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Okay, I know it's cheesy, but I love themed food and desserts. If I had unlimited budget and time, tonight's Breaking Bad finale watch party would be stocked with food and sweets that represent the many food-translatable events throughout the series. Because I only had the time to make one thing, I decided to go with the obvious: blue "meth" no-bake cake batter truffles, which I found here after much searching for something a little different. Normally such a niche item would seem weird to post, especially with the show ending, but sans food coloring (or with a different color), these truffles are a great traditional dessert alternative. Use chocolate cake or yellow cake (or funfetti!) and add nuts, chocolate chips--clearly, these are easy to alter. I had to make a few adjustments to the original recipe on these specific ones, but now I feel officially ready for a successful viewing. How bittersweet (get it?).
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cake batter truffles
makes about 30 truffles

for the truffles
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup white cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened (do not melt)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3-4 Tablespoons whole milk
8 drops blue food coloring to start, more or less to desired blue-ness2 Tablespoons blue sugar crystal sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, or anything else you want to add to the dough (I did not use these)

for the coating
16 ounces (8 squares) vanilla almond bark (if you want to use food coloring to dye coating, use white chocolate instead. Almond bark does not accept dye!)
4 Tablespoons white cake mix
A handful of blue sprinkles or sanding sugar* (or any other topping you want!)


 
 
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The cast of New Girl. Image via: Instagram.com/zooeydeschanel
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Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina of The Mindy Project. Image via: Instagram.com/mindykaling
Last week, new-ish lifestyle site Bustle.com published an article campaigning Fox to stop cluttering our favorite girl-centric comedies with guest stars, and let their female talent shine in its simplicity. While I appreciate article author Samantha Rullo's motivation for the article, when I saw the article's headline in passing, I felt very defensive of two of my must-watch shows from a production decision standpoint. After stewing on the headline and reading and re-reading the article, I felt that I needed to write my thoughts, as if my desperation to offer an opposing point of view on this "issue" would make the negative thoughts toward "my shows" no longer exist. 

I don't think the New Girl and The Mindy Project showrunners are undermining their permanent talent, that's like accusing them of not being confident in their product. I think they're actually doing a lot right by hiring exciting guests; they're pleasant additions to something that's already good.
Guest stars are rarely female: And if they are, they are on very few episodes, sometimes not even consecutively. I imagine they do this in an effort to keep female focus on the leading lady of the shows. So basically, guests are chosen thoughtfully so as not to take any of the shine off of the genius acting and comedy of the real star.
Guest stars are very temporary: Guest star arcs, especially the very famous appearances, usually last one or two episodes (unless they serve a plot point and are important for story development, like Casey on Mindy or Elizabeth on New Girl (she has nothing to do with the Jess character anyway)). To me, this sends a message to the viewers that they get an exciting treat every once in a while, but not for long because, duh, the show belongs to the main cast! They're just keeping things interesting!
Guest stars are created and written to complement the main female and ensemble: Guest spots are carefully planned and written around the plot and permanent characters. The writing staff is not going to do anything to jeopardize the show's dynamic. In my opinion, the presence of an "outside" character brings freshness to the "situations" that is part of the genre of comedy. It also brings in a new angle for the core cast to play off of one another and sort of band together opposite this new presence and reiterate their chemistry. A guest character is just another plot point that lets the main ensemble get into their normal shenanigans, it just happens to be a new face rather than just an event.
Connections: Especially on Mindy, Mindy the real life human has lots of friends in very high places, so it makes sense for her to want to do her thing with them on the show that's named after her. It's like getting your best friends invited to your VIP party, only all of America is watching. Wouldn't you do that, too? I also imagine that celebrity publicists work very hard to get their clients in guest starring roles on popular shows that feature high profile talent, much like Friends did over its run. When the particular client is right, it seems like it would make sense for the people behind the shows to jump at the opportunity.
Finally, boring business and publicity reasons: I can't say this for sure because I'm just a lowly outsider, but people use celebrity presence to gain traction in an endeavor. Touting James Franco, Seth Meyers, Ellie Kemper, BJ Novak, Taylor Swift, etc etc etc on your show for an episode or two adds momentum to marketing and gains interest in tuning in and (hopefully) getting you hooked for good. Network television's business model and ratings system is floundering in this new age of cable TV success and internet binge-watching vehicles. They compete in time slots against a lot of TV noise, so any tactic they can use to get people to watch their show during their time slot should be employed. It might not be anti-feminist and undermining the permanent talent after all! It might just be about the money. Or at least partly about the money.
ALSO, let's not forget the New Girl beginnings which had Zooey Deschanel in the spotlight and the roommates as inconsequential supporters. This show was not nearly as good. Ensembles are great! It lets the viewer choose a favorite character instead of the show runners choosing for you. Change can be good!
 
 
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Tina Fey and Amy Poehler during the 2013 Emmy opening monologue. One of the few good moments. Image via: Vulture.com
Thank goodness there are other award shows that recognize TV during the year, because this year's Emmys were a giant cringe-inducing disappointment. From the production and direction of the show to the winners, everybody involved lost. It grew painful, and I kept watching hoping that skipping a live viewing of Breaking Bad was the right choice. I can just watch it later, right? Well, I wish I had switched over because the filler hour was painful and unnecessary and I'm sad I have to wait a year for the next one because I want a do-over (or as the 30 Rock writers would call it, a respawn). I guess that's what I get for going in with expectations.
 
After a day of letting Sunday night's events settle, I still get angry thinking about the whole ordeal. This year was arguably the most stacked Emmy awards in history, it was anyone's game because so many shows deserved the win, but instead we walked away feeling depressed and sorry for our favorite shows. In short, it was a disaster, starting with the "really?!" (with Seth and Amy) winners. Like I said, this year's awards could have gone to any number of nominees. TV is having a great moment, and the prospect of just one winner was so frustrating with so many deserving of the award(s). And I know there isn't technically a wrong winner, but so many important categories resulted in the award going to someone who seemed just subpar to many other nominees. The night is about the awards, so everything else bad aside, at least those should have gone right. Yelling at the TV happened. 
actor in a drama series: I think this might be my biggest gripe from the night. Did people just not vote on this category? Literally any other nominee besides Jeff Daniels deserved this one. Sure, Bryan Cranston has won three times (deservedly), but Jon Hamm has never won, and this season was one of his darkest, really any of the nominees are on shows that are almost universally acclaimed. The only way I can think this happened was that everyone was split between the four frontrunners and the votes reflected that. The worst.
outstanding comedy series: Modern Family. Really? Okay, at least it didn't go to Big Bang Theory, but Veep! 30 Rock! Louie! Genius in comedy writing seemed to go unrecognized in favor of the multi-time winner that has since gone rather stale.
supporting actor in a drama series: I kind of forgot about Boardwalk Empire before I saw the nominees for this category. I mean, come on, actors from arguably the four best dramas on TV were nominated in this category. Scary Mike! Paternal Saul! Lovable Jesse Pinkman! HOW did the Boardwalk Empire actor walk away with this one?
actor in a comedy: Sure, Jim Parsons is all endearing and such, but why does he keep winning? Talk about stale comedy, and the competitors? It was the last year for 30 Rock and all the rest are part of much more novel shows and writing.

writing for a drama series: Okay, so Homeland's "Q&A" had one of the best scenes in TV history, so it's not entirely undeserved. But when competing against two Breaking Bad episodes and THE episode of Game of Thrones, it seems that the writing award should have gone for consistency, no matter how good that scene was.
outstanding choreography: I might be the only one who cares about this, but based one the production values of the competing shows and the quality of the choreography and execution and the sheer ratio of nominees, it's extremely annoying that So You Think You Can Dance wasn't recognized for how good it is. Dancing With The Stars? Psh. Voters must be voting based on show popularity.

The lows of the night don't end there, though, and I guess there were some good parts of the night.


 
 
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Aaron Paul photobombing Bryan Cranston at the 2013 Emmy red carpet. Like a boss. Image via: Ozarksfirst.com
Everything feels right in the world now that awards season has finally officially begun. In keeping with recent years' trends, the carpet was honestly kind of a snoozefest, but that doesn't mean the looks can't be broken down into very specific categories and analyzed. What else are red carpets for, anyway? For all the looks at the 2013 Emmys, TheCut.com, People.com, EW.com, THR and the NYDN are just a few places that have great red carpet roundups. 

the good/bad

best
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Monique Lhuillier: She always keeps it simple and smart, and last night was no exception. The gown fit her well and she worked the all-over sparkles like a pro, keeping everything else simple and winning gracefully (and hilariously, thanks to Tony Hale). 
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Katrina Bowden in Badgley Mischka: She walks the line between "can wear anything" and "I'm on a multi-nominated show" very well. This is simple and elegant with an interesting back design and front embellishment that might be flattering on most humans, but nothing is unflattering on her. Also, navy instead of black was a nice touch.

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Taylor Schilling in Thakoon: To me, this was the perfect first-appearance dress. It was revealing in all the right places, on-trend in white and interesting, but it didn't ask for too much attention while still evoking the glamour of a gown.

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Carrie Preston in Romona Keveza: She arrived at the awards already a winner, and her look reflected that. She kept it simple in a flattering form fitting pale pink gown with a glamorous flare at the bottom, but the black piping and buttons down the back made this extra interesting. She updated old Hollywood expertly.
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Mindy Kaling in Edition by Georges Chakra: I can't say this was my absolute favorite, but I think it works well on her and the neckline detail is interesting. I don't love her hair, but the flattering and tasteful dress makes up for the look overall.

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Christine Baranski in designer unknown: As someone who seems to own any place she's in (or screen she's on), the Emmy red carpet was no exception. It might be in nothing-new red, but the silhouette is so flattering and warrants a second look. It's an age-appropriate risk that really worked. Image via: People.com.
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Elisabeth Moss in Andrew Gn: This may have been my favorite of the night. Up close the dress has a shimmer and a rich texture, it fits perfectly and her blonde-again hair and red-orange lip are the perfect complements to a simple, but still interesting dress.
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Alexi Ashe in Carolina Herrera: It's hard to make us look away from Seth's amazingness, but this dress deserves a mention. It's flattering and interesting and looks great on Seth's arm while not pretending to steal the show. I'd really like this one for my closet. Image via: People.com.

worst.
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Julie Bowen in Zac Posen: I think this was my worst dressed of the night. She's small, the dress was large, there was SO MUCH happening on it and it looked like scraps of other dresses all sewn together. It makes me so sad.

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Anna Chlumsky in Badgley Mischka: I first thought of a mermaid when I saw this dress. Not mermaid-style, but an actual under the sea mermaid. The side vents do no favors, and it doesn't seem to fit so well. The unpolished hair and clashing pink lip don't add anything to the look, either. Just a miss.
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Amanda Peet in Erdem: This is another sad black dress Addams Family failure. It has little working for it and everything working against it. Overdone sheer black on nude, sheer bottom, baggy in weird places, high neck. All around no.
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Amy Poehler in Basler: This might make me saddest of all. Despite wearing "a good attitude" on the carpet like she said on E!, this dress is an all around no. It's weird, it's unflattering, it's drab. I so want to like what she wears to match how much I like her, I wish she'd call for help.
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Heidi Klum in Atelier Versace: This dress maybe might not be so bad without the neckpiece, but I find that part so offensive, and the bodice could probably be more flattering. I appreciate the color of this, but she really looks like she's trying to be dressy Iron Man for Halloween, and I just can't.
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Meritt Wever in unknown designer: She might have gone with red carpet mainstay black and white, but it's just all wrong. It's unflattering and dated, and though I appreciate the red lip, a younger, more modern choice would have made her great non-speech that much more endearing.
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Lena Headey in Alessandra Rich: Oh, Lena. This is so bad. The overdone sheer over granny panties, the snake print pattern, the stark white shoes with all of it. None of it works, and I want some of it to so badly. Cersei would give this the side eye.

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Aubrey Plaza in Marios Schwab: Something about this could convince me that it might not be so tragic with some edits, but this also makes me sad in an Addams Family goes on What Not To Wear kind of way. And flower appliqués on the sleeves...ick. Don't age yourself, Aubrey. Or make poor choices like this one.


 
 
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Image via: Emmys.tv
The Emmys are this weekend, and I've been excited since.....probably March. The awards season opener celebrates the best in TV. I've pretty much had to tell myself I can't write about them until today, so happy Friday! Not only do I watch pretty much every show nominated which makes the awards part actually interesting, the show signifies the start of red carpet season! I'm not going to pretend to know enough to predict who and what our favorite TV celebs will wear, nor will I pretend that I can separate who I want to win or think should win from who might actually win. Instead, due to the amount of beautiful gowns that have walked the runway at spring 2014 fashion week, I'll talk about what I think would be cool to see based on what we've been given so far this fashion month*. I'm not going to go through every nominee or TV favorite, but there were certain dresses that just screamed or hinted that some of the guaranteed attendees should probably take my advice. Sure, red carpet surprises are always exciting, but guessing never ceases to be fun.
-E
*Not nearly an exhaustive list, obviously. Too many dresses, too many actors...in a great way.
 
 
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Photo by Henry Leutwyler via: TheCut.com
Tonight, the New York City ballet has its annual fall gala where all the fabulous people come out to celebrate and hobnob with other fabulouses in beautiful gowns and dashing tuxes and it's all very pretty and high society. This year's ballet celebrates Black Swan choreographer's (and Natalie Portman's husband) Benjamin Millepied and his unnamed ballet. As in recent years, the company went the collaboration route to dress the dancers, and this year they chose couturier Iris Van Herpen who created a plastic design that moves and reflects light differently at all angles. She worked with an architect to bring the unique and innovative look to life, resulting in what is surely one of the most fascinating fashion innovations in recent years. I'm not going to say I'm not extremely jealous of the chosen people who get to see these in movement on stage tonight.
-E

via: The Cut
 
 
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Image via: The Female Gaze
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Image via: Skynet Blogs
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Image via: Amazon.com
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Image via: KSAM 1017
I love TV. And we're pretty lucky these days. Network shows that run from fall to spring aren't our only options. In the absence of our New Girls and Scandals, we have our Game of Thrones and Mad Men that runs until mid-June, I'm one of the 50 or so people who watches So You Think You Can Dance all summer. Breaking Bad picks up mid-summer and runs through the beginning of fall, and when there's nothing you want to watch on TV, hit up Netflix or Hulu for some binging, like I've done this summer with Parks and Rec, Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad, House of Cards....and I'll stop embarrassing myself now. 

Despite a wealth of amazing TV all year round and tons of resources to catch up on whatever you please at any time, it's still so exciting that as days get shorter and summer dwindles, our good old network shows come back, giving us a sense of schedule and routine. The promise of new favorites is almost as exciting as anticipating the return of old ones.That amazing time starts this week, yay! And capping off the week of premieres are the Emmys, the ultimate celebration of all the amazing TV there is. Enjoy, whatever you may be watching.
-E