Tuesday, December 13, 2011
There were some cringe-worthy moments: one chick played the guitar about as well as I do (which is not at all) and we found a visibly less-awkward version of Kat and Michelle who sang two original songs about how they met and how much they love each other (totally platonic, of course). Julia's friend did his stand-up act and brought the house down--his Blake Lively impression is unparalleled and his thoughts on his personal struggle with male-pattern baldness were simply stirring. However, the real kicker came when a 7 yr. old boy took the stage to pay tribute to his father.
This little boy and his dad frequented this neighborhood joint for the burgers and live music. The boy's father passed away recently and he wanted to come back to 'their place' and sing their favorite song. [Please note, at this point the tears start, and I immediately whip out my iPhone to record this, along with almost everyone else in the bar] I'm posting the video below. You can't see him because he wanted to stand behind the curtain, but he's got the sweetest little voice. What I didn't get on tape was him telling us, "I'm very shy so don't make me laugh." Also, listen at the end when he baits the crowd with 'You want me to come out?' and then asks us to close our eyes so he can do so.
To say this was touching would be an understatement. I can't imagine losing a parent so young, but what an incredible legacy this man left his son: love of life, love of art, love of traditions, and the importance of time shared with those we hold near and dear. This boy's father had to be smiling down on him as he did one of the bravest, most sincere and honest things I've ever witnessed a child do: he said, 'Thank you' and let us be a part of it.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Your probably thinking, 'But Morgan, you hate the gym.' Well guess what guys, this is not a gym. It's a Ninja Clubhouse. And we don't train on boring machines, we do 60 minutes of the most insane kettleball, resistance, and circuit training around. And we do all of the above to solid jamzzzz from Rocky, Flashdance, or maybe a little 'Dirty Diana' from the King of Pop or B. Spears or Katy Perry. Who's to say? Regardless of the tunage, we are doing all of the above in the most nurturing, supportive, kick-a$$ environment. Seriously, I have found my fitness match.
Reasons why I decided to do this: on the website they reference 1)ninjas 2) unicorns 3) and there are photos of Mark punching a man in a Twinkie costume. Also, I too want to achieve FITNESS GLORY. And so began my Holiday Hotness Extravaganza journey. Not gonna lie, we are half-a-week in and my legs are just a touch sore (sarcasm) and tracking my food intake and trying to eat at least 100g of protein a day is proving to be a bit challenging. Luckily, I get tips and encouraging emails from Mark that end with ' VICTORY WILL BE YOURS', or Brian (another Ninja trainer, equally as bad-a$$) yells 'LET'S NAIL THE SHIT OUT OF IT' and references the Cold War just when you think you don't have another rep in you. You guys, I wish you could all do this. I've never had this much fun while workin' out my bod. It's semi-painful fun, but fun nonetheless.
So yeah, that's really it. Just thought I would share. And on that note, I leave you with a few images to wet your fitness palette.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
In all seriousness though, we really are not having turkey and I really am going to be wearing a rather chic aztec-inspired cape.
This is why I love taking over the holidays: making your own traditions, playing by your own rule book, and (this is big for me) no rushing off after the meal to zone-out to ESPN. Ugh, I can't stand that. This year, Dave and I are going rogue and saying farewell to our fine, feathered friend. You see, we are in agreement that it's not our favorite protein and since it's just us (and a few wonderful pals, one of which is a vegetarian) we thought, What the heck?! If we're not nuts about turkey then why spend the days brining, basting, and roasting a bird we feel rather indifferent towards? (except on sandwiches. I do thoroughly enjoy a good turkey sandwich)
So here's the new game plan: I am rubbing a pork loin roast with rosemary, garlic, s&p, coarse grain mustard, dijon mustard, honey, and wrapping that sucker in the most beautiful thick cut bacon I have ever seen!! This apartment is going to smell DIVINE. My level of enthusiasm over this hunk of meat is OFF THE CHARTS, my friends. As for the rest of menu, we're doing twists on the familiar favorites. I'm trying a new stuffing recipe chocked-full of chanterelle, oyster, and hen of the woods mushrooms with lots of lemon and toasted pine nuts. We're revamping the classic green bean casserole, mashed potatoes (with brown butter, hello?), a roasted root veg salad that I am salivating over. Ya know, just giving Thanksgiving a little face-lift. I'll let you know how it goes.
In other news, I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings! I'm certainly thankful to have each one of you in my life. If you find yourself without any plans or get a little stir-crazy, then come on over! We'll be sipping fall cocktails and playing 'The Thankful Game', courtesy of Miss Julia Bray.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Last Sunday I reunited with The Marvelous Wonderettes for a little concert in midtown (that's the show for which I received my BroadwayWorld Nomination). We had a lovely time and I found myself finishing-up around the same time that Dave was closing-up the restaurant. We took advantage of this opportunity and decided that we could both benefit from yet another meal. So where did we go at midnight on a Sunday evening, or rather an early Monday morning? THE MEATBALL SHOP. With 3 locations, one in the West Village, one in the LES, and one in our lovely little neighborhood, these fellas are bringing meatballs to the masses. And boy-howdy are they doing it well.
We were welcomed to the joint by white subway tile, salvaged wood, an awesome bar, and the familiar tune of Outkast's 'Bombs Over Baghdad'. Ya know, I felt right at home. Our super cool server explained the hands-on ordering system: the menus are all dry-erase, complete with check boxes next to every item and plenty of markers. The menu itself boasts everything from 'Naked Balls' (4 meatballs of your choosing and your choice of sauce with a side of Focaccia bread), Meatball Sliders (again you choose your ball and your sauce), The Smash ( a ball or two on brioche with sauce and either mozz or provolone cheese. toasted. melty deliciousness. I just can't), Heroes, and the list goes on folks. They also have a huge list of daily specials, their sides are just divine (um, collard greens with garlic confit anyone?), and did I mention that there are about 10 different choices of meatballs and sauce??
Dave opted for a variety of sliders.
I'll take my antioxidants with a shot of booze...
We had a great time and rolled out of there around 1:30 a.m. full of spicy meat balls and mushroom risotto. Considering they serve until 4 a.m. most nights, we will definitely be back. Like I mentioned, Dave and I share a need to eat a full, well-balanced (ahem) meal between the hours of 11:30-1:30.
Monday, November 21, 2011
My mother called the other day to inform me that Hayden (my adorable nugget of a nephew) had received a package from the North Pole. Apparently, he was beside himself. My sister asked, "Have you spoken with Santa recently or made any requests?" Hayden's response: "Not that I can remember, but I MUST have." He proceeds to open the package where he finds an elf and instructions from Santa that read as follows: 'Dear Hayden, Please provide my elf with a loving home this holiday season while he helps me keep an eye on you! Feel free to name him. Or her.' Without any hesitation, Hayden declares that he shall be 'Bernard'.
Allow me to pause for a moment and just say that my sister is the best mom ever. Not only did she send my nephew a package from the North Pole but she's having waaaaaaaay too much fun putting Bernard in various situations every morning--something Hayden finds HILARIOUS. His early morning schedule is as follows: 1) wake up 2) ask for juice 3) find Bernard 4) laugh hysterically and telephone close relatives about it.
3 days ago, Bernard was found having hijacked Hayden's plane and crashed into a light fixture
And on a completely different note, my pal Julia and I were riding the train one morning when we noticed a slightly insane gentlemen talking to himself and verbally assaulting random subway passengers. We did the usual: avoid eye contact, try not to laugh, and continue with our own conversation. This worked beautifully for about 5 minutes. Then he decided to proposition us.
He graciously invites us for a 'romp' in the snow, gives us his name, phone number, and email address(email@example.com) and then seals the deal with this statement: "I wouldn't extend that invitation to just ANYONE with a bun on top of their head."
Please keep in mind that Dan is no spring chicken, roughly late 50's and about 150 lbs. overweight with what appears to be an abscess on his left leg, which explains the use of the walking cane. He informs us that he is an artist. He gives us the address of the hotel who's lobby he likes to frequent. And then says, "You've probably heard of my work...Musical Fruits." To which we respond, "Pardon?"
"Yeah, ya know, Musical Fruits. I got Kiwi on bongos, Apple on clarinet, Banana back there bein' an asshole."
"Ah, ok, Musical Fruits. Interesting concept. We'll have to look that up."
We said our goodbyes, and while I didn't forget about DanStuart1@hotmail.com (who could?) it slipped my mind to investigate the musical fruit. Until now. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Dan Stuart masterpiece: MUSICAL FRUIT.
I believe I can speak for Julia and myself when I say, 'Thank you, mass transit, for this incredible gift.'
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Like I said, my afternoon was spent with Meghan pounding the pavement in Soho in search of some good deals and 'necessary objects' (Inside joke. There's this store called 'Necessary Objects'. Super cheap. Frequently trashy. Always necessary). If I'm being completely honest, my shopping spanned Tuesday and Wednesday but I racked up on some pretty swell items. I was out of my perfume so I had to stop by Sephora. Ended up not only purchasing my perfume but walked out with a smashing new shade of lipstick for fall. I'm diggin' the bold lip as of late.
So, let me tell you, this roll-on portable fragrance saves my life. I keep it in my purse for any touch-ups I may need throughout the day: after a show, after being stuck underground in the subway (joy), after running around the city in the heat. You get the picture. And here's my new lipsmacker: Schiap by Nars. They have the most beautiful shades of semi-matte lipstick.
Once our feet started to ache, Meghan and I hightailed it over to the Crosby Street Hotel, where we sipped champagne and sampled the Pepper and Peach cocktail (peach puree, tequila, red chili, and lime juice). YUM. I mean, who wouldn't want to take a little break out here?
Ok, I should probably go work-out. Tonight's dinner plans: BBQ and Cherry Limeades with my sweetie.
Tomorrow: an afternoon spent with my dear friend, Jamie Grayson, and a deep fryer. I'm not even kidding.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Because I'm coming to Bama! Most of you probably know this already, but I thought I would make it official by putting it in the blogosphere. Seriously guys, I went an entire year and 3 months without a single trip home. Luckily, my family came to NYC several times during that stint to see the show, so that made it bearable. STILL that's a long time. Then when I finally did make it home for my darling sister's wedding, there was so much to do and so little time that it felt like I barely spent any time with anyone. Boo hoo. Ok, sob story over. I'm coming home for 5 weeks!
"Morgan, what brings you to these parts?" you ask. Well, Red Mountain Theatre is doing a spotlight on alumni to kick off their season and they asked me to come on down. I'll be kicking off their Concert Series and playing 'Charity' in Neil Simon's Sweet Charity. It's been YEARS since I've performed in my old stomping grounds (over 4, to be exact--since I joined Actors' Equity) and I couldn't be more excited to work in such close proximity to family and old friends--a luxury that is not often afforded in this profession.
So, my dear friends, if you're in the area then come see the show! If you work for a fine arts institution (college, universities, high school theatre dept., dance studio, etc) and you're interested in a master class or just a Q&A about the business, then head on over to my website: www.morgansmithonline.com to peruse my creds and then shoot me an email! Aside from all that business talk, friends, let's do lunches, brunches, cocktails, dinners, coffee, tea , you name it!
Looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces and playing 'catch-up'! Oh, and apparently I'm home during college football season? I'm ashamed to say I've had a 2 year hiatus from the sport. I'm a little rusty. Guess I should start preparing myself now for the overly-enthusiastic fan-base and mass bloody mary and 7 layer dip consumption??
Monday, August 29, 2011
So, to ease my worried mind I bring you this piece of life-changing news:
Carol Channing (age 90, of 'Hello Dolly!' fame) will release an album of Patriotic Songs this Fall. I ask you, is this not the face of someone who loves America?!
According to this article on Playbill, 'Carol Channing: True to the Red, White, and Blue' will feature 11 'call-to-action' tunes and should be released sometime in November. I personally can't wait. This is going to be as good, if not better, than Shirley Bassey's rendition of the Pink's 'Get This Party Started'...
Enjoy those videos, friends. They truly are gems. We'll talk later!
Friday, August 19, 2011
On the agenda: 2 days in West Palm Beach visiting one of my best friends, Cristin. So looking forward to meeting some of her pals, gabbing about life over coffee in the a.m., seeing her new digs, where she works, the Florida redneck constituency she's always talking about/photographing in their natural habitat, taking a ride on the Pon-Tiki perhaps...the sky is the limit, people. If I play my cards right, she might even pick us up from the airport in that strapping pink ombre sundress with Deer applique (an homage to her new surroundings, not a reflection of her personal taste).
After a little fun in the sun with Cristin, we're off to Tampa to see one of Dave's best friends, Josh. Now, Mr. Hieftje and Mr. Goodwin's behavior is reminiscent of adolescent boys when they get together. So my days are sure to be filled with wrestling matches, beer pong, complaints of physical pain due to overeating (I really am not one to talk in regards to this...), fist pumps, sunburn slapping, and very little sleep.
I cannot tell you how excited I am that both Dave and I can spend some quality time with two of our closest pals. Honestly, I think "Friendcation" is going to kick Napa's arse. I've been looking at complete strangers vacation picks, and, I've got to tell you, I'm really getting stoked.
If only there were more of us. Can you say next years Christmas Card? Seriously...they're wearing robes...on the beach.
Friendly Reminder: No matter the climate, windsuits are always appropriate.
And finally, the most awkward vacation pick in the world. The headgear, the kid flashing the #1, and the topless mom. You're Welcome.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Last week I succumbed to a different craving, still Southern in origin. The always satisfying and ever-so-versatile, Pimento Cheese (pronounced 'Puhminnuh' for all of you non-Southerners). I made a huge batch, and in typical Morgan-fashion amped up the heat with a little help from my friends Sriracha and Roasted Jalapeno. It was pretty sublime. Even Dave, who is not the biggest P.C. fan, couldn't stop eating. I made a MASSIVE amount (I'm still trying to remember that I don't cook for a large army or a church's 'Family Night Supper'--shout out to FUMC). The entire batch was gone in 2 days. 2. TWO. Dos. Deux. No matter how I write it, the fact remains the same. I ate a glorified vat of cheese and mayo in 48 hours. That can't be good for me. But hear me out, friends. There's so much you can do with Pimento Cheese! Have it with soda crackers, have it on a sandwich with toasted country white bread and butter lettuces and a slice of juicy tomato, put it on a burger (so good, by the way. top the patty with the p.c. while it's still on the grill.), put it on a fried egg sammie with a slice of thick-cut peppered bacon (also, delish but toast it on the bread so it gets all melty). Friends and loved ones, I can honestly say that I noshed on all of the above.
Well, the Pimento Cheese held me over for about a week and then I was back where I started. So, I went to the market and picked up some collard greens, summer squash, a vidalia onion, a huge pork loin. That afternoon, magic happened. I wanted to try a new marinade for my pork. I saw a glaze that peaked my interest at Smitten Kitchen--I have my friend, Cristin to thank for my introduction to that blog. Her's was for pork ribs but I decided to draw some inspiration from it and come up with my own. You guys. It was fantastic. And really simple. Hoisin sauce, soy, honey, vinegar, dry mustard, garlic, pepper. Then I got creative and threw in a little Chinese 5 Spice powder, a Star Anise pod, and orange zest. Star Anise looks so fancy hanging out in there, don't you think?
I didn't initially plan on this but I didn't have any stock and needed something fast. End result: amazing. I threw in tons of garlic and jalapenos and some white wine vinegar. No ham hock so some could argue that this was not the real deal in regards to southern style greens, but we couldn't stop eating them.
So friends, dig into some comfort food today and think of me when you have to loosen those belts...
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I ended the weekend in spectacular fashion by dining at Gramercy Tavern with Chris and my dear dear friend, Jamie Grayson. Jamie is originally from Arkansas. He's lived in NYC for quite some time now and has found his calling as the only male 'Baby Planner' in the country. If you are reading this and you have children or are expecting PLEASE do yourself a favor and follow him on Twitter @BabyGuyNYC and/or check out his blog. www.thebabyguynyc.com
His product knowledge is RIDICULOUS and his sarcastic wit and sense of humor are always SPOT ON. He's been on Platinum Babies, he's been in The New York Times, he's been in The Wall Street Journal. He's amazing and seriously the best in the field. He loves babies, he loves Sweet Tea, he loves Celine Dion, he loves to hear from you and answer your questions...so hit him up!
Ok, so now that I've got that off my chest let me tell you about a few things I had at dinner that blew my mind. First, Mussels with grilled pole beans and chorizo in a cilantro broth. BLEW MY MIND. The broth was so fresh and delicate, not to mention a gorgeous, vibrant shade of green. I could have slurped the broth for the rest of my meal and been completely satisfied...I'm being completely honest. Second was a scallop dish. One large grilled Diver Scallop over a bed of heirloom tomatoes, diced raw scallops, grilled cantaloupe, some herbs and citrus. Divine. That's all I can say about that. Third, Arctic Char crudo with marinated cucumbers and radish. I personally love crudo--light and fresh, and when the temperatures are as high as they've been lately, I find it to be refreshing and oh-so-satisfying. Pasta Course: rabbit dumplings in a green garlic broth. Dave paired the dumplings with an amazing Valpolicella (Quintarelli, 2000, Veneto, Italy) that was new to the list. At $28/glass it was a bit of a splurge but BEYOND worth it. Is there anything better than good wine paired with good food? I think not. Best part of the night: my favorite dessert was on the menu! Blueberry and Corn Sundae topped with caramel popcorn. It's made a brief appearance on the dessert menu for the last two years when both are in-season. I try and grab at least one while they have it. Macerated blueberries, sweet corn ice cream, and popcorn. What's not to love??
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I'm taking a small break from the pinning to pine away for my friend, Chris', arrival. On the agenda for this evening: cocktails and snacks at The Breslin (awesome vibe. Taxidermy on the wall, PBR and fancy cocktails, plus some twice fried frites that are to die for), dinner at Maialino (one of mine and Dave's favorite restaurants), and a night cap at Mario Batali's new rooftop biergarten, Birreria. What can I say, I love to plan an evening's festivities.
Please enjoy these images depicting the various dynamics of mine and Chris' friendship.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
So I'm sitting here drinking my iced coffee (have I mentioned how unbearably HOT it is in NYC at the moment?) and arranging and then rearranging furniture in my head. Why you ask? Because we are MOVING! Staying in the city, of course, just moving into a new apt. There's only one catch: due to the fact that it's new construction, we have no precise move-in date. Could be next week...Could be the first of Sept...Could be mid-Sept. However, this new place is worth the wait. Indulge me while I gloat.
As some of you may know, we New Yorkers give up quite a number of 'creature comforts' to live in this amazing city. Square footage being first and foremost on that list. Our rent for our tiny, beyond old 1 br apt. is the equivalent of a mortgage payment on a 4 bedroom home (WITH A POOL, don't get me started). There is no dishwasher, washer/dryer, central heating and air, outdoor space that isn't shared. But we do have NYC as our backyard, and let's face it, if you live here you're not spending a ton of time at home. So when we started our search for the new apt. we made a list of things we would like to have (in order of importance), knowing full-well we would be lucky if we found a place with even 1 of the amenities that didn't cost a small fortune. Friends, all that dreaming about a perfect apartment paid off. Our new apartment has the following: video surveillance, massive kitchen (for NYC, this kitchen is HUGE), granite, sub-z double door fridge with icemaker (whaaa? again, this is a big deal for us), dishwasher (whaaaaaa?), breakfast counter (big deal), lovely open floor-plan into the living room perfect for entertaining (I'm in heaven), LARGE bathroom with floor to ceiling marble and a big ole tub (for those of you who know mine and Dave's current bathroom situation, then you know this is life-changing. Seriously, people, we have no true 'bathroom' here. We have a water closet and a shower...on opposite ends of the apt.), a washer/dryer (who knew I would ever be so excited at the possibility of doing laundry?), CLOSETS (this is a really big deal in the city), and (wait for it) a MASSIVE BALCONY WITH AMAZING VIEWS OF THE SKYLINE!!!!! Dave and I are currently calling it The Balcony of Dreams. You are all welcome to dine al fresco with us once we move in!
So needless to say, we will wait (patiently) until they get the all-clear for move-in. Heck, we'll wait months if it means having our very own Balcony of Dreams! Naturally, we are both experiencing levels of excitement and enthusiasm that one normally associates with Oprah's Favorite Things Episode (YOU GET A CAR! YOU GET A CAR! YOU GET A CAR!) Like I said, I'm playing with the arrangement of furniture in my head, as well as paint colors, etc. We are on the market for outdoor furniture, a grill, and a chair or two. Here are a few items I'm salivating over.
This Versaille Chair is calling my name
As is this Marseille Chair...
as well as this French wing chair
In regards to a new bookcase, we have a few options
love this French library shelving
Vintage French Cane Back