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12/28/2018

A Star Is Reborn

Unlike 98% of Twitter and Instagram, I did not spend the holidays watching Bird Box.

Ordinarily, my FOMO would be raging, if it didn't seem so dumb.

(Naming your kids Boy and Girl?  I can't.)

Instead, I watched a Star Is Born marathon with my mom and it was heavenly.

There have been 4 versions of this story in total -- the first was in 1934.  But we're going to skip that one because it's in black & white and features a bunch of actors I've never heard of.



The 3 we DID see have a few common elements:
  • He's a drunk and his best days are in the rear view. 
  • He helps create her rise to fame, then resents her for it.
  • He humiliates her at an award show, and she forgives him.
  • She hates her nose, but he thinks she's beautiful.
  • He says, "I just want to take another look at you." And we all melt.

They also all end the same way -- different paths but the same result.

If you know, you know.  No spoilers here...


A Star Is Born (1954)
Starring; Judy Garland as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester, a chorus girl, & James Mason as Earnest Gubbins/Norman Maine, a motion picture star

Box Office: Cost $5M to make, earned $15M

Best Song: Born in a Trunk, I guess, but it was long and trippy

We watched this one on TCM.  While my mom loved it, it really wasn't my favorite. I think they ran out of money when making this movie because there were weird segments with photos and voiceovers to fill in the action.  And it had one of those olden timey intermissions because it is 3hrs loooooong.  I also didn't connect with the mains, she was too pretty (but kept saying she wasn't, which was annoying), and he wasn't pretty or charismatic enough. Glad this one was remade.

Fun Fact: Shortly before the premiere, the film was cut because it was too long (duh).  It was restored in 1983, though most of the original footage was lost, which explains why there are production stills and voiceovers used to cover the action.


A Star Is Born (1976)
Starring: Barbra Streisand as Esther Hoffman, a lounge singer, & Kris Kristofferson as John Norman Howard, a rock star

Box Office: Cost $6M to make, earned $89M

Best Song: Most people prob think Evergreen, but I like Watch Closely Now

I first remember this one when I was little and we lived in the Bronx.  My mom used to play the record when she cleaned our apartment.  I've seen this version a few times, over Christmas we watched it on Amazon Prime.  This one is WAY more my speed with its rock vibe, but it's SO old, Gary Busey actually plays the voice of reason.  Let that marinate for a sec...  Ok.  I love this one for her fast-talking New York ways, and its seventies spirit.  Definitely worth the watch.

Fun Fact: The Speedway concert scenes were filmed at ASU.  Inbetween shooting, Babs, Peter Frampton & Santana performed.  And a ticket to the show cost $3.50.  Good deal.


A Star Is Born (2018)
Starring: Lady Gaga as Ally Campano, a cater waiter and cabaret singer, & Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, a country music star

Box Office: Cost $36M, earned $200M (and counting)

Best Song: Shallow, and you are dead inside if you don't love it too

I've seen this one in the movies -- twice -- and it is hands-down my fave.  Lady Gaga's voice is unreal.  My mom didn't think she was a great actress, but my bar is lower, so I liked her and thought she had amazing chemistry with beautiful Bradley Cooper, who was also the director.  Plus, he sings!  And plays guitar!  And speaks fluent French! Seriously, what CAN'T this man do?  I also appreciated the appearance by Andrew Dice Clay.  I hope this movie wins every Golden Globe, Oscar and Grammy it can.  If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for??

Fun Fact: This is the only version of the movie where the male lead isn't named Norman, and the female lead isn't named Esther.  But there is a cute nod to Judy Garland (Esther #2), as Gaga sings a few lines from Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the intro.


After watching 7.5 hours of this story, we decided there's a Star Is Born for every generation.

Which one do YOU think hits all the right notes?

10/27/2018

The Loveseat Potato Rides Again

If you know me at ALL, you know I love TV. It goes on the minute I walk in the door and stays on all night long.

(That's healthy, right?)

Bravo is my channel of choice.  I even started a website all about it.

In fact, I wish I had MORE time to watch. Then, maybe I would get into deep. well-written, plot-driven dramas.  But frankly, I don't have the appetite for more than a couple of those each season.  Mostly it's reality & comedies for me because I like my TV like I like my taters.

Light and fluffy.

I started these reviews in 2009 and followed up in 2010 with a fascinating (ahem) account of my DVR schedule juggling act. Mrs. Potato Head made a guest appearance in 2011.  The Loveseat Potato was born (picked? harvested?) in 2012.  In 2013, she found a spuddy buddy to watch alongside and in 2014 she was surrounded by a scary herd of cats. 2015 brought the fry guys in a hot tub (my homage to the Bachelorette), 2016 was the year of chips and dips, and 2017 was totally refried to reflect all the recycled shows that returned to the airwaves.

The fall 2018 TV season hasn't been mind-blowing, but there have been a few tasty nuggets.  So the Loveseat Potato hunkered down in bed for a weekend and binged on 30 new shows, with a minimum of 2 episodes per.

Here's how they all stacked up...

BEST NEW COMEDY:
SPUD: The Kids Are Alright (ABC)

WHY IT'S A SMASH: This show is a lot like The Wonder Years, but set in the 70s. It centers on an Irish-Catholic family raising 8 kids, which is funny, but my fave part is all the toys and clothes and foods I remember from my childhood.  Plus, Mary McCormack is awesome, and in the best role since she played Howard Stern's wife in Private Parts.  Watch this!

Honorable mention goes to: I Feel Bad (NBC), Camping (HBO), Single Parents (ABC)

REFRIED POTATOES: Murphy Brown (CBS), Last Man Standing (FOX), The Conners (ABC)

DUDS: Happy Together (CBS), The Neighborhood (CBS), The Cool Kids (FOX)



BEST NEW DRAMA:
SPUD: You (Lifetime)

WHY IT'S A SMASH: This is a dark and creepy one, told from the perspective of a stalker (played by Gossip Girl himself, Penn Badgley).  It's based on a book, which I haven't read.  But once I heard John Stamos was in it too, it was #1 with a bullet.

Honorable mention goes to: The Romanoffs (Amazon), All American (CW), Maniac (Netflix)

REFRIED POTATOES: Charmed (CW), Magnum PI (CBS)

DUDS: A Million Little Things (ABC), The Rookie (ABC), New Amsterdam (ABC), God Friended Me (CBS)






BEST NEW REALITY:
SPUD: Get a Room with Carson & Thom (Bravo)

WHY IT'S A SMASH: Man, I missed these two!  Arguably the best two OGs from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy -- Carson Kressley & Thom Felicia -- are together again decorating spaces in and around NYC, and I could watch them for hours. The best part is they have PERSONALITY, which is severely lacking from all the other shiplap-laiden home deco shows.  Looove!

Honorable mention goes to: Welcome to Waverly (Bravo), Unanchored (Bravo)

REFRIED POTATOES: Dancing with the Stars Juniors (ABC), Married at First Sight Honeymoon Island (Lifetime), Jersey Shore Family Vacation (MTV)

DUDS: Bravo's Play by Play with Jerry O'Connell (Bravo), How Far Is Tattoo Far? (MTV), Busy Tonight (E!)


BEST SHOW I HAVEN'T SEEN YET:
SPUD: Dirty John (Bravo)

WHY IT WILL BE A SMASH: For starters, I'll watch anything with Connie Britton in it.  This show, based on a true story and adapted from a podcast, is about a rich and lonely woman who falls for a sociopath.  Ah, a tale old as time.  Can't wait.













Disagree? See anything I missed?  Put the DVR on pause and comment below...

9/14/2018

Ten

I started writing this blog in 2008, when I moved from my sleepy hometown of Pine Brook, NJ to the city that never sleeps.  

I lived in the Bronx for the first 6 years of my life and I've always worked in NYC, but living here was a very different story. After a bizarre work event at The Box (a LES burlesque club), I definitely had that swirly "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" vibe.

And a blog was born.

Now, with a click of my sparkly red shoes, it's 10! 

Some other cool things born in 2008 include:
-- 23 & Me DNA tests
-- The Tesla Roadster
-- Hulu

We're basically twins.

Ok, okaaaay.  On the surface, it seems like this silly blog doesn't have ANYTHING in common with these gamechangers.  But I disagree.

The thing I've always loved most about blogging, social media, and the internet in general is the sheer possibility of it all.  

Anyone can create anything.  Anyone can know anything.  Anyone can find anything.

Pretty mindblowing, right?

Thank God Al Gore invented it.

Anyway, as we've done in 20092010201120122013201420152016  and 2017, let's take a look back at the last year...

Total Posts I've Written (including this one):
310

Average Number of Posts I Write Per Month:
0.5 (down from 0.7 last year -- UGH... Must. Do. Better.)

Average Number of Unique Visitors Per Month:
478 (down from 619 last year -- double UGH)

Average Pageviews Per Month:
2,967 (down from 3,140 last year -- triple UGHHHH)

Most Traffic Comes From:
Tie between Google and Pinterest

Most-Read Blog Posts This Year:
Here's to Your Health
Refried Potatoes

Summer at the Seaport

Most-Read Blog Posts Ever (in order of popularity):
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Pinterest (December 2012)
Which Christmas Cookie Are You? (December 2015)
Farewell, Crawleys (March 2016)
A Gluten-Free Holiday Feast (December 2014)
Dear Stores that Close on Thanksgiving (November 2015)
Grease Is the Word (January 2016)
Election Eve (November 2016)
Freedom (July 2016)
New View (September 2014)
20 Apps I Adore (January 2012)

Post Nobody Gave a Crap About:
Say Cheese

Most Comments (tie):
Nine
Refried Potatoes

Most Popular Poll:
I didn't do any this year.  Poo.
Up in the Air (all-time)

Most Frequently-Used Tag for the Posts I Write:
Pop Culture

Most Popular Search by Visitors:
Dating

Lastly, My Favorite Post I Wrote This Year (tie):
The Essentials -- it was interesting to think about the things I can't live without
7 Lazy (Not Lame) Halloween Costumes -- I had fun putting the ideas together

Next on deck will be the Loveseat Potato's annual review of new Fall TV shows and I think I need glasses... 

Thanks (as always) for reading!

8/15/2018

Summer at the Seaport

Soooo... it's been a while, huh?  I think even my mom has given up on reading my blog at this point, since I've been the WORST at posting.

But, here YOU are. Even if you stumbled here by accident, thanks for stopping by!

The summer was a blur, work was crazy busy, I got a $500 Keratin treatment and HATED it, this here blog officially turned 10 years old (!!!).

And somewhere in there, I turned 45.

Forty effing five. Wtaf.

I just might be having a midlife crisis.  So I'm thisclose to buying a sportscar and dating a 26 year old.  I've even started working out.  Kind of.

Who am I?

Anyhoo... I'm still not sure where my life is going, but my work is going pretty well. We had a big event back in August for female social media influencers, so let's both pretend that I posted this back then...


In my whole career, I've only worked on my bday 3 times.
I had no choice this year because our big event was just days away,
but these lovely ladies made it much better.

And tastier! My friends got me a special delivery from my fave Otto,
and cupcakes from Buttercup Bake Shop, near my old NYC apt.

In another room, our magical interns stuffed 2,000 tote bags. 

Our event was at the beautiful and brand-new Pier 17,
in the Seaport District, which was right on the East River.

Inside was a different story... so I needed to find tons of vendors to help me 
transform this raw space. It didn't even have light or electrical outlets.  
It did have AC, luckily.  After all, it was August -- they aren't monsters!

This was the day I learned about construction,
as we widened the entryway for our thousands of attendees.  

We had a crew of about 100 guys for move in,
and they transformed the whole floor for us, all 40,000 sqft of it.
It took us about 25 hours to move in, and about 12 hours to move out.

Day one, and our view of the Brooklyn Bridge couldn't be prettier.

Follow the pink and purple balloons...

Our florist used over 2500 real roses and carnations on this photo wall.

This is my friend, Justine, making Kelly Kapowski
(aka Valerie Malone, aka Tiffani Thiessen) laugh.
I wonder if she knows that when Lifetime makes the story of my life,
she will be playing me?

Gabrielle Union! As beautiful in person as you imagine she would be.

That little green lady on stage is Amy Schumer.
She wasn't going to come. Then she was. Then she wasn't.
Then she did. As you can see, nobody noticed... 

Pret a Manger sponsored all our food,
and whenever you see one of the stores, you should go in and eat there.  
ALL their food is made fresh, on site, each day. 
That meant they baked 1500 croissants each morning, 
assembled 1500 salads & wraps, and baked 1500 cookies every afternoon. 
Just for us. Mind-blowing. And delicious.

These are the amazing designers on my team. They are v creative.

This is the view from the ladies' room. Now, they're just showing off!

Fast forward to day two, the gracious and stunning Christy Turlington Burns 
interviewed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on women's health. 
Before she came in, I met with her Secret Service guy,
former NYPD, who was massive and extremely polite.

I've known these girls since they were 8, as part of a program we run for Gen Z.
They're now 13 and interviewing Angie Thomas, author of The Hate You Give.
So so proud of the women they are becoming!

Best Buy was a sponsor and brought a cool sequin wall that you could write on,
a box that dry cleans your clothes, and a fridge you can see inside without opening the door.
The future is now, my friends.

Honest Beauty brought their new makeup line,
and there was a line wrapped around the place with women wanting to try it. 

Baked by Melissa wrote our name in yummy mini cupcakes.
I may or may not have eaten the whole G.

Ever wonder what 1500 Barbies look like?
It's nothing compared to the stampede of grown women wanting to get one!

Who is that girl in the middle taking a picture with me and my friends?
Oh hi, Jessica Alba!

And just like that, it was over.  Bye bye, Brooklyn Bridge.

Say cheese if you are exhausted!

So, that's that. I wish you could have been there!

I'll find the time to post again soon, I promise.  I need to pretend it's still September, so I can write about my 10 year Blogiversary, and I hope it is still October when I post about all the new fall TV shows I like.

Until then...

6/27/2018

Say Cheese

I wish I could say I have a good excuse for why I haven't blogged in so long, but anything I tell you will sound... cheesy.

You know the drill: work, more work, life, blah...

I did make time for a Cubs game at Wrigley with my fam and a Bon Jovi concert at MSG with my best friends. Super funtimes!

But mostly, it was work.

Typical.

Anyway, a few months ago, a little birdie told me that Planter's Cheez Balls were coming back this summer (this Sunday, to be exact). Well, I have eaten them, and I can tell you...

They're perfect! As good you as you remember from those family roadtrips to The Shore when you were a kid.

And I'm pretty sure a whole can is still a single serving, right?  Yes, just like Pringles.

In honor of this snack comeback, here are my cheese, glorious cheese Top 10:

  1. CHEEZ BALLS:
    Thanks, Mr. Peanut! These are nothing but crispy, cheezy goodness.  For the record, I also love Nacho Cheese Doritos, Cheddar Cheese Chex Mix, Cheetos, Cheez Waffles and Cheddar Cheese & Sour Cream Ruffles, but these are a hands-down nostalgic fave. Welcome back!
  2. CHEEZ-IT:
    The classic kind is a tasty snack. I like them better than Cheese Nips, I wish Big Cheez-Its were bigger, and I don't like any of the new flavors or shapes, except Extra Toasty.  Those are pretty great too.
  3. CHEESE & CRACKERS:
    I seriously think I would have starved in grades 4-6 if I couldn't have this for lunch. Every day, my mom would make 6 of them with Wispride spreadable cheddar cheese sandwiched on a Ritz cracker, wrapped in tin foil.  It was perfectly aged by lunchtime, and I washed it down with an iced tea Ssips. In other news, I still eat them today. On Wheat Thins.
  4. MAC & CHEESE:
    The homemade kind is pretty awesome, but it takes time. Which I don't have. So, for me, it's Kraft Deluxe or Stouffer's. Both are creamy, comforting and made better with a liberal coating of French's Fried Onions.
  5. GRILLED CHEESE:
    This is the only thing I order when I go to a diner. Unless I want breakfast for dinner, then it's pancakes. But otherwise, it's this. Always with bacon, usually with onion rings. Never disappoints.
  6. CHEESE FRIES:
    Another diner classic! Disco's not my style, but Cheez Whiz cheese fries can't be beat. Especially late night. Even more so when the fries are tater tots. Tots for the win!
  7. CHEESE PIZZA:
    There's literally nothing better on the planet than a NY slice. I could eat one for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cold or hot. It's all good. When I can't get the real deal, I'll bake up a Stouffer's French Bread, or make English muffin pizzas (Thomas's Sandwich Size + Kraft Mozzarella with a Touch of Philly + Ragu Pizza Sauce = Happiness).
  8. CHEESE BURGER:
    A few summers ago, I started grilling, and I make a mean cheese burger! But I don't always feel like cooking, so it's Five Guys for me. I wish they'd put a Shake Shack in Hoboken, then the Guys would have a run for their money. (Are you listening, Danny Meyer? We have a Drybar, a Sephora & a West Elm -- bring your bougie burgers here, stat!)
  9. CHEESECAKE:
    It's well-documented that this is my birthday cake of choice, and there's ONLY one kind: New York Style. If I'm feeling fancy, it's Juniors all the way, but for a quick pick me up, Sarah Lee frozen cheesecake with strawberry topping does the trick.
  10. ACTUAL CHEESE:
    I'll admit it, I like my American cheese yellow. Tastes better, especially when it's Land O Lakes freshly sliced THIN from the deli counter. It's worth the wait. But I've also never met a Brie, Blue, Feta, Gouda, or Goat cheese I didn't like. The same cannot be said for Cheese Curds. I've eaten them in Wisconsin & even tried them fried. They're squeaky and awful. Like if a cheddar cheese cube and an eraser had a baby. Chewy? You betcha.

So, enough about health foods!

Imagine if I were lactose intolerant? That would suck. Sorry if you are.

I will leave you with a lame joke: What do you call a cheese that's not yours?

Leave your answer in the comments... (if you still read this!).

3/17/2018

So Thrifty

We're still a month away from Earth Day, but I've been in a recycling state of mind.

I'm not talking cans, I'm talking clothes.

A few times a year, I dig through my closets & drawers and round up a couple bags of things to donate. It's all nice stuff -- some even brand new -- but in a size that doesn't fit (anymore), or I no longer like the style, or I never liked it in the first place (but was too lazy to return).

Shitty, I know.  But my careless spending is Goodwill's gain.  And I've given some great stuff over the years -- once a pair of Uggs, never worn still in the box, and a JCrew winter coat with the tags still on!

In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, I'm thisclose to becoming the old woman who lived in her shoes.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was watching TV (what?!), and I saw a commercial for The RealReal, a luxury consignment shop.  It got me thinking: There are probably others out there who have nice stuff that they don't want or need.

So I gave it a Goog, and it seemed pretty legit.  People who have nice stuff sell it.  People who like nice stuff -- and discounts -- buy it.  And inbetween, somebody checks it out to make sure it really IS nice stuff, and didn't come from a basement in Chinatown.

Now, the sharing economy is nothing new. Think eBay, ZipCar, AirBNB, Rent the Runway or Uber.  Whether it's for a night or forever, it's just peer to peer selling with a tech middleman to handle the transaction.  And consignment is even older -- from Goodwill to used bookstores (which, for the record, are booger books and are totally disgusting.)

Could this be good?

I wasn't sure. So rather than sending my nice stuff into the abyss, I decided to try it out by buying something instead.  Here's how it went...


Item: Stella McCartney Falbella Foldover Tote
Condition: Very Good
Savings: 63% off (!)
Shipping: $11.95

The Verdict: Love it!  I've wanted this bag for ages, but spending $1000 on "vegan suede" seemed nuts -- even to me.  But there were all the high-end brands on this site, and they say everything has been verified for authenticity.  I also liked that they had a store in NYC. Shipping wasn't free, but it came quickly -- just 4 days after I ordered. And it looks new, it feels luxe, it doesn't smell or have anything funky going on in the lining.  It's just a really nice bag. I've got 4 words to sum up my experience: This. Could. Be. Dangerous. Somebody lock up my Amex.


Ok, so after that good experience, my mind was open.  I happened to be on Instagram and I saw a social media influencer promoting a site called thredUP, where she got a pile of secondhand clothes for a steal.  

Let's just say, I was influenced.

So, I browsed around the site, and picked up a thing or two... you know, for Science.


Items: Michael Kors sweater & Rachel Roy shirt
Condition: Brand new with tags
Savings: 75% off (each!!)
Shipping: Free

The Verdict: Really good! There were thousands of things to choose from, and you could filter by clothes with tags. My order took 8 days to arrive, but that was still a day sooner than the estimate. And the box (pictured above) was really adorable.  I'm a sucker for good marketing so the email & letter that I got from James Reinhart, their "Chief Knitwit," was a really cool touch as well. And the clothes are... nice! Really no different than what I would have picked up from Lord & Taylor, Macy's or Nordstrom, but at significant savings.


If you're still reading this -- and you know me well -- you might be shocked to hear I bought ANYTHING used.  I mean, sometimes it even grosses me out to buy clothes at a STORE if they look picked over!  Which is why I never buy clothes at Marshall's or TJ Maxx.

I might be scarred from my days as a 16 year old working the fitting room at The Gap. People are nasty (and they steal).

But this was different!  Everything was refurbished, either like new or it WAS new. And it was crazy cheap. So, my eyes have been opened to a different -- more economical and eco-friendly -- way of shopping. 

Hope yours have been too.  Happy recycling! 

(Oh, and if you've ever sold anything on these sites, let me know how it went.)

2/10/2018

Here's to Your Health

This might be the longest I've ever gone without posting. So Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy (almost) Valentine's Day.

Now that's out of the way, I should prob explain why I've been MIA!

About a week ago, I produced a huge event for work -- #BlogHer18 Health, where about 1,000 health & wellness social media influencers joined us for 2 days.  And it has been ALL consuming.

It's extremely hard for me to do anything a little bit. If I'm going to spend my time on something, I'm generally all in.

So by the time this incredible experience was over, I was sick (isn't it ironic?), my feet were full of blisters, I'd neglected my friends and family (and YOU), there was zero food left in my fridge, and my apartment was in a shambles.

The good news is it was a really great event, and I'm SO proud of my team who pulled it off.

But one thing is clear: I need some balance.  I think they call it "self care" -- that phrase makes me barf.  But there's def a middle ground that I'm missing.

Do YOU have any suggestions for still having a life while making a living?  I'll take whatever tips or tricks you've got in the comments below.

And while you think, take a look at these pretty pics... I wish you could have been there!

Pretty cool kickoff ringing the closing bell at the Nasdaq.

Acoustic performance by super-talented Brynn Elliott.

(Non-alcoholic) rose for days...

The calm before the storm.

Selfie wall, inspired in part by an Old Navy commercial.

So proud of the Hatch Kids, who gave an award to Chelsea Clinton.

Dance moves with the sweet, petite Julianne Hough.

Keynote speaker and total badass, Jillian Michaels.

The lovely Kate Walsh played a doctor on TV!

Camila Alves McConaughy & Pitch winner,
Bethany Edwards who invented a flushable pregnancy test!

The iconic Arianna Huffington.

Blue & green smoothies? Don't mind if I do!

Raise your glass.

A venue with a view.

A friend of mind posted this -- made me laugh.