Netflix Releases ‘Gilmore Girls’ Revival Teaser

My favorite girls are back in Stars Hollow! Today Netflix officially released a trailer of the upcoming “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” four-part revival series which is set for Thanksgiving weekend. Looks like my Thanksgiving plans have been booked. (If anyone wants to pre-party and order donuts and coffee from Luke’s diner before the show, let me know).

The short trailer brings back all of the Y2K feels with the perfect line-opener from Lauren Graham: “Do you think Amy Schumer would like me?”

Rory flat out says “no” and then proceeds to Google the name for “that thing, that thing that blooms once a year that people line up to see even if it smells like dead fish.” (Spoiler Alert: it’s called a corpse flower. But Rory beat us to it. If you want to know more about the horrible stench of this unique flower, please read this KPCC article written by my friend/former colleague Lisa Brenner (now Katz))

Also, it looks like Schumer took to Twitter to answer Lorelai’s question about whether or not she’d be a fan of her. Best. News. Ever. Collab, soon?

It took me a summer and a half to binge-watch seven incredible seasons of “Gilmore Girls.” The show is truly one of my favorites for a number of reasons because each episode is filled with a series of heartwarming life lessons that should be thoroughly jotted in a bullet journal or Post-It. I’m not much of a hugger, but after watching this series, I think I’ve converted.

I’m so glad that Amy Sherman-Palladino has reminded us of how special Stars Hollow truly is. Oh how I’ve missed my favorite BFF duo and on-screen mom and daughter! November 25, I’m ready for ya!

 

xmoni

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Kenta Maeda Bobblehead for 40,000 Fans at Dodger Stadium Tuesday, July 26

“Get ready for Dodger baseball!”

The first 40,000 Dodger fans will receive a Kenta Maeda bobblehead during a celebration of “Japan Night” by Japan House and the San Manuel Indian Bingo Casino at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, July 26. The Dodgers will take on the Tampa Bay Rays starting at 7:10 p.m.  

I will get them next time. 悔しい。次がんばります。 #dodgers#arizona#アリゾナ#登板

A post shared by 前田 健太 (kenta maeda) (@18_maeken) on

28-year-old Maeda of Osaka, Japan, previously played professional baseball for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, a right-hander for the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, before signing an 8-year deal with the Dodgers January 2016, according to the MLB.

“I’m very happy to be here today to announce my decision to join the Dodgers organization. Dodgers obviously has a tremendous history and tradition and I’m very, very glad to be part of it. Dodgers made a decision to make a long-term commitment to me so that really was meaningful to me and I also made the decision to make a long commitment to the organization,” Maeda told a translator during his formal introduction to the team in January.

The Los Angeles Dodgers just released a Facebook promo, in which Maeda was asked, “Kenta, what does it feel like to have your own Bobblehead?” To which he responded,

“I really want to thank the Dodgers. I would like to bring 100 Bobbleheads back to Japan.”

xmoni

Jay Sean Drops Bollyjis

I spend quite a lot of time on the Internet, but seemed to have completely missed out on World Emoji Day which was celebrated July 17, the same day singer Jay Sean dropped his line of Bollyjis (Bollywood-inspired emojis) in collaboration with the motto keyboard app. 

The new line includes 18 customized emojis highlighting popular dialogues from classic Bollywood films from the ’90s (“Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”) to rickshaws and other signature lines from South Asian soap operas. I wonder which Bollyji Jay Sean would pick as his favorite. (Personally, I’d go with the “Tussi Na Jao!”Bollyji from “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.” (Hindi translation: please don’t go). Celebrity Intelligence quotes Sean:

“I worked hard on developing a range of emojis that can relate to the desi community. I wanted to create something we would feel comfortable using. This first pack of 18 is just the start of the vision. We’ve already got more, it’s really endless. There are urban emojis available but nothing specifically for desis around the world, so Bollyjis really fill the gap in the market.'”

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In other news, Jay Sean just recently released a new song, “Make My Love Go,” with Sean Paul. 

Here’s the desi version. It adds a little more umph to the original:

xmoni

 

The Circle of Hell: Online Dating

Truth be told: I’m on five different online dating apps right now. I thought I’d give online dating another chance because I’ve exhausted the traditional methods (e.g. blind dates or waiting at a coffee shop, hoping I’ll bump into a Luke-a-like or someone who adores flannels on Friday just as much as I do).

I’ve noticed a common theme across all of the different online dating apps I’m on: People are quick to judge. They also don’t like to respond to paragraph-long messages. They prefer “winks” or emojis. There’s also certain lingo that you have to master in the online dating world. Also, conversations often taper off once a potential match eyes someone else in the L.A. dating pool. I mean, it’s easier to give a text bubble the silent treatment as opposed to shutting the door on an actual person in real life. (My homeboy Aziz Ansari knows what I’m talking about. He talked about shitty dating experiences and the short attention span that plagues us all in his book, “Modern Romance”).

I can’t count the number of times my South Asian parents have nagged me about going on Shaadi.com or having them intervene in my love life. They have good intentions, and they’re only looking out for me. I appreciate the offer, but I think I’ll figure this thing out on my own.

Growing up, marriage seemed like a fairytale and an important step you had to take in your life. Everyone around me told me it was something that you just had to go through otherwise you’d be stuck being a “cat lady” for the rest of your life. I always wondered what was wrong with being a cat lady. I mean, I don’t mind cats at all (it’s just too bad I’m allergic to them).

It was basically assumed that a “successful” life path would look something like this: Age 21, graduate from college. Age 22, get a career. Age 23, get married. Age 24, have kids. (Side note: Read my 2013 commentary on my parents’ arranged marriage and navigating the dating scene as an Asian American woman here). 

But….life is not linear, and there certainly isn’t a magic road map that will save you from heartbreak or a horrible date. I’m in my late twenties (unmarried) and have no plans whatsoever to get married any time soon. Yet this is still the common dinner topic that comes up at various South Asian family get togethers. Many Gujarati aunties and dadimas will come up to me and ask, “Beta, chokro malegoyo?” (Have you met a boy yet)? Conversations about my career are muted and off the table. I mean, why can’t we talk about sweet and savory jalebis or anything that doesn’t involve the topic of love?

Yes, it would be amazing to fall in love. But I don’t find myself chasing after it because I don’t attach a timestamp or a sense of priority to it. There’s more of a societal pressure than anything, really. It’s the constant inundation of baby shower and bridal shower pictures on your Facebook feed that cause the occasional anxiety I wish I could ward off.

Social media and the constant chatter of family asking when and if I’ll ever get married or another reminder of the fact that “my time will soon pass if I don’t actively look for someone” is a constant face slap. I can’t compare my life to others, and right now, I’m just going with the flow and focusing my energy on my career and loved ones. Yes, I’m giving online dating a chance – but I’m not pouring all of my energy into it.

I don’t descredit the success stories or the countless lives that have been changed after swiping left (or right). But for me, it’s just a whole lot of empty conversations and a series of condescending or ignorant comments from folks who don’t understand that “no, I’m not interested” means “no.” I’ve also been bombarded with introductory messages from guys who are trying to figure out where I’m “from, from.”

 

I was also once asked by a  “potential match:”

“So what do u do here? Working? Or born and raised here?”

Another guy said, “…its like maybe every girl expects a guy to own a ferrari or so:P”

At this point, I could go on and on and list all of the screenshots I’ve taken and forwarded to my girlfriends. But I won’t. I’ll let you use your own imagination.

In a nutshell, online dating is the worst.

 

xmoni

Metro Adventures,’Gilmore Girls’, and National Donut Day

I finally had the chance to use the Metro TAP card my coworker graciously gave us in December. (Better late the never)! I’m happy to say that I am now a public transit convert. I try to use public transit as often as I can.

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Wilshire/Normandie stop back to the Arcadia Gold Line

I mean, all of that time and energy spent cursing behind the wheel and constantly complaining about L.A. traffic could have been put to better use. I absolutely hate driving. I feel like I have to strategically plan which “the” freeway to take. It takes me a good 20 minutes through surface streets just to get to the 210. Then, I’ll have to take the 134. And well, you get the picture.

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Wilshire/Normandie stop back to the Arcadia Gold Line

I had originally planned to drive to Koreatown. But as I opened my wallet, I realized that my brand new, shiny TAP card was ready for an adventure. So you can imagine the grin I had on my face when I decided to hop on board the Arcadia Metro Gold Line on route to Koreatown to meet one of my favorite people on this planet.

(By the way, gotta love the Audrey Hepburn inspired polka dot dress + oversized shades. If anyone can pull off that look, it’s going to be TGL):

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This is how a New Yorker does L.A. – TGL

After greeting TGL, I left my belongings at the Line Hotel which was conveniently situated right across from the Wilshire/Normandie station. It definitely gets an A for aesthetics. The other categories? Not so much. The Yelp reviews are pretty spot on.

That night, we couldn’t sleep because of the insane amount of noise emanating from the pool/ping pong area directly below us. Also, the paper-thin walls made it impossible to get a good night’s sleep. I think earplugs will always be a necessity. It’s like written into one of those lists: “101 things an adult needs to carry at all times”

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The picture below is the lopsided lamp we assumed was destroyed or somewhat altered by a previous hotel guest. I think at one point, we were just about ready to report that someone had destroyed the lamp. But then we came to a sudden realization that maybe it was perhaps tilted on purpose in order to make a powerful artistic statement. (Duh, right)?

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I, was however, impressed by the minimalistic architecture and the 10 a.m. reminder for yoga by the pool for guests. (Such an L.A. thing, by the way).

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After exiting the hotel, we walked past the Wiltern in search for food before ISATV’s digital showcase (which was, by the way, SO amazing). It was incredible to be in the same room as hundreds of talented AAPI filmakers, producers, musicians, you name it. Dumbfoundead was in the house and he spoke about his viral hit, “Safe.”  He talked a little bit about the inspiration for releasing the music video, in which his face was superimposed over the faces of white male actors as a way to critique the current state of Hollywood and films that had opportunities to cast APIs but that failed to do so. I was lucky enough to be in the presence of Dumbfoundead twice in the past two months. (I saw him + Awkwafina perform at Pacific Bridge 2016 in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May).

After a night of great filmmaking, Traci and I spent the rest of the evening eating gummy bears and watching “Gilmore Girls.” It was an epic night – one that definitely didn’t disappoint.

The next day (aka National Donut Day), Traci and I explored Pershing Square and ended up at Sixth Street Tavern to satisfy our craving for fries and cider.  The Library Bar was conveniently located next door, so we went over for a few drinks.

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Sorry for the blurry picture. It’s from my Snapchat roll.

Of all the books that were carefully arranged in the dimly-lit bar, my eyes quickly diverted to Stephanie Meyers’ “Twilight” series. We talked about the recent deluge of wedding and baby announcements on our Facebook newsfeeds. We talked about the New University, and we also exchanged some horror stories about online dating and what life was like during our internship days.

After leaving the bar, we walked over to Perch and left just a few minutes later. (I just wanted Traci to have the full L.A. experience). I’d say the main attraction of the evening was taking the vintage elevator up the 15th floor. It was quite a treat.  We topped our evening with some dessert at the Grand Central Market — Earl Grey ice cream to be precise. If you haven’t tried McConnell’s ice cream yet – you’re missing out. Each bite is so heavenly. It’s like your soul is melting in a cone of goodness. You just want to basically get lost in there forever.

The weirdest thing about that day was the fact that we didn’t have donuts. We did, however, have this donut cutout to remind us of the fried sugary dough that we were missing out on.

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Getting lost in donut universe. 

xmoni

 

 

 

Things I learned from “The Business of Freelancing”

I recently joined the SoCal chapter of Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS). It’s been wonderful connecting with so many talented journalists, editors, freelancers, bloggers, and social media editors. I am so grateful to have found a sisterhood where I can share my frustrations, fears, and triumps and know that I’m not alone in this journey. In the end, we’re all here to learn, grow, and tell stories that matter. Here are some rough notes/pieces of advice I gathered from today’s event:

  • “Networking is critical when freelancing”
  • “Problems with freelancing: you’re not getting constant feedback.”
  • “Analyze your strenghts and weaknesses and pick stories that reflect your strengths. Be sure to also expand your skill set.”
  • “How do you improve your skills”?
  • “Learn to be a specialist”
  • Work flow: “Try to set a schedule and stick with it. Avoid working on weekends”
  • 90% of work comes from networking, etc. Don’t burn bridges. Push back, but don’t burn bridges.
  • “When you are out there doing journalism, strive for diversity.”

Love Notes From the Universe

It’s crazy to think that sometimes the most extraordinary and life-altering moments can happen when you’re just about ready to give up.

We’ve all experienced our share of shitty days where it feels like the enemy seems to have crushed every other happy memory that should have been yours to embrace.  But sometimes there are these little drops of faith that help you get back on track. Suddenly the things you once feared no longer seem to serve as an obstacle.

I haven’t exactly been in a happy place these past few months. I haven’t had the chance to step away from the hundreds of unread email messages in my inbox and focus more on doing more of what I love. Scheduling “me” time is something that I’m still working on.

I’ve been constantly orchestrating and planning out every detail of what’s to come. I can’t even remember the last time I took 10 deep breaths and patted myself on the back for how far I’ve come since the post-college days spent juggling two unpaid internships, running errands, and basically hating life.

I think one of my problems is the lack of acknowledging the tiny successes and milestones along the way. Truth be told, I really have come a long way. I think I just need to recite it more frequently.

I didn’t expect that I would receive some sort of sign from the universe — an energizing message that would prompt me to add a little umph to my step.

That “ah-ha” or life-changing moment actually happened as I was getting my eyebrows threaded. I sat in the chair, biting my tongue and trying not to cringe at the site of the sharp thread tugging at my skin. Would half my eyebrows be gone by the time I would open my eyes? Would I end up with patches of red skin? After the pain was over, a slab of aloe vera was placed on my skin to soothe the irritation. I handed my credit card and was about to leave the door until my eyes suddenly turned to a flier advertising the grand opening of a new dance studio in the San Gabriel Valley: Sapphire Dance & Fitness Studio. I folded the brochure and didn’t think much of it during my drive back home. If I didn’t get my eyebrows threaded that day (which was definitely a possibility), I probably would have never seen that flier. And if I didn’t stop to look up from the notifications blowing up my phone, I would have never crossed paths with Shikha (who, by the way, is one of the kindest souls and dance instructors I know).

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Two weeks after holding on to that flier, I decided to tour the dance studio and enroll in a Bollywood class Friday night. I’m not sure what prompted me to step out of my current routine. It was like this weird energy forcing me to stop feeling sorry for myself & do more of what I love. It was another gift in disguise that gave me the extra boost of confidence I needed to try something new and step outside of my comfort zone.

The studio is absolutely amazing — from handmade soy candles to empowering wall decor like this one:

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But most importantly – the dance studio is a space where I feel comfortable enough to share my feelings through dance. Shikha, the dance instructor at Sapphire, taught us a Bollywood dance routine to  “Pinky Song” from the Bollywood movie, Zanjeer. (It took me a few tries to get the dance routine down pat, but I think I’d give myself a B-).

Shikha’s introductory Bollywood class took me back to the days when I performed on stage in front of dozens of Gujarati aunties, dadimas, uncles, family, and friends. I’d perform at weddings, baby showers, and other Gujarati community dinners and other special ocassions. I remember when I would nervously clench my sweaty hands before I went up on the stage. But oddly enough, the fear of rejection seemed to disappear as soon as the music blocked out all of the chatter vibrating from the auditorium.  I really loved being on stage, but more so for the ability to tell stories through dance. That moment morphed into a life-changing one that was really built from the Showbiz India days on Channel 18. As a young child, I’d rush to the living room to catch the one-hour show. (This was of course after rummaging through my mother’s closet and trying on a beautiful chaniya chori my grandmother from India had gifted me).

I’d often practice Bollywood dance routines and sing along to “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” at the top of my lungs. I would even pretend I had a brief cameo alongside King Khan. (I still hope that someday I can share a dance with Shah Rukh Khan – much like many other tween girls who were charmed by the young “Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman.”)

I am so glad that Sapphire has in many ways, helped me rediscover my love for dance. I can’t wait to release this positive energy into the world and enjoy every moment that is spent dancing, laughing, and sharing memories with people who bring me so much love and joy.

xmoni