Bingeworthy TV

I have been so uninspired to blog lately! I hate forcing a post, I like it when they just have to be written. Nothing like that in the past few weeks. Work, new house, not sleeping very well due to details of house equals one tired, uninspired gal. Here’s one of the things that has been keeping me going. No joke. Shameless on Showtime. It is entertaining and crazy, but so outlandish that it doesn’t stress me out. Parenthood, on the other hand, no can do right now! Yeah, I’ll pass on watching Joel & Julia’s heartbreaking separation and painful, tearful conversation with their kids about daddy moving out, thanks anyway!

Without further ado, I present my list of bingeworthy TV from the past few years. If you have as much time as I do to devote to this worthy cause, I’m giving you some grade-A beef. Note, this list is certainly not representative of all of my TV (duh!). This is literally a list of shows I have binged on via instant streaming over the past few years and loved.

Shameless – not available on Netflix instant streaming or Amazon Prime. I had to watch on-demand as a Showtime subscriber. William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum head up the cast, but the supporting Gallagher family members you will come to love. And Joan Cusack? She is amazing. 4 seasons.

Damages – Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. Lawyer show. Plot mostly contained per season. Lots of twists. Fantastic. 5 seasons.

Suits – Harvey. Spector. Enough said. Add in lots of witty banter, great movie references, another solid laywer show. 3 seasons.

Parenthood – I’ve talked about Parenthood ad nauseam. The Bravermans make for emotional, relatable TV, blah, blah blah. Watch it. 5 seasons.

Homeland – I mean, do I really need to give you a reason to watch the best CIA show around with some of the best acting and writing out there!? 3 seasons.

Dexter – Although the final season was a little bit shark jumpy, this show was addictive and kept me entertained the entire time. I love Michael C. Hall. Hot stuff. 8 seasons.

Felicity – True story, I watched all 4 seasons of Felicity last year in the span of 3 weeks. Personal record. This was one of the best when it came out in the late 90’s and I wanted to see if it held up. 100%. I would argue this is one of the best shows of all time (Jen, you may be the only person other than JJ Abrams to agree). I laughed, I cried. Ben is just so lovable (and hot), and so is Noel for that matter! If there is one show I would like to insert myself into, this is it, I just know that Keri Russell and I would be friends. #felicitydelusion

Orange is the New Black – I’ve talked about this a few times, how much more convincing do you need? If you have Netflix, you have to watch it. 1 season.

House of Cards – Ditto to above. 1 season (with season 2 about to premiere).

Scandal – It took me a few eps to get into this guy. It can be a little cheesy and I’m just not used to watching network TV. It’s different. But Kerry Washington and her wardrobe, both insanely beautiful, plus her chemistry with Fitz, make the show worth watching. 3 seasons.

You’re welcome.

Midseason TV Check In

I have been dying to do this post. There is so much good midseason television on right now, new shows and returning, I don’t even know where to begin. Click any of the images for individual trailers.

GirlsGirls (HBO) – season 3’s 2 part premiere was on Sunday. After the downer which was season 2, I was ready for some lightening up, and it paid off, Hannah and Co. were back to funny, rather than depressing.  The opening scene was so amazing, it was one of the best tell-offs I have ever seen.

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True Detective (HBO) – also premiered on Sunday. This stars Matthew McConaughey (fresh off of his Golden Globe win) and Woody Harrelson and looks dark and gritty. The story – Two detectives, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, become entangled during a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. I haven’t watched yet, but it’s sitting in my DVR waiting. Update, watched it last night. This show is going to be awesome, Matthew McConaughey is at the top of his game. Creepy murder plot. HBO just makes great TV.

ShamelessShameless (SHO) – season 4 premiered on Sunday. I have recently gotten into this comedy starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum. I’m on season 1 right now, it’s my current binge. I like it and recommend, it’s funny, not too dark. The gist – An alcoholic man lives in a perpetual stupor while his six children with whom he lives cope as best they can.

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Rake (Fox) – series premieres January 23. I love Greg Kinnear. He’s just real handsome and likeable. Plot – An outspoken and self-destructive criminal defense lawyer takes on the most challenging cases. Could go either way, but it’s going in the DVR queue.

RHONYReal Housewives of NYC – season 6 premieres on March 11. Yes, I am getting this on your radar early. It’s that important. I am very excited to watch this level of crazy. Very. Excited. Check out the season 6 preview here.

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House of Cards (Netflix) – season 2 premieres February 14. This political thriller was one of the best shows of 2013 (won the Emmy for best drama) and I cannot wait for the new season. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are both fantastic.

Flowers in the AtticFlowers in the Attic (Lifetime) – premieres January 18. Once in a while, a Lifetime movie comes along that I must watch. This is it for 2014. I mean, didn’t everyone read these books in middle school? I cannot think of one friend who didn’t read it. Very risqué for middle school. And this version stars Ellen Burstyn, Heather Graham and Kiernan Shipka (Sally from Mad Men). Done. Sold.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey – season 4 premiered January 5. Coming off of the season 4 knife-in-the-heart ending, we pick back up to see how Mary is managing without Matthew. I’m 3 episodes in and it’s still so good. New characters this season, new storylines, it’s staying fresh and has had some pretty big surprises already.

Is there anything I’m missing? Hit me up! You know I hate missing out on good TV.

Faves of 2013 – Here’s What Worked for Me

I’m back at work after what seemed like a very long, almost too long, break for Christmas and New Years. Oliver is also back in school this week, my routine is being revived, my weight will hopefully go back down, and I’m ready to conquer 2014. As we kick this year off, I have been doing some deep soul searching and reflecting on 2013, but I’ll save that for my therapist. For you, I present my list of what worked best in 2013!

Books – both on the heavier side, stories that completely immerse you and characters that are deep and layered. My kind of reading.

Songs – Clearly, I like pop music. I swear, I have more depth in my musical repertoire than my selections show. For example, when my collection is on shuffle, you might hear Pearl Jam followed by Miley Cyrus followed by Led Zeppelin. But these are my fave jams of the year. Sorry not sorry.

TV Shows (New) – I know, I know, I had a really hard time narrowing down to 1 here, and this is limited to new shows only! Ray Donovan is really the top of my list, and not just because Liev Schreiber is the hunkiest man I’ve seen in a long time. Jon Voight is amazing, as is the rest of the supporting cast, it’s gritty and violent and funny and dark. Love it. The rest of the list are also must-watches. There is so much good TV to be seen! Get out there and do something about it!

Binge TV ShowI couldn’t not mention this show. If you are a human being with a heart and a family, you should watch this show because you will love it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t cry every single episode. Note, I do not recommend watching multiple episodes during Christmas when you don’t celebrate and your son is with his dad. Just sayin.

Parenthood

Denim – Jeans are my favorite article of clothing and I never seem to have too many pairs. I am lucky enough to dress casually for work, which only makes my habit worse. These were my fave pair of the year. Love the light rinse after all of my dark denim. Skinny, not too skinny. Can wear with Nikes or booties or heels.

Citizens of Humanity Racer
Citizens of Humanity Racer

Restaurant – I had 2 of my best meals here this year with friends. One sitting outside in the summertime on their lovely patio and one with a larger group of ladies inside. Both fantastic. The Roasted Chicken and the Filet are both musts as entrees, they are staples on the menu.

The Whale Wins

Recipe Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad – I discovered this Bon Appetit salad via my friend Jenny and it has been such a hit, it has been all over Pinterest lately too. I made it for the Pi Phi Christmas party and several of my friends ended up making for their Christmas dinners. This salad impresses and even makes for good leftovers! NOTE – I subbed toasted hazelnuts for the almonds and highly recommend.

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Accessory – I’m not gonna lie, this bag has brought me some legitimate happiness and I have no regrets about the splurge.

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Balenciaga Giant 12 Velo

Movie – I. loved. this. movie. I watched it twice in 48 hours, it’s that good. It might have something to do with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and that he is ridiculously hot/adorable and talented to boot. He wrote, directed, starred. Impressive. The story ends up being a really sweet love story and it got me.

Don Jon

Beauty – This has been the year of Laura Mercier. Skin, lips, eyes – all my new fave beauty products are Laura.

 

I am so excited to see what works in 2014 and hope you will be coming along for the ride!

I Heart NY

My sentiment may be unoriginal, but it’s just the plain truth. I have been lucky enough to have friends in NYC for the past 15 years, which has always given me a reason to go and a place to stay. This has been the best way to experience the city – lots of little visits, shopping, eating, walking, drinking my way through the neighborhoods and simply taking it all in.This past weekend’s getaway might be one of my favorites yet. The trips have evolved from staying in various apartments in the West Village in our 20’s to Brooklyn Heights now. One of my oldest and dearest friends from college, Clare, and her family live in a lovely building in Brooklyn Heights, facing downtown Manhattan. I love Brooklyn Heights. Brownstones galore, diverse and interesting young families, and space to move! The restaurants are just as good, schools are fantastic, Manhattan is a quick (depending on traffic, that is) car ride away. If I lived in NY (a girl can dream), no brainer, it’s where I’d be. Don’t get me wrong, I loooooove going into the city and we did each day, but it was nice to escape back to Brooklyn at the end of the day.

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Manhattan view from Brooklyn Heights with my lovely host Clare

Thursday night – dinner with our friend Beth at Colonie in Brooklyn Heights. A quick walk from Clare’s place, cozy comfort food. We sat at the bar and ate cheese and crackers, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Monkfish, and Hanger steak, but the highlight was spaghetti squash with pancetta, egg and parm. So, so delish. I have also really been into spicy margaritas since my Mexico trip, and Colonie served a Grapefruit chili version with habanero-infused tequila, Cointreau, fresh ruby red grapefruit and lime juice and agave. Refreshing and tasty!

Friday – lunch at one of my fave Brooklyn Heights spots, Iris Café. This is one of the places that introduced me to Avocado toast last year and inspired my Eggs & Avocado toast breakfast routine. I obv had to had the toast, plus a sandwich to boot.

Friday Night – We got prettied up for Friday night with a blowout, although the shitty rain was threatening to ruin them! One of the best ways to treat yourself is to get your hair done, by someone else. It is so relaxing and feels like heaven, plus you walk out with awesome hair.

We hit the West Village for dinner, to a spot neither of us had tried, the Beatrice Inn, (same owners as the Waverly Inn, which I have always wanted to check out). Reviews have not been kind, but I thought it was fabulous, everything we ate was really good. Burrata on toast with sautéed mushrooms, kale salad with figs, milk braised pork shoulder with hen of the woods mushrooms, (amazing), seared scallops, roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts. And lots (and lots) of drinks. It was still so awful outside that we ended up sitting at the bar after dinner rather than venturing out in the rain. We had a few more cocktails, enough to fuel a dance party back at Clare’s, including some slow dances, and a video performance of me singing and dancing to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, which will never be seen. By anyone. Ever.

Saturday – I will admit, I was hurting after Friday night. It didn’t feel good to sit in the cab going into the city and get dropped off in the sea of people in Times Square. We don’t normally come here (not since the days when I insisted on going to see TRL being taped from the street), but I haven’t been to a show in a few visits. We got tickets to First Date, starring the adorable Zachari Levi. Our seats were perfect, the show was fantastic, although sadly closing in January. It was about a first blind date, so funny and relevant. Loved it. We were lucky enough to get to stay for a small Q&A with the cast post show. And I even got that cute guy to sign my playbill afterwards.

Saturday Night – dinner at Gran Electrica in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, so cute. The food was fantastic. Fresh cevice, guacamole, Carne Asada and black beans. Yum. It was the perfect end to our day. Wait, scratch that. The perfect end to our day was Saturday Night Live. I need to back up by saying that it is one of my ultimate dreams in life to see a taping of SNL. I have a few connections, I tried them, nothing panned out. The closest we got was being in Rockefeller Center earlier that day. It was so painful to be in NYC with just about the BEST POSSIBLE CAST OF A SHOW, EVER. Kristen Wiig made an appearance and opened the show as Doonese, with the baby hands. Anchorman 2 costars Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell joined host Paul Rudd (couldn’t love him more. not possible). And the musical guest was One Direction. Crying. But at least I got to watch with my bf, who may be the only person who appreciated it as much as I did.

All in all, one of the best trips I have had in a long time. I laughed so hard, ate and drank so well, and felt so loved! Thank you Clare for being the best hostess and friend!