Entertaining & nesting
with do-it-yourself details.

Three Shows You Need To Binge Watch this Weekend

Shows to Watch

This is going to sound totally lame, but sometimes the best part of my week is spent sitting in front of the television. Last night was the season finale of Empire and I was seriously looking forward to spending two hours sitting on the sofa eating mozzarella bites. Like, there was nothing I wanted more.

I’m going to go ahead and chalk that eager laziness up to the fact that TV is so good right now. Of course there’s the “prestige” shows like House of Cards and Game of Thrones with their lofty plotlines, stellar casts and high production values. But there have also been a few solid not-prestige but also not-trashy series kicking off this year. And that genre, I think, is perfectly suited to binge watching.

Empire (Fox)

If your biggest gripe about having a day job is the fact that you’re not home to watch soaps, Empire is your jam (and apparently, the jam of 71 percent of black women aged 18-49). People are calling it “the black Dynasty” because, yes, it’s a prime time soap centered around a successful family of back-stabby hip hop moguls. But it is so much more than that. The characters on the show are all so complex, and you’ll be almost forced to pick a different favorite every week. (Mine is Hakeem, currently. Or maybe Jamal. I don’t even know!)

Hindsight (VH1)

I am a marketers dream. After the first commercial spot for Hindsight aired last year, I set the DVR to record the season. I’m just that impressionable. Most of the shows I impulse-record fall flat, but not Hindsight. I was pulled in by the premise of a modern girl traveling back in time to re-live her 90’s life (complete with Ace of Base and clothes straight out of the Delia*s catalog), but what kept me watching was the twisting story lines. Becca has lived this life before, but every move she makes (having learned from her past) might actually change the future she knows.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

This show is the ultimate binge watch. Tons of laughs. Ridiculous plot lines. Hilarious reaction shots. Short episodes. A late-in-the-season cameo from Tina Fey. What more do you need in a series? Ellie Kemper from The Office plays Kimmy, a former mole woman who has just been rescued from the bunker she shared for 12 years with her kidnapper and three other sister wives. After a media tour in New York City, she decides to make a go of it with a new life in NYC.

 

Each of these shows just wrapped up their first season, and all are available to watch right now online. So, naturally, I’m done with all of them. Anybody have a binge watch suggestion for me?

I Believe in Atlanta

Atlanta Sticker

Not that I need a slogan to get excited about this city, but I got really energized to see this sticker from the IBA Union. They’ve managed to capture something that I think a lot of Atlantans feel about our little big town:

It’s that electricity that runs down your spine and to the ends of your fingers when you get your first glimpse of the Skyline over the leafy green tops of Georgia. It’s that smile that beams across your face when you’re jumping headfirst in to the Chattahoochee on a blistering summer day, or roaming the neighborhoods that pepper the city late at night with friends. … It’s the feeling deep down in the marrow of your bones that you get from knowing that Atlanta is home.

If you call ATL home, then this campaign might bring to mind another of our unofficial slogans: Pray for Atlanta (the brainchild of local artist R.Land). I like the optimism in this new one, though. Atlanta is far from perfect, but it’s getting there. Seeing things like the Beltline project and new music festivals pop up really make me eager to see where this city’s going.

Atlanta, I believe in you.

Work Flow: Find Time That Works for You

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This article is a bit of a departure for me within the walls of Formal Fringe. But truthfully, It’s totally in-character for me as a person and a professional. I’ve been dropping hints here and there, but I’m getting ready to re-vamp my blog and expand into some new topics. So here goes nothin’. 

I think it’s important, especially for someone in a creative field, to determine when your brain is best at tackling different tasks.

Years of blogging have taught me that I’m best at getting words on screen in the morning. In college, when I put off finishing a tough paper until the last minute (That’s so Raven), I didn’t stay up late the night before to cram it out. Instead, I went to bed before Jeopardy and got up at 3 AM to get writing. Stringing thoughts into words and words into sentences—it just comes easier to me if I tackle it first thing every day.

For most of my adult life, I thought I was just one of those elusive morning people. I’d be up with the chickens to start on an article that needed a great lead. I volunteered to get up at the crack of dawn if an event my team was planning required an early start. Basically, I thought morning time was my jam and I could rule the world if the world happened to need ruling between 7 AM and 11:30.

Learning to Be an All-Day Person

If you’re tuned into the past tense in that last paragraph, you can guess that I’m writing this from a place of more clarity. Just this morning, thinking that I would use my precious morning hours to start on building a personal manifesto through Kristoffer Carter’s The Framework exercise, I sat down to immerse myself in his weighty 74-page workbook. But I just. couldn’t. do it. I’d start to read, trying to take in these really important things Kristoffer has to say about life integration, and my mind would wander. I’d start to think away from the page, turning my consciousness towards building my own purpose statement.

It was distracting, to say the least. But it was also a great glimpse into how my brain works. I found out one of the best ways to discover your ideal work flow is to try different types of tasks at different times of day.

This trouble I was having with reading made me re-examine my “morning person” perceptions. Here I am, trying to use these precious writing hours to read, and it’s not working for me. My mind kept trying to write. So I sat down to write this blog post instead, and to muse on the best times of the day, for me, to get shit done. Here’s what I found out:

I create in the morning. I absorb in the afternoon.

Morning for me is a time for writing and for thinking up new ideas. Once I figured out, years ago, that I was best at drafting blog posts in the early part of the day, I felt a certain freedom. I stopped trying to crank out an article late at night and left that time open for relaxing and spending time with friends. And now I know if I want to read a novel, or soak up the kind of mind-thick information I was trying to do this morning, I need to do it in the afternoon. How that will pay off, I’m still not sure. But I’m happy to have discovered this little secret to my own personal productivity.

I would encourage anyone in a creative field to try different work at different times a day, paying close attention to what comes easy about those tasks and what becomes a struggle. Once you’ve gotten a good handle on the best time of day to tackle certain projects, I think you’ll find you get a lot more done.

2015 Fantasy Oscars Party Game

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It’s that time of year again, folks. ‘Tis the season to lock yourself in at home and avoid the bitter cold outside by making good on your promise to watch every Oscar-nominated movie before the awards air (in two weeks, by the way).

So how are you doing? I’m definitely slacking this year. Of all the Academy Award-nominated movies and performances, I’ve only seen The Grand Budapest Hotel and Gone Girl (with leading actress nominee Rosamund Pike, who was crazy scary in the movie, no?).

While I slacked at actually watching movies this year, I’ve been keeping up with the awards race, and getting to see little bits and pieces of 2014’s best films and actors. So, not to brag or anything, but I think I’ll be really great at the Fantasy Oscar Draft at this year’s party.

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If you’re new to the game, here’s how it goes:

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The #LanceLovesMichael Sparkling Orange Bourbon

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Sorry it’s been a minute since my last post. I’ve been a bit busy with a fun new project—redesigning this website! I’m putting together a new home for my blog, and I can’t wait to share it with you soon. Just so there aren’t any bumps in the transition, make sure you’re following me on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date.

Rest assured, even though I haven’t been posting as much, I’m still doing all kinds of silly ridiculous things. And the most ridiculous thing lately is how excited I am for Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding.

You guys, this is legendary. Tomorrow marks not only the first televised gay wedding, but also the historic day when Lance Bass officially breaks millions of girls’ and guys’ hearts by taking himself off the market. Well, I guess the wedding happened a while ago, but tomorrow night is the night that all the grown-ass-lady ‘N Sync fangirls will laugh and cry and celebrate for Lance and his new husband, Michael Turchin. And we’ll need a little something to drown our sorrows at missing the boat to be Mrs. Bass.

So here it is: The Sparkling Orange Bourbon. Bourbon for Lance’s roots in Mississippi, mixed with orange liqueur and orange bitters to honor Michael’s home in South Florida. And it’s all topped with champagne, because what’s a wedding without a little bubbly?

It’s inspired by an Old Fashioned, but the champagne softens the typically hard drink. Still, you should definitely like the taste of bourbon to tilt this one back.

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Skinny Cucumber Vodka Cocktail

Low-Calorie Skinny Cucumber Vodka Cocktail

I love when girls share their favorite low-calorie cocktail recipes. It’s like we’re all a part of some sisterhood that shares secrets about how to stay fit and still have a good time. While tailgating an away football game last fall, one girl’s drink became the toast of the town. “Taryn, you have to try Jen’s cocktail… it’s amazing. And it’s only water.”

Water?

“Water, and vodka.”

Jen was a friend of a friend who, after having sold her soul to the devil apparently, devised a drink using only cucumber vodka and water. And it was delicious. I brought the idea home with me after that football game, and spread word of this almost zero-calorie cocktail to friends like it was the new gospel. Ladies, it’s true. The only calories in this refreshing beverage are in the vodka itself, usually 60 calories per ounce. It’s a small price to pay for getting buzzed off of water.

Low-Calorie Skinny Cucumber Vodka Cocktail

The cucumber vodka cocktail has seen a few variations since then, but this latest iteration is my favorite. Besides cucumber-infused vodka and ice water, I add mint for flavor and a little bit of Truvia simple syrup for a hint of sweetness. You probably know Truvia is a no-calorie sweetener for coffee or tea, but you can also make no-calorie simple syrup from it, too.

Low-Calorie Skinny Cucumber Vodka Cocktail

 

Disclosure

I received products provided by Truvia to create this recipe. All opinions are my own. Products from affiliates and sponsors are screened to make sure I think they are a great fit for the site. Thank you for supporting the partners that keep Formal Fringe up and running!