Sunday, May 6, 2018

i also refuse to title THIS post "netflix and chill"

ohhh, just some hot takes. what have you been watching lately?

queer eye (netflix)

honestly, until i saw that the reboot was available on netflix, i had totally forgotten about the original and that's a damn shame because it was fantastic. while i don't think any fab five can quite replicate the magic of carson, ted, thom, kyan, and jai, this iteration does a pretty great job ... and also made me cry approximately 10x more than the first one. in particular, the first episode, when "redneck" tom tried to win back his ex-wife, abby. while grooming expert jonathan is admittedly a little "extra" (LOL @ the video below), all of their hearts are in such a good place and it's feel-good fun.

everything sucks! (netflix)

as a bonafide '90s freak, i had really, really high hopes for this one. unfortunately, it was less freaks and geeks, and more ... well, i don't know, but it was really, really lame. the acting was atrocious, the references were super heavy-handed. there was this one scene in particular, where one of the characters made a music video for the object of his affections, that i had to shut off halfway through because it was so awful and cringeworthy. i know it was kind of supposed to be, but it was just. too. much. long story short, i was decidedly not into it after a handful of episodes. don't @ me!

crashing (HBO)

such a hidden gem. i'd never heard of this guy, pete holmes, before i started watching, but he's a stand-up comedian who created the mostly-autobiographical show about starting over after he catches his wife cheating on him. comedian cameos abound, from artie lange to TJ miller and john mulaney, and pete's christian upbringing adds an amusing twist and an aw-shucks innocence to his perspective and encounters.

when we first met (netflix)

a much cheesier, more low-budg 500 days of summer with a time-traveling twist, when we first met stars workaholics' adam devine, which is the main reason i watched it. the movie explores the whole concept of fatalism/soulmates/etc. by having adam's character relive the day he meets this particular woman over and over again. it does get a bit repetitive, but it's a fine little rom-com. i won't spoil the ending!

the good doctor (ABC)

my parents actually got me into the good doctor, which is RARE because my dad in particular has the worst taste in television. do you ever wonder who kept two and a half men on the air for so long, or who actually watches the big bang theory? the answer is: my dad. granted, he also introduced me to the glory of dumb and dumber and wayne's world when i was way too young for them, but i digress. this one centers on an autistic doctor played by freddie highmore aka charlie in charlie and the chocolate factory and it's kind of like a fresh take on house, with lots of suspense, intrigue, and earnest learning experiences for the main character.

some freaks (netflix)

if you're a sucker for indie film festival fare like i am, you'll probably enjoy this one. it follows three high school outcasts through the end of high school and into college—and the romance between two of them in particular. it's gritty, realistic, thought-provoking, and at times, very uncomfortable ... but the acting was excellent and i really enjoyed it.

love (netflix)

so, i watched all three seasons of this show and i'm still not sure if i really liked it, but i don't think i did? the lead characters were both extremely annoying (and, in the case of gus, creepy in a way i couldn't put my finger on) but i was strangely invested in their stupid relationship and i did like some of the supporting characters. take it or leave it, i guess? curious to know your thoughts if any of y'all watched it. ugh.

people you may know (netflix)

PAINFUL! to begin with, the plot is uber-dumb, revolving around a lonely graphic designer who teams up with a social media manager to create a more exciting, fake life on facebook through doctored photos. are you rolling your eyes yet? usher actually makes a cameo, which is kind of astounding considering how awful the whole thing is. very confused as to how this trainwreck has a 76% on rotten tomatoes. maybe because of usher?

happy anniversary (netflix)

i really liked happy anniversary! it's also cut from the 500 days of summer cloth, but despite being a netflix original, it had a kinda indie, offbeat vibe that i dug. rachel from master of none (noël wells) and jean-ralphio from parks and rec (ben schwartz) star as a couple who are trying to decide whether or not to make things work on their 3rd dating anniversary. a nice, light, pleasantly surprising sunday night movie.

according to greta (netflix)

netflix sent me a personalized recommendation for this one and i am frankly OFFENDED. okay, so it stars hilary duff, which seems like something i'd probably be into, so i can't blame them there. but there was certainly a reason i'd never heard of this hot mess. duff, aka juvenile delinquent w/ a 'tude, "greta," is sent to her grandparents in new jersey for the summer. she falls in love with a line cook from the wrong side of the tracks, etc. etc. it's so silly and bad, and this is coming from someone who loves silly, bad things. trust me and skip this one.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

a day in providence, rhode island

despite living in the northeast for 30 years of my life, i had never been to providence until yesterday, mainly because i just never had any reason to go. so, i decided to finally make it happen yesterday with my sole reason being just to go to providence. in boston, it seems like people (or maybe just people i've talked to) have this weird disdain for it without having gone themselves! a few people i mentioned it to were like, "why are you going there?" and i was all "BECAUSE IT'S A PLACE I CAN GO AND A PLACE I'VE NEVER BEEN, GET OFF MY CASE." i didn't get that aggressive, but you get the idea. providence is home to five-ish colleges and is calls itself the "creative capital" (of...where? idk) so i felt like there has to be something to that.

and honestly, whenever i've sat down to do one of those "find your passion" exercises, mine is basically always like: "picking a random place to go, finding the cool shit there, and sharing the cool shit with people." it just really is. 

anyway! getting there was easy enough: just hopped on the orange line to (st)ruggles and then popped onto the commuter rail. it took exactly an hour, and there was this longhair college kid on the train who apparently forgot to buy his ticket prior to the ride. i couldn't hear the conversation with the ticket-taker, but i imagined it went "oh, heh, dude, i didn't know you had to pay for this." "well, you do." ::pulls crumpled $20 out of wallet:: "sorry, bro." i decided this guy was going to set the lackadaisical tone for the day and he totally did.

first, i strolled down benefit street, which is the quintessential "quaint new england street with historic homes." everyone i passed said hello or smiled which was extremely adorable and i was very very into it.

by this point, i was ready for lunch. enter DENDEN, a chill counter-serve asian cafe with exposed brick and very excellent service. the bibimbap (which i always just mumble through because i feel like i can't ever say it right) with spicy pork was massive and tasty:

satiated by vegetables and pork and rice and kimchi, i pressed on to the RISD museum, which was surprisingly awesome.

i had a blast captioning some of the paintings and sculptures in my head ... and now here:

me pretending to listen to your bullshit

"oh my GOD, janet, put your tit away"

"dad always gives this bitch all the attention"

a quick walk through the brown university campus made me feel very old until some upperclassman in a hawaiian shirt leered at me and then i felt very young! :)

and now, a confession. "eat one of the '90s donuts at PVDonuts in providence" was on my list of things to do this year. i had seen the droolworthy dunkaroos donut yesterday morning on their instagram story, and was preparing to launch myself into a 1994 sugar vortex, but i guess i just waited too long. by the time i arrived, not only were there no dunkaroos donuts left, but there were only about 5 or 6 flavors of donuts left, PERIOD. i accepted defeat and went with the coffee milk donut, which was still amazingly delicious.

from the food network:  
For those who haven’t tried Rhode Island’s beloved coffee milk, imagine drinking sweet, creamy coffee ice cream that’s been melted down. The supersized Coffee Milk doughnut, which is about three times the size of the standard one, is a buttery brioche-dough base covered in a coffee-milk glaze made with beans from Dave’s Coffee. Chocolate espresso beans are the final garnish.

scarfed. it. down. the ambiance was v good, too:

since i was already in the fox point neighborhood, i wandered down wickenden street, the main drag with shops and cafes. i wanted a coffee at this point, and tried to stop into the duck and bunny because of its name and because it calls itself a "snuggery" and i just desperately wanted to be part of a snuggery.

but there was a wait because it's a whole proper sit-down tea deal and the espresso bar was packed, so i walked down the street to the coffee exchange instead. the painted door was trippy and confused me for a hot second, but i made it inside and it was very grunge. also, they had great cold brew. i thought i wanted a snuggery, but the grungy coffee exchange ended up being just what i needed and for that i am grateful.

the boutique next door, NAVA, was anthro-like and i almost bought this card:

theeeen i got totally sidetracked in the downcity arts district for over an hour by an etsy shop IRL called craftland and a million zillion vintage stores and funky boutiques.

real talk: y'all know i'm a vintage clothing addict, and i seek out secondhand shops pretty much everywhere i go. i have to say, providence might just have the best selection of vintage ANYWHERE i've been. it was kind of surprising until i thought about the artsy college kid contingent. but seriously. the vault collective, carmen & ginger, share space, rocket to mars, and nostalgia antiques and collectibles are just a handful of the amazing options here. i wanted everything, but i behaved myself and only bought one thing for $5: a strawberries records & tapes t-shirt at share space because they were having a moving sale and i couldn't resist. remember strawberries?! i got so excited when i saw it. so excited, in fact, that i am wearing it today.

i felt like i couldn't leave without seeing pvd's famous "little italy," federal hill, and it was cute enough, but i think i enjoyed the sights i saw on the walk there even more.

the only photo i took in actual federal hill

before i headed home, i enjoyed a kentucky vanilla barrel cream ale and a bison burger with chips at this cozy, down-to-earth neighborhood spot called congress tavern. i also had an "across a crowded room" moment where i locked eyes with the most beautiful ponytailed, skinny, plaid-shirt-wearing man i ever did see and "free falling" started playing and then we lived happily ever after. jk (though "free falling" really was playing). he was probably like "who the hell is this chick undressing me with her eyes?" still, it was a lovely end to the day.

also, on the commuter rail ride home, the conductor kept saying each of the stops in this weird sing-songy voice, which was strange because i DISTINCTLY remember that also happening on a commuter rail ride home like, 12 years ago, which may very well be the last time i took the commuter rail. is this a thing train conductors do? was it the same guy? i'm so confused.

all in all, providence is a great little city. artsy, historic, charming, and (most importantly) full of great food. don't listen to the haters: get yourself to PVD if you get the chance!

Friday, April 6, 2018

5 things i love right now

1. this song, "your dog," by soccer mommy

i first discovered soccer mommy (real name sophie allison) by way of her song "try" on my spotify discover weekly playlist. of course, probably because of the name, i imagined a fellow early 30-something woman singing it and was SHOCKED to discover she's 20 years old. ugh, the youth, i know. but she's really good and her lyrics are wise beyond her years and she's like a liz phair for the next generation (fingers crossed). this tune in particular, from her excellent new album clean, just stuck with me. to quote her instagram bio, it's "chill but kinda sad" bedroom pop, which we all need sometimes.

2. chris d'elia's instagram 

given my immense love for chris, i'm not sure why i wasn't following him until a few weeks ago, but it was probably because i avoid following most celebrities since i find them annoying and spammy. however, i've been missing out on some amazing content. it's the captions that really make it:

3. this guy, cade foehner, on the american idol reboot

you guys all know that i was quite probably the last person in the entire world watching the original incarnation of idol (something about it just makes me all warm and fuzzy and happy, unlike the weirdly soulless and hollow quality of the voice #shade), so it shouldn't be any surprise that i took a chance on the new version. however, i'm pretty shocked to say that even without simon and randy and the "pitchy, dawg"s and the making fun of people, i'm really into this take on it. even katy perry, who usually annoys me, has an amusing dynamic with lionel richie and luke bryan.

anyway. i was watching the other night and this guy just blew me away with his raw, bluesy rendition of "feel it still" by portugal. the man (singing starts at 1:08). he has it all: a great voice, commanding stage presence, and a fucking dreamcatcher on his guitar. calling it now that he's going to be in the top 5. side note: i was home for easter while watching it and my mom just started laughing as soon as he came on screen and goes "there's your guy!" my immediate response: "i just know there is a southern, long-haired, lanky, age-appropriate man out there for me and i will not rest until i find him!"

4. this thrift store sweatshirt i barely resisted 

so it wasn't this exact one, but it had the california raisins and it just said "raisin hell." after milling around the store, not being able to stop thinking about it, i marched up to the counter.

"i need to know. how much is that california raisins sweatshirt in the window?"
"40 bucks."
(guy smirks) "i know. i know."

i've been thinking about it every day since. being a responsible, grown-ass woman is truly the worst!

5. this podcast, style your mind

i love me some inspirational podcasts, and this is probably the best one i've found. it's just for ladies (sorry, dudes), and hosted by a woman who worked a corporate job she hated until quitting to start her own business in her 30s. a new episode drops every monday, and it's chock-full of practical tips for pursuing your dreams, manifesting your desires, and adding a little luxury to every day. it just puts you in a darn good mood and makes you feel like you can conquer the world. because you can, man.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

band i miss: donovan wolfington

if you follow me on twitter, i've probably tweeted about these guys more than a couple times over the past couple years. i'm still not over their recent breakup, and i need to process it by sharing the joy they bring to me with the world.

i'm also writing this because i feel like during their short lifetime, they never got the recognition or gained the popularity that they deserved. apparently, i'm not alone; a reviewer at the alternative put it perfectly: "the new orleans band managed to amass one of the most forward-thinking, clever, quirky and technically bewildering punk catalogs of their generation—and hardly get recognized for it."

like many of my best musical discoveries, i first heard one of their songs on MIT's radio station, WMBR (specifically, their phenomenal breakfast of champions show). it was called "john cena," off of their 2015 album how to treat the ones you love, a record that's still in constant rotation for me. btw, the tune seemingly has nothing to do with john cena, which makes me love them even more. it's also one of the handful of tracks that's sung by guitarist matthew seferian rather than frontman neil berthier.

i had the fortune of seeing these crazy kids live just about two years ago at a lil' art gallery-turned-venue in cambridge. there were only about 30-40 of us there, but it was one of those invigorating shows where every single person there knew every single word of every single song and screamed it back.

their music can best be categorized as "skate punk," and the song/video for the first single from HTTTOYL, "ollie north" (one of my favorite songs of 2015) is a pretty perfect summary:

however, what i really love about their music is that nearly every song takes these unexpected twists and turns—whether it's when neil's singing turns to screaming, or when gigantic, crunchy riffs mellow into melodic, synth-y goodness (or conversely, transform into epic shredding) that quite literally makes me say "hell yes!" out loud.

nowhere is that more evident than on their final record, WAVES, which came out at the beginning of this month. like, there's a friggin' instrumental hip-hop track on there, even. i love so many of the tunes so far, but the second single, "ways," really encapsulates everything i dig about their style. instantly catchy, yet surprisingly complex, and a whole lot of fun.

the whole record is just made for night drives with the windows down in the summertime and i cannot wait to crank it at full blast. it's the perfect parting gift from an underrated band. shred in peace, d-wolf.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


is there a way i can, like...get paid to visit and critique coffee shops for the rest of my life? because that's just really what i'm all about. it's taken many, many cups and and many, many dollars and many, many packets of raw cane sugar to get to where i am today, so i thought i'd thank 10 of the most wonderful spots around the country (and world) for delighting me with their cuteness, caffeine, and croissants.

1. crucial coffee (st. augustine, FL)

it's been five years and i still dream about this quaint little shack. not only was it adorable, but i had a *snickers cappuccino* that blew my mind. there was also a very gilmore-girlsy busker singing outside while i enjoyed it, so bonus points for that.

2. union coffee company (milford, NH)

tbh, i'm a bit peeved that this place didn't exist when i was in high school, but at least i get to revel in its charms when i visit my folks. it's one of those oh-so-hip combinations of a coffee shop and bar, and hosts live music as well. it's rustic yet airy, and the coffee and lattes (with house-made syrups, obv) are top-notch.

3. FIDO (nashville, TN)

i spent like, 3 days in nashville, and went here twice because i was so obsessed. sure, a lot of that had to do with the paintings of cats in outer space that adorned the walls, but the whole scene was uber-90s and they did latte art and it made you feel like you were in a TV show hangout. to quote 2 chainz, "it's a viiiibe."

4. stardust video and coffee (orlando, FL)

nobody believes me when i tell them that orlando had the most intense, pretentious hipster community i've ever seen in my life, but it's true. it was super strange, especially coming from the intellectual-snob capital of the country, but the baristas (and some patrons) were such dicks, everywhere i went! i honestly wanted to be like, " live in FLORIDA. get a grip." but i resisted. the staff at this combination DVD rental/coffee shop/bar/cafe were no exception--very, very rude--but i let it slide because just LOOK at it. it's like anthropologie started serving food and drinks. sure, no one rents DVDs anymore, but the whole concept is just so manic pixie dream girl, i couldn't not love it. psst...the drunken monkey was my second favorite spot, in case you ever find yourself craving caffeine in the city beautiful.

5. kookoo cafe (brookline, MA)

speaking of beauty, i just want to pinch kookoo cafe's cheeks. it's the size of a closet, and chock-full of all of the quirky decor that you might find in one, too. the staff is friendly, the coffee is strong, and the food is yummy; lots of authentic middle-eastern treats.

6. tandem coffee roasters (portland, ME)

a converted '60s gas station, this is always a must-visit for me on my annual summer jaunt to portland. not only is it so incredibly aesthetically pleasing, but the malt iced coffee is to die for.

7. cafe on the common (waltham, MA)

so chill. so sunny. and in the middle of downtown waltham, which is low-key ghetto? surely, you jest. as a major bonus, it's massive and there's so many places to sit and read or work or chat.

8. hart and lova (london, england)

what a hidden gem. though gleni and i were staying in kind of a random area of london which didn't have a ton to offer, we came across this absolutely adorable cafe and bakery that was straight out of a fairytale. so proper. squee. 

9. the fresh pot (portland, OR)

i popped in here to charge my phone last year during my trip to seattle and portland, and what a wonderful decision that was. yeah, they were out of cold brew and only had nitro cold brew and i was bouncing off the walls for an hour, but the dark wood and rustic ambiance just counteracted that real quick. or maybe that was just a contact high, because portland.

10. java dog (wilmington, NC)

this coffee shop should have had a starring role on dawson's creek, man. it's two floors, and the upstairs felt like a loft in someone's apartment. it also seemed to be a hangout for local students, and i immediately felt pressured to give a really chill college kid name, like taylor or hannah, to the barista.

what are some of your favorite places to get your fix?