I can’t live without …

You all may have noticed by now that every once in a while I like to throw some life facts at ya, usually in the form of “Five Favorite” somethings. For this PSA, I’m letting you in on a little secret … these are the five things I absolutely could never live without. What are yours? Hit me up in the comments. Maybe we have a little something in common? 


Yep, I’m one of those people. I’ve been drinking coffee regularly since high school, a dependency that reached frightening levels in college. I once tried to cut back and suffered debilitating headaches. In 2012-13, when I was working crazy hours as a freelance reporter and writing long into the early morning hours, I started getting migraines—turned out I was basically overdosing on caffeine. I’ve since managed to find a balance that gets me through the day fairly painlessly, but it’s funny to me that I literally can’t live without a big ol’ cup o’ joe in the morning and an afternoon jolt, without subjecting myself to some rather unpleasant side effects. But aside from its wondrous superpowers, I love coffee for the taste. The smell. The warmth that spreads throughout my entire body with that first sip. Coffee’s not a drink. It’s a religion. Continue reading

Fall 2015 Pilot Tests

When I start hearing buzz about a new fall drama or comedy, I usually wait before diving right in. It needs to reel in some great reviews and ratings first, maybe an article here and there in Entertainment Weekly. After I read up on it and watch a trailer or two, I give it the ol’ pilot test. If the pilot episode hooks me, I stay with it for a while. If it doesn’t keep me interested, I try to rough it for a few episodes, given that some shows just take longer to really get underway, which I get. And even though I usually have a full fall roster every year ready to jam up my TiVo, I still try a couple new ones, just because. So this year, here’s what’s new to my ever-growing line-up and whether or not I think I’ll keep them …

Best Time Ever
Tuesdays at 10 on NBC

Best Time EverAs mentioned in my last PSA, I’m a huge Neil Patrick Harris fan so imagine my surprise when his hugely touted variety show, new to NBC this season, appeared to flop miserably. I found myself with a puzzled look on my face throughout much of the first episode, even fast-forwarding entire segments. The second episode did not fare much better. It’s as though he’s trying to cram much too much into every second and the pressure of performing it all live puts a strain on the easy-going, natural charmer that we know NPH to be. The audience participation in the first episode leaned more toward stalking and the second—an on-air proposal—seemed odd and out of place. His celebrity guest announcers falter awkwardly and “The End of the Show Show” runs the gamut from chaotic to sloppy. The only parts worth sitting through are the pranks and the physical obstacle course, which changes from show to show. But even so, after two episodes, I removed this from my TiVo to-do list. Sorry Neil, it just didn’t live up to its name. Continue reading

Famous Favorites

When you love pop culture and entertainment as much as I do, you come to realize something: Having favorite celebrities is rather different than having favorite actors or singers. You can love a person for who they are (who could have guessed) while not really loving their role choices or song style. To me, that’s the mark of a celeb doing things right. When they’re not fake or trying too hard, but just down-to-earth people who remind us that celebs are people too. Knocking down the stereotypes of “celebrity,” they make us like them just by being them. I, naturally, have a ton of people like this in mind, but let’s start with three:

JTJustin Timberlake: Here’s the thing about JT. I’ve been in love with him since his spaghetti-fro days and I always suspected he would have a successful solo career. But I haven’t always enjoyed his style of music. When I was a knee-socked elementary school kid, *NSYNC was my jam. Loved them. Knew it was a phase, but loved them. They were my first concert. When they broke up and Justin started doing his own thing, I was just a little disappointed that I didn’t immediately love it all. “Cry Me A River” can still get me singing in my car to this day, but that was about it. And as his style evolved, my enthusiasm waned. Until the “20/20 Experience.” The music was better, but the concert was mind-blowing. It made me love the music in spite of itself. Seeing him live was one of the best experiences of my life and I’m not even remotely embarrassed to admit that. He rose up out of the stage flanked by a full orchestra, decked out in—what else—a suit and tie and I was re-awakened to what it feels like to love JT. He’s a fantastic performer with a wonderful sense of humor—ever see him with Jimmy Fallon? Any conversation they have is hilarious. He’s taking time off now after his whirlwind tour to adjust to being a dad and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Continue reading

Five Favorite Movies Starring … Animals!

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion KingThis gradually became one of my favorite Disney movies as I got older. I never used to consider it one of the core faves (which include The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, and Aladdin), but I have a new appreciation for it now. It was one of the few films that did sequels effectively—Simba’s Pride is pretty solid with a couple goosebump-inducing tunes. I’d have to say it has some of the most breath-taking animation of the Disney world, from the dazzling African landscapes to the herds of wild animals. And what a powerful message! I’m 27 years old and I still cannot make it through Mufasa’s death scene without shedding at least one rolling tear. (I mean, come on, can ANYONE watch that scene?) What has propelled my affection for it over the past couple years is my experience seeing the live theater adaptation on Broadway in the summer of 2012. I love stage shows, but this one knocked everything I’ve ever seen (and there have been MANY) straight out of the park. You don’t think they can orchestrate a stampede on a small stage? Oh, but they can. It was phenomenal. And the music was just amplified; I had so many chills for the entire three hours. It was infused with tribal influences and had some truly wonderful voices bringing the words to life. If you ever get the chance, go see it! Continue reading

Summer Series Snapshot: Fear the Walking Dead

FearTWDOnly two episodes have aired thus far, so it may not be fair to say I’m already bored. But this “companion series” (don’t call it a spin-off!) to AMC’s zombie juggernaut looks to potentially be rather underwhelming. Even the name feels lazy.

It could be subtitled “While Rick Grimes Slept.” Fear looks to illustrate society’s rapid unraveling from the onset of the virus—? flu? bacteria? We still don’t know!—with the pilot episode showing our new main characters what we already know: No matter how many times you shoot the infected (or hit them with a car), they will continue to come at you until they take a bullet/arrow/blade to the brain.

Speaking of those characters, I don’t like a single one of them yet. “Oh, how nice to see some fresh faces!” False. We’re introduced to new people on Dead all the time and it’s safe to say they are far less bland than this band of “blended” family members.

While it’s interesting (for now) to see the contrast of Georgia countryside versus bustling Los Angeles, one could expect that in a few months’ time, it might feasibly resemble the eerily abandoned Atlanta we remember from season one of Dead.

Come to think of it, I now have a new appreciation for season one of Dead. We were thrust right into the apocalypse, seeing this terrifying new world through Rick’s freshly opened eyes: What happened? Where is everyone? What is that? Oh my god, what IS that? What happened to her face? That lady only has half a body! WHAT IS GOING ON? Continue reading

Summer Series Snapshot: Girl Meets World, S2

GMWI’ve already written about my overall impression of the first season of this ‘90s nostalgia-fueled tween show and my opinion hasn’t changed much. The forever-a-BoyMeetsWorld-superfan in me has been enjoying season two just as much, if not more.

Cameos from the original show’s characters keep popping up, making it an intense nostalgia fix every single time. My favorite character (behind Shawn) has finally shown up and the return of Mr. Squirrels has been my absolute favorite moment so far. Continue reading

Summer Series Snapshot: The Strain | America’s Got Talent

It’s sometimes really hard to pick just one topic to write about, especially given how absorbed I can get into pop culture on a daily basis. The thing about entertainment is that it’s always evolving and changing and flowing; what was big news an hour ago is old news in even less time. So it’s time to do a little round-up of my current obsessions, specifically, summer television since options are limited but nonetheless entertaining. Here’s a couple items from my TiVo list that keep me occupied during the long dog days (and nights) of summer …

The Strain | Season 2 | Sundays at 10 on FX

The Strain

Basically a vampire version of The Walking Dead, I gave this a shot purely to have something to watch on Sunday nights. Here, we got to see the start of the apocalypse (though they’re not actually calling it that yet) and in some ways, it’s far more gruesome than Dead. These aren’t your teenage daughter’s vampires; no sparkling skin or brooding eyes. These guys dispel snake-length tongues that latch on and bleed you dry. If you manage to scrape by with just a scratch, you’ll likely find yourself with worms wriggling under your skin, spreading the infection. And when you turn, my, do you get ugly. Ugliest of all is The Master, king of the vamps, who has a mysterious tie to one of the main characters, played by David Bradley. He’s joined by a CDC scientist (Corey Stoll) and a small band of determined New Yorkers dead set on killing all the bloodsuckers and keeping the strain contained to the five boroughs. It’s incredibly slow-moving, but when the action does pop up, it’s disgusting. It’s sub-par television horror; I personally prefer zombies. Continue reading