Mandy Boyle

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

What happens when you take a blogging holiday.

My last post was months ago. I’m not sorry.

The break was good. I lived fully for several months, taking in all of the best parts (and even some not great parts) of this beautiful, crazy, and often bewildering world we live in.

I stopped feeling guilty about not writing because really, when it comes down to it, it’s a lie. I still wrote. Every day, actually.

I wrote emails, documents, training plans, presentations and analyses at work, which made my brain all at once tired and happy.

I wrote creative non-fiction as part of a writing workshop I shared with dear friends and my husband. Once again, my brain smiled.

I wrote responses to interview questions and award nominations. I had to *gasp* talk about myself. As uncomfortable as it is, it’s good for you. Do it every now and then.

We try so hard – so, so hard – to keep up with things. Building good habits. Making changes that stick. The tipping point seems out of reach at times, but when it hits, boy, does it feel good. It’s happening. You’re doing it. You’ve won.

But sometimes the win is in not letting the tipping point tip. Sometimes, it’s about backing away and being in other things so that you can return feeling at peace, refreshed, and with the right perspective.

NEPA BlogCon still happened. I performed in a play. I read books. I climbed down a mountain. My picture was in the paper. I felt proud for my friends. I laughed. I cried. I loved. I lived.

That’s how I’m looking at it.

I took a blogging holiday and lived. :)

75 Thoughts You’ll Have Getting Ready for Your Wedding Day

A few months ago, Brent and I tied the knot. It was…perfect. Absolutely and in every way.

But internally, while I was surrounded by all of this perfection, my mind raced. So many thoughts and feelings.

They sounded and felt a little something like this…

The Morning Of

sleep sleeping wizard of oz judy garland the wizard of oz

1.) Zzzzzz….. (*alarm blasts waking you from sweet, sweet slumber*)

2.) Five more minutes…no…WAIT. I’M GETTING MARRIED TODAY.


80s vintage kiss retro 1980s


5.) Note to self: Do not forget deodorant. Also wear a button down shirt so you don’t jack up your hair like some animal.

6.) Headpiece? Check. Jewelry? Check. Random assortment of pharmacy essentials in the event of a sudden headache diarrhea indigestion attack? Check.

On the Commute

7.) Let’s go get spiffed up! OMG. What if there’s construction? PLEASE DON’T LET THERE BE A DARK RED LINE ON THE MAP, GOOGLE!


9.) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (stares at sea of brake lights).

no the office michael scott please no

10.) God? Are you there? It’s me – a frazzled bride in search of meaning and a clear roadway.

11.) If you let this traffic pass and I’m not late for everything, throwing off the entire flow of the day and ruining it for everyone, I’ll be eternally grateful!

12.) What’s this? MOVEMENT?!

13.) Whew. False alarm. We’re moving again. People will make it to the wedding and we won’t have to eat 900 pounds of shrimp by ourselves (though that wouldn’t be so bad…)

tina fey hungry shrimp happy eating

Getting Hair & Makeup


film musical gtkmm get to know me meme natalie wood

15.) Why did I never learn to use a curling iron like a real person?

16.) Maybe I should give YouTube another shot. BRING ON THE HAIR TUTORIAL VIDEOS.

17.) Can you just be here to do my hair every day?

18.) Do celebrities have healthy hair with all of that styling and hot tool usage?

sad zooey deschanel frown pout the new girl

19.) Who am I kidding? I won’t suddenly start doing my own hair. I’ll watch YouTube videos and mourn.

20.) Ooo! This makeup looks delightful!

21.) Why don’t I wear makeup more often?

22.) Oh, yeah. Because it takes time and effort.

23.) My eyes are…how you say…on fleek?

24.) Brow game is strong today.


princess diaries celebrities

26.) I’m like a fairy princess in this flower crown.

27.) *sneaks peek in another mirror* WOOOOOOO!

28.) Okay. Now what?

29.) I’m going to watch my friends and family get their hair and makeup done too!

28.) *fidget* *fidget* *fidget* WHEW. OKAY. THIS IS REAL.

29.)  Everyone looks so great!

30.) *hears Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”* LIFE IS A MYSTERYYYYYYY

madonna like a prayer 80s music video

31.) Where is Madonna right now? She’s probably not in an Ulta. I’m in an Ulta.

32.) I’m so happy this button down fits me right now. #buttongap


34.) *sniffs every perfume*

35.) Imma dance right now right here.

dance feeling it 80s films bored


37.) Okay, Mom. I’ll stop.


39.) Why is my stomach so flip floppy?

40.) Flip floppy. Flip floppy. Such a weird phrase.  Andy Samberg.

grace helbig hannah hart mamrie hart lonely island on a boat

41.) I’M ON A BOAT!

42.) We’re all ready? Awesome! Great!


44.) This car feels so hot.  It’s October. What is this nonsense?!

airplane sweat sweating

45.) *cracks window* No. Yes. No. YES.

46.) Aww, Mom. You’re getting me all teary looking over here!


48.) Wow – we’re here already. That went quick!

Getting Dressed


matt ren thumbs kylo

50.) Wait. Gotta put on deodorant again.

51.) Wait. Gotta brush my teeth.

52.) Wait. Gotta change bras into that undergarment thing I paid way too much money for but is integral to the structure and shape of my dress.

53.) Getting married is a con.


movies audrey hepburn funny face

55.) Okay. Dress. On. Yes.

56.) This is slipping.

57.) Anyone have a safety pin!?


59.) No, Mom, don’t cry! If you cry, I’ll cry too!

60.) I wish I brought a sweater. Might get a chill.

61.) My Nanny would be proud. I’m in her pearls and thinking about cardigans.

62.) Okay. I’m dressed. I’m ready. LET’S DO THIS.

awkward jim carrey ace ventura primping

63.) How do I sneak out without Brent seeing me? I know he’s next door…

64.) Is the coast clear? The coast is clear. Let’s book.

65.) Wow, walking in a dress like this is…interesting.


community awkward alison brie bye annie edison

67.)  Am I ready for this? I’m ready for this.

68.) Do I need to pee? No. I’m good. This is just nervousness.

69.) Everyone is looking at me in the lobby. How…do….I….respond to this?

70.) Do not close dress in car door. Do not close dress in car door. Do not close dress in car door.

71.) Do not mess up hair. Do not mess up hair. Do not mess up hair.

72.) *smile at Mom*

73.) I can’t believe it’s here already.

tv excited mom arrested development screaming

74.) It’s all happening.

75.) This is the best day. I’m with the best people. Everything is the best.





Why Does Creativity Feel So Difficult?

Photo By: Richard Jones

I scheduled the time for me to write this. I planned it in advance. In my whirling brain, I committed myself to sitting down and writing about…


Creativity doesn’t always come easily to me. There are times when I sit and stare at an empty screen, waiting for an answer that never comes. Or one that comes but doesn’t satisfy.

But then there are those rare moments when that sneaky bolt hits you and charges you with enough energy to write 5 blog posts in quick succession. Or 10 pages of a play. Or that manifesto you’ve been waiting for.

It never seems to be conveniently timed or on command. Rarely when you need it. Sometimes only under the greatest of pressures. Creativity is the thing we wish for with a smile but curse when it doesn’t arrive as expected.

So, here I sit, my feet propped up on a cozy couch with a cup of mint tea at my side. My husband is writing code next to me, working on building a website. He’s good at putting his creativity to use. Meanwhile, I’m struggling.

I went to Google, because, well, where else do you go when you want answers? I searched “why is creativity so difficult?”. What I found was pretty darn interesting – and rooted in science.

All this, and more, from a squishy thing in our noggins.

I started this post feeling frustrated at my lack of inspiration – but now, I’m feeling pretty good. This block is a positive thing. I’m stretching my brain and letting it do its thing. And hey, I’ve got another post out of the experience!

I’ll enjoy the down time while I’m at it.

You know – spending a nice afternoon with a cup of tea and brain science.

If an idea comes, it comes.

I’ll wait and relax.

After all, it’s good for me. 

Letter to Self

There’s a file on my Google Drive named “Mandy’s Big Fat Wishlist”.

In it, there’s a list of things I want to do in the next few months, the next year, and then within the next 3-10 years. Somehow sitting down and actually writing out things that I want to do/see/be makes it feel more within reach.

Also, it gives me something to open up and look at when I feel unfocused. Maybe it’s a bit woo-woo, but it feels good!

One item I’m working on now is to take Unstoppable, a writing course by the incredible Alexandra Franzen.

I’m a self-help and growth junkie. I read books on how to change your mindset. If I see a blog post relating to organization, I click on it and read it (knowing full well that I probably won’t follow through on the suggestions it gives). Essentially, I am Liz Lemon walking into The Container Store thinking that if I buy all of these little boxes, tins, and bottles, I’m going to get my life in order.

Essentially, I am Liz Lemon walking into The Container Store thinking that if I buy all of these little boxes, tins, and bottles, I’m going to get my life in order.

Like her, it’s more likely I will set something on fire.

But I’m feeling good about Unstoppable so far. I’m about halfway through and enjoying the exercises. One of which (the one that inspired this post) was to set a timer for 3 minutes and write a letter to someone.

I chose myself.

I chose myself because I haven’t written to myself since high school when we were assigned to write a letter in 9th grade to our 12th grade selves.

It’s a strange and wonderful thing to write to yourself. You can reflect and give advice. To some degree, you can be more honest with yourself.

It was a gift. On one hand, I gave myself the gift of time for reflection and self-advice. On another, I gave myself something concrete – much like a big fat wishlist – that I can look back on when I feel unfocused.

A New Year is always filled with great potential. I start every January 1st feeling motivated.

For today, I feel like I’m making progress. The trick is to keep the momentum.

A letter to self from time to time might help.




In 2013, lightning struck. The New Vintage Ensemble was born out of a love for taking the work – but not ourselves – seriously. And now, we’re at it again.

“Hamlet” opens next week and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. The countless hours, phone calls, and Google Drive documents (I’ll get to that in a minute!) have been worth it – and for so many reasons.

I have this sneaky feeling that lightning is going to strike again.

I’ve been lucky. As an ensemble member, I’m playing the roles of Francisco, Osric, and First Player. Behind the scenes, I’m supervising producer – i.e. keeper of the Google Drive. Budgets, marketing, contracts, and accounting are my shtick (and totally appeal to my type A tendencies).

We, as an ensemble, have also been lucky.  The Mall at Steamtown and Amos Towers have generously offered us rehearsal space over the past few months.

We’ve had the opportunity to work with local theater organizations and small businesses like Taney’s Costume Shop (patronize them immediately), DIVA Productions, the University of Scranton, and others to bring our vision to life.

We’ve worked with amazingly talented people like our designer, Graham Campbell, and our photographer (and my beloved Mister), Brent Pennington.

You don’t get opportunities like this often, so when they do happen, you have to thank the stardust we’re all made of for it.

And those special people. You give oodles of thanks to them, too.

Being on both sides of the stage had given me a greater appreciation for the work that goes into making something like this happen. And I love having the chance to apply things I love doing (i.e. planning, marketing, performing) in an area I love so much.

But beyond my own selfish thrills, there’s more to this “Hamlet” than I would have ever thought possible.

Our Director Casey Thomas’s vision for “Hamlet” is brilliant. There isn’t another way I can say it. He’s fearless in his direction and from the first day, we knew that we’d be doing Shakespeare in a way that was completely unexpected.

As for the cast? I’m in awe of them every night. “Hamlet” is an emotional piece, demanding a lot of actors and audience alike. But the performances my fellow friends and castmates deliver have made the hairs on my arm stand on end, my eyes well with tears, and my ribs ache from laughing so hard. They are magic.

Season's greetings from the cast of Hamlet! #nvehamlet #scranton #theater #shakespeare

A photo posted by Mandy (Boyle) Pennington (@mandyboyle_) on

But one of the most exciting things about this “Hamlet” is our venue. The New Vintage Ensemble will be working with the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple to produce this show. They’ve graciously opened their doors to us and Shopland Hall will be home base for the next two weeks.

The minute I talked to the production team about where we’d be doing the show, I’ll be honest – I got choked up.

I never thought that I’d be doing some like this when I started acting. You know, actually producing and being in something of this magnitude. It’s humbling and makes my heart full.

I remember my first role, dressed in a purple leotard with plastic vines and flowers hot glued all over it. I was a fairy in a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” with one line. I still remember it.

But there was something about those musty curtains and bright lighting that made me come back. Again and again.

#nvehamlet #newvintageensemble

A photo posted by Mandy (Boyle) Pennington (@mandyboyle_) on

And now, here we are. We open a show in one week – in one of the most beautiful venues in Scranton. With some of the most talented people I’ve ever met. And we’re friends. And we get to do this. For real.

That is perhaps the greatest gift.

We get to do something we love and share it with you.




  • Friday, January 8 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 9 at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, January 15 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 16 at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.


Shopland Hall
Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple
420 N. Washington Ave.
Scranton, PA


Tickets are $15 and are available via Ticketmaster at or


By Phone: During Box Office Hours 570.344.1111 and Ticketmaster Charge by Phone After Hours at 800.745.3000

In Person: Fidelity Box Office at the Scranton Cultural Center, 420 North Washington Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503

In Person: All Regional Ticketmaster Outlets, including Boscovs, Gallery of Sound and Select Walmart Locations


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