As we make our way into the last official month of summer, we can’t contain our excitement about new, sizzling summer shows, a sweet confectionary craze, entertaining poolside reading material and of course, catchy summer beats. Read on to check out our top picks of what to watch, read, see, listen and do (WRSLD) in August!
- When we first heard that a new all-female daytime talk show called the The Real was making its debut this summer, we didn’t quite know what to expect and if it would be any good. After all, the concept wasn’t new and had been pioneered by the long running daytime gab fest “The View” on ABC and followed more recently by “The Talk” on CBS. Suffice it to say, after the first week of the 4 week test run, we’re hooked. The show is hosted by five bold, diverse and outspoken hosts including singer Tamar Braxton – who brings her loud over-the-top personality, comedienne Loni Love – who holds it down as the “den mother” of the group, singer Adrienne Bailon, and actresses Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley – who is by far the most endearing yet underexposed one of the group. Unlike similar talk shows, we love the diversity of the cast, the more youth-oriented flavor and candid conversations they have about topics ranging from their own personal lives to the news of the day to beauty, fashion and relationships. “The Real,” premiered on Monday, July 15th on FOX and is currently being tested in seven U.S. markets for a brief four week run. Given the huge splash it’s made and the favorable reviews from TV critics, we’re hoping the show gets picked up for the regular season and distributed nationwide. To find out when “The Real” airs in your city, visit TheRealTalkShow.com.
- Summer TV programming just got a little hotter with Lifetime’s new addictive soap-style drama, “Devious Maids”— which centers on a close-knit group of maids who are bonded together by their jobs, life struggles and the melodramatic “upstairs-downstairs” universe that engulfs their employers. Co-executive produced by actress Eva Longaria and Mark Cherry – both of Desperate Housewives fame, “Devious Maids” follows four Latina maids with ambition and dreams of their own while working for the rich and famous of Beverly Hills. Similar to the plot devices used in Desperate Housewives, murder and mayhem collide in the mansions of Beverly Hills’ wealthiest and most powerful families. Although the show has received some backlash for being racially insensitive, we can’t help to appreciate it for its honest yet hilarious look at class warfare at its best, where the staff is as clever, witty, outrageous and downright devilish as their employers. The show airs Sunday nights at 10pm on Lifetime…be sure to tune in!
- Aside from her sweet gig on FOX’s “The Real”, comedienne and actress Loni Love is also a published author – and we’ve spotted her making the rounds promoting her new tome Love Him or Leave Him: But Don’t Get Stuck with the Tab (Simon & Schuster). Sure you can act like a lady and think like a man, or admit that he’s just not that into you, but according to Loni — the path to lasting love is looking out for number one and treating yourself like the great catch you are. This fresh and funny relationship book is full of down-to-earth advice on love, sex, dating and goes one step further to deliver answers to women’s most pressing relationship questions along with plenty of hilarious been-there-done-that tales—from hooking up to breaking up to everything in between. As Loni says, “You can love him or you can leave him, but the day a man starts taking advantage of you is when you need to remember that putting yourself first is the most important step in finding love. That’s the foundation for all the advice I give, because it’s a message so many women need to hear, over and over, like multiple orgasms.” The book in stores now and is available wherever books are sold including iBook, Kindle, Nook and Amazon.
- Admit it, we’ve all thought about it at one time or another: interracial dating. Keeping in the theme of relationship advice, we’re loving what’s been dubbed as “The first handbook on navigating the exciting, tricky, and potentially disastrous terrain of interracial relationships”. Written by Janice Littlejohn and Christelyn D. Karazin the book is called Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed— and it gives a fresh take on a very tired debate among Black woman. The book takes on interracial dating using true stories, accounts and advice from real interracial and intercultural couples. Some topics the book covers that we’re interested in reading about goes beyond Black women and White men but looks at culture and faith too. The book is available in bookstores around the country and online.
- The recent heat wave in NYC was no match for the heat crooner Justin Timberlake and rap mogul Jay Z brought on their recent stop of their North American co-headlining Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour. Following the artist’s joined collaboration on “Suit & Tie” and their performance at the 2013 Grammy Awards, rumors started about their possible joined touring; which of course is in support of Timberlake’s third studio album, The 20/20 Experience and Jay-Z’s 12th studio album, Magna Carta… Holy Grail. The tour runs through August 16th so be sure to visit Ticketmaster.com to find out when they’ll be in your city.
- If you’re in New York City later this month, be sure to check out a new Broadway adaption of the classic “Romeo and Juliet” starring actor Orlando Bloom (“Lord of the Rings”) and Broadway darling, actress Condola Rashaad (“Stickfly” and “Trip to Bountiful”). The production will showcase Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers as an interracial couple (they could have probably written their own book on swirling) and the play is set to begin previews on August 24th for a September 19th opening at the Richard Rodgers Theater. Visit Telecharge.com for more info.
- Über music producer Pharell Williams refers to them as “robots that look at life with the perspective of what it must be like to be human.” You guessed it! We’re talking about none other than Daft Punk – the French electronic duo consisting of musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, celebrated for their futuristic disco-funk explorations. We love exploring new music sounds and their new album “Random Access Memories” — the group’s fourth full-length studio album doesn’t disappoint. The album features collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Julian Casalblancas and Panda Bear and is now available on iTunes. Our favorite tracks include: “Give Life Back to Music,” “Instant Crush” and “Get Lucky,” featuring Pharrell himself.
- Dropping on the same day as Kanye West’s highly anticipated, Yeezus album, J Cole also made a splash with his second studio album “Born Sinner” which has held strong on the music charts for weeks. Often compared to the likes of rapper, Drake, J Cole brings his own unique style of melodic Hip-Hop with tracks such as “Power Trip” featuring R&B crooner Miguel and is also quite talented behind the boards as a DJ. Collaborations on this white hot album include, 50 Cent, TLC’s T-Boz and Chilli and Kendrick Lamar. The album is available on iTunes.
- Try a Cronut! What’s a Cronut you ask? Oh, it’s only when a warm buttery croissant and a donut join in sweet matrimony and produce a love child! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard about the Cronut craze sweeping the nation and delighting sweet tooths everywhere. This unique pastry hybrid was originally developed by pastry chef Dominique Anselin and has become the most viral dessert to date. Since making its splash, there have been many imitators but if you ever get around to sampling chef Anselin’s concoction, here are some rules to keep in mind: eat immediately as Cronuts have a short shelf life. If you choose to cut in half, be sure to use a serrated knife, so as not to crush the layers. Never refrigerate these treats as the humidity from the refrigerator will cause them to go stale and soggy. And lastly, since Cronuts are filled with cream, it’s not recommended to serve them warm. For more information on chef Anselin’s cronuts, visit DominiqueAnsel.com
- Plan a Labor Day Getaway! With one more month to go, summer is drawing to a close and what better way to mark the end of vacation season than to plan a Labor Day escape. Whether you choose to take a quick trip out of the country or explore what the great old USA has to offer, the options are endless. We love the idea of white water rafting in the Adarondaks on the East Coast, or a quick trip to sunny Southern California to enjoy the surf. If you’re looking for a bigger adventure, how about exploring ancient cities such as Naples, Italy or perhaps driving down the length of the Amalfi coast and chartering a boat out to the island of Capri for some R&R? Either way, Labor Day is by far our favorite summer holiday because it’s that last opportunity to really close out the summer with a bang. Start planning now! :-)