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Life After Hell’s Kitchen

After a season ends, it’s always hard (for TV-aholics like me) to move on.  Luckily, the Hell’s Kitchen void isn’t so hard to fill thanks to gratuitous amounts of Gordon Ramsay on Hulu.  Here are some ideas for you!

MasterChef

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Another cooking competition hosted by Gordon Ramsay as well as Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Master Chef features home cooks competing for a cash prize, a cookbook deal, and of course, the MasterChef title.  The format of this show switches off between mystery box challenges and team challenges.  The top two mystery box winners become team captains for the following week’s team challenge.  Both types of episodes end with the least successful home cooks facing a pressure test and elimination.

MasterChef Junior

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A bit different in format to the original MasterChef, this show has children ages 8 – 13 creating dishes that I could barely dream up.  Two contestants get sent home in each episode and the winner gets the same cash prize & features the same judges, being significantly kinder than on the adult version.  There are only 7 episodes in the season and it’s on Hulu still.  It’s literally WONDERFUL and I think I cried at the end of every episode.  Watch this.

Kitchen Nightmares

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If you’re missing how mean Chef Ramsay is, this is the show for you.  This expert chef with super high standards heads into kitchens of failing restaurants to turn those businesses around.  Kitchen Nightmares is the US version, and is available on Netflix and Hulu.  The British version off which it’s based, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, is on Netflix as well.

Hotel Hell

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This show is basically Kitchen Nightmares in a hotel.  While a bit of a departure from cooking, Ramsay of course gets to revamp the hotel restaurants as well.  Like MasterChef, this show is currently on Fox, and though previous seasons’ episodes (in this case, just one season’s worth) have disappeared, the current season’s episodes are added the day after they air.  Ramsay wears a speedo in the first episode of season 2, so there’s that.

more Hell’s Kitchen!

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If none of these will do it for you, a new season of Hell’s Kitchen premieres on Fox on September 10th!  Even impatient folks like me can handle that.

WCW: Allison Harvard

I’d been complaining for a while about not being able to watch the early seasons– the ones I like– of America’s Next Top Model.  Apparently, the Hulu Plus gods heard my prayers and seasons 1 through 12 are now available to stream!

I started my ANTM binge with 12 for one reason: Allison Harvard.  She’s my Woman Crush this Wednesday.  Can I please look like this girl?

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Tyra keeps saying she chose Allison for her unique look and “model features.”  Let me tell you all, I went to high school with a girl who turned out to be a beautiful model and she was the most awkward-looking teen I have ever seen.  Models are not “pretty” in a straight-forward sort of way.

Allison, in my opinion, is absolutely beautiful.  Tyra insists she needs to overcome her “quirkiness” throughout season 12.  I think this very quirkiness is what makes Allison so beautiful.  All art is subjective, so while the judges say she gives the same face in many photos, I say they’re absolutely lovely and I like that face!

If you browse her Wikipedia page, you’ll see Allison has worked as a model despite not winning either ANTM season in which she appeared.  More impressively, Allison is an artist.  You see her creativity in the styling challenge, and you can check around the web for some of her beautiful paintings.

Allison is my favorite model to grace ANTM. She’s so much more than just a pretty face!

Friday Favorites: Bad TV

It’s no secret that I watch a lot of really bad TV.  When you live alone, TV provides a pretty essential background of dialogue to remind you that there are other people on this planet.  I always have something playing; reality TV that you can completely tune out is perfect for background noise.  I keep it on while I play 3DS, while I write, while I browse online, and while I cook.  (But never while I’m reading; books deserve my full attention.)

I thought I’d take inventory of some of these horrible, guilty pleasure shows, and share them with you here.

Four Weddings

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I make every effort in life not to be a super girly girl, (simply because I’m not one!) but I do have a small fraction of my being that is a girl stereotype.  That part of me is the part that loves Four Weddings.  I’m such a sucker for weddings.  While the dress is probably my favorite part, I prefer Four Weddings to Say Yes to the Dress.  This show lets you see the full picture of four weddings in each episode, and thus gives you insight into all the other fun details of the day.  A friend of my friends was in an episode and I was dying to see that… so I purchased the season on Amazing Instant Video.  This is a great show to leave on as you go about your evening and you might find yourself planning your wedding while you do.

 

Toddlers and Tiaras

IMG_0469This is a car crash of a show: you simply can’t look away.  Complete with absolutely insane parents and ridiculously spoiled children, this show has a plethora of cringe-worthy moments.  Yet, there’s something about Toddlers and Tiaras I love.  I think it’s the poise of these well-polished girls, dressed eerily to look four times their age.  I’m not a parent, and I’d never make my kids do pageants if I were, but if for some reason my kids wanted to, I would go glitz.  Fake hair, fake teeth, tons of make-up: all par for the course.  The tanning I have a problem with, not because little kids shouldn’t be tanned (well, maybe.  But they also shouldn’t look 25.) but because I’m pale.  What’s wrong with being pale?  I’m not defending pageants at all.  I am not a fan.  However, I think a good contestant has a certain control over their movement that any dancer would envy.  I’m impressed and entertained by that full package.

 

Super Nanny

IMG_0475One summer, my brother was interning in the city so he took up residence in my living room.  This wasn’t so bad for me; I simply had to move my no-pants-TV-time from the couch to my bedroom.  I fall asleep to TV, and reality TV you don’t care about is the perfect thing to keep on as you drift away.  Unfortunately for Joey, this was the summer that I was obsessed with Nanny 911 on Netflix.  Sounds of screaming kids wafted through the walls while I snoozed and he begged for silence to sleep.  I don’t know why I started watching Nanny 911.  Maybe I had eaten through everything interesting on Netflix.  After finishing that series, I moved on to Super Nanny, which is sadly the reason I started my Hulu Plus subscription.  Revisiting both, I think I like Super Nanny better.  It’s less gimmicky than Nanny 911, but either will do.  Just keep the volume down low if you’re planning on sleeping through the screams!

 

I guess I’m not feeling too guilty about watching these shows… one of these or a similar show plus the TV’s sleep timer is essential to my nightly routine!

What are you guilty pleasure shows?

I heart streaming television

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On Thursday, amidst the Amazon Fire TV buzz, I read this Mashable piece about its 8 Greatest Competitors. If you didn’t know, I kicked DirecTV to the curb last year and now rely entirely on the internet for TV. My building isn’t wired for cable, so my options are limited. I get by with Netflix, Hulu, and a few select things on my iTunes and Amazon Instant. I also benefit from a Comcast subscription (thanks, Dad!) but am limited to its streaming content only. I have a lot of interest in products like Amazon Fire TV, so I thought I’d share with you how this cable-less girl is still a TV-freak.

 

Roku 2

My brother bought me my Roku 2 for Christmas last year, and I love it. I got the accompanying TV for my birthday, and thus have a new set up in my bedroom that’s basically changed my life. Roku streams Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and a selection of channels. For example, Lifetime has a channel on Roku, so instead of watching Dance Moms on my laptop, I can watch it on a TV! The Roku itself is not a monthly subscription, you just register and account and you’re off. Some channels are free (like Lifetime, PBS, stuff like that) and some you need a subscription for— Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go. Unfortunately, HBO Go doesn’t steam on my Roku… it’s backed by Comcast and Comcast HBO accounts are not good to go for Roku.

Xbox 360

My original TV machine and the reason I felt confident enough to get rid of cable, Xbox Live Gold keeps me watching Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Youtube! My Xbox sits in my living room on my big TV and thus acts as my main source of visual content. My internet connection is a bit rough (I have Clear as a service, because again, no wires in my building) so it tends to blink off occasionally interrupting my shows. That’s a bummer, and the reason I don’t play Xbox Live ever— I’d be impossible to get through a game! Xbox Live Gold service is necessary to stream and it’s a costly service itself.

iPad

I’m slightly in love with my iPad. I’m still in the market for a portable keyboard so I can take it to the beach house for blogging purposes this summer— the touch screen doesn’t make for easy typing! I bring my iPad most places in lieu of a laptop. It is everything I need for an overnight trip to my parents’ or a weekend stay at a friend’s. The following apps make this a lovable machine: Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Comcast Xfinity, and Viki. The great thing is that every service has an app, so the iPad is the most universal of my devices. While there are some things I can watch only on certain devices/TVs, I can watch pretty much everything on the iPad! I sleep with it. It’s normal.

Wii/Wii U

I mention these because the article mentions Wii U. You all know that I just bought a Wii U, and I could certainly steam Netflix and such on this guy. It sits on the shelf below my Roku, so I don’t need it for those purposes. The same goes with my Wii, which sits in my living room next to the Xbox. I’m pretty sure it streams Netflix too, but I’ve never used it as such. My Nintendo devices are only for gaming, I guess. Does anybody know if there’s a subscription services to be able to stream on these babies? Perhaps it’s something to consider.

 

So it’s obvious why I’m interested in devices like Amazon Fire TV, but it’s also pretty evident that I don’t need any more TV streaming devices! As an Apple user, I am, however, still pretty interested in the Apple TV… we have them at work and they seem awesome. I don’t see an Amazon Fire TV in my future, but the price is low and the product does great things. Has anybody picked one up yet? I’d love to hear what you think about it!