Confessions of a Scandal Addict

Scene: 8:15 PM last Thursday, September 26th , aka “Shonday.” I was on my way home from work, walking as fast as humanly possible. I had 45 minutes until the season 4 premiere of Scandal, and I could not be late: I’ve watched every single Olivia Pope lip quiver and fast-talking Gladiator monologue since the very first episode. It’s the one show that I watch live—and just about the only thing that will get me tweeting up a storm. (Plus, my girls and I have intense, philosophical group text conversations about every single plot point.) And not only was the show returning, but ABC was following up the premiere with the debut of Shonda Rhimes’ new How to Get Away with Murder starring Viola Davis. It would be a two-hour night of television that could only be interrupted by Twitter, Shonda-related texts, and trips to the kitchen for red wine refills.

[Exhibit A: My twitter feed, proof that Scandal is pretty much the only thing I tweet about.]

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Choosing My Own Adventure

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When I was invited to Aruba with a group of journalists, the first word that popped into my head was adventure. I was going to a place I’d never been with people I didn’t know, so I decided to set a personal goal: While in Aruba, I would say yes to everything. Because in my daily life, adventure means trying a new coffee k-cup flavor or swiveling in my desk chair. It was time for something a little more exhilarating.

So for four days, adventure meant exploring paradise. I know what you’re thinking: Eyeroll, we get it, the Caribbean is gorgeous, etc. But Aruba is my new favorite island, so hear me out about why: As if the weather (they get 52 weeks of sun. No. Fair.) and white sand beaches aren’t enough, the food is fresh and delicious, the people are literally always happy (hence the nickname One Happy Island), and it’s incredibly culturally rich. Everyone speaks four—yes, four—languages: Dutch, Spanish, English and Papiamento.

It wasn’t hard for the island to convince me to stick with my goal of saying yes to everything: To eating my least-favorite food, fish; to dancing on the beach in a carnival headdress; to standup paddleboarding, swimming with sea turtles, and Sea Trek, an underwater helmet walk with tropical fish and a sunken airplane. I mean, I was basically Dory in Finding Nemo. Unreal.

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When It Rains, It Pours

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In case you haven’t guessed by now, I love this city in every light, season and weather condition.

Except.

Except when it’s pouring rain, and you have to get on the subway. On Wednesday after work, I headed to meet Le Boyfriend to see an early IMAX screening of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Normally I would walk from my job to Lincoln Center, but after considering the monsoon, I decided to hop on the 1 train uptown just one stop. I left a half an hour early to make sure I’d have plenty of time to grab popcorn and get a good seat.

The problem is, when it’s raining, every other New Yorker has to do the same thing. Nobody is walking, and it’s impossible to catch a cab—so everyone slams into the subway salty, sopping wet, and smelling like wet dog. But despite the underground crowd, my spirits were high: I had a date, and my journey would only take five minutes. At least, that’s what I thought. Behold, a peek into public transportation life on rainy days: Continue reading

RIP, Rizzoli

New York, I love you. But not today.

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I just learned that my favorite bookstore—Rizzoli on 57th Street—is shutting down. The 95-year-old townhouse will be demolished. In its stead will be some shiny, towering skyscraper. And I am pissed.

Here’s the thing: You, as a city, are incredibly irritating and maddening. You drive a girl to drink (overpriced margaritas, usually) with your millions of people and crowded blocks and subways and pollution. But your magic lies in the cozy, charming places that embrace us, that make us feel sheltered and safe and a little less alone.

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The Things She Carries

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For me, one of the marks of a great interview is when I think about it long afterward. The most recent one to do it for me was a Vogue video Q&A with New York’s ultimate sweetheart: Sarah Jessica Parker. The interviewer fired off 73 questions while SJP gave a mini-tour of her West Village brownstone. The decorating voyeur in me loved every bit of it; from the footage, SJP’s home felt homey and eclectic. It got me thinking: Our homes can tell our stories even more than our outfits–and sometimes, even ourselves. If someone stopped by my apartment with a video camera, how would I want them to feel? I’d hope bright and cozy, surrounded by books and bits from my travels.

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A Spot of Tea

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I recently realized that the older we get, the more most of us wish we had paid a little more attention in school. For some, they wish they could remember more of their math lessons; for others, it’s literature, and for me, it’s history. When textbooks popped open to learn about wars and presidents, my head always went into the clouds. But as an adult, when I pass by major landmarks, I find myself constantly Googling. It makes me wish I could remember some of the trivia that was probably right there in those textbooks. Continue reading

The Art of Fine Dining

Spinach, goat cheese and herb pizza from ABC Kitchen

Spinach, goat cheese and herb pizza from ABC Kitchen

[WARNING: Do not read on an empty stomach!]

I love food, but I’ve always been a picky eater. Before I moved to New York, my palette was pretty much limited to Latin food, French fries, and cereal. I hated the word foodie and rolled my eyes at photos of plates on social media. But I admit it: The city has opened my eyes to a whole new world of eats (and, therefore, the necessity of the gym).

Restaurant Week was earlier this month, which meant some of the city’s hot spots offered special pre-fixe deals. One night, I attended a “strangers dinner” at Jean Georges Vongerichten’s Perry Street restaurant in the West Village. The idea is that the host invites two people, each brings someone the host doesn’t know, and so on. While the conversation and wine were delightful, the food stole the show: roasted squash soup with mushroom and sourdough, onion-and-chili crusted beef short ribs, and banana cake with salted caramel ice cream. Absolutely divine; so fantastic, in fact, it was even more delicious than Drake on Saturday Night Live.

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An Ode to Kanye’s “The College Dropout”

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Yeezus concert, Madison Square Garden, 11/24/13

10 years ago, I was that high school kid riding the bus to school every day when all of her friends had cars. The ride was about an hour each way, and to fill those two hours, I’d listen to music. Discman in hand (Yes, Discman—it was the Stone Ages…) I’d sit with my knees pressed against my chest, listening to mixes I’d created from downloads and my parents’ CDs.

I learned that certain albums would become the soundtrack for different parts of my life, and Kanye West’s The College Dropout set the tone for the latter half of high school. I’d never heard a record like it: His distinct voice and lyrical wit gave a breath of new life to samples from artists like Marvin Gaye and Chaka Khan. The passion I felt as he rapped with a wired-shut jaw on “Through the Wire” gave me goosebumps. “Spaceship” helped me get through long days in classes I didn’t care about. “We Just Don’t Care,” became my anthem for hope, and of course, “All Falls Down” was full of aha-moment gems like: “It seems we living the American dream, but the people highest up got the lowest self-esteem.”

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Let It Snow

Is there anything more magical than New York City covered in freshly fallen snow?

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Growing up in the ’burbs, snow meant sledding down the driveway, followed by hot chocolate in our PJs. Now, it still means hot chocolate in my PJs, but only after trekking home in a North Face and three pairs of leggings, hoping not to get sprayed by slush as a cab speeds past.

I’m lucky enough to be able to walk to and from work every day, but during the winter, I tend to half-jog with my hood up, head down, and hands in pockets, eager to get inside. But tonight, I decided to keep my head up and eyes open. Continue reading

Hurry Up, Inner Peace!

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My version of meditating: Coffee, books, and ‘zines.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: Coincidentally, a few hours after I published the below post, a friend sent me a piece written on xoJane called “It Happened To Me: There Are No Black People In My Yoga Classes and I’m Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable With It.” (I’m not going to dignify this with a link, but if you missed it, Google.) The writer had trouble focusing because there was a heavyset black woman in her class. Apparently, it was the black woman’s first time at yoga, and she spent most of the time staring at the writer with “hostility.” The writer felt the black woman was “judging and resenting her,” and the experience made the writer hyper-aware of her “skinny white girl body.”

By the time I finished reading, I had a knot in my stomach. As I touched on in my post below, exercising with a group of strangers—especially when it’s your first time—takes courage. But it never once occurred to me that my race, or anyone else’s, was a factor for my classmates. What disgusts me even more than the writer’s privileged, condescending essay is that xoJane even allowed this post to go up—clearly, a cry for page hits.

Newsflash to the writer: I’m black, I’m not skinny, and I have been to yoga, multiple times. But you can save your pity, because I am not a fan of the practice, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m black. However, if we ever find ourselves in the same class together, I apologize in advance for making you uncomfortable.

(Original post follows)

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