2015 Summer Movie Preview

It’s that time of year again … here are five movies I can’t wait to see this summer!

Avengers: Age of Ultron | May 1

Avengers Age of UltronGiven how 2012’s The Avengers finally sucked me into the Marvel frenzy, I’m quite excited for the long-awaited sequel hitting theaters next week. I know nothing of their basis in comics, only that the juggernaut featuring a band of superheroes looks to save the world—again. An artificial intelligence program designed by Tony Stark/Iron Man goes awry and it’s up to the rest of the gang (Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, and Hawkeye) to protect the planet from his wrath. Looks pretty awesome and will probably end up being the quintessential blockbuster of the season. Continue reading

Girl Meets World: A Season 1 Review

Title

Boy Meets World was the sitcom darling of a generation who grew up learning everything about life from one Mr. George Feeny. It was the best part of ABC’s TGIF line-up in the late ‘90s and the show I most looked forward to. It was chock-full of important lessons without patronizing kids. It was wholesome without being too cheesy or unrealistic. And most of all, it was flat-out hilarious.

When the show went off the air in 2000, it developed a cult following of fans who could recite nearly every line of dialogue and laughed in all the right spots as though it were still the first time they were hearing the lines—myself included. Without fail, the final scene of the series finale guts me like no other TV show ever has. The uncontrollable tears start as soon as Mr. Feeny tells them to “Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.”

So when the news broke a couple years ago that creator Michael Jacobs was going to attempt a Disney Channel-hosted sequel featuring Cory and Topanga’s coming-of-age daughter, the internet exploded. It seemed way too good to be true. But when the series finally premiered on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 8:30 p.m. (same time slot as it’s TGIF predecessor!), I was more than pleasantly surprised; hell, I was delighted. The unexpected Feeny cameo at the very end put instant tears in my eyes. Continue reading

To Watch or Not to Watch: Younger

Soooo, I was watching Friends last week and I kept seeing commercials for this show. The third new episode was airing right after, and I noticed that the pilot and second ep were after that, so I TiVo-ed all three, watched all three, and I have to say, it is really cute. It’s from the creator of Sex and the City and stars Sutton Foster (Bunheads), that cute not-actually-gay guy from The Following, Lizzie McGuire herself, and the mean lady from Beethoven’s 2nd. Millennials to moms will probably get a kick out of it. (Based on my two latter cast descriptions, I’m clearly in the right age group.)

It would be easy to catch reruns and get up to speed in time for the next episode, so I recommend doing so! Continue reading

Five Unusual Food Experiences

We’re preparing for our annual restaurant issue at work, so I started thinking about my foodie adventures. Everyone has a favorite and/or least favorite meal and restaurant, but what about in between those ends of the spectrum? What have we tried that has expanded our palate and made us wonder what other delectable dishes are out there? Here are a handful of times I surprised myself (and my tongue) with some unusual food experiences.

Poi

Poi

My family and I spent two weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii in the summer of 2008, specifically on the coast of Kailua-Kona. Of course, we had to spend at least one night at a traditional luau, complete with roasted pig dug straight out of the ground, served with local side dishes and Hawaiian food staples like poi. I put a little on my plate to taste and was less than thrilled to discover that it is a gray paste completely devoid of any flavor and the consistency of cement pudding (gritty and mushy). Pictured above? My “why do people eat this?” face. Continue reading

Best Bad Boys of TV (conclusion)

Just in case you missed my last few PSAs, let’s refresh:

You gotta love a good bad boy. That quintessential television character always seems two-dimensional on the page until they get fleshed out into living, breathing, brooding boys who don’t want your heart, but you’re still compelled to yank it from your chest and give it to them anyway. It’s up to the actors who play them to let their softer side show through just enough to make you love/hate them and look forward to the next time they grace your screen.

I shuffled through my long list of favorite shows in my head and realized that almost every single one had one of those leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding, look-me-in-the-eyes-and-swoon kind of guys. So POP was broken into segments and I’ve explored this topic for the past few PSAs. (Because I said so.)

Last time, I covered characters from NBC’s short-lived “Smash,” CW’s primetime soap “One Tree Hill,” and ‘90s gem “Full House.”

This has been a lot of fun, but we’ve finally reached the end of my list. And now, the conclusion of TV’s baddest boys:

Avery Barkley | Nashville
Played by
Jonathan Jackson

Avery

Avery came to Nashville to jump-start his career as a famous musician and completely disregarded his girlfriend’s own talent and ambition in the process. After destroying his relationship with his college honey by being willing to sleep his way to the top, Avery realizes he’s on a path he doesn’t want to follow. He instead becomes a roadie for a starlet’s tour, which works out in his favor—two seasons later, he’s a successful producer, happily married, and expecting a bouncy baby girl with said starlet. Continue reading

Five Things That Inspire Me

I wanted to try something new for a PSA; it was easy for me to come up with five things that make me feel inspired—inspired to write, to see and try new things, to do good for others, to live my life to the fullest. Inspiration can hit in big or small ways and it doesn’t always present itself as a bright flash of motivation. Other times, it’s just a feeling of contentment, of knowing you’re doing okay, of being ready to take on the world one baby step at a time. I feel inspired every time I interview a person or organization doing great things for the community in my Blue Mountain’s Best feature for work or when I see someone being kind to a stranger. I think it’s important to find those little flashes in the day-to-day because allowing yourself to be swept up in monotony is a drain on what we’re capable of as humans; inspiration breeds creativity, something I’m quite prone to advocate for as a writer, along with positive vibes. Who couldn’t use a little more of that in their lives? That being said, here are five things (or people or places) that never fail to give me that little jolt.

1. The Ocean

11004390_10100364350201578_1793488586_nBeing born and raised a shore kid (and fueled by my childhood obsession with “The Little Mermaid”), I developed a deep and intense love for the ocean early in life. I love the heady aroma of sea air and the feel of my salt-encrusted skin when I leave the water, how alive I feel after being tossed around by the waves for a while and how just being close enough to hear them crashing on the beach rejuvenates my soul. (Trust me, I hear the cheese in that statement, but nevertheless, it’s true.) I call it my “happy place” and I go through periods of withdrawal, particularly during the winter months. Leaving the sea behind when I moved to PA was one of the hardest parts of the process. I’m transfixed by the immensity of it and fascinated by how it works, what lives in it, what makes it so powerful. I’ve always believed that if I hadn’t discovered such a love of writing and journalism, I would’ve studied marine biology. I can’t say what it is about it that affects me so deeply, but any time spent near churning, frothy water leaves me feeling completely recharged and ready to plow forward with whatever life has next in store. When I finally caught a break and got a job as a staff writer for a newspaper group in New Jersey and was abruptly let go less than a month after being hired, I drove myself straight to Sea Bright Beach where I sat on the sand for three hours, just staring at the horizon, planning my next move. For me, the ocean will always equal therapy. Continue reading