Mandy Boyle

NEPA-er with Moxie. Writer. Sometimes Actor. Nerdy Girl.

July

It’s July. It’s hot and humid. It feels like you’re walking through soup.

But I’m nonetheless dazzled by how this month is going so far. It’s busy for sure, but in the best way possible.

The July 4th weekend was great. Work was closed on July 3rd, so I had the day with Brent to just relax.

Hello, beautiful. #lox #breakfast #downtowndeli

A photo posted by Mandy Boyle (@mandyboyle_) on

 

We got breakfast at the workday takeout standby, Downtown Deli, and then we walked through the downtown, popping into Scranton Hobby,  Adezzo (for a yummy macaron!), Vine (for their badass coconut rice pudding!), and Comics on the Green. That comic book store is a wonderland. I’m not into comics, but it was fun nonetheless. As we walked back to the car, we riffed on our mutual nerd tendencies. It’s a good thing.

That night, we headed down to First Friday, where the city square was swarmed with activity. The NEPA Philharmonic was setting up before the city fireworks display. The streets were lined with food trucks and vendors. I stopped at the Mexican food truck that’s usually parked on Spruce to grab nachos. Delicious.

Then it was on to The Leonard for our usual First Friday adventure of live mannequins, but that night was different. The New Vintage Ensemble was presenting an original short play, “Color So Real” by dear friend and talented playwright Sarah Regan. It starred Casey Thomas and Kimmie Leff – two talented actors I adore working with.

 

A great American soap opera set in the Green Ridge section of Scranton, “Color So Real” was all about dramatics. There were secrets, lies, and a color TV. There was violence, passive aggressive barbs, and thoughts on real estate. A gem I was delighted to direct. (Holla, theater nerds!)

After, I walked through the crowds set up in the courthouse lawn to the Connell Building to meet Brent and my partner in crime (and Maid of Honor), Amanda.

We sat on the roof of a parkade, enjoying a beverage on a beach towel with friends. As I watched a group of collegians playing beer pong in the distance, I felt totally at ease.

Maybe it was the sound of their playlist blaring on Pandora.Maybe it was the platform stars and stripes shoes the one girl was wearing (and couldn’t walk in). Maybe it was the cool breeze on the roof of a parkade when you’re surrounded by friends and a cooler with the same sense of awe as the sky lights up.

It was awesome. And a perfect way to start the weekend (see photos by my Mister of the event). So lovely.

The next day, we awoke to the slight twinge of sulfur in the air. You could tell it was a holiday weekend by the scent and the occasional burst of a firework throughout the day.  Welcome to NEPA, folks.

Our July 4th was filled with family and friends at parties. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad abounded. We planned future get togethers and laughed over the phenomena that is Magic Mike. I watched my fiance and uncle set off fireworks. My cousin Kim laughed at me when I was startled by one. There was cannoli dip. Divine.

I also did some yoga on the 7th floor of a parking garage. It was amazing. Here’s a video from the folks from Jaya Yoga who organized it!  

Yogis in action! #yogaontheroof

Posted by Jaya Yoga on Thursday, July 16, 2015

 

Squirrel Girls Code Camp was last week, too. It’s a camp I co-organized with the gals of NEPA BlogCon to educate girls in grades 4-6 on STEM goodness. 3D printing, logic, positive role models, and even a bit of Frozen sprinkled in.

I am in absolute awe of these girls. They are so smart, so excited to learn, and so inspiring. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to learn and play along with them. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did – and I’m thrilled that we could help bring something like this to life in our region. Thank you to everyone who volunteered along with us. This is the start of something big in NEPA. <3

And July? You’re pretty great so far.

Summer in the City

I started writing this post last month after eating baklava.

It was Greek Festival week and you know what that means: eating delicious, homemade treats for the better part of a weekend. And damn, was it a great weekend.

The festival ran from June 2 through June 6 at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. It’s located right across the street from the Albright Memorial Library and a stone’s throw away from the Scranton Cultural Center. Two of my favorite buildings in the city. You know I had to stop to admire both on my walk toward gastronomic delights.

Photo By: James Benfante

Photo By: Brad Clinesmith

That weekend also played home to First Friday Scranton. I’ve always enjoyed the excitement around First Friday, eager to play tourist in my hometown. Brent and I walked the square, saw friends and colleagues (and chatted with them), and I topped off the night with being a living mannequin. Yep.

 

 

The New Vintage Ensemble, the theater group I’m a member off, partners with the On&On Vintage Popup Marketplace each First Friday. We stand in the windows of The Leonard as living mannequins, posing in 60’s finery to draw passersby in to explore the vintage and artisan goods inside. It’s a really cool experience.

June was a busy month. The weather was nice so we had an active crowd exploring the city. My friend Kathryn showed off her latest creations, Broken Twig, at the letterpress studio across the street. The city was alive and buzzing – and it felt like summer.

When I think about how summer started in 2015, that weekend will always come to mind. The warmth of the sun coupled with good food, good friends, and the knowledge that – as always – there’s something exciting going on where you live.

Saving the Date

We made and sent out our save the dates. And they’re quite lovely, if I do say so myself!

Busy morning making save the dates in the Boyle-Pennington household! #literarywedding #bookish #wedding #library

A photo posted by Mandy Boyle (@mandyboyle_) on

When we started the journey of wedding planning, we were on the fence as to whether or not we wanted to even do save the dates. The desire to use library cards in some fashion was just too great.

To make these puppies, we started by gathering up library cards and sleeves. Luckily, Brent’s mom volunteers at a school library and was able to rescue these from the trash.

Next, we scanned the library card and created a template in Open Office (can I get a hell yeah for open source tech?!). Brent had the patience to do this. I did not.

Then, we found a typewriter-ish font that could work and started populating the template. When we were happy with the details, we printed them on a borrowed inkjet printer (thanks, Paul!) and got to pasting those sleeves on index cards.

But the hardest part of save the dates – and so far the mot stressful thing in wedding planning I’ve encountered – was getting everyone’s addresses.

Holy moly. Next to narrowing down the guest list (more on that in another post), this has been the toughest thing to get done. Even now, I still have a few address labels that are empty as we’re trying to track down updated address information (and in some cases, any contact information at all!).

The next big project is to start with the invitations. We have some designs we like picked out and the big question now is whether or not we’re going to try designing it ourselves or using some sort of template. Time will tell :)

Loving You, Scranton

Scranton, PA Architecture  -  Photo by © Mandy BoyleI wasn’t born here.

I didn’t grow up here.

But I’ve fallen in love with Scranton.

Scranton, PA Architecture  -  Photo by © Mandy Boyle

The trips I took to Scranton as a child were often similar.

A Sunday with my great-grandparents. A stop on the way up at McDonalds for two fish fillet sandwiches, two small coffees, and a Happy Meal (for me).

Spending the afternoon at Aunt Alice and Uncle Ray’s house to reminisce about the “good ol’ days” in a sea of pink and pea green furnishings.

I played with their pet cockatiel, egging it on to say something. Instead, I’d usually get a nip.

I walked hand in hand with my great-grandfather along the railroad tracks, through the houses, and he told me about what it was like for him as a child. When he met Nanny. Where they used to go swimming. How he got his first job as a footman at a local movie theater.

How he used to buy Mary Jane penny candy from a corner store that’s now a double block for two families. Where he went to school. Where he was born.

Then, we would stop at the cemetery to take care of the family graves.

Scranton, PA Architecture  -  Photo by © Mandy Boyle

Never in a million years would I have imagined that I’d later come to live in Aunt Alice and Uncle Ray’s house with my fiance. That I would get a job here and become so invested in this area’s future.

The path I took? Feels almost like something destined.

The history of heartache in this place? The ongoing struggles amid sparks of progress and beauty? The new and the old? The reborn and the decaying? It’s all part of the story.

Those memories my great-grandparents shared with me – they mean something.

The people, the places, the promise of the future – they mean something, too.

Scranton, PA Architecture  -  Photo by © Mandy Boyle

As with most things, the universe works in pretty remarkable ways and for some reason, it always brought me back here.

There are so many things to love about Scranton.

I’m going to write more about them.

Weekend Things

Have you ever felt like the weekend that’s just within reach is going to be the best thing ever?

That’s how I feel right now.

Tomorrow morning, I’m sleeping in to catch up on the snoozing I’ve lost over the past week (hello, theater!).

I’m also planning on opening the windows and letting fresh air and light into the house. Some cleaning is in order – but knowing me I’ll get distracted partway through a project and will end up only getting a few things done.

Maybe Brent and I will go kayaking, walking, or hiking.

Maybe I’ll read one of the books I have stacked on my bedside table.

The beauty of both leisure and getting caught up? Exquisite.

Maybe I’ll cook dinner and we can eat outside if it’s nice.

And I’m going to make this, this, and something else (haven’t decided yet) to eat with lunch during the week. And also Mom’s meatloaf, as Brent’s been asking about it for weeks. If I have the right ingredients, I’ll make a variation on these too.

Big cooks on weekends are one of my absolute favorite things to do. And the prospect of eating healthier after a week of filling my body with bad decisions? Magic.

Then, there’ll be time for theater. There are shows  for Witness on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Seeing friends and fellow actors. Backstage antics. What’s not to love?

Weekends are filled with possibility.

That’s why I love them so much.

 

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