Peer Pressure List, Vol. 18

  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: Quirky and romantic, this is my kind of movie. I love me some awkward Michael Cera, and this movie delivers it in spades.

  • Cooking Light: I've been anxiously awaiting my first issue, and it finally arrived this week! I'm making a concerted effort to eat at home more, and any issue of the magazine is chock full of recipes that make me actually want to cook.

  • Babies: More specifically, baby animals at the Zoo. Especially Kelyfamata, the new baby sifaka, who is so fuzzy and so cute that I can't even handle it.

  • MacGourmet: Further to the attempt to eat in more often, this software corrals all your recipes in one place. It also creates shopping lists, and if you download the iPhone app you can bring it with you to the grocery store and check off each item as you put it in your cart. I need all the help I can get—otherwise I'll just eat out.

  • Work: I had just a little over a week between gigs this time, and it turned out to be the perfect amount of time. I start rehearsal tomorrow for my next show, and it's been great being back to work at my home company. Of course, check back with me in a couple weeks and we'll see how I feel then.

Get thee to the movies

Remember when my show at the Met opened? If you're a good little opera aficionado (or even an especially dedicated Little Ms. Bossy aficionado), you probably read the reviews, trolled the opera blogs, and watched that infamous YouTube clip at least twice.

And maybe you thought, Those darn purists can't handle anything nontraditional! or What a travesty! How could someone do that to the great Bellini? or Who cares? It's just opera. Whatever went through your mind, you have a chance to form your own opinion. Today!!

The HD Broadcast of La Sonnambula is in movie theaters today LIVE at 1pm eastern. You can find a list of movie theaters here. As an added bonus, if you stay 'til the end you can see my name scroll by in the credits.


Lovely weather for a sleigh ride together

I could not be happier to be home sweet home in Houston. It's been such a joy reuniting with all my loved ones, and my first couple days back at work have reminded me that, despite the excitement of new challenges, there's certainly a lot to be said for the familiar and the comfortable.

Before I can completely close the book on my NYC experience, though, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you all about my latest list item cross-off.

This was my first extended stay in New York as an adult with a paycheck, and I tried my best to behave like a native, except without the excessive opinion-voicing and misuse of the phrase "on line." I rode the subway every day. I avoided eye contact with strangers. I wore cute patterned snow boots and changed into heels at work. I met friends at bars and restaurants in neighborhoods all over the city in the evenings. I bought only what I could carry home at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's and Fairway Market. I paid $12.50 to see a movie.

What I didn't find/make time for was the touristy stuff. I didn't go to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building or Ground Zero. I didn't see a taping of a late-night talk show. I didn't see a Broadway show after standing in line for half-price tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square. I didn't take a Circle Line tour. I spent very little time in museums.

I made one exception, though, when CameraMan came to visit. I've always wanted to take a carriage ride in Central Park (and by "always" I mean ever since I saw that one Sex & the City episode, of course), so CM and I made our way over to Central Park South, gave a wad of cash to Tony the Irish Carriage Driver (with Bobby the horse), snuggled under a blanket, and took the extended tour.

And of course it was touristy. The other carriages were filled with tourists, most of whom were foreign, and maybe I imagined it, but I'm pretty sure all the real New Yorkers we passed looked at us with undisguised disdain. I didn't care at all. It was a perfect, relaxing, romantic way to see the park, more of it than I had ever seen before. I probably won't do it again, but I was happy to play tourist for an hour.

  1. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park.

You know what this means, don't you? 10 down, 90 to go!


I can't quite believe I've made it this far. I have to say, it's been a lot more difficult since I got home. The lovely combination of my apartment and my CameraMan and my kitten has pretty much made me want to never leave the house. It's a good thing I start work today, because I think I've just about tapped out the photographic possibilities at home.

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 17

  • Wii Fit: I've been angling for one of these for months, and then we were in a store that had them in stock, so I pouted just enough, and now we have one! And it's already kicking my a**, not because it's some great workout, but because I cannot bounce imaginary soccer balls off my head to save my life. I'm just hoping that a situation will not arise in which I have to.

  • The Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz: I love a good sparkling red wine—it's so unexpected. I tried this one at Casellula with The Banker, and I've been dreaming of it ever since. Wouldn't you know it, they have it at Spec's! Of course they do.

  • Slumdog Millionaire: I know, I know, you all saw this movie WEEKS ago. You laughed, you cried, you told all your friends, and this was way before the Oscar buzz. Well, I didn't. I actually attempted to see this movie twice in New York, and both times it was sold out. So the fact that I saw it at all is a big relief to me. And it's so beautiful... If you are one of the 3 people who also waited to see it, do it now, while it's still in the movie theatre. You'll be glad you did.

  • Cadbury Mini Eggs: Oh, Mini Eggs, how you tempt me every spring with your purple bag and your hard candy shell and your delicious chocolatey goodness. Thank goodness you are only available once a year—I never tire of you.

  • Central Market: In our new neighborhood we're close to all kinds of exciting restaurants, shopping, and especially grocery stores, including Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck, I like to call it) and the incomparable Central Market. Its produce section is vast; the fish and meat counters are unparalleled. Oh, and there is a wall of cheese. A WALL OF CHEESE! I'm in heaven.

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 16

  • Pinkberry: I finally had this delicious frozen yogurt on my very last night in NYC (one of the coldest nights in the 2 months I was there), and I have to say, it lived up to all the hype. I recommend the green tea flavor, and I recommend it for a warm day.

  • Taxis: I was so good the entire time I was in New York, dutifully taking the subway every day to and from work. But at 1 AM after opening night, I walked to the subway, swiped my Metrocard, thought about it for a moment, walked right back out again, and hailed a cab. I was so glad I did. It felt amazing to relax in the back of a taxi, chat to CM on the phone, and get dropped off at my door. If ever there was a time to splurge, it's opening night at the Met.

  • High Fashion Home: Houston is chock-a-block full of furniture stores, but this one's different. An eclectic mix of styles and price points, the furniture here ranges from the lovely to the absurd. We bought a gorgeous sideboard cabinet thingy for all our glassware, and I love it.

  • DVR: I know, I know, I gave up TiVo a long time ago. But then I was a homeless nomad for a really long time, and now that I'm not (Oh, didn't I tell you? More details to come, I promise), I want all the comforts of home. Including digital cable and DVR. Oh, Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow and Gossip Girl and Jim The Office, I will never have to miss you again.

  • Houston: I had an incredible time in New York. I loved being in the city and working at the Met and catching up with dear friends and painting the town red. I did. But coming home was like breathing a big sigh of relief. I could not be happier to be here with my kitten and my CameraMan and my incredible friends. Oh, and the 80° weather, obvs.

Another op'nin'

Yesterday seemed like an opening night like many others. I picked up my dress from the dry cleaner, did my nails, and curled my hair. I went through my score and finished up making it pretty. I chatted on the phone with CameraMan and Mama and Papa Bossy, who all called to wish me a happy opening. I got to work extra early to finish up paperwork, distribute notes to the chorus, and make sure everything was ready and everyone was healthy.

Except it wasn't just like any other—it was my Met debut. A night I've been dreaming about in some form or another for almost my entire life had finally arrived. I've been attempting to downplay my awe and excitement at working there since I got the job, actually since before that when I went in for the interview. I've been trying to convince myself that it's just a job, just a company, just another line on the résumé, and in many ways that's true. But yesterday it hit me, really hit me: this is kind of a big deal.

The process of working on this production has been fascinating, exciting, and exasperating. Overall, I would characterize my experience as good, but I have been challenged in ways that I never pictured. Conversely, the aspects of the job that I expected to be difficult weren't. Isn't that always the way? If you want to hear more about it, I guess you'll just have to wait for my tell-all memoir. Suffice it say, I will not soon forget my first opening night at the Met.

Too cryptic for you? You can read more about it here and here and here and here, and see for yourself here.

I will share one story with you, however, of a run-in I had with a patron. At the tail end of intermission, I went out into the lobby to take pictures of the chandeliers, not realizing that it's against the rules to take pictures in the opera house (something you would never know if you did a search on flickr). When an usher politely told me to put my camera away, I immediately complied. As I was doing so, a crazy woman who was late getting back to her seat started yelling at me for taking pictures, telling me to "get out of the way," and repeatedly calling me a "stupid b*tch." She shoved past me (although, since we were the only 2 people besides ushers in the entire lobby, I was certainly not in her way), and yelled over her shoulder at me, "F**king out-of-towner!" The ushers and I all looked at each other in shock before I slipped back through the secret door leading to the Directors' booth.

I love you, New York, I really do, but I think it's just about time for this f**king out-of-towner to get out of town. I'll see you next year.

Peer Pressure List, Vol. 15

  • Lily Allen, It's Not Me, It's You: I loved her debut album, and while I'll probably always be loyal to it as her best, I've had her new CD on constantly for the past couple weeks. I think you'll like it, too.

  • GAP girl shorts: We're beyond that whole TMI thing, right, dear readers? So you won't be offended when I tell you that I am absolutely loving this underwear. It's cute, it's comfortable, and most importantly, it stays put all day. So far I've bought 9 pairs, but I don't think I'm finished yet.

  • Gotham Chamber Opera: I've now seen 2 productions with this small NYC company (the most recent being this week's L'isola disabitata), and both have been utterly charming and musically delicious. They hire great singers and orchestra musicians, and despite what I'm sure is a fairly small budget, pull of stylish, innovative productions. If I lived here, I would see everything they do. If you live here, you should.

  • Alice's Tea Cup: It's one of the girliest places I've been, and quite possibly one of the girliest places in the universe. Fairy dust (aka glitter) and Alice in Wonderland-themed merch abound, but backing it up are delicious scones, an intimidatingly massive tea list, and a fab brunch menu. I'll be back, but I probably won't be bringing any boys with me.

  • The Station Agent: This is a lovely, quiet film by the director of The Visitor. After much urging from CM, I Netflixed it and just adored it, especially Patricia Clarkson, who is just incredible in everything she does.


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