Sometimes, You Just Need Whipped Cream

I shared this note last night on Facebook, but I wanted to extend the sentiment on my blog:

The beautiful thing about people like David Bowie and Alan Rickman is that they lived as their authentic selves. Creativity sparks ideas, inspiration, and movement. Such endeavors appeal to our humanity. It’s why we love them. It’s why we mourn. At the end of the day, we are all human. We all suffer, struggle, and fail, but these passionate types, these people, they, we, we all triumph, shine, and overcome. In death, we love and we grieve, but we also remember that they have lived, with us and for us, and that is a remarkable thing.

So when they say, “Let’s Dance,” we respond, “Always.”

A bit on the less serious side: Exciting news! According to Facebook, I joined the social media world 10 years ago from this very day. I don’t know how to feel about this. Old, for one. I was in high school 10 years ago. From my calculations, I would have been 16, so a sophomore? Yikes. A lot has changed in the past 10 years and I’m not ashamed to say, the majority of that has been for the good. If we’re being real though, that’s not so much a milestone for me as it is for Facebook. Good for you, book of faces.

On a list of other random happenings in my life, I’m beginning to suspect that I’m just into hot chocolate for the whipped cream on top. I’m not even sorry. Yes, the chocolatey, warm goodness makes the melty whipped cream taste that much better, but when I’ve had my share of the cream and it’s just the hot chocolate left, I’m all, eh.

My morning started with a quick, repeating meal before my Spin class. Peanut butter and jelly on an English Muffin. Wrong cannot be done with this combination. Warm, toasty, peanutty, and sweet.

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For my workout, it included the aforementioned Spin class, which was killer thanks to a ton of sprints and hill climbing. It’s butt-kicking, but works up a great sweat! I finished with a brief core workout before heading home to get my inner- Yogi on.

I’ll also take you back to last night’s dinner of chicken drumsticks, brown spinach rice, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a big salad.

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Now onto the work, work, work that needs to be done. It’s Friday though, so Happy Weekend-having to you all!

The Radio Needs to Pull Themselves Together

Here at Give Me My Crown Already, we are all about truth and honesty, so I’m going to lay one on you. I’m a little bit nervous about it actually, but here goes.

Taylor Swift kinda scares me.

There, I said it. I can’t take it back.

Sometimes despite myself, I love Taylor’s music. Each song is catchy and sing-along-able and just fun.

But does it make anyone else a little nervous about how good she is at spouting these songs off? I used to think that she was throwing cheap shots at her exes and enemies, but then I realized that’s the essence of almost every other creative facet, so why shouldn’t she do it? More power to her. But damn, she’s a strong song writer.

There was an SNL skit a few years ago that satirized the way in which Taylor Swift has taken over the world. And yes, I think she might have actually taken over the world, this cute little blonde woman who holds so much power. In the skit, all of these people would try to deny liking Taylor Swift, but then one of her songs would play and it would hit them, they liked her music. Everyone does, unless of course you are strongly Team Katy.

My idea for this blog post was inspired by my conversation with my mom this morning in the car on our way to our shopping adventure. I was having her listen to the new song Wildest Dream because the other day, as I was driving to work, every single one of my pre-set channels was playing that song. This might say more about what I select as my pre-set channels, but still, I think we can agree that the radio can afford to play different songs once in awhile.

So yes, Taylor Swift in her overwhelming popularity kinda scares me, but she is one kick-ass chick and so far, I’m finding I’m quite alright with her world domination. We could have far worse options. For example, she would make a better presidential candidate than say, Donald Trump.

To recap the day thus far, I woke up this morning ready for breakfast. I scrambled up an egg with two egg whites and heated up two whole wheat waffles to accompany it. My phone was charging while I was eating so there is no picture.

As I mentioned before, my mom and I headed up to our local outlets for a much needed therapy shopping trip. Shopping is good for the soul and for your health because we racked up a ton of steps! I got a few more pair of pants and some cute new shirts, so I’m very pleased.

Mid-way through, we stopped for lunch as I was starting to feel a little hangry. We both enjoyed a balsamic chicken wrap with lettuce, peppers, and tomato. Not too shabby! On the way out, we stopped for a cone at the Dairy Queen, which was so refreshing.

In the stores, it was so cold, we suspect because they want us to buy all the warm fall and winter clothes, but outside it was still nice and warm. Now we just want to wear our fun new clothes, but I will not rush the sun away.

Have a good rest of your day!

Weekend Catch Up!

Time for a peek back at the weekend!

Friday morning, started off with a strength workout before work. I ran through a dumbbell circuit before finishing up with a plyometric workout. My breakfast of choice was this egg, cheese, and chicken sausage sandwich with blueberries and pineapple on the side.

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After work, I met my friend Bobby in the city for a concert. On my walk over to the restaurant where we had dinner, I had to stop and capture this moment.

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It was absolutely mesmerizing, this moment where city meets nature.

Dinner before the show was a little unimpressive considering how delicious the dish sounded. I opted for mani mani in a tomato based sauce with peppers, but the fish didn’t have a ton of flavor. I could definitely recreate this at home with the right spice mixture! Sure did look good, though.

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Bobby and I have been fans of Idina Menzel for a long time now. It was great to be able to see her in concert!

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The highlight of the show, and there were a ton of amazing moments, had to be when she called up all the kids to help her sing Let it Go. I seriously almost started to cry. I think I’m going to have to go with this moment, magnified by watching someone so talented do something incredible with that talent, as my Friday moment of strength.

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I was up Saturday morning to work early. I had poached eggs over toast and a banana for my breakfast but didn’t get a picture. For lunch, I munched on a large salad and a turkey and cheddar wrap.

After work, I headed out as the sun began to go down for a magnificent run around a local lake. I don’t know why I don’t do this route more often. Sticking around my neighborhood is more convenient, but this area is still hilly so the terrain prevents a nice challenge, yet it’s not so extreme that I can elongate my run. The lake is five miles around on the nose and I felt strong throughout. It’s strange because running hasn’t left me feeling great after for the past few months, but recently things have improved and I’ve loved it again!

Extra points for running this route…this view after. Not one ounce of alteration.

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This would absolutely constitute as my Saturday moment of strength, sitting on a log and looking out into the water as my body rested.

I had a waffle with a smear of peanut butter right when I got home, then feasted on a salmon salad for my dinner. Later, we went over my neighbor’s house for some s’mores and conversation before an early to bed call for me.

Sunday was busy! I had to open at work so it was a bit of a shock to be called out of bed by my alarm. I had enough time to make eggs and some waffles for my breakfast, which helped me wake up and be okay in the alert world. Right after work, I drove to my friend Erin’s bridal shower, for whom I am honored to be one of her bridesmaids.

Erin is my first friend from college to be getting married. It’s kind of strange for the four of us to be celebrating this momentous occasion, but wonderful too! We had a great day and I think Erin enjoyed herself.

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We didn’t have time for many pictures, but here is a nice one of me and my friend/college roommate Stephanie.

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The rest of Sunday was spent at my sister’s house having dinner and watching Father of the Bride. I cannot get over how young the entire cast looks in that movie, especially Steve Martin. With the grey hair, I used to think he was so old! Not to mention how young the marrying couple are makes me feel very old. Lauren and I ordered an Indian food spread that included vegetarian samosas, garlic naan, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and basmati rice. It had been awhile since I had Indian and I had a real hankering for it. The food was decent, but lacking in spices like my dinner on Friday! It was nice to spend some sisterly quality time together regardless. Sister bonding made up my moment of strength on Sunday- both in regards to my actual sister and my college friends!

I kicked off Monday with another morning workout. I love my morning workouts, though it’s hard to justify waking up so early on days that I don’t have to, which is why they haven’t been happening on a consistent basis. I did a dumbbell strength workout including bicep curls, tricep extensions, alternating front raises, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, and high pulls. For my core workout, I ran through a circuit of kneeling kickbacks, tricep push ups, alternating ankle grabs, crunches, Russian twists, and side plank push ups. For cardio, I did some plyometric work that included box jumps, high knees, skater jumps, and jump roping. To finish my workout, I did a little Yoga with planks, shoulder stands, and a bridge.

My breakfast was delicious! I scrambled two eggs and two egg whites with some cheese, toasted a piece of whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread, and chopped up some strawberries and banana for sweetness.

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I packed a great lunch for work too! It consisted of a vegetable laden salad with chicken and a cup of plain Greek yogurt and oodles of red grapes. Red grapes are huge in my family right now.

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I snacked on a few celery and carrot sticks for an extra veggie kick later in the day.

For dinner, I enjoyed grilled salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and buttered, cheesy pasta.

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My moment of strength came during my studying time as it really hits me how complicated and beautiful the body is. The particular moment of clarity was reading about muscle spindles and how they protect the body from overextending its muscles when stretching. There is a stretch reflex that kicks in as you simply lift your leg. I mean, this is simple stuff, but it never occurred to me as to how impressive it all is!

It was a happy Monday and a wonderful weekend. Any moments of strength, joy, food, or exercise you want to share?

The Entertainer

Last night I went to see Billy Joel at Fenway. This is my second time seeing him and he does not fail to impress. Both of my parents are big fans and I started listening to his music on a family trip to Ireland. There is not one song that I don’t like. It’s funny because he could have played a complete different playlist last night that still would have been full of hits.

  
After every song, I kept shouting, “that one’s my favorite!” I don’t think there’s anything quite like hearing a packed stadium of 30,000+ people singing along to Piano Man or an a Capella version of The Longest Time. Even the two songs I didn’t know, I enjoyed. It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert too. Not too cold or warm, a few stars speckled the sky, and a great time with my parents and cousin Maura!

  
  
We started the night by hitting up a restaurant and getting a few drinks. I had a watermelon beer (the piece of watermelon on top was my favorite) and then had a glass of raspberry sangria. For my meal, I selected the chicken and shrimp sesame stir fry that was chock full of peppers, snap peas, and mushrooms on top a bed of jasmine rice. The portion size was just right so that I easily polished it off and washed it down with a soft serve cone in the stadium.

  
My workout for the day was a body strength circuit that had my sweating and sticky before I jumped into the pool to swim a mile. I was feeling strong yesterday and was in the zone and could have swam another mile (at least it yet like it) but I was on no time crunch and had to get ready for the concert! To add to my exercise for the day, we did quite a bit of walking to the concert and a ton of dancing! Once Billy came on stage, I didn’t sit for another two hours.

I was feeling sleepy this morning and took my time getting out of bed. Somehow it seemed easier at 5. I eventually got up and grilled up some French toast. In my batter, I tossed an egg, an egg white, a splash of milk, cinnamon, and vanilla together, soaked the bread, and fried it up. I thought I would get a little fancy with my topping and mixed a fourth of a cup of plain Greek yogurt and two tablespoons of dark chocolate peanut butter together. Combined with blueberries and banana, it was quite tasty. I ended up having too much for the toast, so I just ate the rest of it as a parfait.

  
As I enjoyed my breakfast, I watched a clip of Amy Schumer on Jimmy Fallon’s show talking about how she engaged in a bread eating war with Mindy Kaling and sexted from Katie Couric’s phone when she got up to use the bathroom. Comedy right now is huge, especially as people realize that women are actually funny. I am actually going to see Amy’s movie that comes out tonight, which she stars in and wrote. I think it’s so important to have celebrities, especially female, get so much positive exposure for being smart, funny, confident, and strong. And she was just nominated for an Emmy for her show Inside Amy Schumer, which is great!

Now onto a day of studying, writing, and exercising! Happy Friday!

New York, New York

Whenever I pull into New York City, a warmth spreads through the center of my chest. It feels like my soul is home. It’s hard to describe and somewhat weird to claim that a place can feel such a part of you, but I also can’t deny it. New York is my favorite place in the world, besides my actual home “home” and that’s mostly because of my family.

I was feeling in my element in New York.

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I pulled into the city on Friday night at 10:00 PM exactly. The ride up was interesting because the bus was a half hour late arriving and the waiting area filled up quickly. I don’t handle my travel plans being changed very well, so the wait to even get on the bus was excruciating and there were too many people in a small space. I ended up stepping outside in the freezing cold. Even though it was chilly, the tension in my chest lessened and I felt a lot better. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long for it to finally arrive. Once it did, I thought I selected a seat next to a friendly face, but either that person or the one in front of me had an uneasy stomach and the ride was filled with disgusting smells almost the entire way.

Once I did get there, I made my way on the subway to my friends’ Bobby and Ruben’s apartment and we all enjoyed a late dinner. It was restaurant week in the city, so we were able to splurge at nicer restaurants. The whole pre fixe menu includes a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert, which sounds amazing, but leaves you amazingly full. At Lure FishBar, I started with tasty shrimp tempura, enjoyed a miso-glazed piece of perfectly cooked salmon on a bed of spinach, mushrooms, and snap peas, and finished with one of the best apple crumbles I have ever had. It was almost spoiled on me because by that point, I was so full and the serving generous. I really did enjoy myself.

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Saturday morning was full of excitement because a lot was happening in the day. The starting point of which were crepes at a nearby creperie for breakfast. I selected a buckwheat crepe stuffed with some sort of fancy cheese and topped with two poached eggs and ham. It came with a salad on the side. It was an eggs Benedict crepe, but I chose not to have Hollandaise sauce because the egg yolk makes everything creamy and buttery enough and I wanted to cut extra calories out when I could.

After breakfast, Bobby, Ruben, and I headed to the theatre to watch Kristin Chenoweth in her latest Broadway Show, On the Twentieth Century. My one complaint would be that Kristin was simply not on stage for long enough. Every moment that she was, she was brilliant, per usual. The fact that Kristin Chenoweth is back on Broadway is just right. Her delivery reminded me a lot of Madeline Kahn, famous in roles from Young Frankenstein and Clue among many others, which is fitting because Madeline originated the role. The show is still in previews and already the actors have a strong grasp of their roles and deliveries, which only makes me more excited to go later on in the production when things become more solidified. The songs were operatic and beautifully arranged, the dance numbers spectacular, and even though there was a brief technological delay midway through the second act, the scenery and technology were delightful. It’s an old-school type of musical, which makes for a fun experience. I’m also now a big fan of Andy Karl’s biceps. Broadway always leaves me feeling so happy and fulfilled whenever I leave a show. There is no truer expression of talent than a live show, musical or otherwise, and it’s so exciting to know that each performance changes time-to-time. I laughed throughout the show and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, even when stepping outside into the frigid cold.

A fun little side note was after the show, I came face-to-face with Sarah Michelle Gellar. I was a huge Buffy fan when I was younger and it was a little surreal to see someone so close unexpectedly. Most of my celebrity encounters have been purposeful at the stage door, so it was just funny to have a surprise. She was with her daughter though, so I just let her be. See, I can be a mature celebrity-obsessed human!

After the show, Bobby and I walked around for a little while taking in the sights. We ended up stopping for a quick snack. I shot this picture when we were inside the food court. Yes, that is the Statue of Liberty looming in the background. Such a spectacular view!

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Saturday night, my friend Brad arrived from LA. It was so great to see him and spend time with him on my coast! We all went out for a Mexican dinner, once again stuffing our faces. Along with some chips and salsa, I selected the chicken tacos with peppers and cheese. So good!

We were feeling ambitious on Saturday and decided to fit in a workout before heading out for a day of exploration. Bobby, Brad, and I went to a class at Barry’s Bootcamp. I thought I was in good shape, but I suffered throughout the class. While I often focus on reps and sets, this class featured time lengths, such as starting with two minutes straight of bicep curls. I was already feeling the burn during the first strength section when we jumped on the treadmill for an intense run. I can run long distance at a medium (okay, to slow speed), but I cannot sprint quickly. Though I ended up getting a great workout, it was definitely a struggle and I left feeling exhausted, but full of energy.

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After getting ready, we headed out for another filling meal. I went with a burger that was very tasty, but very filling. Much to our surprise, and my intense displeasure, by the time we finally got going on our adventures of the city, it started to snow! I didn’t even bring my snow boots. I think it’s haunting me, you guys. Brad enjoyed the snow for about 2.5 seconds until it got cold and wet and unpleasant. We walked for a few minutes before stopping into a tea shop for a quick break. A little while later, Brad and I ended up heading out to Barnes and Noble to do a little writing. My view from the Union Square Barnes and Noble inspired quite a few words onto the page.

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We ended the night with a dinner at Scarpetta, once again going the restaurant week menu. I started with a Brussel sprout, sausage, and chickpea soup, moved onto a homemade spaghetti dish, and ending with a mini chocolate cake with salted caramel ice cream. It was delicious, but so heavy and I’m looking forward to getting back to my regular eating habits. I don’t ever like feeling so full that it’s uncomfortable, but when you have that price, you don’t want to pass it by, and you certainly don’t want to waste the food. Such a deal happens so rarely.

New York is always so much fun, but it also is so hard for me to leave each time. It helps to have a great family at home, but I just love this city with my whole heart. Thanks to Bobby, Ruben, and Brad for making this trip so special!

Back to the real world!

What I’ve Been Listening To This Week- Kristin Chenoweth

I missed my Rave Review Tuesday last week because I haven’t been a good reader lately and I haven’t watched anything new. This remains the case once again this week (I’ve been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls, alright), but I do have something different to review this week.

The trend in Broadway from my observations (not that I’m an expert) has been for performers to release live albums. So far I’ve gotten Norbert Leo Butz’s first, Aaron Tveit’s, and Laura Benanti’s. They have all been really fun and incredible to listen to and have made me appreciate them as performers even more.

I’m a huge fan of the live thing because it mimics the feel of a live performance. Obviously, there is a huge difference in not seeing it live, but there is an intimacy and a better understanding of a performer through hearing them sing and provide little anecdotes as they go. I suppose it has to do a lot with the comfort level and esteem of being on stage in front of an audience rather than locked up in a recording studio- and lack of auto tune!

Brief interlude- why can’t we accept things as they are? Why can’t we allow performers the little mistakes they make or people the imperfections they have? Isn’t there beauty in the fact that these are humans doing extraordinary things in their human way? The more “reality” we want, the less real things become and it takes away from the integrity of performing.

Thankfully, Kristin Chenoweth’s album, Coming Home, which dropped yesterday, is raw entertainment in its purest form. However, any “mistakes” that she may have made in her singing are not apparent to my ears, which is partly because I have an untrained ear, but also because she is a seamless performer who is in absolute control of her talent.

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Kristin’s and even though I love seeing her on Broadway, my absolute favorite medium is to see her perform live as herself. I’ve been to a ton of really enjoyable concerts over the years by various singers, which has included a lot of dancing and dramatic background thematics, but it takes someone very special to be able to stand up in front of an audience with a handful of musicians and just sing, and for that to be interesting. Very few artists can get away with this type of concert these days- Adele comes to mind- and Kristin is the absolute best at this (of course I’m biased.)

Live performances best reveal the nature of a performer and Kristin’s album was recorded in her home town, which adds to the emotions emanating from all of her song choices and the descriptions she offers as a preface. Every so often, you can hear there are moments where she gets choked up and overwhelmed, but if anything, it only lends to the performances. When Kristin sings, you can tell that she connects to the song, to music, and to performing in general, which again, is unlike many current performers. I don’t mean to mock or put down other singers, but I just want to magnify this exceptional talent.

I’ve been listening to the album while doing various things around the kitchen and typing up this blog post and it’s funny to hear my mom throw in her opinions. For one thing, she keeps saying “wow,” then she compared her to Madeline Kahn, which is funny because Kristin will be starring in a role Madeline Kahn originated on Broadway in On The Twentieth Century. Even my dad chimed in and offered, “Menowitz can really sing” (he changes the name for everything). I think that’s the best way I can show how astounding this album is.

Many of these songs I’ve heard from previous concerts or albums and I’m so happy to have them in my collection. I dare you to listen to “Coloring Book” and “Hard Times” and not getting something stuck in your eye. Listen, listen, listen, and then demand more live albums.

As a young professional attempting to find my way in this world, I do wish it were obvious to see what I am supposed to do in this world. With Kristin Chenoweth, at least in one facet, it is overwhelmingly evident that she was meant to perform and we are very fortunate to experience it.

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It’s Time To Accept Kristin Chenoweth As Your Queen

Warning: I’m going to fangirl, but I’m not sorry about it.

 Here’s the thing. I said this on Twitter, but I’ll say it again for dramatic affect. People talk about Judy at Carnegie Hall all those years ago. People will talk about Kristin Chenoweth at Carnegie Hall years from now.

 I’ve been a fan of Kristin’s for almost a decade now. I was fifteen and now I’m almost twenty-five and I have changed and grown in a multitude of ways. One thing that remains the same, while still being able to astound me, is that Kristin Chenoweth is a hell of a performer.

 It would be nearly embarrassing to admit how many times I’ve seen her in concert or on the stage, in movies (Hello, Space Chimps– I mean, you’re welcome) or TV, and how much money I’ve spent or forced other people to spend (thanks Godmother!) Every single time, it has been worth it.

 The Apple Tree remains my all-time favorite Broadway performance I have ever seen. Promises Promises also was excellent. Pushing Daises (RIP) was one of those shows I always was amazed by the cleverness and creativity, especially as an aspiring writer, and wish there was more. Sometimes the movies were questionable, but Kristin’s abilities to be funny and talented still shine. But on stage, in concert, Kristin is talent.

 There is a difference, at least in my mind between talented and talent. There are a lot of people in this world who can carry a tune and perform among the greatest. Or are great, amazing at what they do. But last night’s show was the definition of a performance. For all of me, as I am going through this point in my life struggling to find what I want to do for a career, I wish it was clearly defined for me. There’s no doubt that Kristin belongs on stage.

 Not that she hasn’t worked hard, because as a fan for so many years, I have come to understand just how much hard work and dedication she puts into everything that she does. It’s one of those factors I admire most. Lately, with the semester finishing up and grad school nearing close, I’ve been busy and overwhelmed.

 So many ideas are popping up in my head, but I don’t have the time to write them down. It’s getting to me. But seeing a performance like last night. One where you see someone doing what she loves and being exceptional. Well, that is inspiration. I’m not a singer, and as my brother tells me, I can’t hit the high notes. But I am a writer and if I want to have any success or even be allowed to call myself that, I have to work at it, no excuses. Foster the passion that drives the soul, if not for anyone else, but for yourself.

 Last night, the entire concert was beautiful. The performance that stands out to me, among all others (and again, I have seen a LOT), was the encore. Kristin stood at center stage, without a mike, with every single person in that audience leaning forward in stunned silence, singing “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables. After another standing ovation, I looked at my friend Stephanie and all we could do is say, “Wow.”

 Captivating and remarkable, and everyone in that audience was lucky to be there. That is what the power of music and talent can do. It was cleansing and inspiring and I just want to say thank you, once again, Kristin Chenoweth.

 Now can someone please give her her own variety show a la the likes of the Carol Burnett Show?!