Official Rules (and Disclaimers) for The (S)OCMLITDG: The (Semi) Official “Chicago Med” Live Interactive Twitter Drinking Game

Hi friends!

I had so much fun with our drinking game during last week’s premiere of “Chicago Med” on NBC that I want to hang out with all of you again! So this week, let’s change it up a bit, and do it live on Twitter as we watch. Follow me @pattimurin, tune in to NBC at 9 PM EST (8 PM CST, sorry West Coast!), and review this list of official rules and disclaimers that I am most likely legally required to state so I don’t get sued.

  1. By “Drinking Game,” that does NOT mean alcohol. You may choose any liquid of choice, including but not limited to: wine, water, Diet Coke, chocolate milk, beer, V8, V8 Splash, V8 V-Fusion, V8 V-Fusion + Energy, Red Bull, peach Schnapps, prune juice, champagne, etc etc etc. Hell, you can take a bite of a sandwich instead of drinking for all I care.
  2. If you ARE drinking alcohol, I’m assuming you are over 21. Right, friends?
  3. If you are drinking alcohol, PLEASE don’t be an idiot. Stay home in your cozy PJs to watch, or have a Designated Driver who is absolutely not swallowing any alcohol or consuming any drugs tonight. I mean, this is a medical show. Let’s not contribute to the plethora of drunk driving storylines we are unfortunately destined to see in the upcoming seasons, okay?
  4. BE NICE! Be nice. Just be nice! Maybe apply this rule to your every day tweeting. And living.
  5. Use the hashtag #ChicagoMed so all the folks at NBC can see how much fun we are having!
  6. Feel free to tweet me any fun (clean) pictures or stories or comments! I like interacting with all of you!

T(S)OCMPEDG: The (Semi) Official “Chicago Med” Premiere Episode Drinking Game

2015_ChicagoMed_S1_KeyArt_1920x1080_CC

It’s here, it’s here! The premiere of Dick Wolf’s latest installment in the “Chicago” series, “Chicago Med,” debuts tonight! It follows “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” to further develop the world of the men and women who work to protect, heal and serve the people of the city of Washington, DC. Just kidding, they’re in Chicago. (Note to self: Find a whole lot of ways to say “Chicago” without using the word “Chicago.”)

I tried to write a recap of this episode, but I found that I just couldn’t. I love recapping The Bachelor franchise, but I just couldn’t figure out how to voice this one. So I’ve decided to leave it to the professionals and instead create….T(S)OCMPEDG: The (Semi) Official “Chicago Med” Premiere Episode Drinking Game! So pick your poison: beer, wine, hard liquor, apple juice, seltzer, tune in to NBC at 9PM EST (8 PM CST), and be sure to follow me and tweet me as the night progresses! @PattiMurin

FULL DISCLOSURE: The man playing Dr. Connor Rhodes is my husband. I am married to him and I love him. Hopefully you are able to refrain from vomiting as you read this., although if you do vomit I take absolutely no responsibility and you probably should have cut yourself off at the first incision. Also, how cute is my husband???

Here we go!!!

Take a sip every time:

1. You literally want to squish Oliver Platt’s face and soul with your own heart.

2. Someone uses a string of medical terms that leaves your jaw on the floor in amazement.

3. A character from one of the other two Chicago shows makes an appearance.

4. You get lost deep in the endless pool of blue eyes that belong to Dr. Connor Rhodes (Im shwaaaaaaasted!!!!jkahwi).

5. Someone you are watching the show with has a very strong and loud vocal opinion about the ethical/moral storyline this week and you need them to be quiet cause you can’t hear the TV.

6. You see ER Nurse April Sexton smize and you unconsciously melt a little.

7. You get a little turned on by the underlying tension between hot male doctors.

8. You can’t decide who would make a more fun best friend, sassy charge nurse Maggie or curmudgeonly neurosurgeon Dr. Abrams.

9. Sarah Reese reminds you of your first days in a scary new situation and you try to hand her a vodka shot through the TV.

10. You find yourself making up stupid “ship” names for the new characters, like “Manstead” and “Sexodes.” Bonus points if you tweet me some of your own creation!

11. You say to someone, “I always liked redheads, and now I DEFINITELY like them!” even though you’ve never really liked redheads until Dr. Halstead came along.

12. You are in awe and also a little terrified of an excellent child actor.

13. You want S. Epatha Merkerson’s Sharon Goodwin to be your sister, godmother, aunt, cousin, BFF, anything so that you can feel comfortable asking her for advice about boys and college and jobs and stuff.

14. Your eyes well up, and you can’t even blame the alcohol you’re imbibing right now. Actually, take like 2 sips for that. I mean, I dare you not to accidentally chug your drink in its entirety.

15. You catch the super sly Brian Tee (who plays Dr. Ethan Choi) reference in the episode. (Hint: pay attention to Dr. Charles.)

16. You decide that you’re only traveling on cruise ships for the rest of your life before realizing that those aren’t safe anymore either.

17. If you’re a doctor and you think, “Hey, my scrubs don’t fit as well as theirs…”

18. Dr. Nat Manning gives you hot pregnant mom goals, holy crap that girl can ACT goals, and squad goals.

And just down the whole thing when:

The episode ends and you realize you have to wait a whole week for a new one BUT OH WAIT CHICAGO FIRE IS ON NEXT THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!

Thanks for playing, and I hope that you’ll tune in next week for more “Chicago Med” fun! Now go eat a bagel, drink 14 glasses of water, and pop an Advil. You have to work tomorrow.

2015 NBCUniversal's press tour

Celebrities attend 2015 NBCUniversal’s press tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Featuring: Colin Donnell Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 13 Aug 2015 Credit: Brian To/WENN.com

Last Week, Carrots Tried to Kill Me.

Last week, carrots tried to kill me.

I’ve always been very aware of my super weird allergies/sensitivities to apples, carrots, and many others natural foods. From the time I was about 24, most people thought I was faking it just to get out of eating my fruits and vegetables. But they couldn’t ignore the fact that when I ate a carrot, my lips would get itchy. And if the actor I was playing opposite had an apple with lunch before we rehearsed the kissing scene, my face would get all red and swollen with hives. Eventually I figured out that I most likely had Oral Allergy Syndrome, which basically means that because I have really bad seasonal allergies to birch trees specifically, raw tree fruits (apples, peaches, pears, plums) and raw root vegetables (carrots, celery, beets) are not very fun to eat. As long as these foods were processed in any way, they were completely edible and there was no irritation.

Y8kAtWdtNd-2So because of that, I’ve had no issue with smoothies or juices, or anything else I would eat to try and make up for the nutrition I was missing. Tropical fruits, great. All forms of lettuce? Awesome. It was just those raw apple slices in a salad or the couple of carrot sticks I ate with my buffalo wings that caused a problem.

Imagine my surprise when this past Tuesday, while drinking carrot juice (THAT I HAVE DRANK MANY TIMES BEFORE, thank you), my lips started to feel that familiar itch. I was in a music rehearsal for a reading, and when it became clear that my eyes were starting to swell, I left the room and took a Zyrtec. Approximately three minutes later, my eyes were almost swollen shut and the brilliant people in charge of this rehearsal (shout out to Eric, Will, Marc and Joel!) had called 911. The ambulance took about 10 minutes to arrive and in that time, my tongue swelled up to the size of my mouth, my breathing canal was getting thinner, and I could no longer speak. The tips of my fingers were starting to tingle and go numb, and all I could do was lay my head on Will, drool and concentrate on breathing. Apparently the EMTs were cute, so obviously I threw up on one of them. They gave me all sorts of epinephrine and Benadryl and steroids and morphine, loaded me into the ambulance (after carrying me down two flights of stairs on a folding chair) and rushed me to the emergency room.

I stayed the night in the ICU and got a constant stream of drugs for about 24 hours. No news to me, but you should know that my friends are amazing. From the one who went to my house, got me new clothes, and took my pukey jeans home AND WASHED THEM FOR ME (thank you Lindsay!), to the one who came as soon as she heard what happened (Danielle!), to the ones who watched over me every minute until my husband could get there (Andrew & Mike, you guys). My husband left his fancy TV show set in Chicago as soon as he heard and flew home for about 12 hours, just to see me and kiss my big duck lips. Guys, I literally looked like an entire episode of “Botched.”

Look at all the parties I went to last night!

Look at all the parties I went to last night!

And my parents, who I of course delivered the news to with a phone call that started, “Don’t freak out,” leaving them to freak out, as parents do. They kept in constant contact with me until they could come the next day and help me out of the hospital. I’m pretty sure they were way more worried than they showed, but they kept their cool about everything.

Not to mention my best friends/sisters who received my texts and scary swollen face pictures with the proper amounts of concern and humor. Pam, Kat, Heather & Julie, you help me find the humor in anything.

It didn’t actually hit me what a shock my body went through, or how much it was going to affect my physically until a day later. I actually left the hospital and went to an audition like an idiot. By that time, my husband was back in Chicago and I was trying to be myself at rehearsal while hiding my shaky hands and pinspot vision. I got out of breath every time I tried to sing. When it came to being “on” and “Patti!” I could fake it until the cows came home. It was only when I went home that I asked what I was doing and who I was doing it for.

So for the next week, I’m going to do an exercise in putting myself first and see how it feels. As an actor, I feel like that’s the only thing I ever do, but what I’ve actually been doing is putting my career self first. Not my actual self. My priorities have been:

  1. Patti Murin!!!
  2. Me.

So it’s time to stop. Look, I’m well aware that I am incredibly lucky to eat whatever junk food I want and still be naturally skinny. I’ve felt guilty about this, because most females don’t tend to be quiet about their jealousy, and because I’ve made myself feel bad about it, like it’s something I don’t deserve. This guilt has forced me to eat more “healthy” foods, even if they make my lips itch. Better itchy lips than the death stare of someone eating a salad while I shove fries in my face, right?

NO. So I say, fuck vegetables. They may be healthy for other people, but to me they are just a little crunchy army of murderers. I embrace my weird quirks and this lot I have been given in life. People almost die every day because they’re trying to be “healthier.” I will do what I can to feel good about in my own body and skin, but I won’t conform anymore. I like ice cream too much.

And I am back on the road to recovery now, equipped with an EpiPen everywhere I go. Thank you in advance for your well wishes. Just don’t send flowers. I’m allergic to them.

My new best friend.

My new best friend.

Can’t Go Over It, Can’t Go Around It, Must Go Through It

You wake up in the morning, and you feel fine. You walk the dogs, and you feel fine. You kiss your husband goodbye and head out for the day, and you feel fine. Your annual checkup goes quickly, and she doesn’t make you feel old for not having a baby yet, which is something to feel good about. You decide to walk across the park instead of taking the bus, and on the way you leave a voicemail for your friend, in which you detail out your day: “I just went to the doctor, and now I’m heading to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up some stuff for the apartment, and then I’m going to FlyBarre. Oh my goodness, I sound like a…35 year old, because that is what I’m going to be in just a few months.” You continue walking, your head swirling. Is today any different than yesterday? Didn’t I do this last week too? Isn’t this what I do, almost every day of my life now? Gym, errands, volunteer, read. A nap around 3. Dinner with my husband when he comes home from his busy day of actual work and acting. HGTV. Go to bed, wake up, repeat. What am I doing with my life? Who am I? Did I accidentally give up on myself?

You enter Bed Bath & Beyond in a trance, that familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach. It starts as a small little seed, right underneath your heart. Sometimes a deep breath takes care of it, but today that isn’t the case. It expands slowly, spreading its invisible poison to your stomach lining, a warm sour feeling that makes your lungs feel like they’re being attacked by a thin cloud of smoke. They seize up, and your breath starts coming a little shorter. All this time, you are pushing your cart around the store, trying to concentrate on hangers and spatulas. Every person you smile at who doesn’t smile back feels like a personal affront, an ice cube in stomach, and you wonder why you bother. You head to the toiletry section, which is normally one of your happy places, but it’s difficult to focus your eyes on anything. Each item you place in your cart is a a miniature attempt to seal up the hole that is slowly opening in your gut, but the thrill of picking it up vanishes as soon as you claim it as your own. You text your husband, “It’s one of those days.” When he immediately writes back with his love and support, the knot travels up to your throat, and you have a vision of a world in which you sit down right by the Oxi-Clean and let the tears flow. But you don’t.

With a few deep breaths and the grace of an exceptionally kind cashier, you make it outside. Your husband suggested that exercise might make you feel a little better, and while you doubt anything can help, you head to the studio. The sun is shining and you are able to recognize the beauty surrounding you, but are unable to participate. Your mind is both quiet and racing at the same time with incoherent thoughts that you don’t have the energy to finish.

Class begins, and having something to focus on helps the smallest bit. You find yourself smiling tentatively at your instructor, who you don’t know, but he treats every individual in class like a best friend. You find yourself working harder so the man radiating kindness and positive energy will notice you and cheer you on. Towards the end of the 45 minute class, when this joyful man breaks into an impromptu ballet combination that exudes freedom and surrender, you realize you are breathing normally again. You check in with your brain and see that it has calmed itself a bit.

You walk home through the same world you were in just an hour ago, but now it is different. Yellow looks like yellow again, and green is bright and lush. You are a part of the world again. If you can get through a moment, you can get through a day.

Can’t go over it, can’t go around it, must go through it.

Where Are They Now: Cinderella

429857_10150710670400450_1995431246_nOnce upon a time, there lived a beautiful girl named Ella. Her mother died when she was just a baby, and her beloved father remarried, as men are wont to do, even in Medieval-seeming times when women would most definitely get their heads cut off for even thinking about finding a new life partner after their first one had passed. Ella’s stepmother was a cruel, wicked lady who had raised two cruel, wicked daughters, much to the surprise of no one. When Ella’s father tragically died in some kind of forest/hunting/carriage accident, the poor girl was left alone with the three women on earth who hated her most. They immediately declared her the maid, forced her to sleep by the fireplace and took away her fancy clothes and jewels in exchange for rags and a head scarf. They also renamed her “Cinderella,” because she constantly had soot on her face. Which, when you think about it, isn’t exactly a terribly clever name. Like, would I be “Cinderpatti?” Or these days, would it be “Cinderkaitlyn?” “Cindervanessa?” “Cindergwendolyn?” Ugh, that would never into those bubble Scantron forms.

Anyway, we all know the rest of the story. Fairy godmother, royal ball, the Prince falls in love with Cinderella but she has to go or she’ll turn into a pumpkin, she loses her shoe, he finds her because no one in the whole wide world wears size 6 except Cinderella, they move into the castle and get married and live happily ever after, leaving those cruel witches behind. But then what……?

There are no true sequels to fairy tales. And I’m not talking about the straight to DVD ones that Disney does. I mean REAL sequels, where we find out what happened to the key players in the story. I’m here to reveal the truth. I bring you….

“Where Are They Now: Fairy Tale Edition”

A few weeks after Cinderella and Prince Charming celebrated their union with a glorious wedding (to which Cinderella graciously allowed her evil stepmother and stepsisters), Charming resumed his duties as Prince, which mainly consisted of hunting, not picking up the small animals he killed because he doesn’t like blood, pretending to swordfight, having a casual ale at the tavern with his pals from royal prep school, and studying to be King. Cinderella decided to reclaim her former name, Ella. She acquainted herself with the castle grounds, and found that there were many wooded areas for all of her furry friends to play. She built homes for them out of sticks and mud, and often came home as dirty as she was back in her housekeeper-of-her-own-house days.

You see, as Ella had never socialized with young ladies before, she did not know how to behave like one. She joined a book club that some of the ladies-in-waiting had formed, but found their first book choice, “The Help,” to be entirely unrealistic. She watched “Royal Kingdom Idol” religiously, but found herself scoffing at the talent they had found, knowing that she could sing circles of birds around every contestant’s head. Little by little, she found herself spending the majority of her time with the mice, rabbits, and birds who lived in the Royal Animal Kingdom (pretty unimaginative name, if you ask me) than with actual humans.

Yes, she still came in every evening to have dinner with Prince Charming, and to ask him about his day. But she was lonely. Her vocabulary wasn’t very large, since she had stopped talking to nice people at age 8, and so she had a lot of trouble making connections with the people of her kingdom. She spent most of her time with her furry friends, or alone.

One night, as Ella headed up to her bedroom chamber, she overheard two of her handmaidens gossiping and chattering. Curious, she hid behind the wall and listened to what they had to say:

“Oh, that girl is such a joke,” said the first one, the one with the big mole on her face. “She sure is beautiful and it’s pretty neat that she wears the only Size 6 shoe in the kingdom, but she’s essentially socially retarded.”

“I know!” exclaimed the second maid, the one who resembled a gnome, if gnomes were blonde. “Every time I try to speak to her, she mumbles and gets all flustered!”

“Well,” replied the mole-y maid confidentially, “maybe if she started spending more time with us humans, instead of talking to those disgusting mice all day. THEN she would be the Princess everyone in the land was hoping she would be.”

Dismayed, Ella turned away. She felt hurt. She felt sadness. But most of all, she was PISSED.

I mean, seriously?? First, her mom died when she was a baby. Then, her dad remarried the bitchiest woman in the kingdom, which means he was an IDIOT, and she was forced to make nice with her two stupid daughters. Then dad died, she had to be a maid in the house she once owned, and she had to sleep on a freaking cement floor. And now that all of her wishes had come true, people thought she was a freak?? Well OF COURSE she was a freak. She knew how to make tunics for mice, for Christ’s sake.

Ella went to bed that night, boiling over with this newfound emotion called “rage.” When she woke up the next morning, it was the beginning of a new era for the kingdom.

“Hey, Charming. Get your ass out of bed. No hunting today. Actually, no hunting, ever. I’m sick of you shooting your bows and arrows and crap into my buddies. Try going for a run by the lake instead. You’re getting a spare tire from all that ale.”

“To the people of the Royal Kingdom! I hereby declare that anyone with the name ‘Ella’ be named something else. I don’t care what, just not my name. It’s my freaking name, and I want it back. Thanks, bye!”

“Hey, handmaidens! Good news! You’re totally getting promoted. I’m going to let you work for the King now! You’ll get to wipe his old feeble chin when he dribbles pureéd carrots down it, and pick up his scepter every time he drops it, which averages like, every three seconds or so. And best of all, you get to bathe him! Good luck, sluts!”

Ella continued on this path of self-righteous rage until animals had more rights than humans, Charming developed an eating disorder, and she crowned herself Royal Kingdom Idol and held weekly concerts in the Town Square with mandatory attendance. The people became petrified of this formerly sweet, golden-hearted beauty, and life in the kingdom turned sour. The smiles faded, the singing ceased (except Ella’s, of course), and everything turned gray.

One day, Ella was on her daily shopping spree through the Royal Bazaar, when she heard something. She stopped in her tracks and gestured to her entourage to shush. It was a sound she had heard once before, but she couldn’t quite place it.

There it was again! Sort of like a high, tinkling bell that went up and down in range. Ella rushed through the bazaar to the farthest, most hidden corner, and couldn’t believe what she saw in front of her.

It was her former stepsisters, laughing. And like, laughing happily, not because they were being mean. They were dressed in rags with dirt on their faces, eating cold soup, sitting outside of the cardboard boxes they now lived in. But they exuded such joy, in spite of their seemingly tragic circumstances, that Ella began to weep.

And it struck her: “I am just like they were,” she thought. “I have turned into the evil stepsister of this kingdom. My power has driven me mad.” And the major epiphany: “I WAS HAPPIER WHEN I WAS IN RAGS.”

Ella immediately called for a town meeting. She humbly addressed her people from the balcony:

“I hereby apologize profusely for becoming a tyrant, a monster, a huge wench-y shrew. You deserve my love and my understanding. I hope we can start over again. I will still be Royal Kingdom Idol, but next year I will judge the competition instead of competing. Oh yes, and the Prince will be home soon from rehab, as he has gained at least 15 pounds back!”

From then on, she tried her best. That’s not to say she didn’t slip sometimes and fall into a power-hungry frame of mind, but hey, nobody’s perfect. Not even Princesses.

The moral of this story? If you look for something exterior to save you, the unrest will always come back. You have the power to make your own happiness.

Also, don’t put a severely emotionally damaged former house servant in political power without a ton of therapy first.

“35 For 35”

Five years ago, when we turned 30, my best friend Julie came up with the brilliant idea to make a list of 30 things we wanted to do in the year that we were 30 years old. Thus, “30 For 30” was born. Julie, our other best friend Heather and I each made up a carefully thought out list of goals we wanted to reach, activities we wanted to try, and dreams we wanted to get closer to. Some were big, some were small. Some were life changing, some were just for fun. Some were emotional, some were physical. There was no pressure to finish, we just had to commit to being as alive and challenged as possible as we began the next decade of our lives.

35 and loving it (it meaning the filters on these newfangled iPhone apps)

35 and loving it (it meaning the filters on these newfangled iPhone apps)

Julie went camping and showed some of her magnificent drawings in an art exhibit, but never dyed her hair red. Heather went hiking, skiing and cut back on her TV watching, but she didn’t pamper herself once a month like she wanted to. I went to Ireland and I baked bread, but I definitely DID NOT train for a triathlon. I mean, come on. Even thinking about buying a bike for that one gave me severe anxiety, and everyone here knows how much I love shopping.

When the year ended, I finished 21 of these items completely, was in progress on 4 more, and did not complete 5. Not too bad for a year’s work.

I turned 35 just a few days ago, and as I’m in a bit of a transitional stage of life (new city, new husband, temporarily unemployed), I decided to give it another go, this time with “35 For 35.” 35 things that I want to concentrate on for the next year. It was a bit more difficult to make this list, which must be evidence of how many things I have done, and how fulfilled I am in most areas of my life at the moment. And maybe I’ve gotten slightly more realistic. Or lazy. Whatever it is, I’ve thought and edited and slaved over this list, and now I need people to hold me accountable. You people, to be exact. It’s like how they say that when you want to lose weight, you should tell friends about it loudly so your ego becomes part of the game, and then you don’t want to look bad by not going to the gym or stuffing your face with a cheeseburger in front of these so-called friends. So let’s play that game now with my “35 For 35.” Although no cheeseburger shaming. I don’t respond well to anyone taking my food away.

PATTI’S “35 FOR 35”

1. No more emotional cutting.

I get this phrase from my friend Andrew, and it mainly relates to the Internets and all the damage it can do to our souls and moods and brains. Every time I look at the Instagram of someone from my past, that’s a little cut. When I check the theatre websites to see which roles are cast that I didn’t even go in for, that’s another little cut. When I keep following someone on Twitter even though their whole feed is one gigantic humble (or not-so-humble) brag, it’s a big fat cut that won’t shut up. After a while, those cuts add up, and I am sadder than I was before. No more, I say!

2. Send birthday cards through the US Postal Service, on time, to friends and family.

3. Research LASIK and get it done if possible.

4. Drink sauvignon blanc in New Zealand.

5. Be on a TV show.

Confession: I already know that an episode of “Royal Pains” that I did recently will be airing next summer, so this is kind of cheating if I don’t actually book another TV show. Sue me.

6. Complete a draft of a TV pilot.

7. Publish one blog a week.

This may be the toughest one, and it’s not because I don’t love writing. The weeks just go by so fast! And if I’m not inspired when I start writing, I’m not great at sitting in front of my computer and not somehow drifting to inourhandsrescue.org to see what new puppies will be at our adoption events that weekend.

8. Eat a freaking cronut.

Can’t believe I have to put this on a freaking list to do it.

9. Commit to doing the project I have in my head and actually do it.

10. Read all of the books on my shelves that I have not yet read, and donate the ones I have no interest in reading.

This should not be difficult, except the one I’m reading right now is 1200 pages, so I will see you in 2019.

11. Take a writing class at Second City.

12. Learn to like eating peppers.

13. Call at least one human being a day.

Yeah, I’m going there. One. Human. Being. EVERY. DAY. Today was my dentist’s office, which seems like cheating, but I did it!

14. Relearn how to speak Spanish.

15. Play the clarinet again.

I apologize in advance to all of my neighbors and my husband. Hopefully those 8 years of lessons aren’t completely erased from my brain.

16. Learn how to cook 5 new meals.

17. Volunteer on a wildlife rescue mission.

18. Run 5 5Ks.

Ugh. I hesitate to even type this one. Gross.

19. Keep $1 in my pocket everywhere I go, so I’m always ready to give it to a homeless person.

20. Greatly reduce my addiction to my iPhone.

I mean, this is one we could all benefit from, am I right? Sometimes I look at my phone in the morning before I look at my husband. That’s the sign of a problem. Therefore, I shall devise some sort of plan where I am less addicted to my iPhone. I have no idea how to do this.

21. Pay off my student loans.

Yeah, I’m 35. It’s just sad now.

22. Visit one museum per month.

23. Create photo albums.

For those of you who are NOT 35, “photo albums” were actual physical books that you would put the “prints” of your photos in, which you would get “developed” at “Wal-Mart.” They could be removed at will, and were generally arranged chronologically or thematically. I shall undertake this task.

24. Make peace with my body image.

No matter who you are, what size you are, how old you are, chances are you are at constant war with your head about how you look and feel. The humans in this world who have learned how to accept and love and be proud of their shapes and figures and features and individual beauty are heroes to me. By this time next year, I would like to be a hero too.

25. Reevaluate my relationship with alcohol.

That’s just a whole separate blog in the making. Stay tuned.

26. Be on Broadway again.

Hey, I put this on my “30 For 30,” and it worked, so let’s throw caution to the wind and try again.

27. Read one inspirational book per month. 

28. Stop apologizing for everything. 

My go-to phrase is “Sorry!” Even when I know it’s not my fault, or anyone’s fault for that matter. Sometimes I say it just so someone will respond with, “It’s not your fault!” Assuming that’s some sick subconscious way of making someone forgive me before I can beat myself up over whatever dumb thing I didn’t do. So, let’s stop doing that!

29. Go to the ballet and the opera.

30. Get paid actual money to write.

I’m not asking to be the next op-ed columnist in the New York Times. I mean, like someone pays me $50 to recap a TV show or something. Or like hundreds of thousands of dollars for my TV pilot. Dream big, friends, dream big.

31. BE ON TIME.

I never used to be late. I was actually always 10 minutes early. Then a few years ago when the big life change happened (divorce, not early onset menopause), I stopped caring as much about all of the dumb things I cared about. Unfortunately, this led to me being late a lot. And then I realized that everyone else is late all the time, so why should I care if I was? Unfortunately again, it’s still rude and disrespectful. Punctuality, the most sexy quality that you never actually notice in a woman.

32. Stop playing Candy Crush.

This one hurts. This one hurts really bad. Like, I can barely keep my fingers off the Delete button. Oh man, it hurts. But I gotta do it. I have a whole year though, right?

33. Make exercising more about enjoyment instead of calorie-burning.

34. Take a ballet class.

35. See my wine glass as always being half full.

Over the past 5ish years I’ve become an accidental pessimist. I had always taken pride in how positive I was, and so the day I realized that was no longer the case, I was a little heartbroken. Something stole my sunshine along the way, and I let it happen. It’s time for me to get it back for good.

So, there we have it. “35 For 35.” I realize that I may not do some of these things, but as I said before, the point is to always be working toward something. Just perhaps not a triathlon.

Here She Is, Miss America

Call it what you want! Yes, the Miss America organization has had a long history of conflict, dealing with accusations of sexism, racism, and sizeism, and they’ve always seemed a liiiiiitle behind the pack when it comes to change and social reformation. But they try. They really, really try. From its humble beginnings in 1921, when the contest was held on the Atlantic City boardwalk, and the winner was crowned the “Golden Mermaid” and handed $100, to the multi-million dollar primetime network explosion of glitter and lipstick and jazz dancing that it is today, Miss America has firmly lodged itself into United States tradition. Whether you like it or not.

I, personally, like it. A lot. Like, tons. I watch it every single year, preferably with people who also like it, but alone (with Twitter) if necessary. I remember watching it when I was younger with my sister and her friends, and we would each choose one of the Top Ten contestants to be. We would even hold hands when it came time to announce the winner, just like the girls on TV did. And it has always stirred up a strange sort of state pride, because Miss New York? Always the one I’m rooting for (quick reminder, Miss New York has won the last THREE Miss America pageants, and one of them came from Syracuse, where I went to college, just saying and stuff).

That bag is going to be a jacket soon!!!

That bag is going to be a jacket soon!!!

One of my favorite Miss America moments? When Miss Nebraska did a theatrical dance routine to the song “So Much Better” from the woman power musical, “Legally Blonde,” and turned her prop BAG into a JACKET. She turned her bag into a jacket!!! It was Miss America at its finest, and ‘merica all the way.

So I’m going to use this space and your time to highlight some of the incredible women who have carried the title of Miss America over the years. Yes, the organization is constantly reinventing itself and figuring itself out, sometimes poorly, but the women? They will knock your socks off.

Jean Bartel, Miss America 1943. How gorgeous is she?

Jean Bartel, Miss America 1943. How gorgeous is she?

Jean Bartel, Miss America 1943:

Jean was awesome for a lot of reasons. First of all, she downright refused to pose in a swimsuit after she won the pageant, leading the organization to lose their swimsuit sponsor. Jean? She didn’t give no craps. She had entered the pageant because she heard one of the judges was a big Broadway producer, and she wanted in. Also, Ms. Bartel was the one who came up with the idea that the winners should receive scholarships instead of fur coats and ugly jewelry as prizes. That suggestion was taken seriously, as it was integrated just one year later. For her talent, Jean sang Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” in a “forceful and dramatic style,” according her profile on missamerica.org. Next up on my To Do list? Learn how to sing “Night and Day” in a forceful and dramatic style. Thanks, Jean!

41ldxo-tdvL._SX342_Lee Meriwether, Miss America 1955:

Ms. Meriwether is possibly one of the most famous Miss Americas, best known for her role on the TV show “Barnaby Jones.” I, however, know her incredibly well as Ruth Martin on the daytime television hit soap opera, “All My Children.” Thanks, mom! Ms. Meriwether appeared in many other TV shows and movies, though my favorite credit of hers is Catwoman in the 1966 “Batman” movie. The woman was Catwoman! One of the only female superheroes/supervillains to be depicted again and again and again! Something about that catsuit, man. Lee’s talent was a dramatic monologue from the hit Irish play, “Riders to the Sea.” Just kidding, I don’t know if it was a hit. Sounds pretty depressing, honestly. But yay, drama!

Jacqueline Mayer, Miss America 1963

Jacqueline Mayer, Miss America 1963

Jacquelyn Mayer, Miss America 1963:
Jackie Mayer was a mere 28 years old when she suffered an extremely debilitating stroke, leaving her unable to walk, speak, and survive on her own. She threw herself into rehab for seven years and now considers herself 90% recovered. She has since dedicated her life to helping others who have suffered the same fate, as well as assisting their families. She is a public speaker, and was also a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. She has a nursing center and a highway named after her. Jackie’s talent was a medley of Broadway tunes (so fun!), including “Wishing Upon a Star,” “My Favorite Things” & “The White Cliffs of Dover.” Jackie, you’re the best. Thank you for using your fame as Miss America to help others in a very profound and selfless way.

Judith Ford, Miss America 1969, in action on the trampoline

Judith Ford, Miss America 1969, in action on the trampoline

Judith Ford, Miss America 1969:

Now SHE is super fun. Judith was a world class trampolinist! She competed with the men’s team in college, and was the first woman to win a varsity men’s gymnastics letter. After the pageant, she went on to earn her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in physical education, and served on the President’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports, appointed by US Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. How cool is that? If she were 21 today, I bet she would have chosen American Ninja Warrior over Miss America. Judith’s talent was (duh) and acrobatic dance and trampoline act set to “The Blue Danube.” What I wouldn’t pay to see that.

Phyllis George, Miss America 1971

Phyllis George, Miss America 1971

Phyllis George, Miss America 1971:

Phyllis was cool because she just loved sports. And by sports, I mean football. Phyllis began the battle that women have been fighting for years, and ended victorious as one of the first females (ever!) to have a nationally prominent role in sports coverage. She co-anchored the CBS show “The NFL Today” beginning in 1975, and gave hope to ladies everywhere that the former Boys Club of Athletics was penetrable. She also founded “By George” chicken fillets! I love chicken! If you think that’s cool, she also wrote three books about crafts and one on dieting. I don’t think I could write one book on crafts and dieting COMBINED. For her talent, Ms. George played a piano medley of “Promises, Promises” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”

Rebecca Ann King, Miss America 1974

Rebecca Ann King, Miss America 1974

Rebecca Ann King, Miss America 1974:
Rebecca received a law degree from the University of Denver School of Law and became a practicing domestic-relations attorney specializing in divorce. She was the contestant who strongly advocated for the awarding of points for the interview section of the competition. So because of her, in 1975, it finally became a pageant that valued brains as well as beauty and talent. Since then, she has spoken in favor of female empowerment at many schools and organizations. For her talent, she sang “If I Ruled the World.” Kinda wish she did rule the world. Thanks, Becky!

Some of our more recent Miss Americas include Heather Whitestone (1995), our first deaf woman to hold the title. An inspiration to women with disabilities, she danced en pointe for her talent, unable to hear the music, but relying instead on her own rhythmic and musical skills to stay on the beat. Then in 1998, we had Kate Shindle (one of my faves!), who went on to star in multiple Broadway shows, and is now the president of Actor’s Equity Association, our freaking union. Like, I’m really good at complaining and declaring, “Things need to change!” But Kate is actually out there, actively changing things. In 2005, Deidre Downs took the crown, went to medical school after her reign was over, and is now Chief Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alabama Medical Center. I can’t even get an AUDITION as a doctor, and this girl is one.

The point is, Miss America has given many of these women opportunities they may not have had otherwise, so they can have an impact on society, whether for charity, medicine, entertainment, or trampolining. For that, I will proudly cheer on these girls every single year. Because who knows? One of them may be delivering my baby someday, or running a charity that I volunteer with, or creating a diet where I can eat all the sugar and carbs I want. And we need as many of these women in the world as we can get.

Ruth Malcomson, Miss America 1921. Dude, I could totally win if they let me do my hair like that.

Ruth Malcomson, Miss America 1921. Dude, I could totally win if they let me do my hair like that.

Final thoughts from Ruth Malcomson, one of our earliest Miss Americas, who held the title in 1924. Ruth had ten rules for beauty that she followed, and I don’t know about you, but it seems like Ruth had the right idea, even way back then.

  1. Rise early.
  2. Eat a hearty breakfast.
  3. Exercise (oof).
  4. No alcohol (OOOOFFFF).
  5. Smoking is detrimental (do people still smoke?).
  6. Get outdoors.
  7. Eat a light lunch.
  8. Eat a satisfying dinner (like chocolate?).
  9. Early to bed.
  10. Sleep.

“I know pageants aren’t for everyone. I had people tell me it was a cattle show, and that I was being exploited. But the goal of the Miss America pageant is to promote women and give them opportunities and scholarships that they might not get otherwise. Since 1988, the contestants have had platforms, and I’ve heard contestants speak on issues that were near and dear to their hearts, such as homelessness, diabetes awareness and literacy. My ‘unofficial platform’ was women’s athletics. For me, the Miss America experience was extremely beneficial.”
-Judith Ford Nash, Miss America 1969