Monday, July 28, 2014

Why You Should Give A Dallas Woman A Chance...

Everyone knows how liberal and free-spirited I am. Wendy Davis, Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright (who's coming to SMU this fall!), and Janis Joplin are all angels of mine. You all know this. But I met a kick-ass woman tonight that honestly surpassed most all of the aforementioned Alpha females that I sincerely admire. Why? Because she is a doctor that saves lives daily. Literally. She's not a boob doctor or a "work on gettin' your salt intake lower" doctor. She's a "Hey, want to live? Do what I say." doctor. Livers and stuff. And she's a no-bull-sh*tting-tell-me-yo-deal-up-front girl. And most importantly, she's funny and nice and has the communication skills of any diplomat. She's awesome. Yeah? Big deal, okay, we get it, right?

So, here's thing... she also has a daughter that has manners beyond most of Dallas, and is one of the smartest 7-year-olds (maybe 8) that I have ever met. She's also in a Frozen camp, which as somber as I come off in public, deep down, Idina is my girl! I'm so excited about this! On top of that, they are both gorgeous beyond words with their blonde hair and brown/blue eyes. But they don't let that affect their words. Nope. They're beautiful, freaking cool, and most importantly, funny as hell. Yes, 7-year-olds can be funny as hell. Also, they're smarter than 99% of the people that I've met in this world. Seriously.

And to be honest, I could've sat there with 'em for another five hours at the Inwood Village Starbucks that we met at. Time flies when you're having fun, yeah?

Most people wonder why someone with a Poli Sci degree from SMU and a resume chockfull of coveted fashion internships would ever want to be a Dallas nanny, but Mrs. X (reference from the Nanny Diaries, and also my want to keep her/her family private) never made fun of why I wanted to be a nanny at 24-years-old, which is something I've encountered and has been hurtful in the past; I respect her more than most people in my life. She was/is awesome. And I left our meeting feeling on top of the world. And on the same page.

So, I wanted to blog about this to give a positive shout-out that not all Dallas families/kids are awful, like some believe. It's not true. There are some super inspiring women and kids out there deserving of some appreciation. And ON A LIGHTER NOTE, COME TO DCH ON THURSDAY TO WATCH ME PERFORM WITH MY EWING TROUP AT 9:30PM....

Saturday, July 26, 2014

How I Learned To Bond With My Younger Sister...

I'm twenty-four years old and my sister just turned nineteen this past February. We are polar opposites. As in Sarah Palin to Wendy Davis polar opposites. We've hardly ever seen eye-to-eye and have historically been one another's arch nemesis. Not normal, I know. She's the mathematician of the family and I'm the non-mathematician one. She doesn't talk to anybody and I never shut up. She's blonde and I'm brunette. I could go on and on. But, our parents raised us both to be strong, independent, Alpha females and that's exactly what we are. We are so similar sometimes that it's disgusting and neither one of us will admit to it. Except for me when I've had a little too much cab sauv, and am blogging about it for the sake of letting every weird, older sibling out there in the same situation know that IT WILL GET BETTER. (I'm the emotional, therapy-thirsty one, okay?) Obviously I have to express my feelings for others. Morgan, on the other hand, wears a poker face 100% of the time; good luck getting to know how she feels about the slightest thing, because she's a tough one to crack.

But oddly enough, I know her. I grew up with her. I was the one that bounced her too high on the trampoline when she was three and messed up her front baby teeth. I was the one that had to hold her whining tail during countless family portrait sessions in the nineties. I was also the one that dropped her as an infant trying to play mom, and we had to rush her to Charlton Methodist to make sure she wasn't dead. And I'm the one that will knock your front teeth out (possibly on a trampoline) if you ever say a negative word about her. Yeah, yeah, I'll probably break something, and start dramatically crying, and she'll be the one to have to haul me to the hospital at that point, because nothing fazes her.

But the point is, this past month I've had one evening to hang out with her, and the entire evening my sister and I sat in a huge mess on my bedroom floor crafting mugs for my level four improv class at the DCH. She's a crafter. She can design, paint, draw, create, etc. anything. She's got skillz. And I know she loves it, despite going to school for accounting. I can see it in her eyes when she spends six hours making a painting for her dorm room wall. And I seriously wish I had her talent but would obviously never tell her this. Because, ya know, older sister "ego" and stuff. And we rarely hang out, let alone hang out with no argument; so when she's happy, and crafting with me, I'm happy. I also put my Pandora station on the Goo Goo Dolls and she loved it. When she said, "heck yes don't turn it!" as 'Slide' came on, I was like, "Oh my God, we are blood relatives." And that's when I, the older, wiser sibling realized that it all takes time for everything to fall into place. *Cue cliche eye roll*

Some siblings are BFFs from the day they come out of the womb. Some never speak. Some are normal. We're all different. But Morgan and I have had a weird relationship for the longest and I never thought we'd reach the point that we did the other night. We were actually hanging out and having fun. And as the older one I kind of have guilt in this because I should've known sooner what makes her "tick" and open up, but I'm just glad that I've found it now. It's a relief, honestly. I love it. And I love her. And I vote that anybody out there struggling with a weirdo, younger sibling just go to Michael's, buy some mugs to craft, and go to town.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Netflix Burn Book: 50 Fabulous Films In 25 Genres, Part 1...

Oh boy. Netflix. The only monthly utility I enjoy paying. It's like food, water and (emotional) shelter. All that this Professional Netflix Binger needs. Has Reed Hastings made the Time 100 yet? I think this compilation post is my new favorite, bumping the infomercial gems entry to second place. Because I had buckets of fun scrolling through my 500+ ratings and 50,000-page viewing history, just doing the scholarly research needed for this ground-breaking op-ed, maybe worthy of an award from some teenage creative writing summer camp. And upon seeing my Netflix Burn Book length you probably did the Poehler below: 


But I could talk movies, especially documentaries, all day long, so this is only part one. Surprise! And you guys know I live to make lists like this. I also wouldn't think twice in swimming the Atlantic for Netflix's latest job opening as a real-life binger, unfortunately based in the UK. I mean c'mon, everyone knows the serious English are proper and normal with 9-to-5 skills, lacking the whimsical imagination that comes with the laziness of a couch-rotting, opinionated, American millennial. Like me. Way more appropriate, right? 

I'm also aware that a billion "Top 10 Netflix This or That" things exist but whatever. The wise, Netflixing, single, dog moms (also weirdly like me) will relate and appreciate! *In Antoine Dodson sass voice* So unleash your inner-Ebert, er, Roeper, (too soon, I know. #RIP) and treat yo self to the flicks currently streaming below:     

1. THELMA AND LOUISE: The "I love and/or miss my BFF" or "Oh my God let's have a wine and movie night!" go-to film. I mean, it's just the best. Also a good pick if you want to experience a roadtrip but don't have the classic car and/or gas money to do so. 

2. CLUELESS and UPTOWN GIRLS: Classic chick flicks. Nothing mind-blowing but the former a fashion influencer and 90s slang gold mine, with so many iconic quotes it ain't even funny; the second turning Dakota Fanning into a national 8-year-old treasure: both also starring our late sister, Brittany Murphy, of which also in both she was oddly the underdog. #RIP

3. CAPOTE: Bennet Miller's '05 biopic with a well-earned 7.4 IDMB rating, and also starring one of the best damn actors of all time, unfortunately taken way too soon, Philip Seymour Hoffman. #RIP For the last time. Not trying to write an 'in memoriam' column here. 

4. MEAN GIRLS: This classic will forever be in its own category. A true gem in so many ways. Four for you, Glen Coco, if you also still quote this life-changing piece of cinema daily. To my real-life Ebert and Roepers out there, don't roll your eyes at this one. 

5. ALBERT KNOBBS and A KING'S SPEECH: If you prefer to cry over Oscar-winning performances so disgustingly good and potentially "based on a true story," or if you're feeling British, historical, intellectual, and/or just sad, go for one of these. 

6. WHAT MAISIE KNEW: The only movie with an unknown child in 90% of the super-emotional scenes possessing the acting chops of a Yale MFA-er. She's a Dakota Fanning in-the-making, and the sobering story of how messy divorces can turn kids into confused, therapy-thirsty balls of sadness will keep ya streamin' this random indie. 

7. 28 Days: A 90's dramedy that doesn't require emotional/mental focus but has a few laughs, so it could be viewed hungover, (saying this ironically, just watch the film) or sick, etc., and it also stars my Hollywood homegirl, Sandy Bullock. Woop woop! 

8. BASIC INSTINCT: The "I'd never publicly admit to loving this movie for fear of being called a freak because of the raunchy sex scenes which are actually the best part!" movie. Because let's be honest, watching Michael Douglas is something we all enjoy, despite that one scene making you feel like a teenage boy watching porn and knowing it's wrong. Also, Sharon Stone is basically my #WCW (psycho edition) for eternity thanks to this jewel. 

9. TINY FURNITURE: Watch this to feel the feelings of any 20-something millennial female, oozing with white girl problems in this depressing, job-less economy; ironically it's starring Lena Dunham, who I personally love to the moon and back, so don't hate, appreciate! (Probably half of you rolled your eyes after reading 'white girl problems,' 'Lena Dunham,' and my awful 'don't hate, appreciate!' mantra. That's fair.)  

10. MOMMIE DEAREST and MY AMITYVILLE HORROR: Essentially both horror flicks, the former making your twisted childhood seem less twisted, and the latter a documentary that'll have you questioning every door creak you hear for the following week, while also making your childhood seem less twisted, maybe. 

11. THE PRICE OF GOLD and THE SUMMIT: Five-star documentaries to watch if you wanna feel athletic or like a gymnast or climb Mt. Everest, but physically never leave your bed. Or if you want to feel some empathy or sympathy or whichever one it is when you see crappy things happen to good people and you're like, "Ohmylanta, what's going to happen next?!" 

12. SUPERSTAR and UNHUNG HERO: Both tackle self-confidence issues in a funny manner, really; the first a comedy classic with Lorne Michaels's promising name on it, and giving us the beautiful, "Are you aware that I'm rubber and you're glue, and whatever you say to me bounces off me and sticks to you?" line. The second a must-see doc made by and starring the humbled guy that's all internet-famous because he was denied by his Regina George girlfriend after a mortifying proposal on national television, thanks to his evidently small package downstairs. It's like an inspirational, girl power flick, but for men, who are less endowed, basically.    

13. RESTREPO and TALHOTBLOND: BOTH OF THESE JAW-DROPPING DOCUMENTARIES WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE, BLOW YOUR MIND, AND ARE MUST-SEES! SERIOUSLY. CAPS ARE USED FOR A REASON HERE, FOLKS. 

14. TOMMY BOY, FARGO, and FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF: Comedy classics to re-watch (surely you've all seen these funnies before) when you need to learn a mid-western accent, drool over a young Matthew Broderick, or ya know, just laugh. Especially after streaming the #13 docs that provide no laughter whatsoever.

15. THE PLAYER and HOT COFFEE: Random but fascinating documentaries also not requiring much focus; the former about a Vegas hot-shot gambler millionaire who's basically a Harvard stats prof, and that also reminded me of my awful poker skills; the second on the psycho behind the ridiculous "Caution. Coffee is Hot." labels on cups of obviously hot coffee; AKA the lady who sued Ronald McDonald's funland over hot coffee that her dumbass spilled on herself years ago.

16. QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, 16 ACRES, and THE ONE PERCENT: All extremely entertaining documentaries involving insanely outrageous Americans with more money than God, and every one has a different perspective, but from someone affected by the Forbes 250-esque affluence/American capitalism machines at hand. Definitely watch 'em. If you can only stomach one, though, pick 16 Acres. 

17. 9/11 IN PLANE SITE, HATING BREITBART, and LOOSE CHANGE 9/11: Conspiracy theory docs guaranteed to intrigue you but not necessarily convince you, especially if you're a political nerd/global terrorism researcher like me. The first and third ones will definitely blow your mind at times, and have you Googling and YouTube-ing September 11th stuff for the rest of the night.

19. HANK: FIVE YEARS FROM THE BRINK: If you're in the "I want to watch a good documentary about an inspiring human that's achieved more in one year than I will my whole life!" mood, click on this Hank Paulson bio-documentary, even if you're not too thrilled with the guy who formerly managed this nation's ca$h money.  

20. THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE and THE ADDAMS FAMILY: Polar opposites on the emotional spectrum, come to realize it. But two of my childhood faves and feel-good classic comedies of quirk that will also make your own family seem less twisted. Morticia and Carol for the win, y'all. 

21. ENRON, CLIENT 9, and THE WOMAN WHO WASN'T THERE: Three documentaries ultimately about horrible people and the unbelievable things they did either resulting in tragedy, causing a tragedy, or because of a tragedy. Weird how that's the prevalent theme making this trifecta. And trust me when I say that you NEED to watch the last one, won't mention spoilers, but your mind will be BLOWN at the end. The other two are just about moronic government men destroying lives, but will fulfill any political buff's love and behind-the-scenes curiosity re: corrupt world leaders/affairs.

22. BACKDRAFT and BURN: The first firehouse flick being one of my all-time favorites that I've loved since childhood, mainly because it stars a lesser Baldwin Brother AND dreamy pre-old age Kurt Russell; the second a documentary also in a firehouse allowing a glimpse into the awe-inspiring lives of modern Detroit firefighters, and the sickening lack of support our useless government provides them. It will spark some thinking, nevertheless. (Did ya see that pun there?)

23. DEAR ZACHARY and INTO THE ABYSS: Two documentaries theme-heavy of death and innocent victims of murder, but from opposite POVs of affected family members. They'll have you choking back tears of sadness, anger, happiness, shock, you-name-it, but are unbelievably good, I promise. Especially if you're into the crime/death-row stuff in a not-morbid way.  

24. MADELINE, HARRIET THE SPY, and THE PARENT TRAP: Obviously glorious childhood flicks that will never get old, but you may or may not admit to regularly watching. I mean, the latter two just make ya want a nanny, but I certainly wouldn't want just anyone borrowing my Netflix to see that first Disney gem about a nun and 8-year-old orphan lacking French accents but living in France in my 'Recently Watched' history. (Seriously, it's set in France so it's cultural, okay? I'm justifying because I'm embarrassed to keep it on here.)  

25. TITANIC: I'm sorry, but this both deserves its own category, while also not ever needing a category. Ever. No further caption needed.


You've earned a live Celine Dion performance if you made it this far.
**Amy courtesy of Giphy.com and Celine courtesy of YouTube.com

Monday, July 21, 2014

8 Things I Secretly Want For Christmas But Would Never Ask For...

It's basically August, which means Christmas is right around the corner. Trust me, it is. Just yesterday (AKA six months ago) I was working non-stop and about to take my very first class at DCH. Now I've turned a new leaf career-wise, and am over halfway done with the DCH program. My oh my how time flies when you're having fun. (Sorry, had to throw that overused adage in there.)

But, I was browsing some craft sites today, as per usual, while also eating a Butterfinger, (also as per usual) and wishing said Butterfinger was in a blizzard instead; which led to a compilation of Christmas gifts I secretly want so bad but would never ask for. Because for one, I'm 24-years-old and it would be weird (just see list below). And two, I'm-24 years-old. I prefer eating and/or sleeping in as opposed to shredding open gifts under a tree at 7AM nowadays. However, let's be honest, what 20-something "adult" wouldn't want the gifts below? (Only the fun-sucking ones, duh.) 

1. The Dairy Queen Blizzard Maker for kids. Obviously. 

2. Another red/blue Beta fish to replace George from my SMU days. And in a super cool, modern tank like this fish condo from Uncommon Goods. 



3. Brookstone Sand. This is the coolest stuff ever. I discovered this genius mixture of God knows what in the Salt Lake City airport this past March and couldn't stop playing with it. Michael's has some, too. 



4. I'm a geography freak with stacks of Goode's Atlases, so 8-year-old Mallory would've tackled a cousin at Christmas for this prize.



5. Hand tattoos. Honestly I can't think of any social situation where these would be appropriate at my age nor would my dog even enjoy it but they look fun at least. Right? No? Maybe not? 



6. Uh, DIY Comic Book kits! Sign me the heck up. Even if I still draw like a 2-year-old. 


7. I've never had a snow globe but always thought they were the greatest things. So, again, Uncommon Goods wins with a DIY Snow Globe kit. Heck yeah! 



8. Saving the best for last... PORTABLE PING-PONG! I love ping-pong. A lot. Just ask my BFF Kelly. I spent half my trip to South Carolina visiting her last fall playing this jewel of a game with K at her parents' because I loved it so much. It's a competitive sport, I tell you. We broke some sweats. Or I did at least. So I may actually ask for this for Christmas, and just tell my parents I want to tone my arms. Totally normal, yeah? 



*Images courtesy of Uncommon Goods and Brookstone websites

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Deep Ellum Parking 101...

I just finished paying the 200th citation rudely littered on my windshield by the parking trolls of Deep Ellum last week. They're savage beasts roaming 24/7, I tell you. They can sniff out me and my GMC the moment we hit Commerce Street. My many attempts in becoming their favorite "funny, white-girl friend" have failed miserably. No Oscar Award-winning acts of charming B.S. can fool Gary and Glenda, the two names assigned just now to the duo you'll never catch smiling; let alone introducing their names as they're slapping bright yellow envelopes on dashes.

PSA to Gary and Glenda: I'm not backin' down! When it comes to my moolah, I can be sneakier than extreme couponers in avoiding City of Dallas scams. Not a happy camper about www.resolvemycitation.com being bookmarked in Safari. I'm actually more mad than an Alaskan bear who's peaceful cave echoes the screeching of Sarah Palin. Because I'm in Deep Ellum four times a week at minimum. And usually during odd morning hours or post-work evenings when the lots are 85% empty! I'm going on month six of practically living at the Dallas Comedy House. I'm a law-abiding taxpayer (I think) frequently spending at Deep Ellum establishments; if we want to get all microeconomics here, the Dallas economy wins more long-term if I'm allowed to enjoy a Glazed bacon cronut or St. Pete's fry without fear of being fined. Or is it macroeconomics? Dunno. But Milton Friedman sure as heck would agree that Gary and Glenda need to take it down a notch.

Most lots are $5.00 every time you park. January through March this naïve fool brought Ziplock baggies of quarters because I was too rushed to test the system and/or read the 900 rules for street meters. Fair enough. I'm all about paying for a service. This is how the world goes 'round. I get it. But I'm not a fan of being over-charged after a certain point. And one day I forgot my quarters but Gary was nearby watching from his dumb golf cart. So I stuffed a piece of paper into the old school meter slot making it look like I paid before running to class because my hands were nervous sweating. Not gonna lie. But guess what? G didn't fine me. So this was my first learned tactic, subsequently leading to the need of knowing exact hours the meter monsters did inspections. And I did some successful sleuthing that took all of one minute at the St. Pete's; Glenda checks the street meters down Commerce St. first, once that clock hits 6:00:00PM. Homegirl is never late. No shocker there.

However, I recently discovered a free parking lot within safe walking distance to DCH. I have to carry a box cutter when merely walking ten feet down there at night, so the free parking ten miles down the road will never happen. And this free space, technically for Free Man and Twisted Root customers only, as indicated by a very visible sign, is/was glorious. But if you ain't parked by 5:45PM, you ain't gettin' a spot. Trust me. They're rare, coveted gems. So new challenges were presented this past April when I started writing class on Main Street. It's best to park in the other $5.00 lot next to the free lot, sitting between Main and Commerce, but is also conveniently trunchbulled by Glenda. (Google map it for a better visual.) But after two tickets in one week (I always sprint from my car to DCH to avoid the street hecklers.) I realized if I purchased the unethical $5 printed ticket, and moved it around on my dash, obviously kept upside down so as to not reveal old time stamps, one can avoid Glenda's radar pretty well.

However, in recent weeks Glenda has caught on. Hence the ticket just paid thanks to my brave-but-idiotic attempt at going two weeks using the same ticket in both lots. I've seen her way more this summer, and she knocked on my window last month to pay up. I was on the phone and thought she was a homeless person out of my peripheral vision, so after twenty minutes of ignoring, I realized she wasn't homeless and had no choice but to fork a five over, or leave. Obviously I moved to Gary's lot, because I refuse to be defeated in person. So I now try to stealthily whip into her $5.00 lot directly off Commerce St. as opposed to Main St., where you'll typically catch her posted up. In a lime green shirt that can be seen from space, no less. She don't play.

Alas, when in doubt, just look for neon Glenda or Golf carting-Gary, my friend. Aside from half my yearly salary probably funding the Parking Company of America CEO's Galveston condo, I think I'm also entitled to a VIP parking pass due to the lots residing on Deep Ellum roads either in unnecessary construction, or dire need of construction.
Alright, I'll stop ranting. It's too bad I don't have selfies with my rent-a-cop faves to post. But ultimately my point here is to take the DART, call an Uber, have a friend drop ya off, bike, rollerblade, ski, cartwheel, ride a pony, or power-walk to Deep Ellum. Just remember stranger danger. All of these suggestions are for those frequenting the area and/or tired of taking crap from G squared. But if you're just visiting occasionally or have the moral compass of a nun, pay the five bucks, duh.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Aggressive Minivan Moms, Karma, & Big Tex At DCH...

Last night on my tiring-but-always-rewarding trek to DCH the karma gods were ever present. Just poppin' in, confirming sh*t and what not, being humorous by using a white, Dodge minivan, of course. A soccer mom Sally aggressively tailed me on 30-East for forty minutes; just raising my blood pressure and ignoring the perfect, traffic-free passing lane next to us. She was evidently illiterate or lacking mother manners because big, green, blatantly obvious 'Drive Friendly, the Texas Way' signs are all over I-30. Dunno what her deal was. Maybe she was a TCU freak not fond of my SMU window decal. But I'm considering snail mail-ing the ancient-but-honorable Ralph Hall re: TxDOT putting additional big, green signs reading, 'Soccer mom Sally, Drive Minivans Kindly, the Soccer Mom Way.'

I drive like a mom (borderline-grandmother, depending on the weather) in my beloved, gas guzzling SUV. Why? A) I could adopt TWO Haitian children with how much I shell out to Shell in a month so I drive with a foot like a feather to avoid speeding through a tank, literally, B) Gas costs and neverending Deep Ellum parking citations are enough; can't do tickets right now; cop lights alone spawn immediate ulcers, and C) Slow, relaxing, karaoke seshes in the Envoy are pure bliss. Kenny G at 90 mph just doesn't work. But this does not mean that I never get feisty on the freeway. I take full advantage of the new 75 mph thing, and GMC pedals always hit the metal on US-75, thanks to Dallas drivers being animals. Therefore, I'm not wrongly accusing the PTA prez of driving "aggressively" because I'm not offended by road ragers. I pass people all the time and vice-versa. But this minivan behavior wasn't normal, especially for a minivan, because I couldn't see her front plate (which should be 'B1A-TCH'), so she met moronic driver status after crossing that comfort-zone-on-the-road line. And my 90's country jam was rudely interrupted by soccer mom Sally who was basically in my back seat, and making me uncomfortable. I refuse to provide anyone with a concert on wheels, let alone mean myrtle in the minivan.  

However, soccer mom Sally finally passed in frenzied fashion once we hit Rockwall. But she was a reckless dumb dumb... and didn't see the silver Ford boxcar also yielding on while she quickly wipped around... resulting in minivan's grill french-kissing boxcar's ass. Yep. In a split-second. Karma don't play! And my front row seat to this golden rule show served as a reminder that negative, aggressive energy brings sh*tstorms and higher car insurance rates. Positivity, like aggression-free driving, brings ya puppies and rainbows. What goes around comes around is the mantra of mantras, from what I've learned at least. And I'm not sure what Franky in the Ford did recently to deserve that whiplash, but surely science schooled silly Sally. (say that six times aloud...) 

Lastly, I'm not trying to channel the facetious Regina George here. It was a medium fender bender that didn't make the news. Speeds were maybe 40 mph for the Ford and God only knows what Lightning McQueen clocked in at. And as a concerned citizen, and morally-mediocre human mindful of how karma works, I mumbled a genuine "bless their hearts" after gracefully passing that hot mess. And I like to think that my stress-free Friday night spent laughing and away from reality was karma being like, "here, homegirl! you've earned it!" So I watched some good improv, bonded with my Juan Direction troupe faves, chatted up half my Ewing family, watched glorious State Fair/Big Tex/Big Tex burning scenes, (I freaking love the fair so this was magical) witnessed RAM in Galveston and their last show ever, and... Mike Maiella hosted. And all I can say is that he's also a national treasure that can grunt or randomly throw his hands in the air, in the middle of an intense Ewing practice or even walking down a random sidewalk, and everybody lolz. So add 'Mike Maeilla' to your bucket list. AND I made it home alive despite my brakes being completely out; my decision to not (ironically) brake-check soccer mom Sally worked out in my favor twice, really. #blessed 

*I've been plagued by insomnia for the past three days so my bad for having no desire currently to google cheesy minivan or buddha stock images for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Multiple Personality Disorder & Improvisation...

No, I don't have multiple personality disorder. Definitely not trying to start that rumor. Am I weird? Without a doubt. But schizophrenic? No. Well, to be fair, I do have conversations with my dog all the time, and at this point I could totally list 'Midwestern mom voice' on my resume. But our first improv class of the new term went down last night. I tried something new that was inspirational to say the least, so you all know what today's gibberish will be about! (And please enjoy the obscure alter ego shots below from 'United States of Tara,' a personal favorite, oozing with Kohan/Collette talent.)

PSA: I survived my first one-person scene (OPS, for short) yesterday at, of course, the world-famous Dallas Comedy House. Because doing a OPS anywhere else would result in me being the newest county psych ward resident. This would also be chop liver to a professional comedian and potential case study for any psychiatrist, but it's an achievement in my book. And I hate to get all cliché for the umpteenth time but if you ever wanna "escape your comfort zone," channel the Tara Gregson within, or merely grow as a human being, do improv. Specifically a OPS. It's totally acceptable to have your dog/cat/fish be the audience.

For those on the outside world, a OPS is an improviser (improvising, obviously) playing two or more subjects with their own premise/dialogue; popping in and out of characters through logical conversation; using fancy improv tools here and there to raise stakes; with the goal of producing a structured and entertaining scene. And I bit the bullet and went first in class because A) I'm intrigued by the technique and was ready to give it a whirl, B) The fact that I would control the story, dialogue, timing of lines, etc. was right up my alpha female alley, and C) What kind of narcissist would I be if I didn't jump at the opportunity to gab on and on with myself?!

And I know I'm not shocking anyone when proclaiming that it was insane amounts of fun. Bad pun intended. However, had I been asked to do this humbling task in prior classes I would've had to pop a Dramamine, re-apply my man deodorant, and perform in a chair due to shaking legs. Just ask my former writing class cohorts about the intimidation struggles I faced every dang time I monologue-d 'ole Sage. I am certain the nervous anxiety in making that flower child caused an ulcer, though not officially diagnosed but boosting North American antacid sales, nevertheless. TUMS weren't needed last night, though. Nope. Because this term I did a schedule switcheroo and moved back to my usual Wednesday class. They are the OG's I first learned this magical stuff with, and supposedly level four turns up the emotional intensity notch. So I wanna do melodramatic soap opera shenanigans with crazies I'm comfortable with. Duh. The bond between improvisers who fully trust each other is like Thelma and Louise times a hundred. Stronger than any Duggar family courtship, for sure. Also I've been dying to have Christie Wallace/Cameron Goldapp for DCH profs, as they're basically national funny treasures.

And while the OPS was challenging, it was also easy, thanks to my supportive spirit animals. I unapologetically morphed into a cynical, liberal, 20-something from California, possibly pregnant by her ex and being judged by a middle-aged, conservative, childless-but-super-pro-life employee over pregnancy tests/Plan B, and in a CVS smack dab in bible-belt Texas. (How predictable of me, right?)The twenty eyeballs (there were ten of us last tonight, in case math isn't your thing) staring at me never crossed my mind, indicative of colossal strides made. My confidence level reached Leslie Knopes heights, and Queen Amy would've approved because I knew that if I committed, I wouldn't look dumb. Finally crossing the fear-of-looking-stupid bridge felt fantastic and everyone in the universe should experience it.
In conclusion, (despite improv conditioning me to never apologize, I'm going to absolutely apologize in advance for this God-awful metaphor)... Doing the OPS was like jumping on a commercial plane that could either be going to Siberia or Hawaii, only the plane evolves into a private jet with no other passengers, endless Pluckers mild wings, and ultimately lands at the Four Seasons Koh Samui. The past six months of improv training has taught me to go with everything. Always. And not question sh*t, because, hello, it's all made up. The weird and whimsical are valued. Creatively expressing yo inner-freak show is appreciated. And I find comfort in the fact that the worst that could happen, as a result of any action made or word said, is nothing. On stage that is. Definitely don't go by that gem of a mantra at a bar or on a Vegas vacation or something.

Alas, if your comfort zone has walls of fear thicker than Bellagio cash vaults, hopefully this novel has convinced you to at least come see a DCH show, like YOUTH GROUP, my other beloved DCH troupe taking the stage at 9:30PM tonight. Alright, my Oprah-excerpt-for-the-day is complete. If you've made it to this sentence you would thrive as a yes-and-er, and I sincerely applaud your loyalty.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How My Dog Is Preparing Me For Marriage...

Yesterday's post was necessary in a therapeutic sense, but too somber for my taste. So I'm going to lighten the mood a bit with this one. But before I begin rambling I must share the below email I received today from Apple with you guys. Backstory: My (basically) brand new MacBook dropped maybe a foot and a half yesterday, onto the concrete, and the entire screen broke. Apple is completely unaware of this 'til I find time to deal with AppleCare protection whatever. I opened this gem today despite buying my "recent Mac acquisition" in April....   

The Apple gods have quite the sense of humor...

Anyways, I was sitting in the Doctor's office this morning listening to a five-year-old repeatedly tell his mother, "Nuh-uh," in response to everything she said. There was also a tenacious tyke around the corner screaming bloody murder over God knows what. I'm assuming a shot, but the kid was acting like they were cutting his fingers off one at a time. It was too much. Which led me to thinking about my own future offspring; thus leading to the obvious realization that before I get too crazy I may wanna start with just securing a boyfriend first; which then ultimately led to what we would say in improv, "my C thought," Phoebe. She's my Jack Russell Terrier that turned a year old this past fourth of July. She's also the precious angel baby that accidentally nudged my MacBook off the patio chair. But, she does no wrong in my eyes (God, I'm going to make for an obnoxious soccer mom one day) and is essentially my better half so I'm not holding it against her. And no, I'm not some sicko that's actually in love with my dog, but she has basically been preparing me for marriage in many ways for the past year; this is how/why:

1. Sleep. Phoebe likes to snuggle up right smack dab on my back when we sleep at night. It's obnoxious. She'll lock her little Phoebe paws in my side 'til I eventually scoot over to let her in the middle of the bed. And for the twenty-three years prior to having Phoebe I never shared a bed with anybody. I'm a queen bed hog. Pun intended. But I've gradually adjusted my sleeping habits for my little fifteen-pound love bug; now my fear of how I would manage to share a bed one day with my future husband is gone. So no worries, future soul mate, thanks to Phoebe and Ambien I'm great at sharing a sleeping place.

2. Mornings. Also for the twenty-three years prior to having Phoebe I wouldn't wake up earlier than my normal rise-and-shine time to let even Jesus in the front door. But when the birds start chirping, she's ready to go outside for her morning run around the yard that lasts all but thirty seconds. (She gets her dramatic tendencies from yours truly.) And she'll nuzzle my neck (usually when I'm finally entering REM cycle due to the previous four hours of paws in my back) when it's that time to let me know she's ready. Every. Single. Morning. So P's taught me how to be selfless, and no longer cuss out the person who may wake me up from my coveted ZZZs and/or has a sleep schedule different than my own.  

3. Plans. When I schedule anything nowadays my first thought is Phoebe. Especially when it comes to trips or events requiring me to be away for a long period of time. Because she needs me as much as I need her. I've been told that when I'm gone she whines at my door, and all of you dog moms out there will understand when I say that knowing this just kills me. Vacations are great, keeping busy with extracurriculars/work is healthy, but spending just a week away from her is more heartbreaking than the store being out of Nutella. And maintaining her/our daily routine is my top priority; if I'm unable to meet her needs (i.e. Phoebe's 8PM nightly walk or our 11PM Friends marathon to wind down) I make sure as hell that someone else can take my place.

4. Exercise. I hate it. But if I want to reach sixty-four in human years and not dog years, I gotta do it. And Phoebe is my powerwalking buddy that keeps me accountable. She motivates me to turn off the Netflix and do the cardio because as a fitness fanatic with extremely high energy, Phoebe must get her daily runs in. And she will actually run away and/or try to pick a fight with my grandparents' dog (triple her size) down the road if I'm not there to supervise. And if I'm tired or sluggish and not keeping up with her she'll take off like a Greyhound and "ignore" my yells to slow down, making me feel like a Lazy McLazerson. So Phoebe's personal trainer-esque tendencies motivate me to be healthy, and I've learned how to compromise/love new things when it comes to any significant other's needs/hobbies. (Because let's be honest, if I didn't have Phoebe's physical requirements to tend to I'd be parked on the couch watching The Good Wife re-runs.)  

 5. Food. Despite Phoebe being human through my eyes, I do feed her dog food. Most of the time. And Purina's 'Beyond,' in Adventure flavor, her favorite. (Fun fact for the day.) But when I'm cooking chicken/veggies I always prepare a little extra to feed her throughout the week. And whenever I'm snacking she's all up in my face wanting a piece. So I give in. Because if she's happy then I'm happy. Unless it's my chocolate ice cream or chicken wings, obviously. But she's taught me how to share my food, cook/plan for others, and grocery shop with her in mind. (i.e. peanut butter Cheerios, Phoebe loves 'em, me not so much.) I also monitor her diet and will sometimes deny that sweet little face a late-night snack, because she would eat as much as an actual grown man if I let her. But this is just me practicing being a good partner that cares about the well-being of my best friend, duh. So again, no worries, suitable lad out there somewhere, I'll make sure you don't get diabetes or have high cholesterol once you hit your fifties!

And in conclusion, I probably sound like a crazy person but really I'm just an enthusiastic dog mom that just so happens to be a single 20-something with typical-but-dramatic female thoughts. And I could most definitely go on and on about how Phoebe is like a live-in boyfriend preparing me for future married life, but I must get back to work. And get ready for my first level four improv class at the DCH later tonight. I'm pretty pumped for it because I'm back with my original Wednesday night crew that I started this crazy adventure with, AND we have two kick-ass instructors that I've been dying to have as teaches, so I'm beyond excited and need to be productive before I go play later.  


Meet Phoebe.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

how my dad made me a strong woman...

got my sense of humor from this one... 
I just watched the #LikeAGirl video by Always for the first time and I teared up. Okay, I'll be honest, I cried half of a river. Only for maybe twenty seconds, but still, it disgusted me and made me want to take every unconfident, underdog girl under my wing and hug them. And that says something about my generation and this world. Because this whole feminist movement thing is on the cusp and sadly "it" should've been on the "cusp" thirty years ago. Or fifty. Oh wait, it was. But it takes a long time for anything good to occur in America, I guess. So, it is what it is, and as a feminist I'll do and support whatever it takes to continue this momentum. Because this Naomi Wolf-worshipping momma loves it.

But here's the thing... I've never in my life felt sorry for myself because I was a girl, despite being the Lena Dunham-loving, Amy Poehler-worshipping biatch that I am. Yeah, I wanted to be thinner and prettier in high school, but that was because of the mean girls. Never because of a boy. None of them met my standards, to be honest. I never felt less adequate to my male cohorts, though, despite being a 90's kid/prime Millennial female. And I've thought for hours upon hours on this as to why so many of my girlfriends have felt these extreme pressures and I honestly haven't. And I think it's because of my Dad. He's never once in his life told me to wear my pearls, or dress better for the guys, or lose weight because of this or that, or talk a certain way to sound "lady-like." Never. My dad's only suggestions for me have been to get a job I love and take care of the car that he got me at sixteen. That's it. The only request he ever has has for me nowadays is to pick up the latest habanero hot sauce at the store or google the best resort in Florida. Nothing more. Yeah, when I've hit my Debbie Downer low points in life he's been the one to b*tch at me to pick myself up and stop having a pity party, but that's about it. Nothing offensive, feminist-ically, ever. (Is that a word? I just made it a word.) He's treated me like a child. Not like a daughter or son.

He has also treated my mother with the utmost respect since the day I was born. I know nothing else than mother rules the roost and father just follows. Albeit, they both respect each other and are madly, disgustingly in love, even after 500,000 years. But when I think about my friends' experiences in "being female," the ones with emotionally abusive fathers are the ones who have so many issues it's not even funny. My dad pushed me to be an all-star softball player since I was five years old. And he taught me how to catch a fish, hunt, ride a four-wheeler, change a tire, eat deer jerky the fun way, etc., and never once in my life mentioned "how to do it this way for the girls" or tailored his lessons because I was his daughter, and not son. And he may not realize it, but he molded a strong ass woman doing just those things. And he is why I truly believe I am the strong woman that I am today. It's also why I think I'm single at twenty-four without having any real, meaningful, prior relationships. It's hard to find a respectable male out there that can meet the standards of my Dad. Yep. See how I capitalize Dad? That's how much Doug means to me. He's the sh*ts, you guys. 
Doug never made me feel feminine about posing with a rabbit.

So, after showing both of my parents this video about twenty minutes ago, you know who had no negative comment about it? My Dad. Wendy had an entire opinion on it, as per usual, but Doug just nodded his head, took dinner to the table, and asked how hot I thought his latest picked pepper was. And that's what makes me proud in terms of being a girl power advocate, as cheesy as that sounds. He's made me feel free to speak my opinion around men. I f*cking love him and I thank God for him because he's taught me so much, and I know I'm blessed to be one of the few females to have a Dad that supports raising a strong daughter. Who would've thought that a man would be behind this girl's quest to promote and motivate all women? 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Why The World Needs Mean Girls...

This post's title (with a bad pun) sounds like something a cynical, pessimistic Debbie Downer would say, right? I tried to make it somewhat catchy but not entirely dumb as I have a certain perspective to share here. In my life (as with most confused, hot mess, normal 20-somethings), when it rains it pours. And I mean that in both a positive and negative sense. I have so many great things going on right now (as opposed to the sh*t storms of 2012 and 2013) that, although, I would prefer to have happened separately, slowly, and over the course of maybe a year or so; alas, we can't control everything and/or the universe, so I'll stop complaining. But in spite of everything good there's always one, minor, pain-in-the-ass "thing" that's going on. That's life. I know.

And for me, I've always been a people-pleaser that cannot handle underlying tension or conflict with others. Seriously, I don't understand what's happened to the art of communication anymore but it's all in the zodiac, I'm learning. What you see is what you get with me. I love everybody and will continue to love everybody even if they're just downright b*tches, as I tend to value what they offer to the world over how awful they are to the world. Does that make sense? In other words, the Queen of England could call me a peasant and spit on me and throw her Corgi on my car but I'd still worship the grounds she walked on because hello, she gave us Prince William. Sort of. I know, he's married, but I've never been attracted to the other one.

And this ridiculous take on things has provided this Taurus with many troubles, as I'm an emotional and sensitive person despite coming off (mostly) as a happy Harriet. And my close friends (all confident, kick-ass, inspiring women getting me through this life) continue to tell me to forget the assholes I occasionally come across/am trying to fix or help or please or whatever it is that my inner-mom tries to do. And they will probably forever have to do this because I'm not sure I can change a 24-year-old habit; once I reach my pressure point (and they all know when I've reached it), I'm grabbing the iPhone and tapping that 'Favorites' icon.

However, as someone who justifies everything, I need mean people in my life. I do, really. Hear me out on this.... I need those occasional (yeah, I sure as heck don't want them consistently) assholes to remind me that not everything is rainbows and unicorns and Nutella. I tend to be such a daydreaming fool, with more ideas than time, that forgives too easily and is simply uncomfortable with reality. I'm bad about brushing off the things that I need to be doing for me in order to please others. And 9.9 times out of 10, those "others" are not going to determine my life's outcome and/or be there when I need help. And I've learned/am reminded of this by those confident, kick-ass, inspiring women that I am so blessed to call my friends. The horrible, old customer that believes in cussing at me, I need. The psycho ex-lover playing mind games, I need. The depressed boss expressing pain by being Hitler-esque, I need.

Because all of these negative Nancys (wasn't sure what grammar mark to use here) remind me that there will always be Regina Georges in the world. I cannot change that or them as much as I may want to. Unless I find some utopian world to reside in, like the Bahamas, my weather-predicting Karen must resist the urge to be influenced by these Reginas and forget the responsibilities to myself, like Cady Heron. Again, does this make sense? Or am I trying to justify something ridiculous here? Probably. God I could use Mean Girls references all day long, you guys. But my point is, as someone who nowadays tries to be a good person, and learns best visually, I need those awful people to provide examples every so often to remind me that yeah, we all have our own sh*t going on; it's one thing to let that sh*t affect you, but to let it essentially affect others just ain't cool. And the more Cruella de Vils I come across, the easier it gets to brush 'em off, throw a smile back on my face, and appreciate those who offer not only something positive to the world, but something positive to me, myself, and I. As a 24-year-old, I like to think that I have a few more decades on this earth (God-willing) so the quicker I learn this, the better, no?

And on that sappy note indicative of a 20-something thirsty for therapy, I'm going to wrap it up because I'm at the Lakeside Park, my all-time Dallas favorite, and it's getting too humid. I also have a DMA date that I'm pretty excited about so I'll stop doing my favorite thing in the world, rambling endlessly, and probably only to some middle-aged Russian sitting in a Siberian coffee shop still using dial-up, to be there on time.
Obviously ending on an Amy P note, too. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

my review of 'tammy' & why every female should see it...

Last night I went to the movies with Wendy, the Southern matriarch from whose loins so graciously granted my physical birth, (had to throw that Sage-from-DCH-writing-class line in there, sorry) and we saw Tammy. First of all, I'm a HUGE Melissa McCarthy fan. From her stand-up days to her Gilmore Girls days to the present Identity Thief and The Heat days, she's my main Hollywood gal that I would kill to work with some day. Yes, her character in Tammy was very similar to those of The Heat, Identity Thief, and even sort of Bridesmaids. But guess what? She's funny, her stuff is funny, and people continue to laugh. And buy tickets. The entire theater was chockfull of women ages 18-70, and we were in a small-town, East Texas Starplex Cinema at that.

Not to mention, the movie is packed with A-listers I adore. Susan Sarandon. Allison Janney. Gary Cole. Dan Aykroyd. Toni Collette. Ben Falcone. Sandra Oh. And Kathy Bates, a fellow SMU sister. I mean stellar cast, right? My mom wasn't a huge fan of Sarandon and McCarthy's on-screen chemistry but I'm extremely biased when I say that it was perfect worked well. Tammy is from Murphysboro, Illinois and wears crocs the entire movie. The costume designer deserves an Oscar because she nailed every character's look. It's just so Tammy to be wearing Crocs. Along with scenery/set design. (I will say, though, I'm a continuity maniac and will notice the slightest extra or piece of hair out of place from shot to shot, so look for the Eagle campground scene where the guy on a cell phone in the far right distance is outta place a few times. #OCDprobs)

Also the physical humor is what gave this film the laughs. I definitely pay attention to people's responses and what makes everyone react; everyone reacted to McCarthy's trips, falls, bumps, and bruises. Within the first ten minutes there's a deer scene that's hilarious and worth the ticket cost alone to witness. And not to spoil anything but there are several emotional scenes throughout this gem, too. I related to so many of them, sadly, and I know others in the theater did as well. That's another thing about this movie; yeah, it's no Scorsese or Woody Allen film but not every single film has to get your intellectual brain soup boiling. Movies are for entertainment. Escaping your own sh*tty reality for two hours. That's why I love 'em so much. Especially comedies. And especially ones with Melissa McCarthy, because her humor nails my kind of "preferred" humor. She can say one word in a certain tone and I'm going to laugh. I just love her.

And so should you. Why? Because she gives a solid performance in all of her work. Yeah, it's a distinct, Melissa McCarthy style but she's so unapologetic in everything that she does and that's why I love her. I tend to be super apologetic in everything that I do and I only dream of one day having the confidence that this badass tinsel town b*tch has. She's a powerhouse. She does her thing and she has fun doing it. Also she's Sandy B's best friend for life, and if you're unaware Sandy B (aside from Laura Linney) is my all-time favorite actress in all of this world. I have a lot of Hollywood favorites, okay? Anywho, the fact that Melissa McCarthy is only 44-years-old and has written, produced, and starred in many of our favorite flicks is something to appreciate. I think she's endured a lot in the industry (as all women have) and instead of griping (like Wendy) about how the film is so similar to others, we should all just go enjoy it and support it. Can I get an amen?
This is my DCH Ewing troupe, YOUTH GROUP,
a face-in-the-hole created by yours truly.

Okay, it's late Thursday afternoon, I'm sitting at the St. Pete's, as per usual, and Kelly, one of my best friends/spirit animals, has come all the way to Texas from South Carolina for this week to visit, celebrate the 4th, and see my very first Ewing show at the DCH. So I've gotta wrap this up because I get to see her face soon! And yep. That's right, folks. YOUTH GROUP, my beloved troupe, will be going up at 9:30PM at 2645 Commerce Street. So be there or be square. Be early and maybe I'll buy you a drink. Just don't be late (my biggest pet peeve) because I hate tardiness and will glare in your vicinity (probably not directly at you due to the bright lights) if you come stumbling in twenty minutes after showtime.