Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Week With TV: Fall TV Week 2

My Week with TV: Fall TV Week 2 2015 Grandfathered, The Grinder, Code Black, Quantico, Blindspot

I meant to put this up on Sunday, but to be completely honest, I spent most of the weekend sleeping or actually catching up with some Fall TV. I was also trying to get over whatever was causing me to have the cough of death. But at least being sorta sick (just a nasty cough, so annoying) allowed me to lay low, that and paying most of my bills for the month. So without further ado, here are the shows I feasted my eyes on this week.

Let's start off with the shows I mentioned at the end of the last My Week With TV post. These were all shows that premiered last week and remember, there are still shows yet to premiere for the season. But anyway, that's for the next post in the series(?). For new premieres, this is what I saw:

Grandfathered- This is the John Stamos and Josh Peck starred vehicle. Stamos plays a forever bachelor restauranteur, obsessed with not aging, who soon learns that not only is he a father to Peck's character, but also a grandfather. I was actually really excited to watch this mostly because both of these actors were huge in my childhood (hello Full House and Drake and Josh). And I was not disappointed. The show is funny and charming, with the dynamic of Stamos and Peck's character really playing off each other. I would definitely recommend tuning into this for a good laugh. (Tues at 8pm on FOX).

The Grinder- If you miss Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation, then this might be the show for you because Chad Lowe pretty much plays a Traeger on this show. Except that he is an actor who's show, where he played a lawyer, has just ended. However, his old role has led him to believe that he could be a real lawyer alongside his father and brother, played by Fred Savage (oh the Wonder Years).  While Lowe's character exudes confident, his much more serious brother may be a great lawyer but lacks in public speaking skills.  I feel this show has the potential to be really funny, but at the same time it seems a little over the top and like it's trying to hard. We shall see. (Tues at 8:30pm on FOX).

Code Black- Of course this would make my list because I have a huge thing for medical dramas/procedurals. The title of the show is a term used in this case to refer to any incident where the number of patients outnumbers the number of resources available. The show stars primarily Marcia Gay Harden as the director of the residency program, but early on you are told that while she is the best at her job, she is having trouble overcoming a personal tragedy. Alongside her we have Luis Guzman who plays the head ER nurse and he definitely brings the comic relief to the show. The rest of the cast centers on 5 new residents who are trying to learn the ropes of the fast paced ER. It reminds of a cross between Grey's Anatomy and ER, which makes it an automatic win in my book. (Weds at 10pm on CBS).

The other two shows I gave a try this week were shows that premiered the week before, but I had thought started this week LOL. But what they really have in common is that they both have a badass female lead. So here they are:

Quantico- Think of this show as Homeland(speaking of which I still to catch up on) mixed with any Shonda Rhime show. It stars the seriously gorgeous Priyanka Chopra (like can I have her skin) as one of 50 new FBI trainees at Quantico. The first task given to all the trainees is learn one another's darkest secret. This gives way to how the show is setup, flashing back between the past and the present, where we discover there might have been a terrorist among the trainees, and Alex is being framed for their actions. I really enjoyed the high stakes of the show, the detective work that goes with it and the sexy allure the show gives off overall. Hopefully, it just gets better (Suns at 10pm on ABC).

Blindspot- Some have said this show is a combo of the Bourne Identity and The Blacklist, but to be honest, the show reminds me of the star's, Jamie Alexander's, previous show, Kyle XY. So what is this show about? Well it's about a woman who is discovered in a duffel bag in Times Square, who has no memory of who she is or how she got there. The only clues as to her identity are the fresh tattoos that cover her body, one of which demands the attention of FBI Agent Kurt Weller. It is up to him and his team to decode the tattoos and figure out who she is, and why Weller seems to be involved in her case. Oh and we soon find out that Jane, as they refer to her (as in Doe), might have had some sort of combat training. Very juicy so far! (Mons at 10pm on NBC).

Have any of you checked out these shows? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments below, or better yet come join me on Periscope this Sunday, October 11th at noon PST to talk some fall TV (I'm under @astridstars). And if you weren't able to join us earlier this week, I did my first Periscope on October Goals. Here is the replay. We have a few more premieres to come so stay tuned for more #MyWeekWithTV.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Hello October Goals

Hello October Goals: Getting things done
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Wow does time fly by! I cannot believe its already October, but I don't mind at all. It's not just that it's my birthday month (Holla! and yes I celebrate throughout the whole month), but it's also when temperatures start to finally cool down a bit in Los Angeles and it really starts feeling like fall. In fact, we were lucky enough to get some rain today, which just makes me so happy. And to continue in the happy spirit, I hope to set the bar with my October goals just as high as I set them in September. So let's see what I accomplished from my lengthy list of goals.

As a reminder, here are the goals I set for myself in September and which I was able to cross off:
Personal Goals:
  • Create a budget
  • Read 
  • The The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness and The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke
  • Plan out social events such as book club meetings, dates and workouts. This one is pretty self explanatory. Just didn't follow through on the workouts...oops.
  • Workout at least 5 days a week
  • Continue decluttering room
  • Read 4 books - Only got through Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
  • Catch up on my Emmy's nominees  I got through Parks and Recreation and Silicon Valley! Will try to get through more during October
  • Eat healthier- only have takeout 2x a week
  • Play with my dog at least 20 minutes a day Towards the end of the month, I got better at waking up early enough to take him for a walk and play with him before and after work.
  • Plan my birthday- Everything is all set for that weekend! Hotel, hot air balloon ride and horseback + wine tours are booked! James and me will definitely have fun.
Blog Goals:
  • Design new site- i.e. banner, color code, etc.
  • Create Editorial Calendar- for this I will be using this as one of my guides. I did get this done in my physical planner but still have to digitize it and get better at sticking to it.
  • Schedule posts in advance- including graphics.
  • Add all the blog chats I attend on Twitter to my planner/calendar. Done! Been enjoying them so much. I follow #nectarchat, #ellechat, #FBLChat and #createlounge
  • Begin creating a business plan
  • Launch sponsor program/ads
  • Create a budget- since I want to invest on my blog
  • Sign up for E-Courses, starting with this one I might have actually gone overboard with this one lol!
  • Continue the 30 Day Blogging Challenge  Other than needing to be more consistent with this, I have been following this, even though it isn't daily the way it's intended to be
  • Engage with my communities online
Other goals:
  • Work on my Youtube channel- starting with biweekly videos
  • Look for Freelance writing ops
  • Look for screenwriting courses
  • Finish screenplay....
So yes, there were a lot of things I didn't get through, but you know what, that's ok. Instead of discouraging me, it makes me just want to try harder or at least have some stuff on the horizon constantly. On that note, here are my goals for October:

Personal Goals:
  • Create a budget- again using The The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness and The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. I've actually sort of budgeted this month a bit already. Just need to get it on paper, not just an app.
  • Manage my time better- October is a really busy month, not just because it's my birthday, but a lot of friends and family also have birthdays. 
  • Stick to my schedule- I often get into the habit of rearranging my schedule to the benefit of others (i.e a friend wants to hang out, out goes me going to the gym. I need to start putting myself first
  • Workout 5x a week- Today I started the 28-day program from Tone It Up: 28 Days to Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous by Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn . I am also following their Fit For Fall Challenge as well as Lauren Gleisburg's fall program.
  • Eat healthier- Just did a one-day juice cleanse from Pressed Juicery yesterday and today started the Tone It Up Wedding Slimdown (it's 10 days, just in time for my bday).
  • Finish Decluttering my room- Last month it was continue to declutter my room, but I want more intention this month so I'm hoping to finish doing this, particularly the throwing out old magazines part.
  • Read 4 books- Since it's really starting to feel like fall, the weather is perfect to get some good reading done. I'm especially looking forward to the new fall books, which I mentioned in my previous post
  • Stay up to date with TV Shows- I want to continue catching up with the shows I said I'd watch for the Emmy's but also not get too behind the fall shows I'm loving.
  • Watch some scary movies- Because hello, Halloween is this month. Plus I have a few I haven't seen yet, both classics and new ones.
Blog Goals:
  • Create/Engage with the community- Social media is a great tool for connecting with all of you guys, so anytime a new platform comes out, its definitely worth exploring. This month I am trying out Periscope! In fact, I will be hosting my first "real" (cuz the other two were me goofing off) scope tonight at 8pm PST to discuss October goals! My handle is @astridstars
  • Follow through with my E-courses- Like I mentioned, I've been signing up for E-courses like crazy. Mostly because I now have this fire to make this blog something I'm really proud of and this pushes me to keep the fire blazing. I even just signed up for a bundle yesterday. But now I need to actually do the work and put them to use. Some of the ones I signed up for are: Pinfinite Growth, Your First 1K  and Quit + Commit(I got the bundle price). 
  • Work on Design and Branding- I've actually got this one rolling already. The Quit + Commit course was part of a bundle that came with the Breathtaking Brand Package from Lemon and the Sea. Our first session is on Saturday!
  • Launch Newsletter and Sponsor program- I'm so nervous for these, but I've got to rip the band-aid off sometime.
  • Create a collaboration program- This is something that I thought off during a blog chat. Seriously the chats are great for brainstorming and getting motivated. Get ready for this!
  • Create a budget - While I love investing in the blog, I also can't get too crazy.
Other goals:
  • Work on my Youtube channel- starting with biweekly videos
Again, I know my list may seem a bit impossible, but you gotta aim high right?! Share your goals with me in the comments below, or better yet join me during tonight's Periscope. Again that's tonight at 8pm PST and my handle is @astridstars! Hope to chat with you there! 


Thursday, October 1, 2015

On My TBR List: Fall Books

On my TBR List: Fall Books
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In my previous post I talked how the new TV season always signals the beginning of fall for me. But it's not the only thing that let's me know fall is here. In case you didn't know, fall is also the most important time for new releases in the book world. Actually, if you think about it, Fall seems to be the biggest season for a lot of industries (i.e. TV, Oscar potential films, books, etc). But I digress. Besides settling into the couch (ok my bed) to relax in front of the TV, fall to me means snuggling up with a good book. 

Seriously, nothing, not even new TV shows, screams fall to me quite like enjoying a good read with a cup of tea and Charlie sleeping by my side. Lately, I've been trying to set aside more time to read as my TBR list is constantly piling higher and higher, but haven't been very successful in doing so. However, with the fall season starting I have this huge urge to stick to my TBR list. 

With so many new books, plus running into this reading challenge, I had to compile a list to help me get to them. And so here are my top picks, which include mostly new fall debuts, with a few "older" ones that seem perfect for the season as well:

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins- This has been sitting on my book shelf for months so I am glad that I'm not only in the reading mood lately, but that I now have the added pressure to read it thanks to two of my book clubs. The novel is a thriller, which some have compared to Gone Girl due to it's many plot twists, and centers around Rachel, an alcoholic who's husband left her two years ago for his mistress. Every day, Rachel rides the train and observes the lives of one couple, thinking it to be perfect, until one day tragedy strikes, leaving Rachel wondering what is true and what her role in it could be. It's actually the perfect fall book, though it was published earlier this year, due to its dark mystery.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff- There has been a lot of buzz around this book, so you know it's a must read. The story examines the marriage of Lotto and Mathilde from both their perspectives over the years. It's set up similar to Gone Girl(can you tell I liked it?) in that it is split into two parts, one part being Lotto's experience and perspective with in the marriage and the other being Mathilde's. The marriage begins as one envied by their friends it seems, but not all is what is seems and I hear there's a pretty crazy twist, which is what really intrigues me.

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz- I may have mentioned that I love Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy on the blog before, so it is no surprise that this made it onto the list. The Trilogy has now become a series and this book marks the fourth in this series. Lisbeth and Blomkvist are back again for another thrilling and dangerous ride. Blomkvist's magazine is struggling until he gets word about a computer scientist who is in trouble with the NSA and the Swedish government. At first Blomkvist is disinterested until he is told he may have been aided by someone Blomkvist is familiar with: Lisbeth. I'm excited to see how Lagercrantz continues the series and if stays true to Larsson's vision and style. 

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling- How could not this not make the list?! When I lived in New York I remember finding comfort reading her first book during my subway rides. In this one, we find her same Mindy humor in her essays except this time she discusses her journey of trying to find contentment and excitement in her adult life. In her previous book she focused more on her struggle to try to fit in with Hollywood and trying to make it. Her new book appears to focus more on the after of her success. Really cannot wait to read this especially since it seems most of my other choices are on the darker side. 

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy- This is another one that I've heard a lot of buzz around, especially on BookRiot. The book centers around Willowdean Dickson, aka Dumplin, who has always been happy in her own skin as a proudly thick girl. However when she falls for a boy at her new fast-food job and he likes her back, she begins to doubt herself. Her solution to gain her confidence back? Enter the beauty pageant. I love how badass the protagonist sounds and I think in today's body-shaming world, it really is a nice punch back. 

Obviously there are a lot of other books that I am interested in, but that would just make for a never-ending post. In the mean time, these will be the ones I'll try to get to first and the ones that piqued my interest the most. Do any of these sound good to you? Any you recommend I add to my list? Share with me and everyone in the comments below.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Week With TV: Fall TV Week 1

My Week With TV Fall TV Week 1 Premieres
*May contain Spoilers*
Fall is officially here, if only someone would give Los Angeles the memo (seriously still so HOT). It is my favorite season for many reasons such as sweater weather (when it finally cools), pumpkin everything and my birthday (Holla!). When I was a student, the beginning of the school year signaled the start of the season for me, but I'm no longer a student. One thing that still signals the beginning of the season for me though is the start of Fall TV!

But before I get to what caught my eye during the first week of premieres, let's talk a little bit about the Emmy's. I know I wrote about the shows I would try to get through before the Emmy's aired, but I'm still making my way through them. So far I finished Parks and Recreation (which I loved) and Silicon Valley (also loved and so funny). Now as for the awards, I am mostly pleased by who won, but overall found them to be a bit dull. The top 3 highlights for me were Viola Davis win, Jon Hamm's butt, and Tracy Morgan's return (I had tears).

Anyway, here are the shows I had looked forward to during the first week of premieres, starting with the brand new shows first:

My Week With TV Fall TV Week 1 Premieres Scream Queens

Scream Queens-  This show from the creators of American Horror Story and Glee centers around a sorority house which seems to be the primary target of a serial killer, dressed in a devil suit nonetheless. I mostly saw this because I liked the cast and the shows the creators were previously attached to (though I tired of Glee). This was the first show I tackled for the week and it was pretty funny, plus has a lot of twists which I always enjoy in a show. I'll see how long I stick to this show though because the one thing I didn't fully enjoy was how campy it was. (On Fox Tues. at 9pm).

My Week With TV Fall TV Week 1 Premieres Limitless

Limitless- Ok so this fall I noticed a couple of networks have decided to turn feature films into shows and Limitless was the first of this batch to premiere. I saw this last night as I caught up with this week's premieres. Mind you, I never saw the film it is based off of, but knowing the concept, I was intrigued. If you aren't familiar with the film, that's ok though. Both the show and the film center around a pill that basically puts your mind into hyperdrive and gives enhanced mental acuity( i.e. your IQ x4). The show isn't a remake of the film, but more so a continuation of it. The show stars Jake McDorman, but does feature the film's star Bradley Cooper. I loved how much action is in this show, but that its also mixed in with a little science. Will definitely keep watching this. (On CBS Tues. at 10pm).

My Week With TV Fall TV Week 1 Premieres Blood & Oil

Blood & Oil- This show centers around a young couple who have just moved to a North Dakota town that seems to be the new big oil boom, however they soon realize they may in way over their heads, especially when it comes to the big oil tycoon who seems to be running it all. I have to be honest, my main reason for watching this one was Nathaniel Archibald I mean Chace Crawford (sorry still having Gossip Girl withdrawals), but I actually really enjoyed it. It is very high drama so I am not surprised ABC put it in their Sunday night line up. I almost feel like its a combination of Revenge and There Will Be Blood. I will say though that it can get a bit Soap Opera-y so be warned.(On ABC Sun. at 9pm).

There are still some brand new shows I need to see, but I was pretty busy this past week and also totally forgot some were premiering (oops). It probably doesn't help that premieres seem to be a bit all over the place this year. The ones I still am curious to catch up with are Quantico, Heroes Reborn (b/c you gotta save the cheerleader), Blindspot, The Player (b/c my friend works on it) and Minority Report.

Now for the shows that came back this season:

Mysteries of Laura- I started watching this last season and found it to be a very cute procedural comedy. What can I say, I am a sucker for cop shows, plus love Debra Messing in this role. *Spoiler Alert* In the season premiere Jake(Laura's ex husband) has been temporarily replaced as chief while he is on medical leave. However, the temp chief is not any of the precinct's cup of tea and everyone is  trying to show the new chief how things get done there. Oh and the case for this show centers around the kidnapping of a child, but with twists, obviously.

Then there was #TGIT:
My Week With TV Fall TV Week 1 Premieres TGIT

Grey's Anatomy- I was a bit hesitant to watch the season premiere because well *spoiler alert, not really* McDreamy is dead so I wasn't sure if it would still be the Grey's I've loved and cherished. However, I'm glad I did end up watching it. In the premiere, we see Meredith and Amelia try to cohabit in the aftermath of Derek's death. If you expect a really tearing soapy scene however, then sorry but that didn't happen, at least not pertaining to him. It actually felt very much like the old Grey's camaraderie (oh I miss the intern days). And the medical case centered around two teen girls who are struck by a train it was at first seems an accident, but is later revealed was an attempt to stay together (they were in love).

Scandal- Olivia Pope is back...and with Fitz! In case you forgot, last season ended with Fitz kicking Mellie out of the White House (she did a terrible thing, like for realsies this time) and so now it seems the door is wide open for Liv and Fitz to live out their fantasy, but again that would be too easy. While Fitz's camp is trying to keep up appearances that everything is fine, Olivia and Quinn (only Gladiator left right now) are trying too look into the death of a Princess (think Kate Middleton). But the biggest scandal comes at the end of the episode!

How to Get Away With Murder- Out of all the Shonda Rhimes show premieres, I have to say this one was the one with the most bombshells! It seems that murders don't ever stop on this show, but then again you gotta keep with the title. In the season premiere, Annalise's students are trying to figure out where's Rebecca (they don't know she's dead) and we learn that Frank's not the only one with the willingness to kill. If you're not watching this show, then get on it!

Brooklyn 99- I must admit, I miss working on the lot where some of this show is filmed. But anyway, the gang is back with their shenanigans, except they have a new captain (yay, Bill Hader) and Peralta and Santiago are finally giving it a go. Still so funny!

There were other shows that premiered and many more still to premiere. If I didn't mention a show, it may be because it simply isn't my cup of tea or I still need to binge watch the previous seasons (sorry Empire). As the weeks go by, I may just start doing full reviews each week, let me know if you'd like that in the comments. Also share what shows were your favorite so far.  As for this coming week, I am looking forward to Grandfathered, The Grinder, Code Black and Homeland (catching up this week). Let me know if there is anything else I should watch. (And sorry for the long read).


Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Favorites: Blog Tools

Friday Favorites: Blog Tools
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If you read my goals for the month, you won't be so surprised that my favorites this week are blogging related. My biggest goal for the month and future is to improve my blog so that I reach more people and make it more welcoming. Because of my focus on my goal of growing and improving my blog, I have begun seeking out some useful tools for both novice bloggers and the more experienced. But I'll keep it all short and simple since I took a sleeping pill so that I could wake up super early for a work-related run. Anyway, I digress. Let's see what my favorite blog tools are this week:

1.  Planners- I don't use my Day Designer as much as I'd like, but when I do, it really helps to keep me focus. I try to at least write the big dates in the calendar section so I have an idea of what't going on that month. And I just ordered two for next year. Also, I've begun mapping out my editorial calendar on it before I add it to a digital calendar.

2. Twitter Chats- These past few weeks I've become obsessed with Twitter chats, particularly, #FBLChat, #NectarChat, #Createlounge and #Ellechat. The chats are a great tool to learn how other bloggers are tackling their blog issues and also helps build friendships with other bloggers. 

3. Facebook Groups- These are like twitter chats, but in a more casual setting. Also, you have more than 140 characters to work with. A few good ones that I like are: Blog + Biz BFFs and Her Campus Blogger Network

4. Social Media Managers- Because of Twitter Chats, I've been using social media managers such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck have begun to be very important in my life. I've used Hootsuite before to schedule social media for blogs, and that alone helps save a lot of money. Recently, I've also heard about Meet Edgar, which allows you  'recycle' campaings/tweets. Many bloggers I know say that it has helped them so much with promoting their work and handling their social media.

5. E-Courses- Ok so these are something I'm excited to talk about. In my opinion, e-courses are one of the best tools bloggers should take advantage of. It's like taking a class just about blogging, cuz well that's what it is. They can be very specific or a little more broad on the topics they broach, but nonetheless excellent tools. This month I've signed up for two.

One of them is Pinfinite Growth and was created by Melyssa Griffith of The Nectar Collective. In it, she teaches bloggers on how to use Pinterest to their best advantage and also use it to grow their blogs. The other course or courses I signed up for was the Soloprenuer Success Bundle from One Woman Shop. This bundle is only $99 for the next 10 minutes and I have an affiliate link for it because I  really believe in this bundle. It contains advice and info from a variety of great bloggers.  I wish I would have push myself to sign up for E-Courses earlier and not been so lost.

If you are a new blogger or simply want to grow your blog, this list is essential. It will keep you organized for your blog and also give you blogger advice a plenty. Share any other blogger tools you use in the comments below.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Motivation Monday: What Motivates Us

Motivation Monday: What Motivates Us

How was everyone's weekend? Mine was definitely busy and productive, which hasn't happened in a while. Saturday alone, I managed to get in like 5 errands within the first two hours of waking up. I was quite proud of myself since it usually takes forever to motivate myself to do anything right away. Which got me thinking of a conversation I recently had with James about the different ways we are motivated. So why not start the week off on a positive note by talking a bit about what motivates us.

More specifically, I want to talk about how we may be motivated based on the way we absorb ideas or learn. For example, James is often motivated to try new things after hearing about them on podcasts. He is very much an auditory learner so it makes sense that he is influenced by these podcasts (think Joe Rogan and How Did This Get Made). One of the most recent ideas he shared with me is wanting to try out floating pools and cryotherapy (I'm in!) after hearing about it on a podcast.

In my case, I am usually more motivated by what I hear and see, but mostly what I see. I am very much a visual learner so my motivation is often drawn by what I read. Growing up I remember never accepting an idea or willing to try something unless I read about it. This really annoyed my mom because she'd try to give me advice, such as how drinking plenty of water is good for your skin, but I wouldn't believe her until I'd read it in a magazine article. Now I am mostly motivated by other bloggers I read such as The Nectar Collective  and Kayla Hollatz. Pinterest and Instagram also play a huge factor (hello travel pins and pics).

These are only two things that could possibly motivate us. The thing they have in common is that they come down to the fact that who we expose ourselves to can become our point of motivation. James listens to people he may admire or find credible, while I listen to the words I see written by someone I may admire or come to admire. It really comes down to the way in which we best absorb information or learn. 

I'm curious to see what motivates you. Share in the comments below if the above sound familiar or if you draw motivation in any other way. I hope this helps motivate you and helps fight the Monday blues.