fanny & jane’s first talk show!

Our comedian friends Brett Wean and Ben Masten are launching a new “culinary themed variety show” and Fanny & Jane is their first guest! We’re so excited.

Also featured this Sunday night at 8pm will be award-winning Hip Hop Comedy Duo (and two of our best friends), SNAKES, award-winning master improv team, Centralia, and live music, snacks and jokes!

Faryn and I will be showing everyone how to make one of our favorite Fanny & Jane specialties. Come for the variety show, stick around for the free sweet treats!

Sunday
8pm
The Peoples Improv Theater
154 W. 29th btwn 6&7
$5

routine

This is one of my mom’s adorable cats, in one of his rare visits to the main floor of the house while we were in town.

Kevin and I just returned home from a week-long trip to the Chicagoland area. My mom and stepdad have two cats, neither of whom like to spend much time with us when we come to visit, which is pretty funny. We took care of them for a week at Christmastime and even then they barely ventured out to say hello.

I’m not sure I would either if I had a big, old house to run around in and no good reason to acquaint myself with visiting strangers who happen to also smell like cats – BROOKLYN cats – the worst kind.

Still, it was nice to spend some time with the Crystal Lake cats of our family when we did get to see them – they are both adorable.

Can you see little Mocha in the chair on the left? I discovered these two basking in the sun on the warm porch one afternoon. She stared at me for a few minutes, stunned or disgusted – I couldn’t tell which – and then she decided sharing the porch with me would simply not do and she scurried upstairs to her hiding place.

We had a friend stay with our two cats while we were away and he took fabulous care of them. Even so, they were delighted when their mom and dad walked through the door last night.

Look who seems very glad to have Kev back in his usual spot.

He’s drunk with contentedness.

I’m feeling a little bit out of my routines and habits lately – I felt that way even before the trip to Chicago. It was lovely to see family, to get to spend so much time with my mom, and to get to enjoy the spoils of the suburbs (lotsa driving, lotsa good food, and several trips to Kohl’s). I’m glad to be home, though, so that I can get into a bit more of a structured pattern with my workday, my exercise routine and my other commitments.

That said, I’m starting to catch on that there may never be a time when I’m satisfied with my “routine” and how effective it is, or how effectively I’m able to navigate it. Maybe that’s the point.

Oh yes, and the Chicago Improv Festival was a super fun time. Our show went well and we had fun – and thank you so much to anyone and everyone who came out to see the Jen+Steve set! We were sold out! Woot!

on our block

It’s spring and it’s here to stay. I can’t believe it’s almost MAY. Thank God. Late spring and summer are my absolute favorite times of year.

The yards on our block are blooming with flowers, the trees are doing their thang. Every where I look, I see the new season.

I spent today babysitting 6-month-old kids. Their parents live across the park from me and needed some last minute help in a pinch. I might sit for them occasionally if they need coverage when their other sitters can’t do it. The babies, twin boys, are adorable. It was fun and exhausting – phewf!

In the evening, I went to improv practice. Also fun and hard.

I’ve started keeping a log of when I work, how much and what I’m doing. Whether it’s writing, F&J work, improv, sketch or acting stuff, or babysitting, I’m trying to keep track of where I’m spending my time, mostly out of curiosity. I finally have a healthy little career cookin’ here and I’m interested to watch it progress and change.

We leave for Chicago on Thursday, Kevin and I. We’ll be gone for a week. I’m excited to see my family, perform in the Chicago Improv Festival (CIF) with Jen+Steve, and try on some bridesmaids dresses! (Two of my cousins are getting married this summer…) Oh and let’s not forget how much I love driving around and shopping in suburbia. It’s basically the best. Chili’s, anyone?

five months later – where I am now

(Photo by the very talented Eric Michael Pearson. And yes, I wore that outfit on CBS too. I guess I need another nice outfit…)

Harvard Sailing Team was in the Cosmopolitan Magazine blog tonight! These videos just won’t stop. It’s nice. Definitely nice.

Here’s an article I wrote on Gather about the hot press HST’s gotten in the last two days alone.

For my part, I’m having fun with this ride, for sure. I’m also in the midst of learning how to juggle all the stuff that’s popped up lately! Between the bakery, writing for Gather, writing for The Examiner, Harvard Sailing Team, The Baldwins AND Jen+Steve, my life is busy right now! It’s lovely of course, because it’s a wonderful kind of busy filled with all the things I like to do in my life (!!). But you still have to learn to make time for it all. Until yesterday, I hadn’t exercised in a week. I’m still practicing how to strike the balance.

On Thursday of next week, I’m headed to Chicago for the Chicago Improv Festival with Jen+Steve. We were featured in Time Out Chicago yesterday. Pffft. Very nice. Thanks, Chicago! (The other team we’re going with, Swords, was featured in the Chicago Tribune!)

(Photo by Eric Michael Pearson.)

It’s fun to learn to adjust to this new busy lifestyle. I remember the months of January and February, which were dark, cold, boring months when I was so un-busy that I did a 30-Day Yoga Challenge! Ha.

Tomorrow night is an HST show – looking forward to it! We have some great stuff lined up. I mentioned on here a couple months ago that I was taking a 3-month hiatus from the team. Well, hiatus taken, and I’m “coming back” a bit earlier than expected.

Other news? Faryn wrote a great post about Fanny & Jane at the Greenpoint Food Market. If you live in NYC and you haven’t been to the GFM, you should come. You guys! It’s totally cute and great. They’ve got live music. It’s indoors, which is not quite as fabulous as being outdoors in the warmer months, but it’s not that big of a place so you can do the whole thing in less than an hour, and the atmosphere is so fun and lively, you barely miss being outside. So many fabulous, up and coming Brooklyn food vendors present their wares at this market, and most offer free samples.

Last, but certainly not least in this update, I took a yoga class today for the first time in a very long time. It was bliss. And I also hung out with little Otto Grimwood today, who always reminds me what being in the moment looks like.

mostly just cat photos

I went out with friends from improv last night after our rehearsal and had a great time. I’m paying for it a bit today, but I’m so glad I got to chat with those people, swap stories, share mini dramas and major dramas and talk about our lives. It’s so lovely to do that every once in a while.

The final Valentine’s Day deliveries are being made today and then we will officially be DONE with Valentine’s Day as a company. What a relief. Kevin and I cannot wait to spend Sunday cleaning our apartment (we’ll see if we get to that…but we really should) and relaxing. Maybe we’ll go catch a movie too. And then on Monday night he’s taking me out for a special surprise date. Yay!

a weddin’ weekend

You know how sometimes you go to a really fun wedding? Just one of those great times where the perfect combination of friends, love, family, little kids dancing, a big buffet of food and an open bar comes together and you all have one a fantastic day that you’ll always remember?

On Saturday, my dear friend Phil Wells got married! This is a photo of my (and your) friend Greg and me. Keith Huang took this shot with his iPhone, an art which he seems to be perfecting. Thanks for all these great shots, Keith!

You might remember Phil from this very early entry on follow my bliss, or perhaps you’ve ventured over to Phil’s blog before. Phil is one of my oldest friends from the improv world – he was in my very first-ever improv class and I remember looking at him and thinking “This might be the only normal guy in here.” Turns out there were a lot of “normal” people in that class, lots of lovely people, and I also finally learned to stop judging people so much, but that’s a blog entry for another time. But Phil remains one of the best guys I know.

And on Saturday, he and his new wife Alli, and his family and her family threw a fantastic party. It was just one of those weddings that was a FUN, easy, simple, creative, delightful time. The focus was on eating, drinking, laughing, dancing and congratulating the happy couple. And oohboy did they look happy. It was just an absolute joy to see. If my (eventual) wedding can be half as fun as Phil and Alli’s, I will be thrilled.

It was a day wedding, which I was skeptical about when I was trudging through the snow at 8am in my fancy boots heading to New Jersey Transit. But the ceremony was short and sweet and when we had our first drinks in our hand around 2pm during the (delightful!) cocktail hour, which was complete with so many varieties of yummy passed appetizers that you couldn’t believe your eyes, I decided the day wedding wasn’t so bad afterall. (I guess you can see where my priorities lie.) We partied into the evening and ended up back at Phil and Alli’s hotel around 7:30pm, which might as well have been 3am as far as we were all concerned. And the party continued.

Kevin and I arrived home at 12midnight on the nose. We’d sprinted through the snow to the bus outside the hotel, the one that would take us right back to the city, successfully boarded that bus, nobody lost any wallets or cell phones, and everyone’s feet hurt. Good party.

Congrats to Phil and Alli who deserve all the happiness in the world. And my admiration goes out to Alli who seems to have softened the heart of my friend Phil, a guy who likes to tell people he’s “dead inside.” (He is SO not.)

Also? I have great friends and I had a great time with my great friends!! It was just SO MUCH FUN. I’ve made that clear, right?

It was a tiring but refreshing time and Kevin and I spent yesterday recovering and doing some Fanny & Jane work, but not as much as maybe we should have. Today, I have much, much more work to do. So I’m going to get my podcasts up and running (I like to listen to old Car Talk episodes while I bake) and get to work.

Today is Day 23 of the Yoga Challenge and I cannot wait to go to class tonight. One week, seven days, left. And even though it will be nice to feel the accomplishment of hitting the 30 Day mark, I will be a little bummed when it’s over. I might have to do some other kind of 30 day challenge just to carry me into the month of March, because, frankly, Spring cannot arrive soon enough for me.

charlie’s cake + the halloween recap

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Last week, I got an email from my friend Dave that said, Can you make a cake for my friend’s birthday in less than two days?

Now, granted, it only takes a chunk of a day to make a cake, but I had to find somewhere to fit that chunk if I wanted to get it done. And my schedule was already pretty tight with a dozen of other obligations.

But in the spirit of not being at a desk job, and my time being my own, and having complete say over what I do and don’t do – I decided to take on the challenge.

So I got to work, and ended up making one of the best cakes, in my opinion anyway, that Fanny & Jane has ever created. It’s a double chocolate coffee cake. And I want some of it now.

(By the way, our online store is slotted to open tomorrow, Monday!)

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I’m really glad I decided to take Dave’s order to make a birthday cake for his friend Charlie. It sounds like Charlie, who is a guy in his seventies!, liked the cake and was really happy to have had a birthday party thrown for him by his buddies.

And for me personally, even though it was a time management challenge, I ended up learning some valuable lessons about this new life I’m living. Plus, it was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I’d SO MUCH RATHER BE DOING THIS THAN WORKING AT THAT DESK JOB.

I’m sorry for yelling. But I had to emphasize it.

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I had a super fun Halloween, probably one of the best in years. But I don’t have any photos to share! I left my camera battery in our apartment last night accidentally! Gah! Or at least that’s what I thought I’d done. But as it turns out, it was stashed in my backpack, which I had with me all night, the entire time and I just didn’t realize it. Either way, no photos. Boo.

I went as the Wicked Witch of the West – complete with green face paint, a green nose, black lips, fingernails and eyebrows, striped leggings, green shoes and an awesome hat and broom. And Kev was a cowboy! He owns a nice Stetson hat, so he wore that, with cowboy boots, a cowboy shirt, tight black jeans and a big silver belt buckle. He looked smokin’.

I performed in the last Oddbody’s Camp Baldwin show of the year (awww!) at 7pm and it was fantastic – great show, great crowd, so much fun. It has to be one of my very favorite theatrical experiences ever, performing horror improv with the Baldwins in that show.

I wore our regular “camper” costume for that show, but then I immediately dashed off to the Harvard Sailing Team pre-show rehearsal and changed into my witch outfit. We all dressed up as whatever we wanted and it was the first time we’d ever done a show that way! It was such a blast. My favorite of the costumes, were Clayton’s bag of jellybeans and Katie’s Carmen Sandiego. Both very original and adorable. But everyone looked fantastic. It was certainly hard to perform an almost hour-long show in a full witch outfit, but I did it.

And then we partied. It was Faryn’s birthday so we went back to her apartment in Prospect Heights Brooklyn for a big fiesta. Jello shots, fancy cocktails and pumpkin cookies with frosting were served. YUM. I was exhausted by the time we rolled into our apartment at whatever a.m. and so relieved to have the time change on our side.

It was an awesome evening. And now I’m gearing up for the week ahead. I think I’ll stay up late working tonight – lots to do, all fun stuff.

things are revving up

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It’s 3:30am and I’m up. I’m nocturnal. I always naturally have been. My grandmother is too. (Except then she still wakes up at 6:30am. I do not.)

This is a photo from a Harvard Sailing Team photo shoot back in March, I think. The talented photographer and delightfully nice guy, Eric Michael, photographed us for half a day. (He also takes great photos of my best friends, Billy and Adam, for their hip hop comedy duo, Snakes.)

That’s me in the photo, taking the picture, Chris on the left and Clayton on the right. We’re all being weird.

So, today was another long one. It was raining today. I went to a therapy session, met Kevin for lunch, finally bought a Halloween costume, then I came home and baked a cake.

Next on the agenda was to head back out to see Kevin’s improv show and perform in my own. Disappointingly, I tried to do some yoga before I left and I ended up not having enough time to finish the podcast I was listening to. It’s only 25 minutes long but I just didn’t have time. Boo. That was unfortunate.

After the improv shows, which were funny and silly, I came home, baked another double batch of cake and made a big batch of frosting. Kevin frosted the first cake (God bless him) and then I wrote “Happy Birthday Charlie” on it. And then we cleaned the kitchen up. And here I am.

And I am wiped out.

In other news, here’s another behind the scenes photo from that HST shoot.

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This is Adam and Chris.

My friend Dave emailed me yesterday and asked if I could bake a Fanny & Jane cake for his friend’s birthday in two days. That’s a rush order, especially since I have three other orders this week to work on. Had I still been working at the desk job, I almost certainly would have said no. But because, theoretically, I have the time, I was able to say yes. It was fun to bake the cake and much better work than sitting at a desk.

Suddenly, I feel busy.

Tomorrow I’m helping Adam and Maggie move, then doing more baking – have to finish my three other orders, and then we’re having girls birthday drinks with Faryn.

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Faryn, left. Me, right.

Friday evening is our new Brooklyn Supper Club – at my house – and in addition to cooking, I have to deliver Fanny & Jane sweets during the day.

Saturday, Halloween, I’ll have the day totally free. Yes! And then I’ll go perform in the Oddbody show and the Harvard Sailing Team show.

On Sunday, we rest.

It’s interesting to me now that I sit down to write about this – I’ve realized something. Yes, that’s a good amount of stuff, and yes, I have to run around to a lot of different places. Frankly, that might be the most exhausting part. Everything you do in this city requires a solid 10-25 minutes of walking to get there, even if you take the subway. You still have to walk to the subway, and up the stairs and down.

You know this. Why am I telling you this.

The point is, it can be exhausting running around this city. And I felt exhausted today. And when I sat down to figure out a schedule for myself for the next few days, since I have lots of little things to accomplish, I felt overwhelmed by how much there was to organize. Also, cutting short that yoga session today really bummed me out. I shouldn’t have done that.

But, ah ha, it’s still all better than the damn office! Of course it is. I’d gladly run around this town doing these things – helping my best friend move, delivering sweets for my bakery business, performing in comedy shows, going to therapy – any day. It’s great, really.

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This is Billy.

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This is Adam.

So I’m going to stop fretting about “much I have to do” in the next few days, because really? I don’t. It’s not that much. And everything I do have to do is fun.

Oh and I’m going to make more time to do yoga. Period.

work and play

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I still don’t know what I’m going to be for Halloween! Eep! I have a Halloween-style improv show tonight. And I also have two shows on Halloween evening itself – The Strange Box of Dr. Oddbody Presents Camp Baldwin, which is improv comedy in the style of horror movies (it’s good and scary!), and the Harvard Sailing Team Halloween Special, which should be a pretty spooky time too. (Go to www.thepit-nyc.com for details.) After those shows are over, we’re all heading back to Faryn’s apartment in Brooklyn because Halloween is also her birthday! So we’ll get our party on in funny costumes. Oh boy.

But before I get to do all that, I have to bust through two solid days of baking, baking, baking. I have a LOT of Fanny & Jane baking to do today and tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it, but it’s also my first time trying to really organize everything so that I’m not tearing my hair out or staying up until 6am in order to get everything done. So I’m a little anxious about how best to make it all happen.

I suppose the best thing for me to do is just get started!