be, so I just spent the time really taking in my neighborhood. It took me back to when I’d just go out exploring my hometown as a kid. It’s a really nice feeling to just feel at home even when you’re not physically in your home, and I’m happy to find that my new neighborhood is starting to feel that way.
Afterwards, I went out with friends to see the movie Love, Simon and grab dinner to celebrate. I’m sure others have stated this more eloquently, but it was an amazing experience to sit in the theater with my boyfriend and watch two men share a kiss on screen – and the audience cheered. I actually loved the book the movie was based on, and while I think the movie could have been better overall, it was still a good movie (especially for our world today).
The following day, I threw a party at our apartment. The new Legend of Zelda game for Nintendo Switch, Breath of the Wild, was released about a year prior and I fell in love with it. Andy is really into baking, and he always makes me a birthday cake that is themed (besides being delicious and beautiful). This year, I asked if the theme could be Legend of Zelda/Breath of the Wild, and he was excited for it. But I decided to go overboard and deck out the entire apartment to fit the theme (something we’ve really only done for our Halloween parties).
Plus, we found this place online where you can have custom party plates made with your art on them. So I repurposed the party invitation graphic I made for those. I had wanted to transform our apartment into the land of Hyrule (the setting of the game), and I believe we succeeded! What do you think?
When my boyfriend and I were moving into our apartment together, we each brought along our own vacuum. For far too long, we had two vacuums sitting side-by-side in our living room and it drove me absolutely crazy. Two vacuums! Could you imagine?
…And then, suddenly, within a few weeks we had none. I mean, here I was complaining about how ridiculous it was to have two vacuums and before I knew it I was in the market for a new one. Before I was annoyed, but now I was downright heated! I had to research new vacuums and find the best one for our apartment.
My parents had a Dyson Animal for years that worked well, so I figured I’d use Dyson as a starting point. I had remembered about seeing a presentation of the cordless Dyson V6 on QVC during the holidays. As is the way of the world, the sales were over by that time, but we had still been impressed. It was an odd-looking “stick” vacuum, unlike the upright machines we were accustomed to, that could also quickly transform into a handheld dustbuster type of thing.
Soon after, my boyfriend and I begged my parents to take us with them on their next Costco trip so we could look around. Sure enough, we found a Dyson V8 (the newer model). We had liked the V6 especially because of the sales on it, but knew the V8 had better battery life. Unfortunately, the one at Costco was a Dyson V8 Animal – which doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles we had seen of and researched prior. We were particularly upset that it didn’t include the fluffy roller head attachment which helped sell us on this vacuum.
So I reached out to Dyson. I have to tell you: It is always worth it to contact customer support. I explained our situation, and asked if we could purchase the attachment separately (and if it would work with our model). It did, but the customer support representative told me she could do me better. Due to my loyalty to the Dyson brand, she offered us a discount on the V8 Absolute – direct from Dyson.com. It included the fluffy roller head, and free attachments for ordering directly through Dyson. Wow-wee!
Towards the end of 2016, Netflix announced that users would be able to download select titles for offline viewing. Unfortunately, because there was limited selection available for download when the feature launched. But by mid-2017 it was a complete game-changer.
My daily commute is about an hour long each way, so Netflix has become a staple. While there is now a lot of Netflix content available to download for offline viewing, I still struggle to find my next binge after I run out of episodes. In case you’re in need of a new show to watch on the subway to and from work, here are a few of my favorites:
Shot in the Dark
I downloaded Shot in the Dark after a few failed attempts at finding a show I wanted to actually watch on my commute. Within the first few minutes I was interested, and I was hooked by the last few seconds of the initial episode. Shot in the Dark is a documentary-style series following three different freelance video journalism companies: LoudLabs, OnScene.TV, and RMG News. These stringers provide breaking news footage to various TV news networks in Los Angeles, California. It’s really interesting to see how a typical night of work plays out for a stringer, and how competitive the field is. I’m partial to RMG News, and assuming the series is renewed, I can’t wait for what’s to come in the second season. Watch now, or view the trailer below:
Expect the unexpected. CBS’s highly publicized reality competition show, Celebrity Big Brother, came to a surprising end on Sunday when Marissa Jaret Winokur was crowned the winner of the $250,000 grand prize by a jury of former houseguests. Marissa won the final Head of Household (HOH) competition and brought her ride-or-die, Ross Mathews, to the Final Two with her. This loyal move left many thinking she just handed Ross the grand prize but as host Julie Chen always says, “Expect the Unexpected!”
Ross not only brought home the $50,000 runner-up prize, but he was also awarded the America’s Favorite Houseguest $25,000 prize, for a total of $75,000 in winnings. Since Ross and Marissa were my dream final-two, this was great news (especially because my favorite houseguests rarely make it to the final). However, this is pretty bad news for CBS’s Big Brother franchise and potentially future seasons of Celebrity Big Brother.
I have been watching Big Brother religiously since 2003, when Season 4 aired. The summer television staple became a bonding experience for my dad and I, and we’d share thoughts on the houseguests and their gameplay. Even during and after college, we still talk about it and I look forward to those “You watching?” texts from him.
This season CBS launched Celebrity Big Brother (CBB), their version of the UK’s already very successful series, and I can’t get enough! If you haven’t tuned in yet, there’s still time to play catch-up on CBS All Access before the season finale on Sunday. I thought I had more time to get this post out, especially after watching this past season of CBBUK at the beginning of the month, but I guess it’s better late-than-never to give my thoughts!
For fans of CBS’ longstanding Big Brother series, this “celebrity edition” will have little to no differences to what you’ve come to enjoy each summer: You can more-or-less expect the same show, just with more notable houseguests. What makes Celebrity Big Brother interesting is the fact that it is a condensed version compared to past season of Big Brother or of it’s sister series, CBBUK. For instance, most seasons of Big Brother air for the entirety of the summer (around 3 months) and CBBUK lasts roughly a month. Plus, CBBUS‘ competition style doesn’t seem to be much different from past seasons, meaning that these celebrities are effectively competing in the same game as “regular people.” So you will (and have) seen celebrities falling, getting splatted with gooey substances (such as “snot” in a recent competition), and much more.
Keshia Knight Pulliam
Marissa Jaret Winokur
Metta World Peace
Thoughts & Predictions
As I stated earlier, I’ve been watching CBS’ version of Big Brother for many years. I have also watched a couple seasons of CBBUK (seasons 15 and 21), and have to admit that so far, the UK has us Americans beat. I see the novelty of celebrities competing in the exact same competition as regular people wearing off pretty quickly. Since CBBUK follows a different format than CBBUS, it really might just come down to a matter of preference. For instance, our UK counterpart has no HOH or veto, and nominations and evictions are done very differently. Houseguests are given tasks to complete (which is more interesting to watch than it sounds), whereas CBBUS‘ competitions are more in-line with what you’d expect from an actual gameshow.
I have been rooting for houseguest Ross Mathews since it was announced he’d be entering the Big Brother house. I’ve been following his career for some time, and I am a huge fan of his podcast. I’m also very interested in seeing how far Marissa Jaret Winokur will get in the game. I saw (and loved) her on Broadway in Hairspray. So far, I’m really impressed with Ross’ game and overall appearance in the show (after all, he did end up on the news for his “interview” with Omarosa Manigault over her time in the White House).
Or: The Podcasts You Should Be Listening To: A Starter Pack.
There are very, very many podcasts available to listen to on the web and while I’ve been listening to podcasts for a few years – I only listen to two religiously. Why? To me, the majority of podcasts either seem too heavy (which there is nothing wrong with) or too bland (which, I’m sure, is riveting to someone else).
I used to listen to Z100’s Elvis Duran and the Morning Show on my drive into the office when I worked in Staten Island until 2015 when I started a new job in Manhattan. Since early 2015 I have barely listened to radio (public transportation and the iHeartRadio app was a combination that would have made my cellular data plan suffer), and listening to iHeartRadio’s Elvis Duran Replay Channel at work didn’t really cut it. I wished I could download and play or pause whenever I needed to, and at that time Elvis didn’t offer a podcast version of the show (I only just found out that there’s been a podcast version of the show available since March 2017). But I still wanted something similar to the Morning Show and I was determined to find something I’d be interested in. Enter RuPaul:
RuPaul: What’s The Tee? with Michelle Visage
While What’s The Tee? doesn’t really come close to filling my Elvis Duran and the Morning Show void, it’s definitely one of my favorite podcasts. The format of the show is very different: RuPaul Charles and Michelle Visage (usually, but not always) sit down and interview notable personalities but it doesn’t feel like an interview at all. It sort of just feels like RuPaul and Michelle are just sitting at a kitchen table and a friend of theirs just happens to stop by for a chat – and you’re just a fly on the wall.
RuPaul knows that his audience spans many age ranges, but he still is aware that he and Michelle have very young fans who could benefit from the knowledge of who guests are and what they have contributed to our world. These people aren’t necessarily gay icons or established (though that certainly helps) – RuPaul treats them all the same and asks each what knowledge they could impart on his young listeners.
As the ball was dropping on New Year’s Eve, I had one hope for 2018: Please be better than 2017. It seems like everybody had a terrible year, and I was including myself in that. Sure: Last year did have some great moments, but some events and situations had me so grateful for 2017’s demise.
In truth, I had been putting off writing this post because I really didn’t want to take a stroll through 2017. But I am oh so glad that I did because it turns out that I had a bang-up year. A huge smile crept across my face as I was scrolling through photos on my phone. ‘This couldn’t have happened last year,’ I thought to myself. But the timestamps can’t lie.
Was I really putting this much stock in what I perceived as all of the negatives that came along with 2017? Indeed, I had been. ‘For 2018, I can’t let this happen again,’ I demanded of myself. So to help make sure I don’t forget how good 2017 had been to me, here’s a list of the things I loved about the year.