Cooking With Amy Poehler (Okay, I’m Lying)

I’ve made a series of excellent life choices today and they either pertain to food or Amy Poehler.

Let’s start with food.

Breakfast was one egg scrambled and cheesed, with peanut butter toast and fruit. Remember those strawberries I thought I lost? They were as sweet as ever.

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Lunch was a delicious sandwich with carrots and hummus on the side, which I didn’t photograph.

For dinner, I made my first meatballs!

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These bad hombres include ground beef, mozzarella, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning.

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And the final touches to a delicious meal.

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Along with a glass of wine and Ron Swanson time.

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(I mean, is this a perfectly timed picture- yes, I think so).

Also a perfect segue way into my other excellent choices inspired by Amy Poehler. I’ve restarted watching Parks and Recreation because, excellent show.

Such a concept was inspired by my decision to listen to Amy Poehler’s audiobook of her book, Yes Please. I read the amazing memoir when it first came out, but it has been a great addition to my daily commute, both to make me feel happy and inspired in the morning and get a solid laugh in the evening. Listening to her speak her written words hits me in a positive way, both as a woman and a young professional seeking a career in writing, comedy, and television.

I want to be Amy Poehler when I grow up- she is one nasty woman!

At the gym, I knocked out some chest, back, and core exercises before spinning it out for a dose of cardio. My dinner was earned.

It’s Friday, friends! Let those feel-good Friday vibes wash over.

Humbled by Fame: A How-To Guide

Whoa. This weekend has been so much fun and it has everything to do with my mild internet fame. My mom and I want to thank everyone for reading and sharing and for the overwhelming support of my latest post, which you can read here if you have no idea what I’m talking about: http://givememycrownalready.com/2015/09/19/dear-joy-behar-a-thank-you-from-a-nurses-child/.

Nurses are awesome, especially my mom and I’m so happy that so many are agreeing!

Here’s all of the wonderful things that have happened to me since I experienced the instant rush of success:

  1. I was offered my own TV show deal
  2. Chris Evans proposed
  3. Amy Poehler and I are best friends
  4. I lost 30 pounds by increasing my daily calorie allowance
  5. I made delicious pumpkin waffles

Okay, so only one of those things happened. Any guesses as to which??

Yes! You are exactly right. We’ll be married next summer and all of you are invited!

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Psh, wishful thinking. Plus, that ring would have been a whole lot bigger had it been real. Reality is more like:

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Still pretty delicious.

This weekend was fun with or without Chris Evans. On Friday, I got my day started with a dumbbell strength workout, worked, then headed to my aunt and cousin’s nail party. I got some Jamberry’s picked out based solely on my mom’s choosing all of the holiday options they have available. They were cute though so I won’t complain.

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Clearly I’ve mastered the pout.

On Saturday, I worked through the morning, but ate this yummy oatmeal to fuel me through it.

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After helping cover up the pool for the season- it’s now fall!- I had this for lunch. I’m big on waffles and eggs these days and I don’t care for which meal I eat them!

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I wrote my now famous blog post, then met my friend Katie in the city. We went to a Greek festival for dinner and ate yummy gyros and baklava before meeting another friend at a Gatsby-type themed bar.

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Sunday morning started with some grocery shopping. My mom and I met my Aunt Stacy and cousin Erin for lunch. Blackened salmon salad for the win!

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After, we all scooted over for a Paint Nite afternoon. I can totally see why people love painting, and I also love to draw, but I never know what to create without someone telling and showing me how. I have a lot to work on when it comes to painting, but I don’t think it looks half bad.

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Glowing from our newfound fame.

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It was so beautiful out yesterday and by the time I got home, my legs were itching for a run outside! I headed down to the track to run on a consistent flat surface and I felt s-t-r-o-n-g. The intention was to go 4 miles, but by the time I reached my third, I knew I was in a good place, so I kept pushing. By the end, I got to 6.4 miles (had I realized at that point I was .1 away from 6.5, I would have gone for it, but oh well). I think I honestly could have run longer had it not been dark out, but also my legs were chafing! I can’t wait to run with pants on instead of shorts because it soothes things so much better!

I watched bits and pieces of the Emmys. My goal is to one day host and I think I could do a better job than Andy Samberg who felt choppy. I suspect we got spoiled by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey so many times. Maybe within the next few years, I’ll be receiving an award for my own show and hosting, and you can say you knew me when!

Sometimes, You Smell and Have To Buy New Things

Needed to edit this post to include a happy birthday shout out to my favorite, Amy Poehler! Woot!

In case you hadn’t realized, fall is coming. I wouldn’t keep harping on this except 1. I’m so excited and 2. Halloween is out in full force. We all know that if you buy the Halloween candy at this point, it’s not meant for Halloween. Otherwise you’d be offering stale candy to trick or treaters and that’s just rude. I’m all for eating chocolate, especially specially designed to mimic pumpkins or ghosts though.

We’ll get to how I discovered that Halloween costumes are all over in a second. First, let’s recap some meals.

If you read yesterday morning, you’ll know I had this delicious pumpkin French toast for breakfast.

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Lunch included leftover stuffed peppers with sauteed spinach and jalapeños for a kick. It was just what I needed after a heavy strength training session. I was quite proud of my gains yesterday and left with a sense of accomplishment. I must have been hungry when I got home though because there’s no picture of lunch. Whoops.

Between lunch and dinner, I also got to a kickboxing class. I am loving kickboxing! I think it has to do with the punching and kicking, but it’s a lot of fun and I feel like I’m getting in a real workout. I’m not usually a huge fan of group classes, but this is one I will try to get to on the regular!

Dinner was so good! Grilled swordfish is the new favorite fish in this house. We paired it with fresh broccoli and oh, hmm, what’s that cheesy thing? Mac and cheese? NOPE! Cauliflower au gratin. It has all the cheesy, warm, melt in your mouth goodness of macaroni and cheese but with vegetable instead of noodle. Don’t get me wrong, macaroni and cheese still holds a high up place in my heart, but this cauliflower dish is up there too! I just felt less guilty indulging in seconds.

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Okay so, last week we discovered I should never be let loose in Whole Foods, but yesterday we learned this is true of Target. Maybe I just shouldn’t shop. But I love it! I stopped at Target for trip numero uno after my strength workout because I wanted to pick up Mindy Kaling’s new book Why Not Me? which will soon be reviewed once I make my way through it- hopefully not too fast because I loved her first book and read it in a day and then I was sad it was over.

I was also on a quest for Peanut Butter and Co’s specialty PUMPKIN SPICE peanut butter. So far, I’ve struck out at Stop & Shop, Whole Foods, and now Target. Bummer, I’ll have to order it online unless Christmas Tree Shoppe can represent. As you well know, Peanut Butter and Co is my favorite company thanks to their Dark and White Chocolate Peanut Butter goodness (that is nutritionally sound too!). Though there was no pumpkin spice to be found, I did walk away with a dark chocolate bottle and two pumpkin spice yogurts.

Also in the cart were dog treats because Mac needs his favorite things too. I needed new strength training gloves because mine STINK to high heaven and can no longer be cleansed through washing. I know, I’m disgusting, but I’m not even sorry. It’s a mark of a job well done. However, they needed to go because I couldn’t stand getting a whiff every rep.

Then I happened to cart by the electronics section, which in my defense, is near the book section! I’ve been contemplating getting a running watch because I no longer track with my phone as it is too rough! My brother’s girlfriend, Cait, recommended the Garmin Forerunner 15 to me because it also works in water- though I’m not sure if it tracks swims yet (TBD tomorrow!). That’s the one I asked for when I checked out and I realized it wasn’t the right one when I got home. They gave me the 10 by accident, which is cheaper, but also does nothing. I wanted a running GPS and step tracker so that I didn’t have to also use a Fitbit. Rude!

After kickboxing and dinner, I set out for Target trip numero dos and this time I was accompanied by my friend Rachel. After I made my exchange, it was time to browse. I got two new workout shirts, one of which is this super cool Star Wars tee with the only characters who matter best characters: the originals!

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I also got another one I’ll debut a little later on this week. Also in my basket was a pair of super comfy pajamas that got me even more excited for fall.

That’s when we discovered the Halloween costumes. Had I not already had one in mind, I might have gotten lost. I can’t reveal my Halloween costume to you yet, but here are a few of the options we perused last night.

Rachel wearing a terrifying Teddy Bear mask. I hate masks!

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This weird, but far less frightening “Captain Cool” mask.

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Me as a piece of pizza, which we know is one of my favorite things!

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Also as a hot dog.

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And this flamingo hat that I’m fairly certain is taller than I am. It was heavy on my head, but if I bought it, it would have required I bend through a doorway for the first time in my life! I didn’t buy it for the record.

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Much silliness ensued, but it was all fun!

This morning, I woke up raring to try my new watch! First, I had a quick breakfast. An egg, cheese, and chicken sausage sandwich on an english muffin. It also had jalapeños. I had a berry bowl as well.

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Even though it was still warm and the sun was out in full force, the air is no longer dripping with humidity. I had an excellent 3.1 mile run and another .5 walk before I hopped in the shower and ran some errands. Now I’ve got in two loads of laundry (one for gross workout clothes and the other for sheets) and an afternoon of studying in which to look forward.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Laughing in the Morning

Are you sick of me yet? I hope not because there is more blogging to come! Please keep reading and sharing if you like it!

The first thing I did this morning was laugh. I don’t stay up late enough to watch late night talk shows, but I do like to catch the best parts the next day. Had I known who was going to be on Jimmy Fallon last night, I may have made an exception. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, or as I call them, Tamy, are the best. I can’t wait for their movie to come out in December, though on the same day as Star Wars, which I feel like is just asking for failure. I will definitely see it after I watch Star Wars about 8 times (unless they did something bad to Han and Leia, in which case, forget about it!) Anyways, if you want a good laugh, check out the video below. You’re welcome.

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler Play 'True Confessions' on <em>Tonight Show</em> — Watch

Fittingly- if you are a Parks and Rec fan- on this humid day, I woke up with a hankering for a waffle. For a quick breakfast, I will turn to Van’s whole grain waffles, which are tasty, but today I was in no rush and wanted to get some use out of my waffle maker. It’s been awhile. I have trouble making a waffle for one because I’m still learning the measurements that best fit the waffle maker and today was no exception. I used the toasted coconut batter I got from Stonewall Kitchen and it was a little too much as evidenced by it dribbling out on the sides. The end result was a little messy, but delicious. I served it up with a dollop of peanut butter (okay, more than a dollop), jelly, and a medley of fruit.

  
Now that I’ve done a bit of blogging, it’s time to get studying! 

Thank You For Reading (Please Don’t Leave Me)

Another day in snowy paradise. You know, maybe I’d let up on the snow a little if I thought this was a sign that Global Warming didn’t exist and that the world will be just fine, but Snowmaggedon is just another example of just how bad things are. Before we get too political, I’m just going to change the subject.

I realized I confused myself a little bit with postings these past few days. I want to remind you (and by you, I mean me) that when I recap my meals and workouts, I’m actually talking about the day before because I schedule my posts to go live in the mornings. Does that even make sense? Do you even care? I’m just going to keep on typing and if you chose to read, then I am forever grateful.

Oh! About that! Readership has gone WAY up this past month and I’d like to think it has a lot to do with what I consider to be way more interesting writing and perhaps insights, but actually I think it might be due to all the snow keeping people locked inside, bored, and then turning to me for some entertainment. I don’t care about your motivations but keep it up people because it makes this girl ver-ry happy! Note: My grandmother will always be my biggest fan. Even when I get to the stalker-level type fans.

But regardless, THANK YOU FOR READING please stay, don’t leave me I am humbled don’t even care if you like what you’re reading.

Sunday was an odd sort of collection of meals. I woke up indecisive and overwhelmed by the fact that I had a third day in which to carefully decide and deliver the breakfast of which I was about to devour. My tastebuds were torn and my mind indecisive, so I went with a combination platter. Starting with a crunchy apple I munched on as I played War of the Breakfasts, I toasted up two pieces of toast, smeared one of them with a tablespoon of Teddie peanut butter and the other with a little butter and a poached egg. Best of both worlds= a happy tummy! A little raspberry-blueberry sweetness rounded out my meal.

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Lunch came in two parts. The first, after grocery shopping, I went with a cheesestick and a couple of whole wheat crackers I just picked up for myself. It was light, but filling, and fueled me through the workout I already talked about. Whoopsie. The next part was post-workout and included a pear that wasn’t quite ready to be eaten as it still had too much crunch and not enough of the juicy goodness I enjoyed last week. I also toasted up a quick slice of toast and put a little almond butter on top.

I found some DE-LISH-OUSSS chicken meatballs in the grocery store today. They were teriyaki ginger and I threw them into a stir fry filled with tons of veggies, rice, and a little thai peanut sauce mix. It was such a great, healthy meal that satisfied these tastebuds. That’s all you can ask for!

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I haven’t had much time for cooking lately, so it was great to throw this together, even though it didn’t take much creative energy at all. The rest of my Monday was all about chopping up veggies and putting together healthy foods to make the rest of my week fun, delicious, and organized. Staying in control when you can, ahead of time, makes it easier to maintain some sense of control when things get hectic and your crazed mind wants to make that stop at a fast food restaurant. Unless, of course, fast food is your choice indulgence. Mine’s ice cream and that desire does not stop when there’s SEVEN FEET + OF SNOW ON THE GROUND AND ALL AROUND. Is it a sickness? Maybe, but it’s damn delicious.

I mentioned SNL40 in my post yesterday, but I don’t think I took enough time to talk about how friggin epic it was to see Amy, Tina, and Jane Curtin on the news desk together. They are three clever, sassy, brilliantly funny women who inspire me. Actually, I’m pretty lucky because I have a bunch of clever, sassy, brilliantly funny women AND men in my life who inspire me, but unfortunately, they’re not on TV so they’re useless to me I love them despite this flaw.

One final note, I was told (giving you fierce side-eye right now TWITTER) that the Backstreet Boys AND NSYNC were going to be making an appearance. I relayed this information to my sister who might be BSB’s biggest fan and she watched all 3.5 hours and then they didn’t show, thus prompting THIS exchange.

photoAre you happy Twitter? You were my FRIEND. I trusted you. And I am her MOH and I kind of lied. This could be worse than the time I ACCIDENTALLY spoiled the end of Sex and the City for her. We’ll get through it, but this probably means five more Backstreet Boys concerts in my lifetime.

All Hail the Chief!

My only complaint about Veep is that the seasons simply are not long enough. It took me far too long to start watching because I didn’t have access to HBO, but now it’s taking me no time at all to fly through the show thus far.

From the start, the characters have defined characteristics and dynamics with one another, without getting overly sentimental with providing too much backstory. A quality show builds backstory as it continuously moves forward, careful to establish moments that an audience will find endearing.

We want to grow with characters, not be caught up in things that were supposed to happen before we “met” them.

The show reminds me of a cross between Parks and Rec and The Office, with the quirky characters, underdog storyline plots, and quick, smart humor. It almost seems that a camera crew is following them, which is not the set up of the show, but in some ways might be considered because of how it’s a political show. The media could be perceived as that camera crew because it’s always around and shows different perspectives.

I’m obsessed with the dialogue of this show and how real it seems. It flows and moves quickly, incorporating enough political jargon without being over pretentious. If I could write for a show, I would want it to be this one.

Also, something has to be said about the talent of Julia Louis Dreyfuss. People always talk about Amy and Tina-rightfully so- but look at how much Julia has done for women in comedy. She was the single female in one of the funniest, greatest shows of all time, Seinfeld. Elaine is incredibly defined in pop culture, and yet, I have no trouble in believing Julia as Selina. She is hilarious and genius as a woman in power struggling through politics and the dynamics of Washington. Sometimes she bumble and is silly, sometimes she’s mean and ruthless, but mostly she has a good heart that is prevented from doing much of anything because she’s only Veep.

I also really like all of the other characters who I can just imagine being in these positions. It almost makes me wish I could get into this line of work, which is a mark of a great show because I would be horrid in politics. I am far too dramatic, sassy, and sensitive.

Even though it took me awhile to finally get to watch it, I’m already dreading finishing this up. I’m going to need to check when it comes back because a few half hour showings of this creative genius is not enough.

All hail the Veep, or Pissface, which is one of her nicknames. Watch the show!

Amy Poehler Is Better Than You

As promised I have an entirely loving book review for Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, which I only have amazing things to say about. I want to be her protégée. I want to be brave, hard-working, confident, and resilient like she has been throughout her career from the first time she ever improvised on stage as a fourth grader in The Wizard of Oz to now where she is finishing her last season on Parks and Recreation.

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There is something completely endearing about Amy Poehler and the work she has done. To me, she is the embodiment of quality entertainment, creating work that is vibrant, sweet, and hilarious. During my reading of this, and let me tell you, I tried with all that I had to slow down, I awed as much as I laughed out loud. As a writer, she is relatable; as a comedian, she takes risks and doesn’t hold back; and as a person (at least from what she portrays in her book because I, unfortunately, am not blessed to be her friend-yet), she is kind, smart, and passionate.

In the book, she remarks how it never occurred to her that she wouldn’t succeed because she knew she would do whatever it takes to get there. For her, as it should be for all entertainers, it wasn’t about the money or fame, but the satisfaction she takes from expressing her creative inspiration for others to enjoy. Too often we consume entertainment that is all for the fame, or infamy, it can garner, from going viral to having one’s face plastered all over the internet. Listen, I get that, especially for this profession, one needs to get attention in order to be successful, but Amy Poehler is just one of the amazing writers and actors/actresses who create quality content rather than cheap hi jinks.

The book is titled Yes Please because that is her motto in life, personally and professionally. One can never have too many incredible, supportive, passionate people in their lives to get them through anything. There can never be a job or opportunity too small if it offers you experience and important lessons. Part of what she drills home is that she didn’t get to this point in her career all by herself. There were other people surrounding her and they included mutual, beneficial relationships. We can’t think too highly of ourselves or expect to get anywhere by putting others down. As she also says in her book, what’s good for you, might not be good for me, but I respect that (paraphrased). Competition is important, but the secret power to success is support and hard-work.

I won’t analyze every point or comment in this book, but I could if you wanted me to, because I think Amy’s voice and stories will do it better. However, there is one more thing that I found incredibly poignant and relatable and I wanted to address it. In her preface, and throughout the book, she talks a lot about how certain things are hard, such as writing. I’ve said before how writing can so often be seen as coming from a romantic, poetic flow, when really it is a difficult process comprised of many different stages. Amy gets it. She also says something that seems so obvious and yet, I find myself constantly failing to realize.

Talking about or planning “the thing,” is not doing “the thing.” My thing, as it is for Amy, is writing. I find myself getting frequently caught up in the semantics of writing, trying to finds the best apps, the best space, and the best processes to promote my best writing. The truth is, my best writing probably will never come from the first draft of anything. I can plan and blabber and brag all I want about writing, but none of it counts until I’m actually doing the writing. Getting it all down and putting in the time is the only way I can produce anything of substance. If I want my “thing” to be writing, then I can’t just call myself a writer and look like a writer, I have to write. The same goes for anything I do in my life. Putting the time in gets results. Hard-work and effort leads to bigger accomplishments. Doing “the thing” is the only way I can be successful with “the thing.”

Being productive can be hard, especially in this instant gratification obsessed world. Many times when I finally sit myself down to write, and I of course have better days than others, I will write for five minutes then somehow find myself back on Twitter doing nothing of substance. It’s almost a sickness as much as it’s a joy and convenience. Amy admits that it’s hard to follow-through and find time to fit things in, but she is glaring evidence that doing “the thing” works.

Reading this book has only confirmed what I always knew, I want to be Amy Poehler’s best friend, or at least her mentee- actually that’s exactly what I want to be. She has fallen prey to awkward moments like anyone, saying things she didn’t mean, not knowing how to resolve conflict, and living through difficult phases in her life, but she kept constantly working and heading towards something.

Her stories are funny and well-written. She goes from poignant, beautiful descriptions of her love for her family, to weird poems written for Tina Fey. There are discussions of her early career working in Chicago and New York that was sometimes messy but always important, to all the late-night hits or misses on SNL. Relationships are appreciated and respected, even if they never lasted. She doesn’t apologize for being who she is or wanting what she desires, which exudes confidence that can only come from experience, both successes- for example, being nominated for awards and orchestrating funny on-stage moments- and failures- for example, not winning said awards. She doesn’t simply tell her views on life, but she shows it, which is the mark of any great writer.

Though she mentions how being a woman in this culture has sometimes made it more difficult, she doesn’t linger on it. She is one of those people who allow their work to do the talking for her. She is a proud feminist and embodies what many women do and should do-be confident, efficient, and fearless even when you are scared witless. She doesn’t put down other women or men because she knows she doesn’t have to in order to be who she is. That is wonderful. And refreshing.

There are so many more things I could say and reflect on about this book, but I won’t because I think it’s an important read. There are facets on childhood, womanhood, career struggles, career successes, motherhood, and just working so hard at what she loves. Anyone can find inspiration through this and I wish I could read it all again without knowing what it holds. Though I will read it again eventually and am certain I will still enjoy every sentence.

I’m also certain that at some point in the summer of ’89 when Amy worked at an ice cream shop my parents frequented, I consumed ice cream she scooped from my mother’s stomach. If you don’t think that is not equivalent to meeting her, then I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

Read this book! You’ll be sad when it ends, but you will be better, smarter, and happier when you do.

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