Mandy Boyle

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

Page 5 of 58

What Washed Windows Can Do

Photo By: nefasth

Window washers were outside the Steamtown Mall several times over the past week, and with each swipe of their sponges, I saw a little bit  more hope from the place.

The first glimmers that something was happening popped up about a week ago when my co-workers and I took our daily walk over to the Starbucks on the street level.

There was a flurry of activity that morning. There were large wooden standees of comic book styled characters and signs moved into the vacant store windows along Lackawanna Avenue. I don’t recall the exact words, but they said something along the lines of “Wait until you see what’s coming.”

Dead trees were replaced with live ones. Topiary bushes were placed in planters long filled with trash and cigarette butts. A crew on ladders scrubbed the scum and filth off the windows and stainless steel around the doorways.

I smiled, watching them. Because it was a step.

And as a Scrantonian, I can tell you that recognizing that first step can be hard. If you’re not keeping up with what’s happening in the news (or what’s happening behind the scenes, if you do some homework), you hear rumors and get your information through that lovely grapevine that snakes through the valley.

“Someone bought the mall.”

“I heard a real estate guy who turns buildings into lofts bought it. It’ll be apartments.”

“We really need a grocery store downtown. Let’s hope they’ll finally put one in.”

“Nothing will change.”

“They’re gonna flip it.”

“It’ll be a parking lot.”

“Maybe they’ll turn it into a Hunger Games arena.”

Those buzzings? They risk that fragile part of you that wants to be optimistic about the future.

Because words are not action.

But – words can motivate action.

It’s why the conversations around the Electric City Marketplace have been such a driving force for change in our downtown. It’s why architects and entrepreneurs have given their two cents, advice, and support. It’s why I’m continuously reinvigorated by the debates I have with friends, fellow professionals, and Scrantonians who all have skin in the game.

We want to see this place get better.

We want our city to be better.

Dammit, we want something good to happen to the Steamtown Mall property.

When I heard it was bought at auction by someone local who seemed to have had success in reinvigorating other properties, I felt it was a positive move.

I don’t know this guy or know much about his business. But I had hope that this was going to be better than the status quo.

Today, I walked through the Mall and the feeling of possibility was unmistakable. While far from crowded, there were people. There were signs for patrons to get easy access to wheelchairs and strollers. It looked clean.

Although small, there was action - and that means something.

Photo By: Daytona24

Even if it’s just a feeling when you’re standing inside a long neglected building, flooded with sunlight from newly washed windows.


Let’s Talk About the Wedding Food

When I think about what excited me most in planning our wedding, choosing the food was ranked right up there with the dress.


Food is a big deal in my life. It brings me happiness. I enjoy cooking and baking. Trying a new food? Thrilling.

I think the whole love affair with food comes from having a grandmother and a great-grandmother who both put a lot of focus on ensuring everyone in their nests were well fed.

For a 2-year stint in junior high, I wanted to be a pastry chef. Today, I get my fix by hosting brunches for the theater ensemble I’m in and trying Chopped challenges in our kitchen.

Picking the food for our wedding was a fun experience. It was pretty stress-free, too (thanks, Appletree!) But, I did take away a few lessons from it:

  • Pick things you like. Both the Mister and I chose foods that we personally enjoyed eating for our menu, but we balanced that out with things we knew everyone would like or appreciate.
  • Be sensitive to your guests. We have a lot of food allergies and lifestyles to be mindful of, so when we planned our menu, we kept that in mind. Having our guests have a good time is really important, so we thought about what people could and couldn’t eat. We chose a good variety of dishes so that there was something for everyone.
  • Don’t take yourselves too seriously. The best wedding food I ever had was at a backyard BBQ. Keeping things simple is usually the best way to go. Don’t try to do something super fancy if that’s not your gig. Don’t know what it is? You don’t have to serve it. We went with what we considered to be our comfort foods.

I’m really excited to try what we have planned. Here’s a teaser including a few of the items:

  • Mini Assorted Grilled Cheese & Reuben Station Featuring Tomato Soup
  • Mashed Potato Bar, including Buttermilk Ranch with Jack Cheese and Scallions, Cheddar, & Homestyle potatoes
  • Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms with Roasted Grape Tomato and Green Onions in a Bourbon Glaze
  • Sculptured Fresh Fruit & Cheese Display with Signature Dip & Assorted Crackers
  • Carved Encrusted Fresh Pork Loin Encrusted w/ Italian Seasoning, Lemon, Garlic & Panko
  • French Vanilla Ice Cream with Hot Fudge

Hungry? So are we.


A Worldview on Cookouts

As Liz Lemon would say,

“Can I share with you my worldview? All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.”

I agree with Liz when she says that everyone just wants to sit down and enjoy a sandwich. I know I do.

But I also believe that everyone – absolutely everyone – deserves to experience the joys of the backyard cookout. Or at the very least, the act of eating food outside in the company of others.

BBQ Photo By: Kenny.Kim

I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a few this summer, each one renewing my soul and faith in mankind.

Over burgers (or veggie burgers, if you prefer), hot dogs, and pasta salad, we’ve shared laughs and told stories. Played Kan Jam. Put on sunblock and bug spray and sat in the grass with our shoes off. Drank some sort of shandy beer. Debated the virtues of Jurassic World and 90’s R&B. Noshed on some sort of ridiculously good dip that someone’s friend made. Made plans for when we’d see each other next.

Summer should be like this for everyone. 

Relaxing, enjoying a good meal with loved ones, and reveling in the knowledge that despite what that nagging voice in your mind is screaming at you, you can take the moment for what it is: paradise.

Take another bite of that burg’, buddy. It’s gonna be okay.


I’m glad I have a hobby where I can be someone else for a while.

For the past week, I’ve gotten to be Sola – a lonely gal with an overactive (and somewhat abusive) imagination.

A few months ago, I was Laura Keene, a figure of both figurative and historical significance.

I’ve been a high school reunion attendee with a dark secret, a hostess of an ill-fated cocktail party, a wife resigned to her future, a dead songstress from the 1920’s, a woman struggling with moving on, and more.

Theater is a heck of a lot of fun for me because I get to play with emotions and characters within myself that I otherwise wouldn’t have explored.

This week, I’ll be Sola again in Gaslight Theater Company’s Playroom: Master Bedroom in a piece called, “In the Dark” by Rachel Strayer.

Featuring the works of local and regional playwrights, Playroom is a wicked cool concept. Each year, a room in a house is chosen and shorts corresponding with that room are selected from a pool of talented writers. Each play shares the same setting – but the stories and characters are all very different.

This year’s production offers a diverse menu of pieces to satisfy all tastes:

  • Storybook characters dealing with reality
  • A comedienne experiencing the loss of a close friend and writing partner
  • Little Red Riding Hood in a way you never would’ve imagined
  • A swinger’s party with shock factor
  • What really happens when you have an Open House
  • A family dealing with demonic possession
  • And then there’s me and my big, fat imagination

All in a well-appointed bedroom. (Trust me, it’s fresh.)

Every time I’ve worked with Gaslight I’ve loved the experience – even more so when I get to hang with some of my fellow NVE members and friends!

And I think you should get out to see it too. Because theater is fun.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll get bit by the bug to be someone else for awhile, too.



Gaslight’s fourth annual Playroom features seven original one act plays written by regional playwrights, and local actors, directors, and designers! Playroom runs for two weekends this summer. Tickets can be purchased at the door or reserved online at

***DISCLAIMER! Some plays in Playroom: Master Bedroom feature strong language and adult content; mature audiences only.***

//// WHEN ////
Thursday, August 6 at 8 p.m.
Friday, August 7 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 8 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, August 9 at 2 p.m.

/// COST ///
Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students/seniors. Seating is general admission and limited so be sure to arrive early or make reservations!

//// WHERE ////
Gateway Shopping Center – Unit 7B in Kingston, PA
(Between Biggie Burger and Cartridge World)


UNTITLED PLAY by B. Garret Rogan
Directed by Dave Reynolds
Man: Rob Klubeck
Woman: Kristen Peterman
O.S. Man: Mark Henry
Second Woman: Jane Rodella

OPEN HOUSE by Emily Halbing
Directed by Tom Taraszewski
Landlord: DJ Nat
Hank: John Segear
Sharon: Mollie Dooley
Young Woman: Kimmie Leff
Young Man: Mark Henry
Man #2: Lee Thomas

by Kait Burrier
Directed by Nick Klem
Prince: Josh Alberola
Princess: Kimmie Leff

OUT OUT by Matthew S. Hinton
Directed by Dave Reynolds
Rich: Dane Bower
Carol: Anne Rodella

TRAGICOMIC by Lukas Tomasacci
Directed by John Bubul
Mary: Kristen Peterman
Agent: Amy Brown
Voice Overs: John Bubul, Amanda Kotch, Natalie Pacileo

by Jenny Hill
Directed by Matthew S. Hinton
Wolf: Michael Rawl
Mom: Mollie Dooley
Daughter 1: Olivia Caraballo
Daughter 2: Jessica Podskoch
Man 1: DJ Nat
Man 2: John Segear
Man 3: Dane Bower

IN THE DARK by Rachel Luann Strayer
Directed by Drake Nester
Sola: Mandy Boyle
Figure: April Holgate


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.

Page 5 of 58

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén