the coffee chronicles: gossip

the coffee chronicles

Let’s Gossip.

I basked in the first day of 2017 with an astonishingly horrific hangover as I sat across from one of my best gals, Hailei, in Astoria, Queens following a New Years Eve that was overflowing with many different types of liquor and a night for the books.  After trying to stomach a breakfast burrito at Queen’s Comfort (key word — trying.  I tolerated maybe two bites), she took me to the promise land: a little coffeeshop on 30th Avenue called Gossip Coffee.


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I live for a great aesthetic and, despite my aversion to anything bright that morning, I was living for this houndstooth-coated coffee shop.

It’s been well over a year since my first visit, but today I share with you my return to Gossip Coffee in Astoria, where I enjoyed a decadent oat milk latte with my beautiful Hailei (where neither I nor she felt like a tiny man was mining for coal inside our heads).

*It’s important to note that Gossip Coffee passes the Oatly test: They have it. That’s the only question on the test.

Our barista was wonderfully weird — fun and chill and jumping into our photos while she made us lattes and convinced us that doughnuts would perfectly accompany our drinks (There was no real arm-twisting here). Gossip has Chef Scottish Francis’s hashtag-shaped doughnuts for sale, but I opted for a vanilla frosted with rainbow sprinkles (my fave).  If you’ve just finished a Whole30 stint, do yourself a favor and only eat half the doughnut. I have zero shame in admitting that I could not stomach the whole thing.

Hailei and I sat in the courtyard behind the glass double doors for a bit; which was bearable despite the weather, and will be perfect come summertime (If we ever get a summertime…). It’s home to many plants, benches, and a mini tricycle that I attempted to sit on but was too scared to actually ride.

Gossip was filled to the brim with patrons without being overly crowded. It’s great to see that a local coffee shop is getting the traction it deserves. The aesthetic, baristas, doughnuts, and in-house espresso blend make it worth a return visit.

xo,

T

*It’s also important to note that the closest subway station to Gossip Coffee (30 Av) is closed for the time being as the MTA exists only to create chaos in our lives rather than to simplify it. I walked from the Broadway stop and it was less than desirable, but totally doable.

t h e   l o o k

Bagatelle Heritage Red Bell Sleeve Jacket:

I found this jacket on super clearance for $18 at Marshalls Stores  all because one of the snaps were falling off.  It was a steal.

Cynthia Rowley Cream Sweater:

I got this sweater as a gift and I live in it!  Cynthia Rowley is one of my favorite designers, and many of her items are sold at TJX stores; which I can only assume is where this is from…

H & M Black High-Rise Skinny Jeans:

I’m a high-rise gal all the way.  And while many of my denim comes from TJMaxx, I also dig a good high-rise skinny from H&M.  They’re $20, they make your tush look great, but they’ll last you maybe the year before they start to fall apart.  You’ve been warned.

Style & Co. Venesa Riding Boots:

These boots are originally from Macy’s with their Style&Co Brand marked at $80.  I happened to break my lace-up black boots a few weeks ago while visiting family in Connecticut and stumbled upon these at a second-hand store, Plato’s Closet Danbury, brand new, with tags, for $12.

week three

lifestyle, personal

Three weeks into my Whole30 Challenge and this has been, by far, my most action-packed week of the month.  I have climbed mountains, walked over hot coals, and successfully saved a kitten from a burning building (actually I did none of those things, but it got your attention, didn’t it?).

My week consisted of multiple camera angles, starting new projects, celebrating friends, and anticipating yet another nor’easter (that ended up being a huge letdown, might I add).  It was filled with lots of laughs, making new friends, and a lot of iced lattes.  Feel free to watch and/or read below (or you can settle for the vague, Reader’s Digest version I just gave you and go about your day).

“Drag Night” celebrating RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars at At The Wallace in Harlem have become Tara’s unemployed Thursday evening ritual.  This week, that tradition, along with the season, came to an end; for my Thursday evenings will soon be filled with rehearsals (more on that later).  After the season finale, I walked home and called the wardrobe number for my background stint on Blue Bloods the following morning.  “Khaki pants.”  I was playing a nurse, and they wanted me to bring khaki pants.  Let me tell you something Blue Bloods, I am not at my mother’s house, nor do I have the arsenal of pants I was forced to wear when I worked at Office Max many moons ago.  Also, it’s 10 P.M. (do you know where your children are?) and I cannot go out and buy khaki pants that I will likely never wear again (unless you want me to be a reoccurring role, then it may be worth it).

I probably texted every woman I know within a one mile radius (it was 10 P.M., I was not traveling far).  But, shockingly (sarcasm), nobody seemed to have khaki pants at their disposal.  Luckily, my friend Ty told me that he had pants I could borrow and voila!  Khaki pants.

Of course, they had a full costume ready for me when I walked in on Friday morning, and I didn’t even need the khaki pants.

After our shoot wrapped in Brooklyn, I made it home with enough time to eat something (and change out of the khaki pants) before babysitting on the UWS. I took a car home around midnight. I earned that car home around midnight.

St. Patrick’s Day in New York City can be extremely hit or miss — especially on a Saturday. My mom told me about something called “Leprecon” (like Santacon, but a far better play on words) happening in New York, so I had braced myself to see thousands of grown men dressed like leprechauns throwing up on the side of a bus outside the nearest Starbucks. But, alas, I managed to miss those sightings.

I spent Saturday afternoon at the first rehearsal for a musical called Chess in Brooklyn. Each year on St. Patrick’s Day, I am grateful to say I am working on a show in some capacity — most years it’s been wardrobe. This year, it’s a musical I’m in, which is pretty snazzy. Saturday night was filled with Irish music and birthday celebrations for one of my best guys, Oliver. The bar he chose was super mellow and void of Leprecon-participants. Praise.

Sunday was marathon day. It started at morning daywork for Kinky Boots, took me down to Brooklyn in the afternoon for another Chess rehearsal, and rounded out at The Blue Note in the West Village celebrating my buddy Chris’s birthday; sitting front and center (actually, a little to the right) for Roy Haynes’ 93rd Birthday Celebration. I got to sing with him (you should really watch the video now) and Jon Batiste was there!

(Just another Manic) Monday began with an 8:30 A.M. call to a bar (yes, a bar) in Hell’s Kitchen where I shot an episodic called The So-So You Don’t Know for a few hours. It was a lot of fun; and the girl I was paired to play best friends with ended up being someone I could probably become best friends with. After some brief babysitting, Manic Monday ended with me laying on the floor of my apartment watching Gilmore Girls, eating plantain chips, and reflecting on the fact that I had just done two weeks’ worth of activities in four days.

Tuesday I had two goals: make my audition, make my train home. I accomplished both, in heels yet. Connecticut was expecting its fourth nor’easter of the month; which was perfectly timed, seeing as I was coming home to multiple appointments on Wednesday that I needed to take care of. But alas, all appointments were cancelled due to the impending storm, where most parts of New England were expected to get 12-18 inches of snow before Thursday morning.

By 3:30 P.M. on Wednesday, there was not an ounce of fresh snow to the name of Brookfield, Connecticut. So I went shopping. And the grand total of three inches of snow we received did not start falling until around 6:00 P.M.

Mama Llew made a delish Whole30 din for us, which is pretty self-explanatory in the video. But so much happened this week, I was fresh out of time to make any Whole30 food-making videos. You’re welcome.

My heart is full and I am ready for these last ten days!

xo,

T

net worth = six dollars + $2.99 shipping

personal

A year ago, almost to the day, an envelope arrived at my home in Connecticut (creepy) from a student named “Jackie” asking if I would sign my autograph on the enclosed blank sheets of paper for a “Broadway Autograph Collection” project at her school called “Monte Special Education School.”

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Obviously, I was smart enough to recognize that this wasn’t legit.  The handwriting was very clearly written by an adult trying to disguise themselves as a child.  Better yet, it was stamped with the name of the school, which I promptly looked up along with the return address and discovered did not exist but, hey, it was flattering that some random human walking around this world wanted my autograph.

I sat on sending something back; on the off-chance that all the conclusions I had drawn were wrong and this was in fact a student named Jackie from a Special Education school asking me to participate in their Broadway project and I did not respond, I would have felt badly (not that I would have ever found out).  Also, at least one of my ensemble girls had also received the same letter, and felt comfortable sending something back,  so I threw them a bone, and I signed the signature I was using on the CATS company posters (not my signature for legit documents, credit cards, etc., because that would be foolish).

To be completely honest, I forgot this even happened.  In a weird series of events, I happened to google myself this morning in hopes of adding some undiscovered gems to my website.  If you Google “Tara Llewellyn Actress” the third result that comes up on Page 2 is this:

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A recently expired eBay listing of my very professional signature (equipped with a small heart and all) available for $6.00 (plus $2.99 shipping) sold by prettyboy45220, an eBay member since 2003 (I find it impressive that Jackie is experienced enough to have had an eBay account since Outkast’s “Hey Ya” was number one on the charts and can still manage to snag a spot in Monte Special Education school’s Class of 2017).

Mama Llew and I haven’t stopped laughing for the last half hour.  Thank you, prettyboy45220, for not only giving me a chuckle today but an inevitable title for a chapter in my forthcoming memoir somewhere down the line in my career.

xo,

T

week two

lifestyle, personal

It’s the end of week two on my Whole30 extravaganza (no grains, no added sugar, no dairy, no alcohol, no social media).  It’s getting increasingly easier to refrain from checking social media platforms, but I’ve realized how essential it’s become to our everyday lives — not just for the sake of putting ourselves out there, but the wealth of information that comes along with it.  I have had many moments this week where I’ve gone to recall something — a name, a photograph, etc. — and realized most of that information comes from a social media platform.  It’s tough.

But, alas, despite the fact that Facebook sent an email informing me that I have 91 notifications, they still remain unseen.  And they will continue to until April 1st.

This week, I went on many adventures, took on new challenges, and spent time with many people I adore.  Feel free to watch and/or read below!

 

Thursday I attempted my first pilates reformer class, but couldn’t find the entrance to the studio, so instead I stopped by the Neil Simon (my old CATS home) to visit with former colleagues and dear friends who are in the midst of previews for Angels in America (the newest Neil Simon occupant).  My Thursday evenings have been spent more recently with friends at “Drag Night,” an hour-long dedication to RuPaul’s Drag Race AllStars hosted by a local bar; which has been increasingly difficult to attend since starting the Whole30 last week.  They don’t have any Whole30-approved meals on their menu, so the club soda with lime has become a close pal as I watch my friends eat grilled cheeses and waffle fries.  I spent most of Friday at The Chipped Cup serendipitously sharing, creating, and collaborating on new ideas for films and web series and other projects with friends; and ended it wandering the new Marshalls uptown, then at iHop eating a Whole30-approved omelette (which was delish).

Saturday was the day for a new show!  I visited my old stomping grounds at 52nd street to see Mean Girls: The Musical on Broadway.  After dining at one of my fave restaurants in the area (Blue Dog Kitch, I missed you, old friend) I sat in a house filled to the brim with members of (and friends in) the Broadway community for the final dress rehearsal of the show.  The energy was palpable and the production was incredibly well-executed.

On Sunday, my beautiful mama turned another year wiser and I felt very lucky to celebrate it with her.  She picked my favorite Connecticut BBQ joint (The Cue Danbury) for her birthday lunch.  There was a roasted pig sitting at the communal brunch table named “Mr. Porky” who simultaneously broke our hearts and terrified us.  But the iced tea is top notch.

I found myself on a last-minute train back to New York Sunday evening after being asked to work at Kinky Boots The Musical the following afternoon.  Praise!  She’s back on Broadway for a couple days this week!  Lucky for me, I made it back in time to miss traveling through the snow on Tuesday (and finally to the entrance of my pilates class in the late afternoon).  And by the evening, the snow had melted and I was wandering the world of Margaritaville; the second feel-good Broadway musical of the week (and it was all fo’ free!).

And here we are.  Another Wednesday.  Day fourteen — also known as Pi Day.  I made a Whole30-Approved-Ingredients-But-Pie-Is-Not-Approved Pie (a creation I should absolutely send over to the writers at Waitress)  and spent some time with my best guy.

Week two has been filled with laughs, friends, a lot of Broadway and real good food; some of which I made, some I did not.  But the recipes I did make are below.  Enjoy!

T   H   E      R   E   C   I   P   E   S


“Breakfast Burrito Without the Burrito…or the Cheese…or the Sour Cream”

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Ingredients

3 Eggs, Scrambled

Vegetables of Your Choosing (I picked mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions)

Salsa (*With No Added Sugar)

 1/2 an Avocado

Scallions (Garnish)

I love breakfast for dinner.  When I was younger, my fam jam would go nuts when my dad would tell us he was making pancakes for dinner.  Well, since pancakes are off-limits on the Whole30, I decided to make a savory breakfast for dinner.

Scramble those eggs, season then with salt and pepper, and add in as many vegetables as you please.  I chose mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions.  Top with (or toss it on the side) salsa and avocado and garnish with scallions if you please.


“Whole30-Approved-Ingredients-But-Pie-Is-Not-Approved Pie”

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Ingredients

Pie Crust Ingredients/Recipe Here

Filling Ingredients

1 Gala Apple

2 TSP Cinnamon

1 TSP Nutmeg

1/2 Pint Frozen Blueberries

The apple “pie” left much to be desired, but the blueberry “pie” rocked.  I baked mine in little pie forms, so if you’re using a standard size, these measurements may be off.

For the Apple “pie,” I chopped and sauteed one gala apple in coconut oil with the cinnamon and nutmeg.  This allowed the apples to soften before baking it within the crust.  For the Blueberry “pie” I just dumped the blueberries into the pie crust and let it work its magic.  There is a Pinterest recipe for a blueberry tart that includes chia seeds in the filling, but I didn’t have a chance to try that.  It seems like a nice option if you’re looking for something to congeal the blueberries!


xo,

T

academy musings

personal

Regrettably, I haven’t seen a single movie that’s been nominated for this year’s 90th Academy Awards.  Even so, I love a good awards show.  I vividly remember coming home early from my waitressing job four years ago, sitting on my couch in my first New York apartment, and watching as John Travolta called Idina Menzel “Adele Dazeem.”  It was brilliantly horrifying, and I got to watch it live.

I also live for the live-tweeting on Twitter that occurs during awards shows; from friends, celebrities, even people I don’t know.  Since I’m not on social media this month, I decided to share my Academy Award Musings.

There needs to be a Barbie modeled after Viola Davis IN THAT HOT PINK DRESS HELLO.

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Sam Rockwell, you will not be winning the jetski, sir.

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Taraji, you are my queen, those legs are OUT.

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I literally cannot wait for “Splitting Up Together.” Jenna Fischer is a damn goddess.

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Allison Janney deserves all the nominations because she is sheer BRILLIANCE.

Jimmy Kimmel is not 50.

THERE IS A BB8 ON STAGE WHERE CAN I MEET HIM?

Could Matthew McConaughey be any less animated on this stage right now?

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The oscar nominees holding the hotdog cannons in the movie theatre may be a close second to Ellen’s 2014 selfie.

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Jennifer Garner will never age nor be less than radiant always.

The recognition of women tonight is outstanding and overwhelming. Yes yes yes Frances McDormand. Yes all women.

I knew they would bring Warren and Faye back for Round 2.