Baby’s First Symphony

In the past month I have been fortunate enough to attend the Nashville Symphony three times. I told you about my alone time at the Coffee and Classics series, but I also saw Phantom of the Opera (complete in masquerade attire) this week and yesterday I took Luna to the children’s show. Throughout the year the Symphony puts on a Pied Piper series for kids and Saturday was the “Under the Big Top” show.

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I took two of my girlfriends with me and Luna to the show and we arrived about an hour early so we could enjoy the pre-show festivities. They had arts and crafts, a book nook with readers, face painting and an instrument petting zoo. I was most excited about buying coffee from the Cherry Street Eatery and Sweetery, but was second most excited about the instrument petting zoo. It was really cute to see about a hundred little kids waiting in line to bang on a gong, play a flute and play a dozen other instruments. However, hearing all of the instruments being played by a hundred preschoolers or so also made me want to hold off on buying Luna an instrument anytime soon.

Reading together in the book nook
Reading together in the book nook
the newest member of the orchestra
the newest member of the orchestra

We found our seats early enough to walk around and show Luna the stage. We got a good look at the orchestra members as they came in and they were all in circus themed costumes. It was fantastic! Seeing the orchestra in costume is so much more fun than seeing them all dressed in black fancy clothes. There were clowns, lions, tightrope walkers, jugglers and the conductor dressed as a ringmaster, of course. The conductor was Vinay Parameswaran and I had the pleasure of chatting with him the day before the show. He was very friendly and told me all about what to expect to see at the show. He actually started playing the drums when he was very young because his parents noticed his love of percussion and were brave enough to buy him a drum set. Hmmm… I guess buying Luna an instrument at some point wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.

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The show began and we not only got to enjoy many familiar and famous classic songs (Flight of the Bumblebee, Can-can, William Tell Overture  and the Entrance of the Gladiators) , but we also got to enjoy some actual circus routines. There were dancers, hoop performers, aerialists and clowns who kept us very entertained. The show and comedic tricks were obviously geared towards children, but it wasn’t so cheesy that it bored us. I enjoy watching dance more than just about anything else, so I can be a bit picky when watching routines. These performances weren’t exactly Cirque Du Soleil, but they were skilled, entertaining and I never cringed during the show. We were all equally amused and honestly enjoyed the show a lot.

Luna was incredible during the show. She watched, jumped up and down, squealed with excitement and looked as if she was trying to clap her hands, but couldn’t quite figure it out. I am definitely taking her to the next show. If you want to join us, you should check out the symphony schedule here. They’ve got some great shows coming up!

Cheers!

Chicago in Nashville

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For those of you who are in Nashville and have not taken advantage of the Broadway shows that tour through the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC), I have one question for you… WHY??? Why are you not seeing all of these fabulous shows?! If I hear one more person say, “It’s not New York” or “It’s not real Broadway” I am going to take my shoe off and throw it….scratch that, I don’t want to hurt my shoe… I am going to sit you down and give you a very stern talking to, yep.

First of all, in case you haven’t noticed, we do not live in New York, so good luck seeing a show in New York as often as you can here. Secondly, have you seen a show at TPAC recently? They are phenomenal. Seriously, the traveling shows are no joke; the set, the costumes and the actors are all the real deal and they bring their A game. Just last night I saw Chicago, starring John O’Hurley (yeah the John O’Hurley). The two lead roles were played by women performed the same roles on Broadway (the real Broadway) and “Mama” was played by, Roz Ryan, another accomplished actress. The amount of talent on stage was almost too much to handle.

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Chicago is a cross between Law and Order and How to Get Away With Murder (have you been watching that?!? It’s CRAZY!) It tells the story of two women on Murderess Row who are clearly guilty of murdering their lovers, yet manage to get away with their crime. They are young, beautiful, led by a slimy smart lawyer and able to woo the jury into believing their innocent. The craziest part is that this is all based on a true story!

A young woman, Maurine Dallas Watkins, an aspiring writer, covered the story of the real women on Murderess Row in Cook County Jail in Chicago. She was especially taken by two women’s story whom eventually became the inspiration for her play (not musical), Chicago. I recently learned this interesting bit of information and was shocked to learn that it wasn’t Bob Fosse who originated Chicago. Who knew?

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Speaking of Fosse, can we discuss what I really loved about this musical? I have never seen a live version of Chicago, but I have been a huge fan of the music, the movie and the choreography for years! The live version did not disappoint. Fosse’s style is so unique, yet timeless. it’s been a long time since I’ve seen jazz (any version) performed on stage and it was a little nostalgic to watch the Fosse moves and jazz hands last night. The songs are better when you hear them live. I mean, really, you have to watch the “Cell Block Tango”, it’s not meant to only be heard.

The acting was great ,but Bianca Marroquin (Roxie Hart) was the standout performer for me. She blew me away! Her voice, her comedic timing and especially the scene where she plays a puppet on Billy Flynn’s knee…phenomenal. She’s the best actress I’ve seen at TPAC since the recent girl who played Glenda the Good in Wicked. I loved her. And, I loved the show.

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Now, get off your bums (well, stay on your bums if you’re on the computer), check out TPAC’s Broadway line-up and buy yourself some tickets! And, if you do not live near here, then be sure to check out the tour dates for Chicago. You will NOT regret it.

Cheers!

When I Grow Up I Want to Be Katy Perry

Anytime I’ve heard the question “What is one thing you would change about yourself?” I always have the same answer: my singing voice. I LOVE to sing. I also LOVE to perform. I just know I am meant to perform on a huge stage with thousands of fans singing along with me and screaming my name. (I like attention.) This is by far my most common daydream. Whenever I am in the car or the shower I am almost always singing, creating choreography and putting together my worldwide tour. I am a rockstar at heart, but I am missing one thing…the ability to carry a tune.

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I am not exaggerating when I say I cannot sing. I mean, I really cannot. I don’t even know what a key is, let alone how to sing on one. Husband will attest to this. Luna would too, if she could. Poor baby has had to suffer through many off-key lullabies. I’d like to think that if I had lessons, I might at least not hurt people’s’ ears, but considering I’m almost thirty it’s probably a little late to start a pop-star career and go on tour. Now, I just live vicariously through the actually talented pop-stars…singers like Katy Perry.

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That’s right, I love Katy Perry and I’ve got no shame. My taste in music varies widely, but a large portion of my music library (i.e. pandora stations) is probably identical to a twelve-year old girl’s. Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to Katy Perry’s concert in Nashville. I went with my friend, Bella and we had amazing seats. We could actually see the glitter that lined Katy’s eyes and we were surrounded by hard-core Katy fans…or ‘Katy Kats’. These fans are surprisingly extremely diverse.

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Just around us there were boys and girls of all ages, and I mean all ages. There were Kindergartners dressed in sparkly dresses, a man in his 70’s wearing white tank and smoking a cigarette while taking pics of Katy on his iPhone, college frat boys and LOTS and LOTS of people in their version of Katy costumes. There was candyland Katy, jungle Katy, California Katy, whimsical Katy , Egyptian Katy, blue-haired Katy and the list goes on and on. We settled on little touches of Katy (blue hair, whimsical jewelry, lots of eye makeup…)

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Sitting right next to me was perhaps the best part of the entire show. Sitting next to me was a little girl, maybe 7 years old, and her Dad. The little girl knew and sang every single work to every single song, and not in an annoying way, but in a super cute adorable way. The Dad literally stood, danced, jumped or held his daughter and the sign they made the entire time. They made a poster that said “Dollywood is awesome and so are you!” and it had Christmas lights strung around its edges. The two of them dance and sang the night away and every time that Katy made her way toward them they proudly held up their sign until she notice and pointed right to them as she sang. It was so stinkin’ sweet.

not the greatest picture, but I was trying not to look like a creeper
not the greatest picture, but I was trying not to look like a creeper

The show itself was perfect. There was a “Kitty Purry” performance, all the favorites were sang, a myriad of costume changes, a pizza was given away and there was a huge balloon drop. It was basically a big sing-along/dance party. I’m sad to say that even though I sang with Katy the entire night and watched her very carefully I failed to pick up any of her talent. Looks like I’ll be stuck singing in the car to Luna as she covers her ears.

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If you like Katy Perry at all I highly recommend seeing her in concert. It was a good time.

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Cheers!

Belated Turkey Day

2013

Our first Thanksgiving in Nashville in 5 years was about as perfect as a Thanksgiving could be. First of all,  I cooked two dishes and BOTH turned out edible. In fact, one turned out to be freakin’ awesome. I cannot tell you how many times I read the recipes while cooking. I quadruple checked each step because for once I wanted to not screw up a dish. I still burnt the heck out of the top of the sweet potato casserole, but who really likes the marshmallows and pecans anyways?

I got both recipes from the Chew (spectacular mashed potatoes and candied sweet potatoes) because it’s the only cooking show I’ve ever actually watched…and if Clinton Kelly can make mashed potatoes then by golly, so can I!

We ran (walked) 5 miles in the Boulevard Bolt Thanksgiving morning (more to come on that later). Then, came home with enough time to watch the last 2 hours of the Macy’s Day parade, which is my all time favorite thing to do on Thanksgiving. Seriously, I don’ t even care for most Thanksgiving foods, but the parade is always so magical.

We had Thanksgiving lunch at our Aunt’s house with about 14 people and about 24 dishes. I ate enough for me and three babies and made sure to ask each person if my now famous mashed potatoes were the best mashed potatoes they ever had….they were, and I’m sure no one was just humoring me, right guys?

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baby or a soccer ball?

zoey

I was so tired from all the staying up late, cooking, running/walking 5 miles, being pregnant, eating and forgetting the $65 worth of ice cream for everyone (woops!) that I passed out on the couch while everyone chatted around me.

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There were sooo many deer having their own feast right outside the window!
There were sooo many deer having their own feast right outside the window!

AND because no Thanksgiving is complete without multiple dinners we had supper at our friend’s house with another amazing prepared feast and about 20 more people. This Thanksgiving dinner is more friends than family and more food then 100 people could eat. After stuffing our faces one more time, we retired to the game room for a night of “Just Dance” on the Xbox…another honored Thanksgiving tradition.

just dance me the boys

We danced until midnight, and I have to say that watching Husband and his friends dance to synchronized choreography together while competing for the highest score is one of the most hilarious and enjoyable things we EVER ever do. I think these pictures speak for themselves.

woops, who is supposed to be hugging who here?
woops, who is supposed to be hugging who here?

pandd dance line

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over I am overwhelmed as I lie in bed and think about how so so lucky we are… If I’m being completely honest, the day was not perfect…I was more tired than I’ve been since my first trimester, I burnt things, forgot things, became highly annoyed with Husband for stupid reasons, felt guilty for being so irritable this time of year, missed my family in Texas and accidentally locked my cat out all night in the freezing weather. (Yes, I cried and I feel AWFUL.) However, now that the day is over and I realize how trivial my worries are I can fully appreciate that the good far outweighs the bad in my life… and I have more to be thankful for than I could ever imagine. Oh, and before I forget it’s also the start of Hanukkah! Yay for more celebrations!

hanukah

Hope each of you had a day to be thankful for and many more to come.

Cheers

Can Never Get Enough Cirque

Since we began dating in 2005, Husband and I have been to nine Cirque Du Soleil shows. We are BIG fans. The last Cirque show I went to was the traveling Michael Jackson show, phenomenal BTW, but almost a year ago! I was beyond thrilled when I got the opportunity last week to review the latest traveling Cirque show to land in NYC…Totem!

program

In the midst of my flu, Husband and I trudged to the outskirts of Queens to the parking lot of the Mets stadium. I was a little surprised to see actual circus tents set up in the parking lot… Every single Cirque show I have been to has been inside it’s own building or a very large convention center. I was a little concerned that the quality would be less than par, but also felt a little like I was walking onto the set of Worlds Away.

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Inside the tents was like…well, it was like a circus. There were hundreds of people buying snacks and sodas, bars, souvenirs, photographers and big screen TV’s.

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Most everything was great, everything but the bathrooms. The bathrooms were completely outside, teeny tiny and boys and girls had to share them. These itsy bitsy freezing stalls were obviously created by a man who has never had to sit or handle a tampon.

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We had the best seats, but honestly most seats looked like great seats. When the show began we were overwhelmed with the set and the stage. The stage transforms to oceans, the sky, swamps, outer space and a volcanic island. It was phenomenal and the most realistic Cirque setting I have ever seen. The water was projected onto the stage, but rippled and waved when the characters stepped. It was all so magical.

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The theme of Totem is “The evolution of man” and begins with amphibians and ends with people in flight. With acrobats, dancers, singers and clowns we got to follow a story that seemed to connect mankind with nature, dreams and wild and crazy talents. The entire show was astonishing and kept us thinking “Holy Crap! That is NOT possible! No way Jose!”

My favorite performers
My favorite performers
These women were phenomenal
These women were phenomenal

There were a couple of skaters (who I’m convinced are in love) that did such insane tricks everyone around us couldn’t hold back their “ooh’s”, “aww’s” and “OMG’s”. The girl in front of me was covering her eyes and holding her breath. She was convinced the girl skater was not going to come out of her stunt in one piece.

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Like every Cirque show I’ve seen I got the overwhelming feeling to workout and start honing my talents. If these people can juggle upside with one foot while  carrying their friend on the other foot I can at least start jogging in the morning!

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The most impressive part of the show is the musicians. The entire show is done with live musicians who play and sing as the performers perform. If the acrobats are early or late or right on time the musicians have to keep their tempo exactly in time with them. I don’t know how they do it, but it all seemed flawless.

Totem is in NYC until May 12th and I promise you it’s a show you do NOT want to miss! Get your tickets here (and go to the bathroom beforehand!)If you live too far to see the show in the city then check the schedule here to see when it will be near you.

Cheers!

Who Wants A Turtle?! (giveaway)

Husband and I always have noise in the apartment. Sometimes we leave the TV on something familiar (like Friends), but often it’s music. Husband likes to listen to his favorite podcast, pop music, or rap music. He likes upbeat, fun music that makes you want to move.

I listen to music based on my mood, or how I want my mood to change. This can range anywhere between Beyonce, Frank Sinatra, Broadway tunes, and Jack Johnson. When I get in a music mood I turn it up loud and want to hear it wherever I go through the apartment.  The only problem with this is we do not have a stereo. I have to listen to music through either my phone or my laptop, and then carry them all around the apartment with me.

Sometimes I’ll put on headphones and just carry my iPod around the house with me, but this is my least favorite way to listen to music in the house. The headphones hurt my ears (I have abnormally small ears), and the ear buds often fall out of my ear, making it really difficult to dance around the living room.

I used to put my iPod or phone in a coffee mug too. The cup amplifies the sound and acts a speaker. I learned this trick from a friend, and was shocked at how well it works. However, sticking your phone in coffee mugs around my apartment is a dangerous task.

Not too long ago, Husband brought home a little iPod dock to keep me from leaving empty coffee mugs around the house. The dock is great; it’s loud and portable, but the batteries die way too quickly, and I’m back to the coffee mugs or headphones every few days.

Then, the Turtle arrived.

Pretty packaging makes me love it that much more
Pretty packaging makes me love it that much more

The Turtle is a wireless speaker that uses bluetooth to connect with most mobile devices. It’s made by Outdoor Tech, it’s dust and shock proof, AND water resistant (which I assume also means coffee resistant). Immediately, I loved the Turtle simply because it’s small and pretty. Before actually using it I had to charge it for about an hour and a half. It uses rechargeable lithium batteries, so it lasts about ten hours after being charged. Once it was ready I connected it to my iPhone using Bluetooth.

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I put on Pandora and let the music bump. It sounded great and I tested it by bringing my phone all over the house to see if the connection stayed clear, it did. In the middle of jamming out to some 80’s classics, my phone rang. Although, not really my phone…the turtle rang. I answered, and was able to speak to my Mom through the turtle because it also acts as a speakerphone. It was clear enough that she didn’t even know I had her on speakerphone.

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Later, I connected the Turtle to my laptop to watch episodes of The Office. We watch TV on our laptop every night in bed, and the Turtle is thoroughly improving our viewing experiences, which may or not be the best when trying to go to sleep. It can easily be mounted on anything, but I plan o moving it around too often to want to mount it.

small and easy to use
small and easy to use

I am really loving this little innovative speaker, AND I have some exciting news for you! Outdoor Technology has been generous enough to send me and extra Turtle so that I can host a giveaway!  Woohoo! Aren’t you excited???

All the goodies that come with it.
All the goodies that come with it.

So, for those of you who are tired of your ear buds and coffee mugs, here’s your chance to turn your music listening experience around. To enter the giveaway, simply “follow” my blog (enter your email and click the “follow” button in the lower right corner) and write a comment below about your favorite music to jam to at home. Winner will be announced in two weeks! (February 5th)

Cannot wait to hear what all of you listen to while dancing in your underwear!

Cheers!

P.S. The one that will be given away is black…goes with everything!

I’m Still a Brat

Zoey asked me to join her in a group exercise class yesterday, one that I do not love attending. However, I am being positive now, and decided I should go to support Zoey and maybe get some aerobic benefits in the process. Nothing is particularly wrong with this class. It’s actually a great workout, and the teacher is really fun. The only problem is me.

I am a brat.

This class just is not for me; I am too picky, and I need more of a challenge.  I was trying to be positive though, so when we got there I enthusiastically found my spot near the front with plenty of space and a perfect view in the mirror. Zoey found her spot in the back behind a pole. We participate in class very differently.

Before we begin I turn my head to say something to Zoey, and as I turn back to the front there is a girl standing literally one inch in front of me AGAIN. How does one think this is appropriate behavior? Have these ladies never taken a group exercise class before?! We clearly need space to shake our hips and pump our arms up and down.

–deep breaths—stay positive—

I decide to step backwards and let the space thief take my spot. “It’s all yours”, I say, silently, in my head.

Class begins and I shuffle to the left to get a view of myself in the mirror. The thief also shuffles. I smile, no problem, shuffle to right and once again can watch myself perform. The thief then feels the need to also shuffle to the right.

This goes on and on, and I decide it is not so important; I do not have to see myself. I am getting a great workout whether I can see myself or not.  Happy thoughts. Then, I smell it.

The thief is a farter.

She passed gas every 3 minutes for the rest of class. I swear to you, I could taste it. Don’t get me wrong; I understand that farts tend to sneak out during a workout class (especially yoga) but at some point you need to hold it in. I really really tried to find a positive spin to the smelly thief, but I was at a loss at this point. I decided it was best to tough it out and hold my breath.

Towards the end of class the teacher added high kicks to the routine. High kicks are something I pride myself on, and you know I love to show off and get teacher approval during class. I happily and haughtily danced and kicked along to the music, smiling the whole time. All of a sudden the teacher sashays in my direction, a big smile on her face, I can hardly wait for my obvious forthcoming compliment. Unexpectedly, she stops right in front of the stinky farting thief. “Amazing high kicks!” she exclaims, and then continues to high-five the very girl who stole my spot! I only wish someone was there to capture the look of disappointment and shock on my face.

When class was over I was drenched in sweat, my legs felt like jelly and I felt proud for finishing the class. Today, I am super sore. I love to feel sore after I workout, it’s real proof that I worked hard and I am getting stronger. It turns out that I am pretty happy I went to the class, and definitely feel better for it. I’m so glad I stuck it out. Now, I am more motivated to keep working out throughout the week.

Moral of the story: When life farts in your face, hold your breath and keep moving.

Cheers!