Archives: The Ball Drop

Care for a Swim, Mr. Darcy?

Photo Source: David Parry/PA

Photo Source: David Parry/PA

Some people need comfort food, I need comfort Colin.  It’s no secret that I believe in the healing power of American chain restaurants.  While my sister and I were in Tennessee, we did it hard.  In the span of 3 days, we crushed meals at KFC, Arby’s, Olive Garden, Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse, and Cracker Barrel (my first time!).   BUT, if someone had given me the option to wash down my grief with a lake swim and a giant 12-foot Colin Firth, you can bet I would have put down my 3-piece and put on a 2-piece.

The statue is currently seducing swans and swimmers in London’s Hyde Park as part of an advertising campaign for the new channel, Drama, in the UK.  The sculpture will go on tour soon before being installed in Lyme Park ’til next year.  Fingers crossed for a Bridget Jones sequel statue?


33 Things

Typography Cake and Photo via A Subtle Revelry

Typography Cake DIY and Photo via A Subtle Revelry

Good morning!  Happy Canada Day to my Canucks and happy birthday to all my fellow July babies!

I literally just noticed frosting under my fingernails, if that tells you how much I’ve been enjoying a few days off.  I know I’ve talked about my birthday philosophy on the blog before, so I’ll keep it short this time (mostly just so I can get back to confetti bombing myself in the face).

HERE are 33 things that made me happy in my 33rd year!


Hostess with the Mostess

Photo Source:

Photo Source: Cake Central

I want this cake. Is it weird to give yourself a 3-tiered wedding cake for your 34th birthday?

I’m having a party at my house tonight – my first ever grown-up hostessing gig – so I’ve been methodically preparing for 2 weeks and giving myself pep talks in the mirror (“Be the little engine that could, Tanya! Be the choo choo!”). What could go wrong, right (except that it’s going to be 90 bajillion degrees and raining)?

But, just as my social anxiety reached a fever pitch, I spotted several articles to help me navigate the whole shabang with a shred of dignity. (This assumes, at the very least, that my peeling sunburn doesn’t flake into anyone’s cocktail.)

I particularly enjoyed this one about how to be the life of the party. I like #6 – the drink sling.

And this one is great for knowing how much food and drink you need to feed all the mooches you invited into your home.

Wish me luck and God help us all.


What I Learned at Camp

Bob Dylan at Herzl Camp ca. 1957 Photo Source: Herzl Camp

Bob Dylan at Herzl Camp ca. 1957
Photo Source: Herzl Camp

I was just talking to my sister this weekend about how much I loved camp when I was a kid.  I had my first crush at band camp (I’m a walking cliche), I developed a firm handshake at leadership camp (though I still got shoved into lockers later in high school), and I learned that you can survive a fall onto concrete from the top bunk of a bunk bed in your sleep at tennis camp.

What are your favorite camp memories?

Check out these fun photos of pop culture icons at camp, like Bob Dylan at Herzl Camp in ’57 above.

You might also enjoy: What Summer Camp Movie Are You?  I need to go home and watch all of these right now.  Bye.




Photo Source: Flickr

Mark your calendars – this weekend is the supermoon!  And not just any supermoon – the superest supermoon of the year.  Don’t speak Valley Girl?  This just means it will be the largest full moon of the year and the closest to earth until August of 2014. Wolves will howl, children will drive taxis, women will crush beer cans on their foreheads, and READ MORE AND SEE MORE AMAZING PHOTOS!


Love is in the Air

Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s Wedding Day (Photo Source: IMDB)

I had the joy of sharing my morning commute yesterday with the cutest couple who’d just said their “I Do’s” at City Hall. I am OBSESSED that they were taking the train after their wedding (my love for NYC trains runs deep).  Their excitement was so contagious that I couldn’t help but be reminded that Spring is for falling in love – with the city as it emerges from the sleepy quiet of Winter and with each other.

So today I bring you my favorite quirky wedding superstitions from around the world.  Finland takes my number one spot (they give the Latin lover stereotype a run for its money):



I wanna dance with somebody!

Photo Source: Fox

Photo Source: Fox

There is one tv event I look forward to all year with the kind of anticipation forgivable only in children on Christmas Eve.  So You Think You Can Dance is back tonight!

For the uninitiated, SYTYCD (you can forget it if you think I’m going to type out the whole damn thing every time in this post) is, yes, an elimination show, but that’s where the similarities to its reality show brethren end.  This is a show for true lovers of dance (the other kind watch Dancing with the Stars).  Dancers come together from all over the country, are challenged to perform outside of their genre, and break our hearts with how achingly talented they are.  (Suggestion: it is particularly gratifying to watch this show while sitting on the couch eating potato chips.)  After every season, I vow to learn to do the splits, but I’d settle for looking like SYTYCD’s host, Cat Deeley.  I’m certain her supernatural beauty has something to do with having more teeth than the average person…and also go-go-gadget legs.

Anyway, if you’re inclined to dismiss my enthusiasm as “fanaticism,” I will tell you only that even my dad loved this show, and I’ve never met someone with worse rhythm and dance instincts in my life.  The first video below was his favorite routine.  The second is mine – for obvious reasons.  Still not convinced?  Take a look at some of my other favorite dances from the last 9 seasons.  You can’t help but feel more connected to yourself and to other people after watching some of the breathtaking work these artists have done.

A soldier telling his girlfriend he’s going back to war:

A father reunited with his daughter in heaven:

About addiction:

More videos after the jump!


Rubber ducky, you’re the one

Photo Source: Florentijn Hofman

Photo Source: Florentijn Hofman

Armageddon is finally here, folks, and we’re being invaded by impossibly cheery rubber duckies.  Exhibit A above: a 54-foot inflatable bath toy – (Toys R Us, eat your heart out) – a particularly well-traveled one, having been on the road-slash-water since 2007 in Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam.  Its current home is the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong where thousands gathered to celebrate its arrival last Thursday.  The artist behind everyone’s favorite bath time buddy is Dutchman Florentijn Hofman, whose work includes lots of large (very large), cartoonish replicas of iconic objects.  Hofman’s goal with Rubber Duck was “to make a very positive artistic statement that immediately connects people to their childhood.”  Mostly it makes me a) smile and b) reach for the Irish Spring.  Check out more of his work here.

In other news, productivity in the United States took a serious nosedive this week as hundreds “flocked” to Huffington Post to caption photos of The Great Rubber Duck Migration.  A couple of my favorites: “Here we see an eye-opening example of Hong Kong’s inflation problem.” AND  “Everybody, duck!”

The rest of us have been singing this all day (if I have to have this stuck in my head, so do you – you’re welcome):

In June, the duck will make it’s way to the United States, though its destination is still top secret.  The last thing we saw floating down the Hudson was Sully Sullenberger, so fingers and toes crossed it’s coming to NYC!!

More photos of Rubber Duck after the jump


The Ball Drop: Neighborday!


Photo Source: GOOD

Happy Monday, everyone!  Hope you had a beautiful weekend!

I made several discoveries this weekend:

1)   ACTIVE DISCOVERY: That sometimes trying on new clothes requires the dislocation of several limbs,

2)   INCONVENIENT DISCOVERY: That I am still capable of having boogie-monster-in-the-closet nightmares (shouldn’t have watched Django before bed), and

3)   ACCIDENTAL DISCOVERY: That I have a new favorite magazine!

That last one is what I want to write about today.  I stopped by Barnes & Noble this weekend to pick up some reading material for my students when a magazine I’d never seen before caught my eye tucked on a shelf beneath the customer service desk. (I teach filmmaking to kids on the weekend – they are only 10-13 years old, but they are taller than I am and had blogs first – so they’re kinda the bosses of me.)

GOOD is the magazine and is its online presence – a social network of “people who give a damn” (actual tagline).  Both are filled with pages of inspiring, smart material about people and organizations doing good things.  It is basically the print version of the feeling you get when you’re wearing your flannel jammies while watching a Muppets movie and eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  In other words, it is GOOD.

When I cracked open the magazine, I found a fold-out insert advertising “Neighborday” on April 27th for readers to hang on their front doors – a way to grab the attention of the people they share sidewalks with (or, in my case, a paper thin wall) and start a conversation!

Growing up in Wisconsin, I knew what it meant to really have neighbors.  The family next door had two sons, (the youngest was my first kiss, and the oldest teased me about it for 4 years), and were basically an extension of my own.  I miss that – knowing there’s someone just across the way whose door is always open – that means something tangible in an age when many of our “friends” are a digital headcount on Facebook, doesn’t it?

But as an adult in a big city where we live stacked on top of one another, it is easy to be invisible. Despite seeing each other in the hallway fairly often, I only know my neighbor’s name because I sometimes mistakenly get her mail.  So this year, I’m going to make an effort to meet each of my neighbors and to let them know (assuming none seems mass-murdery) that my door is always open (it’ll actually be locked, but I will open it).

How will you celebrate Neighborday?

And here is a little sampler of the great stuff you can read on GOOD’s website:

The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck – if you click on no other links today, click on this one.  It’ll make you see Monday morning (and life!) in a whole new way.

Why these people have turned their apartment into a part-time restaurant.

Postcards to the Future – early 20th century predictions of 21st century technology.  I particularly love the weather control machine!  If only.

A story about how this guy attempted to draw every building in New York City and why.

The Girl Scouts now have a “Game Developer” badge to get girls excited about technology and science!

Have a great day!  (Oh, and shameless plug – tune in to National Geographic tonight at 9pm EST for the season premiere of my series “Brain Games” – in keeping with today’s theme, it’s SO GOOD!)


The Ball Drop: Holi!


Thousands throw colored powder in sequence every 2 hours during the Holi Festival of Colors, on Saturday, Mar. 24, 2012, at the Lotus Temple, in Spanish Fork, Utah. (Photo by Benjamin B. Morris ©2012)

Anyone who knows me knows that I dress like a box of crayons.  To say I love color would be a massive understatement.  If I could eat color, I would – it gives me that kind of energy.  Red, yellow, blue, you name it – I’m an equal opportunity lover of color – which is why the Holi celebrations every year make me so gosh darn happy.

If you’re not familiar, Holi is the Hindu Festival of Colors and marks the beginning of Spring, something we’re finally beginning to see early signs of here in New York City.  People all over the world get together to celebrate by throwing scented powder and perfume at one another – it’s basically a food fight…but with color.  How fun is that?!

Even celebrities get in on the action – Lauren Conrad posted this picture on herself on twitter following a Holi celebration in India, and I have to say, I think she looks pretty in pink!

I propose that we take Holi to Central Park next year and color-bomb NYC – who’s in?

(Named for the iconic New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, The Ball Drop is a regular feature highlighting cool things happening all over the world.  Whether it’s a small, but unique, family celebration in your backyard, or something so big we can see it from space – let me know all about it!)