Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife...


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

News Flash

This last week was full, SO FULL, of milestone events. A brief shakedown: my first earthquake, Hurricane Irene, and an amazing evening celebrating the incredible Adam Suellentrop as he turned 30 this past Thursday. A more detailed post about all of the above coming later. Right now, I'm limited on time but felt like a slacker for not posting in over a week.

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?!

Is this not the voice you long to hear singing such familiar favorites like 'Your a Grand Ole Flag' and 'America, the Beautiful'?!


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

Friendcation

As some of you may know, Dave and I decided to post-pone our Napa trip due to the construction at the new apartment. Our move-in date is totally up in the air, and, since we can't really plan for it, we thought it might be a bad idea to head-off on a grand 12 day vacay. Sooooo, we thought, "Let's go see friends we never get to see and miss dearly." And better yet, "Let's go see friends we rarely see and miss dearly that live at the beach!" We're calling it 'Friendcation'. It promises to be spectacular. In all honesty, the geographical location of said friends has nothing to do with why we are visiting. We just love and miss them and want to spend some time catching up. Not going to lie, the idea of doing all of the above while sitting on white sand beaches doesn't hurt.

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.

Dave's packing his best pair of jorts and growing out a 'stache in preparation for Friendcation 2011. If all goes according to plan, this is what my Thursday will look like...

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

Well, butter my behind and call me a biscuit...

Oh, hi friends! I do hope all is well with you on this fine Thursday morning. Did I mention that I've been craving Southern fare for a few weeks now? Yes, lately my dreams have been filled with images of friend okra, cornbread, greens, summer squash, gorgeous tomatoes, and peach cobbler. I wake up starving every morning. It's a curse.

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 let that marinate for a few hours and then seared it off before roasting it in the oven. Just look at that...

Then I got to work on braising my greens. Have to wash 'em good...


Secret ingredient: Leffe Blonde.


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.



Glug, glug, glug


Finally, I sauteed some really delicious summer squash with a deliciously sweet vidalia onion and found myself feeling one step closer to home.


This is all super simple, nothing fancy or even impressive. But man oh man, did it make my stomach happy and my heart sing!

So friends, dig into some comfort food today and think of me when you have to loosen those belts...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let's shoot the proverbial s@#t, shall we?

Let me begin by saying, "Salutations, and thanks for stopping by." I'm currently recovering from my 5 day stint as 'Gracious Host' to my friend, Chris, who was visiting from Alabama. We ate way too much food, shopped furniture and antiques, visited museums, and saw a rather crude but hilarious Fringe Festival show that starred my friend, Wes. All in all, it was a lovely time. I'm still a bit tired from the non-stop excursions and still rather full from the excessive food-intake. Other than that, no complaints. Actually, this is a good thing. I now feel no guilt about spending the next 2 days hulled-up in my apartment pouring over my script and folding laundry. Sidenote: On really lovely days, I feel it's my personal obligation to get out-and-about and make the most of them. This often results in the procrastination/neglect of household chores and other mundane tasks. Surely I'm not alone in this, right?

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??

Before my Sunday night feast, I took pictures in my new home. Please see below.

Welcome to my home


Bedroom 1


Bedroom 2


My Salon (photo 1)


Salon Photo 2 (please see harp near window)


Portrait of me playing my harp


Making sure I'm ok with placement of said portrait


Well, kids, thanks for stopping by. Can't wait to have you all over!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

pinning and pining away...

Well friends, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon this morning. My friend, Katie, sold me on it a month or so ago but I didn't get around to actually setting up my profile or 'boards' until now. Um, how awesome is this site? I have a growing mound of magazines, photos, recipes, etc. and the best intentions of filing them neatly away into various lookbooks, etc. Of course, I never seem to do so. Pinterest is the solution my lazy self needed to 'file away' these images of inspiration. Yay! No more mounds of clutter on my desk. Goin' digital, baby. If you are a fellow 'pinner' be in touch. I need followers and people to follow. Many thanks.

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.





Also, stumbled upon these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market. Yesterdays lunch: heirloom 'maters and roasted corn salad with shaved red onion and basil.


and then what was left of it....


Finally, I would like to leave you with a friendly reminder that, no matter the circumstance, it's always time to shine.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Grab the boxes and the packing tape...

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

This mirror...

In regards to a new bookcase, we have a few options

love this French library shelving

Barstools

Vintage French Cane Back

Madeleine


Outdoor furnishings, TBD
In other news, my brother from another mother, Christopher Joseph Hutchens, is coming to NYC tomorrow for 6 whole days! Look out, town, this kid means business. I cannot tell you how excited I am to spend some quality time with Brother Hutch. On the agenda: eating too much food, laughing too loud, being socially inappropriate, and spouting off one too many inside jokes. Oh, and antique and furniture market madness!
Can't wait!