#WCW

It’s Wednesday, also known as #wcw, and for those of you not in the know (or who don’t spend too much time figuring out hashtags on social media), that’s “Woman crush Wednesday”. It’s the day when fellow Facebookers, Tweeters and Instagrammers share photos of women they think are hot or whom they admire. Today,  a friend of mine posted a photo of herself, and I thought it was the most inspiring #wcw ever.

She mentioned everything she loved about herself (faults and all). Honestly, as I read her description of her #wcw I had trouble believing it was her because she was saying such nice things… and since when do us women say such nice things about ourselves? Then, she said this…

Here’s the thing ladies: none of us love every part of ourselves, but it’s the imperfections in our reflections that show the life we’ve lived so far….

The brave thing to do is to own who you are; to stand up and not only know your worth, but to demand other people to know it, too. Own it. Walk in confidence. Love yourself. – Krystin Behannon

(Hope you don’t mind me sharing your beautiful words with the world Krystin!)

I thought about her post all day… as I drove, as I rocked Luna through her fever, while I did burpees, when I ate chips and salsa for dinner and when I looked in the mirror at my wild eyebrows. Throughout the day I wondered, what do I like about myself? I made mental lists, and I’ve got to say, it felt good. In fact, it felt great to focus on what I love about myself as opposed to constantly dwelling on all of my many imperfections.

So, today, my #wcw is the badass chick who writes this kickass blog.

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She is fierce. At 30 years old, she is the strongest she has ever been and loves her body (deformed belly button and all). I love her toned legs, ability to finish a race and to backpack through many countries…because this girl lives for adventure.  She loves deeply and has the biggest heart for children. I love her ability to connect with kids, make learning fun and to quiet a classroom with one serious look. I love her crazy braids, chipped nails (always) quirky earrings and tiny ears. I love that she is either in heels or barefoot, drinks too much coffee, loves all things Disney, dances from room-to-room and sings Taylor Swift everyday to her daughter (off-key). I love her caring heart, her appreciation for everyday, her sensitivity to others and the fact that she still believes in writing letters.  She is not perfect, but she loves herself.

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Woop, woop! Still working out! It's not easy, but it's worth it!

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A rooftop bar is totally legal.

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Do me (and yourself) a favor and make a list of why you are your own crush today.

Does a mind wonders.

Cheers!

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An Even Better Phone

So, remember that time I quit the iPhone and said how freakin’ amazing the Samsung Galaxy S4 is? Well, it’s been a while and now I’ve gotten to try the Motorola Droid Turbo and HOLY COW, this phone is so much better! I love it, and all of a sudden my Galaxy S4 seems so slow and old and yucky and light years behind.

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There are lots of cool techy features about the phone that involve words like resolution, processor, RAM and Kavlar, but you can read about that somewhere else. I’m going to tell you what I like about the phone, and I do not plan on using any of the cell phone jargon. Here goes something.

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1. It has awesome voice control! You can set a voice command, or launch phrase, to whatever you like to get your phone’s attention. My phone responds to, “Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful.” I say that simple phrase and Mr. Wonderful lights up and is ready to fulfill my needs. It is ridiculously accurate, once I whispered my launch phrase to a friend and it responded. It’s so nice to have someone…er something, that always listens.

2. This is related to #1, but it needs it own number: Voice commands! For example, these are some conversations that happen between me and my Mr. Wonderful….

Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful. Take Me Home. (Google maps will then route me home.)

Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful. Call Peter my love. (Calls Husband)

Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful. Take a selfie. (selfie cam turns out, counts down and takes pic without me pressing a button)

Excuse me, Mr. Wonderful. Play Taylor Swift, Shake it Off. (video on, baby stops crying)

I especially love this feature in the car. I typically keep my phone attached to this little device that connects to my AC vent so I can see the maps or whatever. I can have complete texting conversations without ever needing to look at or touch my phone.

3. It knows when you are driving. Yup, it will recognize the speed and background noise and go into driving mode. For example when someone calls or texts you it will say, “Text from Mom, say listen if you would like to hear text”. Everything is hands-free and it works so well.

4. It takes great photos. Here are some photos I took that have not been retouched in anyway.

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5. Everything seems faster. Maps, google, facebook, instagram and even texting seem so much faster.

6. The battery last a very long time. They say it lasts 2 days, but I use my phone a lot, so it lasts me all day, which is better than any other phone.

7. It’s bigger and prettier. The screen looks amazing.

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8. It chargers much faster. It has a “turbo charger”.

It does lots of other neat tricks, but I guess you’ll just have to get one and find out what they are!

What phone are you using?

Cheers!

 

Running for a Cause

small things

I may have mentioned one or twenty times that we (“team workout buddies!”), have been running 5k’s every month in order to not only mix up our workouts, but to stay motivated when it comes to running. Well, we decided to skip the month of March because we have all just been too busy to even think about going for a run, plus winter just won’t go away. However, while searching for a race to do in April, I came across the “Free to Breath” 5k happening in Nashville on March 21st.

The Free to Breathe is a non-profit raising funds for lung cancer research. This hits close to home for me. I lost an Uncle to lung cancer when I was 17. I have a cousin who is a lung cancer survivor, and a friend who is also a survivor. Cancer sucks. Cancer sucks, and I want to do my part help fund research in order to find a cure. Sooo, looks like we are doing a race this month!

Our team of 5 will run in honor of our loved ones next weekend and there are a couple of ways that you can help support us and our cause, if you so choose.

  • Join our team! If you are in the area, then sign up here, join our team and run the 5k with us! Go Team Workout Buddies! (Yeah, I know, we need a better name… suggestions?)
  • You can click here and make a donation with just a click of the mouse. Any amount is greatly appreciated.

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It’s been raining all week, so hopefully the sun comes out soon and I can squeeze in some runs before the race. Either way, I’ll cross the finish line feeling proud and hopeful that I made a difference.

Thanks so much for all your support!

Cheers!

We’ve Got Magic to Do… Just for You

I am one lucky blogger. Last night, I got to review Pippin at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. I miss seeing and reviewing shows in New York so much, but I am so grateful that TPAC offers opportunities to see so many amazing musicals throughout the year. Thanks to them, I get a little taste of Broadway about once a month, and Pippin was the show of choice this month.

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I actually saw Pippin in New York about a year and a half ago, when Husband and I took a little NY vacation. To be honest, I liked the show, but I didn’t love it. I don’t know if we were just too tired or too pregnant, but I remember feeling confused and unhappy with the ending. Last night, I arrived with small expectations and few memories of the show. Then, it completely blew me and my expectations away.

Pippin is fantastic.

It is a combo of cirque du soleil, magic, Fosse dance moves, scantily clad performers, satire, burlesque, comedy, murder and love. Could you squeeze anything else into a 2.5 hour show? It is entertaining from beginning to end, and while it is sometimes hard to decipher exactly where and when the story is taking place, it doesn’t really matter. It’s Pippin’s journey to find meaning in his life and the unbelievable talent and stage presence of the “leading player”. And, yes that’s the name in the playbill, for that character has no actual given name.

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The Leading Player is being played by Sasha Allen (from season 4 of The Voice), and she is phenomenal. When she is on stage you cannot help, but watch every move she makes. She is flawless and has a powerful voice. Another character who took my breath away is Berthe, Pippin’s Grandmother, played by Priscilla Lopez. She is 67 sings, dances and performs aerial stunts better than any 30-year old I know. I aim to be her when I grow up.

Terrence Mann, left, foreground, and Patina Miller in the musical "Pippin."

The show ends with a meaningful lesson, as well as an uncomfortable idea. True happiness may be found in the most simple joys of life, but time and time again, each generation will question whether their life had any meaning at all.

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Pippin will be at TPAC until March 15th. Get your tickets here, and check out dates in other cities here.

Cheers

My Must Have’s When Baby Gets Sick

This winter has brought on colds for all of us. Luckily, none of us have come down with anything serious. Although, a baby with a runny nose and a hacking cough is absolutely no fun. After a few colds, some fever, the must disgusting dried green boogery nose and a cough so loud it made me want to cry, I think I’ve finally got this sick baby thing down pat.

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Yup, Zarbee’s natural cough syrup, Boogie Wipes, Vick’s BabyRub, Safety 1st Thermometer and the Roolen humidifier. (I almost added the Nosefrida Snotsucker, but honestly, I haven’t used it much. Luna’s nose is more drippy than stuffy.)

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These little tools have been crucial this season, but the coolest of all has been the Roolen. It’s a “smart” humidifier and it’s changing my life. It actually has a detector that adjusts to the best humidity level for its environment. AND, it has 3 different settings. One is “high”, which is obviously high humidity for a dry room. Another is “low”, which will last for 24 hours and the best one is “auto”. Auto mode decides the best level for you.

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The Roolen holds a lot of water (3.15 Liters), and because I always use auto mode, it lasts a few nights before I have to refill it. I love anything that saves me time and an extra chore. It’s also energy efficient. When on auto, it goes into sleep mode when it reaches the right humidity level it goes into sleep mode, saving water and energy. Plus, it’s pretty, sleek and simple.

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I highly recommend the Roolen, and stocking up on some of these “must haves” before baby gets sick. Trust me, it’s nice to have them on hand.

What are some of you “must haves”?

Cheers!

 

These Teens Will Never be the Same

Two days ago, I was invited to cover one of the coolest events I’ve ever witnessed. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center along with Cydi Laupers’s True Colors hosted a behind the scenes day for Nashville’s Oasis Center. It was so inspiring and touching to watch this event, the kids and the professionals who made it happen, but before I tell you all the amazing details, I should give you some quick cliff-notes on the organizations involved so you truly understand the impact of the day.

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True Colors is the organization that put this whole shindig together. This organization was founded by THE Cyndi Lauper, and its mission is “to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, creating a world in which young people can be their true selves”. I chatted with their Community Organizer Intern, Cassie, and learned that this is all put together by their “Raise You Up” program, which involves Kinky Boots with a community organization. She also informed me that 40% of homeless youth is from the LGBT community (mostly due to family rejection), which is clearly unacceptable and why True Colors is so dedicated to helping these kids.

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Then, there is the heart of this whole operation, the Oasis Center. This local organization is HUGE. It serves about 4,000 local youths a year, and it’s mission is to “provide safety and support to  the most vulnerable and disconnected youth…it seeks to provide resources that allow them to transform their situations and prepare them for productive fulfilling lives”. That’s perhaps the most important mission ever, to encourage the future, our youth. I also had the pleasure of speaking with Pam, the program director, who taught me lots about the Oasis Center. Their were a limited number of teens/ youth that could attend this special event, so Oasis brought a group of LGBT kids as well as some that have a strong interest in theater. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of the kids who were on the list to go, showed up, on time and ready to learn. That’s some kind of miracle, because as all us teachers know, students are never ever all present, on time and ready to learn. These particular kids knew they were in for something special.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I entered the main lobby of the theater yesterday. I did not know the age of the kids, how they would behave, how interesting the tour would, or would not, be and very little about either organization. I met up with the group of teenagers right before they entered the largest theater to watch the cast of Kinky Boots rehearse. Oh my, the look on their faces as the cast began singing and dancing was priceless. That one moment was worth my drive to TPAC.

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There was one boy in particular, a talented young dancer, who was so lit up when the dancing began. You could see the wheels turning as he watched the insane choreography being rehearsed on stage. Like, he all of a sudden realized, “Oh, I can do this, this could be my future.” As the number ended, the small group of teens erupted in applause, even though they were told not to make a peep. They couldn’t help themselves, and the cast certainly didn’t mind the appreciation.

We were all then taken backstage for a little behind the scenes tour. The kids got to see what a dressing room looks like, where costumes are kept, how the cast enters and exits and lots of other cool ins and outs of the backstage world. I think everyone’s favorite part was seeing the thigh-high high-heeled sparkling boots in everyone’s dressing room.

We ended in a conference room, where the kids had the opportunity to listen, learn and ask questions to part of the Kinky Boots crew and several staff members from TPAC. You may think this sounds boring, but I promise you it was far from it! I learned so much myself that I’m ready to put in my application! These teens got to learn about the coolest jobs in the theater business that most of us either don’t think about, or didn’t even know existed. The staff told them their background (some theater, some not), their experience (EVERYONE lived in NYC at one point or another), how they got their job (work hard! do what you love! learn! be scrappy!) and some funny personal experiences (one involving a Barney suit). The, they were able to ask whatever questions they wanted! Once again, you could see their eyes light up, the wheels turning and the excitement, excitement about their own dreams and ambitions.

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I was so impressed with these young people. They were genuinely interested in everything they were being presented. They were polite, respectful, enthusiastic and asked some really great questions. (My favorite was, what was the best/worst play you ever worked?) This wasn’t even the end of the day. Yes, there was more.

Once the speakers finished, the kids got to eat dinner (pizza and soda) before going to see the entire musical themselves! THEN, after the show, they got to stay for a Q&A with the cast! Who gets an opportunity like this? I grew up in a nice area, went to great schools and never got to do anything this cool. Teenage Hilarie is super envious of them. These at-risk teens got an experience of a life-time. They were exposed to talents, jobs, art, culture and career options that they otherwise would have likely never known existed. That is amazing.

HUGE thank you to the True Colors Fund for selecting Nashville as your second city to participate in this program! Also, if any of you are interested in donating, volunteering or somehow getting involved with the Oasis Center please visit this link. TPAC, as always, you rock.

Cheers!

These Boots are Made for Watching

Kinky Boots is in Nashville!!!! EEEEEeeeee! I LOVE this show. I saw it on Broadway in New York when it opened and actually sat right behind Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein (the creators of the musical).It was a magical night of drag queens, glitter, shoes, high kicks and British accents. Can  you ask for more? Yes. You can ask to see the show again, the traveling show. Lucky me. I got to see it for a second time last night at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

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My friend, Bella, and I went together and because we love dressing up, we decided to dress the part, which can best be described as….well, kinky. That’s really just a nice way to say we looked like hookers, cute hookers. TPAC was decked out for the show. They had the usual huge crowd, themed snacks and souvenirs, but they also had a shoe cam. It’s like the one you see on the E! network.

workin' it!
workin’ it!

The BEST part was seeing Tony (one of TPAC’s best employees) dressed in the iconic red high-heeled boots! From across the room a spotted a photo backdrop and a line of people waiting to take their photo with who I assumed was a cast member. I then see Tony’s head peaking through the crowd and thought he must be doing crowd management. Then, the crowds parts just enough that I spot the boots… the red boots on Tony’s feet! It was amazing, and yeah we definitely took advantage of that Kodak moment.

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Before the show began we took the theme one step further and ordered ourselves a double of the “Kinky Boots” drink, delicious BTW. One minute before showtime we finally got to our seats, settled in, took a sip of our pink drink and got read for a show unlike any other.

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Kinky Boots is a musical based off of a movie based on a true story. The story is of two boys with two dreams. One dreams of dancing in high heels. One dreams of doing anything, but running the family business, a shoe making factory. As adults. the first boy is a very talented drag queen in London, the latter is forced to run the shoe factory when his father unexpectedly passes away. The factory is failing quickly and the son has no clue how to save it in everyone he loves’ jobs. The two very different young men cross paths unexpectedly and together they not only learn how to save the business, but also discover the importance of accepting others and being true to yourself.

Throughout the heartwarming and hilarious story are some seriously impressive musical numbers. The music and lyrics reminds me of classic Broadway hits, but the dancing is like none other. It’s not often you see grown men doing high-kicks, splits, back handsprings and a myriad of other moves in 6-inch heels. Well… I guess it’s possible you do see this often, depending on what clubs you frequent, but I guarantee you that you have yet to see this level of talent.

The show rocked. We left feeling excited, happy and desperate to go shoe shopping.

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Kinky Boots will be playing at TPAC until February 8th! GO SEE IT! You may even spot a celebrity… Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson were there last night. Check out show details and future shows here. If you don’t live around Nashville (shame on you), check out the tour dates here.

Cheers!