About the Author

Blog-tember Day 1 prompt: Imagine the front sleeve of a hard cover novel. Give us your “About the Author” so we can get to know one another, and for fun tell us what your imaginary novel would be about.

Between “The Girl” page and my Twitter bio, you could probably collect a pretty nice idea of me and my sense of humor, but sure, talk about myself more? Twist my arm…

Glasses Cat

Mandy grew up in a small Ohio town that boasts local holidays such as Drive Your Tractor to School Day. Shortly after graduating from college, she made the move to New York City with a few dollars in her pocket and a drive in her gut that hasn’t dimmed since. 

Mandy is equally reliant on strong coffee, thesaurus.com, and late night television. When she isn’t writing or making awkward small talk in bars, she spends her time volunteering with the Junior League, rocking purposeful messy hair, and adding items to her online shopping cart but rarely purchasing them. Needless to say, she’s never owned a tractor.

As for my imaginary novel… it would likely be a memoir, a la Kelly Oxford. Not that I’m as hilariously witty or have a cult internet following a la Kelly Oxford (yet), but I have enough embarrassing stories and quippy anecdotes to fill a few hundred pages. Also, weirdly, memoirs are my favorite thing to read, and as they say, write what you know. I’d probably only get a few pages into my melodramatic teen angst/love-story set during the Mexican Revolution before waving the white flag. You’re right, I don’t know what I’m talking about. Nor do I really care. Sorry, love babies of the Mex-Rev.

The Blog-tember Challenge

Hello, there! How’s your summer been? I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte today, and while the weather definitely wasn’t on it’s fall game, I’m very excited to be slowly segueing into my favorite season. The tail-end of last summer was when I really hopped back on the regularly-blogging bandwagon. I had every intention to do the same this year,  but must acknowledge that jumping back into a routine is just not the easiest thing to do… thus, enter the #BlogtemberChallenge!

blog-tember

Bailey Jean from Brave Love thoughtfully crafted daily prompts for the entire month of September — designed to ease the struggle of coming up with something worthwhile to write about while uniting the blogging community in posting habits. She enforces a strict no-rule policy, and encourages bloggers to write as many times as they can throughout the month (and if it’s not everyday, still cool). I’m very excited that I found out about this in the nick of time and am excited for the adventure ahead. My only promise is to write more (which won’t be hard to do considering my past few months of absolutely nothing) and to read/connect more with other blogging participants. Good news all around.

To meet Bailey and check out her prompts for the months ahead, visit here. See y’all tomorrow, for post #1!

On Saying Yes

There have been a number of instances over the past few months when I’ve really thought long and hard about throwing in the towel. Not on life, obviously, but very truthfully on New York. I’ve never been too shy or modest to say that this city will eat you up if you let it. And sometimes, even for the most enthusiastic of its fans (i.e. myself), surly New York can get pretty darn close to taking a big bite of your confidence. Her sharp, pearly whites are constantly chomping at the bit of your dreams. If you’re lucky, she’ll rip you up and spit you out. But preferably, she’ll swallow you whole…

But then you’re walking home from an after-work yoga class, and due to forgetting proper footwear, you have to do the 50 minute commute home in dressy boots, a long overcoat, short gym shorts and an oversized tee. You resemble what could only be described as an out-of-shape, disheveled, and just overall bad, masculine prostitute, when you run into someone on the street looking 11 shades worse, and who is very much rocking it on purpose.

Or you’re heading to a friend’s apartment after a long day to work on a project and you, like any annoying, yet serious-about-her-career New Yorker, need caffeine. You stop at the local coffee shop on the way to the E and the Barista says, “Hey, this one’s on me.” It was probably because you’re so sleep deprived you look like you could murder four puppies without blinking and he’s frightened, but you know, in a world of jerks, it’s a win.

And then you have a Monday — a figurative AND literal Monday at work — and due to a swirl of irony and happenstance, you make one of your favorite comedians laugh. A silly face, some dumb accent. It very well could have been a pity laugh, but if he felt compelled enough to fake it, at least you must have been true-to-form: awkward and hopefully, likable.

This city isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t for the half-assers, the get-embarassed-easilyers, or the try-it-once-but-then-I’m-done-ers either. And contrary to popular belief, it isn’t even for the dreamers. It’s for the doers. The open-minded, hard-working, inadequate humans who fail SO much and HATE it — but aren’t afraid to keep failing. To keep improving. To keep trying. To keep saying yes. The kind of people who say “Yes” are not the kind of people who succeed in New York, but rather are the kind of people who survive here.

Maybe it’s not even specific to New York. In light of taking an improv workshop with Second City through my job and re-reading Tina Fey’ Bossypants, I feel enlightened and compelled to keep saying “Yes” to life. I haven’t finished meeting these insane and wonderful people harboring vast and unique experiences only New Yorkers can offer. I’m not over chasing my dreams. I’m not done with New York, and I don’t think New York is done with me. I have more to do here — more to experience, more to lean — and I’m excited and ready for whatever that may entail.

YES_NY

Have you said “Yes” today? Or walked by someone wearing fishnets, black spandex and a cowboy hat out in public? If so, where do you live? And why?

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy: The Series Finale Theme Song

And also the theme song of life? I just accidentally typed “lice” instead of life, which I guess is another word in which “You can’t make everyone happy” also describes. But I digress…

Series finales are hard, ya’ll. Even Friends‘ series finale left me wanting more. Back in 2004, I was convinced that a new opener (i.e. a fountain shoot theme song), Joey moving in with Chandler and Mon, and Ross/Rachel/Emma taking over ‘the apartment’ would have been more fitting that the weird, yet piercingly sad shot of the abandoned keys and an empty set that we were left with. Also in a most disappointing manner, The O.C.‘s series finale left us with a dead Marissa Cooper in the arms of her beloved soul mate Ryan Atwood. There have been reports that some delusional Seth/Summer shippers have created an entire fourth season that ends with a high school graduation and Ryan being destined to some other, awful, obsessive-compulsive less-pretty Californian named Taylor, but that’s obviously nothing but fan-fiction in it’s most serious degree.

In hindsight it seems that the finales that gave us less, have left us happier — or maybe just have given us what we never knew we wanted. The Freaks and Geeks‘ series ending left a few strings untied, with our protagonist Lindsay Weir rather aimlessly wandering onto a Grateful Dead tour bus, away from the constraints of her perfect family. Breaking Bad‘s final delivery of perfection also left our imperfect wildly hated principal character (Walter White) concluding that his true love, all this time, was the power, the glory, and when it boiled down to it, the meth. And two decades prior, a sitcom that couldn’t be more its opposite, paralleled that exact ending. The Cheers‘ series finale left Sam Malone alone, with nothing but his feelings — not for one of his main girls, Diane or Rebecca — but for his one true love, the bar.

In last night’s particular [HIMYM] scenario, I guess I’m siding with Vanity Fair? I am one, according to the internet trolls, amongst a small handful of people who were 100% into the How I Met Your Mother series finale. *SPOILER ALERT* It tied up all the loose ends. It made Ted and The Mother’s (calling her Tracy feels slimy to me – can’t get on board with it yet – I feel like it’s too new) genuine adoration/love for each other feel real and relatable. The Mother gets sick — that’s life. Robin and Barney divorce — that’s life (and also hella predictable). Some couples have maniacal fights, but stick together and are in it for the long haul — that’s life too. The question I have to ask to all the haters: do you guys know what being in relationships is like? Being human? Growing and changing and a lot of times repeating the same cycle of decisions? Because honestly, kids, that IS life. That’s what we do. I thought everything ended tightly and as right as it could be for the characters. It’s a sitcom, what more do you want? It was a happy ending for all, which while nice for a sitcom series finale, doesn’t always maintain in actual life, BUT it was also realistic and within the normal reality of the characters we’ve all grown to know and love. Ted DID let Robin go and do his thing with our girl Trace (nope, still can’t). It was cute and nice and then she died (again, sometimes that’s life), so he tracks down his old fling almost decade-long sweetheart. It doesn’t imply a happy ending for the two of them nor does it discount the very real and wonderful relationship he shared with The Mother. It’s just a cyclical decision in the course of his life. Classic Schmosby. I can’t defend it any longer, because it was an impeccably well-written, and not to mention well-acted and well-executed by all parties involved (IMO). It seemed very real to me. Not perfect, but real, which while that pissed off many others, I found perfectly endearing and completely relatable. I’m sure Bays and Thomas are regular leisure readers of my sad, poorly edited blog, so I must give out personal mad props to you and your writing staff, for what me and at least three others out there think, was a job well done. Thanks for nine seasons of awesome television. P.S. When is it too early to start rewatching from season one?HIMYM Finale

[There are Weirdos] On the 6

The subway is a magical place. It’s a decrepit, vast underground tunnel where humans from all walks of life unite.  The rich, the poor; the black, the white; the Christians, the Jews, and everyone in between has somewhere to be. A home to some, a last-minute option for others, the New York City subway system is saturated with various “showtimes”, Michael Jackson impersonators, mariachi bands, and an overall diverse mix of folk. Much like a box of chocolates, with the New York subway, you really never know what you’re going to get.

This particular Monday en route home from work, it wasn’t a performer that caught my eye. These particular straphangers were in love, which is great I guess, unless you’re so in love (and/or drunk (on a Monday?)) that you must showcase this emotion publicly, without regard to proximity of strangers or personal space bubbles. In that case, it is simply the worst.

These kids felt it necessary to showcase their affection while being a mere eight inches away from a total stranger’s face — said stranger obviously being me. I must say, I apparently attract socially oblivious humans on the metro, because this wasn’t my first time experiencing something of this nature. About a year or so back, some dude fell asleep on my shoulder on a local, not-even-busy train to Washington Heights. And just a few mornings ago, a couple sitting directly beside me kissed 67 times between the 86th St. stop on the 6 train to 51st St. THAT’S FOUR STOPS for anyone who counts. I was thinking at that time perhaps one was leaving for the army (or dying?) but they both got off at the same stop – so I feel like they had more time together than they let on. That’s a whole other tangent.

So the close-to-my-face couple was very literally in my face. Every time the guy leaned in for a kiss, I considered just going for it, because my face was the exact same proximity to his as his lady friend. She was also significantly shorter than him (and me), so he was swooping at an angle, which would have made it ridiculously easy for me to get in there. I know that making out with a rando on the MTA is the stuff of dreams, but I was obviously thinking about it for comedic purposes. Which then got me thinking about a social experiment I jokingly (?) want to test out. Just how close can you get to train strangers while doing socially inappropriate things before you get told off? Depends on people’s tolerance, I guess. I’m pretty passive aggressive [read: I let a man who may or may not have had a brick and mortar home use my shoulder as a pillow], but a swift fake sneeze in the face diffused my problem quite nicely.  After all, there’s a special place in hell for people who display public PDA.

Best of the Golden Globes

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend. Me? I’m still riding the Golden Globes high from last night, naturally.

Tina Amy GG14

Is it weird that I feel like [for the most part] everyone that should have won, won? I was especially elated at both Amy and Cate’s win, 12 Years a Slave‘s last-moment award and, of course, all things Breaking Bad. And joke-wise, from Matt Damon’s garbage man, the soon-to-be-infamous George Clooney joke to the Randy appearance, Tina + Amy slaughtered, per usual. I wouldn’t hesitate to call the night a wild success for my two favorite people on this earth them. If you didn’t watch already, do yourself a favor and enjoy a few laughs to begin your week:

Opening Monologue Part 1:

Opening Monologue Part 2:

Just for Lorne Michaels’ disinterested clap:

For Emma Thompson’s presenting skillz:

Because Amy makes out with Bono:

Overall, another A+, ladies. Can’t wait for 2015!

Because you can never watch too much TV

Maybe this will be my last day of bringing up “end of the year/beginning of the year” kind of stuff. I’m aware that it’s already the 3rd, but I subsequently make no promises.

I’ve spent the last day and a half binge watching 2 full seasons of Girls, finishing off a season of Louie, and almost catching up (not really, I’m still way behind) on SNL. That’s right, while all of you have been keeping the gyms in business with your new years resolution-keeping, I’ve been lying in bed, borderline motionless, watching obscene amounts of old television. Is winning still a thing(?) because #WINNING feels appropriate.

My thoughts include: Lena Dunham’s a goddess, Louis CK is mastermind and Seth Meyers will later in life be my husband, but I don’t think any of that’s new information. It’s no secret I love TV comedies, and every time I watch something that’s new to me and awesome, I want to shout it from the rooftops. This is why I envy Emily Nussbaum so much — because that’s literally her job. She lives in Brooklyn and watches/critiques television for a living. AKA Merriam-Webster’s definition of “livin’ the dream.” I had the privilege of meeting her at a talk show of sorts in the fall of last year immediately fell into hardcore girl-crush mode.

She wrote this article about the best television of 2013 and because I think we have similar tastes in television and I follow her twitter-feed like a blind puppy, I’ll likely be giving Scandal, Always Sunny, and I suppose (finally) Mad Men a chance this year.

Not that I don’t watch enough TV to begin with, but are there any shows you’re rooting for in ’14 and/or love from ’13? Since my sickness is holding me back, I need to at least make sure my Netflix account is getting a proper workout this year.

New Year’s Non-Resolution Resolutions

New Years 1

I’ve never really been a person who sticks to her “New Year’s Resolutions.” But, is anyone? I make them, because I’m a follower and everyone else does, but I think it’s kind of a silly tradition. I get the “new year, new you, new beginnings, blah blah whatever” bit that all the gyms bang you over the head with, but if you really wanted to change your eating habits and do 200 crunches a day, wouldn’t you be doing it by now?

I wanted to transform this blog and write more, so I woke up one day and just did. The method of getting off my ass and “doing it” (thanks, Nike!) is kind of my thing and has worked out for me more times than not. Having said that, my type-A self can get on board with setting realistic short and long-term goals. It’s important to have at the very least a loose guideline of those, both professionally and personally. How else do you make sure you’re on the right track? Or measure progress? So in the fashion of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goal-setting (thanks, University of Dayton!), here’s my New Year’s Non-Resolution Resolutions for the year of 2014:

  1. BLOG better. (More reviews, comedic story telling. Less personal BS no one cares about.)
  2. READ more. (52 books in 52 weeks.)
  3. SAVE something. (I.e. Money. Save some money.)
  4. NETWORK a lot. (Because, yes.)
  5. TRAVEL a bit. (Currently on deck: LA, New Orleans, India.)
  6. NO CABS. (Well, maybe not none, but definitely fewer.)

And there you have them. I’m expecting a lot of changes in 2014 and know none of them will happen without the hard work to back them up. Changes aren’t always easy, but they’re usually needed and always worth it. And with that, I wish a happy new year to all, and the best of luck with your resolutions, if that’s your kind of thing. Otherwise, party like it’s 1999, but remember, you still likely have two days left in the workweek.

~*SiNgLe && LoViN iT*!

As much as I am looking forward to being home for the holidays, there’s one thing I’m dreading. The questions from family/friends always begin with “What’s it like living in New York City?” or “Do you think you’ll stay?” …  then slowly turn into “How is your job going?” and “That real estate market in New York is crazy, huh?” … and always funnel down to the real point of conversation “So, are you seeing anybody?” or “Anyone special in your life?”

“Are you in a relationship?” It’s a yes or no question, but it never seems like one word will suffice. I’ve been single (or a least, not in a serious relationship) for the good majority of my life, and people have opinions about it. People will always have opinions. I didn’t meet my soul mate in high school. I didn’t meet my soul mate in college. The industries I’ve worked in since graduation are predominantly saturated with gay men. Also, I hate dating. These aren’t excuses, they’re facts. I’ve had boyfriends. I’ve gone on dates. I’ve had casual flings. Do you see me bringing someone home for the holidays? Do you see a ring on it? Nothing’s worked out. It’s Christmas day and the great woes and tragedies of my love life aren’t necessarily the things I feel like talking about right now, that cool?

I think one of the main reasons the question frustrates me so much, is because I will never be a person who is defined by my romantic relationship. I don’t fault you if you are, but that just isn’t me. I am defined by my beliefs and my morals and my successes. I moved to New York City when I was 21 — jobless, homeless, near penniless and by myself — to begin my career. Two and a half years later, I have so much more than I would have ever imagined — I have a life here — and I’m still nowhere near finished. I have a wonderful full-time job, I write this blog, I am member of an amazing women’s volunteer organization, I take writing and comedy classes, I’m working on a script, I work out, I sleep, I socialize with friends, I sometimes force myself to date. I’m nowhere near ready to settle down and have kids. I may never be ready to settle down and have kids. I’ve always been restless, driven and independent. When you add in a backdrop of the concrete jungle that never sleeps filled with the most ambitious people in the world, I thrive. And if you’ve known me for twenty-four years, you should know this too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is no, I don’t have a boyfriend. No, I don’t have a girlfriend, either. I’m single, but I have a fulfilling life. Ask me about my improv classes. Ask me about getting to see Joy Behar or Lena Dunham or Seth Meyers. Ask me about what it’s like to be one of the top Consultants in my industry. These are all questions I would welcome and love to answer. *End rant*

The Queens of Comedy

Amy + TinaI’m not going to beat a dead horse with this one. We all know that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are NOT ONLY two amazingly talented pioneers in the comedy biz BUT ALSO very progressive trailblazers for feminism, the entertainment world aside.

Like Amy, Tina’s roots are with Second City in Chicago. She began writing for SNL in 1997 and became the show’s head writer (first ever female) two years later. She didn’t begin acting on the show until 2000, and departed just six years after to create her own little show you may or may not have heard of, 30 Rock. In 2011, she released Bossypants, her award-winning autobiographical book that details how to get the job done while leaving ’em in stitches.

After moving to New York in 1996, Amy cofounded the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in 1999. She joined the cast of SNL in 2001, and began co-hosting Weekend Update alongside Tina in 2004, as the first (and to date, only) time a duo of women served as news-anchors. In 2008, she started producing and starring in the best show in the world Parks and Recreation, which is [obviously] still on NBC. In her spare time, she motivates girls (and let’s be real, also grown-ass women/gays) in her YouTube Series, Smart Girls. Also, she’s a recently separated mom of two, and my envy of her children knows no bounds.

Tina and Amy are great on their own, but there’s truly nothing like it when they’re working/performing together. From the Palin/Clinton sketches of 2008, to hosting the Golden Globes earlier this year, these two are at their best when they’re playing off of each other. And these ladies are not just frontrunners in the category of funny females, they are groundbreakers in the vast realm of comedy as a whole.

We all have a lot of reasons to like these two women – they’re both hilarious, witty, type-A, do-it-yourself, fearless leaders in all projects they take on. But personally, I think my very favorite reason that makes me so impassioned to root for their success is that they are (and always have been) both so supportive of each other in a world that can be so cut-throat. If you know anything about breaking into the comedy industry as a female, it’s VERY competitive and not-so-friendly. The fact that Amy and Tina were each other’s cheerleaders from the forefront makes me feel like I can truly support and relate to these iconic women. One day, it’s my hope and dream to be able to tell that to them in person. For now, I’m waiting with everyone else to watch them co-present Carol Burnett with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and whatever else they have up their sleeves.