Tea For Two

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m a bit coffee fan…like a huge coffee fanatic. I choose coffee over basically any beverage, but I’ve tried to be a little less dependent lately and have ventured out of my coffee comfort zone to tea. I have been drinking a cup of hot decaf tea every night before bed, and I LOVE it. It’s so warm and comforting. It’s also becoming part of a “bedtime routine”: reading a little, drinking tea and watching Friends. Having a routine has really helped me sleep better.

The last day Husband was visiting me here in NY it rained all day and was freezing (so unfair this time of year). All I wanted was a hot cup of tea and a place to relax. Husband decided to treat me to tea time at Harney and Sons.

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Harney and Sons is a tea shop in Soho with a tasting room. They offer hundreds of teas, all flavors, and allow you to select two to taste. They also have a tea cafe where they serve so many delicious drinks and snacks. We had Bangkok tea,   a combination of green tea, lemongrass, vanilla, coconut and ginger, and scones. Their scones were mmm mmm good.

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After warming up, we shopped through their variety of teas and tasted the Chinese flower tea, tropical green tea and Paris black tea.

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We decided that “Paris” was the best of the lot and bought a few ounces to take home…although, I can’t help but think the name (my favorite city) had a bit to do with that decision.

Can’t wait to sip on my Parisian tea as I read on the deck of our new house in a couple of weeks!

Cheers!

The Blue Men

Several years ago in Orlando, Husband, myself and his family saw the Blue Man Group in Orlando. We LOVED the show as much as we loved Cirque! The Blue Men are mysterious, multi-talented, AND hilarious! I’m not even sure where to begin when describing their show… It’s unlike anything else. Husband and I were lucky enough to get a second chance to see these Men, but this time in NYC!

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The first thing we learned at the New York performance is that it is very similar to the show in Orlando. It was definitely updated; it had 7 foot tall iPhone looking props (they call them GiPads), and the theme was heavily focused on technology. The creepy blue bald men with crazy eyes and no voices seemed identical to the Men we’d previously seen. How they manage to relay so much emotion and tell so many stories without talking is very impressive. I assume all the Blue Men shows are fairly similar, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are not many Blue Men shows in the world, so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to see them. We had a blast at both shows and enjoyed seeing our favorite stunts and scenes again.

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The quote displayed at the beginning of the show sets the tone for the performance:

“If you would like to establish a connection with people from another culture is it always good to offer a few gifts as a gesture of friendship. But, an even better way to forge a lasting bond is by creating something together. Whether it’s a meal, an art project, or just a spontaneous dance party, when you create with others, you build a connection that lasts a lifetime.”

I LOVE this quote! It’s genius! It’s also what the Group tries to do with their show. They are constantly including the audience in each scene, and even though they do not speak they manage to communicate with their expressive eyes and ridiculous actions.

The Blue Men are most famous for drumming on barrels that are topped with bright-colored paints. This is definitely one of the most memorable parts of their performance, but they offer so much more. I particularly love the part where one of them manages to catch about 30 large marshmallows in his mouth at once, and then proceeds to spit it out as a sculpture. Husbands loves the finale, which includes giant glowing 3-dimensional creatures and tons and tons of toilet paper streamers. However, there are also, hilarious skits, audience participation and some award-winning original rock music from their band.

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The one major theme of the show is that technology can often become overwhelming. We are in a world were it not only necessary, but expected to multi-task. They bring this to your attention by forcing you to read three different “GiPad” screens at once. The Blue Men have always brought technology to the forefront, but their recent theme seems to suggest that it isn’t always a good thing. No matter the theme, we spent a lot of time lol’ing at their hilarity.

The theatre in the East Village is intimate and underground, at least partially. We were really surprised to be sitting in the balcony, and still be about 30 feet from the stage. They manage to do a lot in the small space, but the real plus is that every seat is a good one!

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I left the show thinking two things: 1) Do I have an unhealthy addiction to technology and social media? 2) How on Earth do they clean this mess every night!?

Buy your tix and see if the tour is headed near you here!

Cheers!

 

Hands on a Hardbody

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Last Friday, Husband and I had the pleasure of seeing and reviewing a new original broadway show, Hands on a Hard BodyI was especially curious about this new musical because it is not only set in Texas (Longview to be exact), but is also based on true events. It is based on a 1997 documentary of the same title. Here’s the lowdown…. a car dealership in Longview, TX used to host an annual competition for people to win a new truck, aka hardbody. Each contestant had to keep at least one hand on the truck, and whoever lasted the longest without leaning on the truck or squatting, won the brand new truck!

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What a unique idea for a Broadway musical, right?! Going in I was a little nervous that the characters would be gross exaggerations of people from Texas. The characters turned out to be right on the money. I felt like I was sitting in 110 degree Texas sun on the black asphalt watching a group of hearty dream chasers do their best to win their new ride. The only thing I needed was a foldable lawn chair and a cooler full of beverages. I was right at home.

The characters/contestants were full of southern charm, but were each on a very different journey. There was one character who was a grumpy old sourpuss and put every single person down every chance he got. There was an older man trying to prove he was still capable of great feats. A young Hispanic boy who needed to sell the truck to help pay for his tuition at Texas A&M. A girl who needed the truck to become independent from her parents and make something of herself. A mother who needed to take her kids to school and her Husband to work. One very religious woman who believed this was God’s answer to her prayers, and a few more lovable, and just as worthy, characters.

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The character I related to most was a young girl who sang about leaving her small town life and seeing the world. Even though she loves Texas, she dreams about what life is like beyond its borders. Winning this truck will give her the transportation she needs to hit the road and begin her adventures. I had this same yearning my whole childhood. I love where I grew up, but God, all I ever wanted was to travel and see all the mysterious places I read about constantly.

Husband and I had mixed feelings about the music. It was good, but some were a little too hokey. One song, “Joy of the Lord”, was PHENOMENAL. One of the best songs I have seen on Broadway. I have looked all over the Internet to find a video for you with no luck. So, take my word for it, this number was amazing.It was like being in a gospel choir, STOMP and a Broadway show all mixed together.  Another song, “If I had this truck” explained just how necessary it is for a Texan to own a truck…which is true, very very true. I’ve never seen as many trucks on the road than when I’m in Texas.

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This best part of the show was the story. I loved seeing ten people from all different walks of life being forced together for days and days. These people were forced to get to know one another, share and hear each other’s stories. Getting to know people different from yourself is a powerful learning experience. It teaches compassion and gives us a chance to walk in another human’s shoes for a bit. I left the show with a reminder to stop judging other’s too quickly. Sure, that guy next to me on the Subway was a complete jerk, but it’s possible he just had the worst day of his life, and maybe what he really needs is some compassion. I should remember to show more love to the grumps of the world.

I also left the show without my favorite black lace scarf. I realized about 45 minutes later, and luckily we were still in Time Square. We ran back to the theater to find the doors locked and lights off. We tried the stage door too. As we were pulling on the locked door it flew open. A tall man who obviously worked there and was on his way out looked at us like we were crazy, so we quickly explained why were tugging on the stage door. The worker told us he was the last person in the building and we were lucky we caught him. He allowed us to walk backstage, and out into the audience where I found my scarf lying across my seat.

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I enjoyed our date night with a taste of my old southern life. The vivid and realistic characters made the show for me. It was a version of the American Dream that we all relate to and a reminder that this dream is still alive and valid even today.

*If you want to purchase tickets to Hands on a Hardbody just click here.

**Sadly it was just announced that Hands on a Hardbody is closing THIS SATURDAY, April 13th. I’m shocked! So, if you want to see it, you better hurry!

Cheers!

P.S. During the show, one of the girls talks about how Matthew McConaughey is from Longview, and how he was voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by People Magazine in 2005. She then mentions that the car dealership keeps a framed copy of this magazine in the lady’s room. Look what I found in the lady’s room at the theatre during intermission….

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Brewery with the Boys

When our Tennessee friends were here a couple weeks ago one of them suggested going to the Brooklyn Brewery, to which I responded, “Brooklyn has a brewery?!?!” I cannot tell you how many times someone who does not even live in NYC has suggested a New York attraction that I have never heard of. That’s exactly why I love this city. I will never run out of new places to visit.

We happily hopped on the train and headed to Brooklyn one morning in search of this so-called brewery. It turned out to be a pretty cool place with a free tour, a bar, and an enormous sitting area. There were hundreds of people drinking locally brewed beer, playing card games, eating pizza, and just hanging out in the very laid-back atmosphere.

We had to purchase tokens in order to pay for the beers.
We had to purchase tokens in order to pay for the beers.

 

IMG_2805 (1)On the tour, which consisted of one big room, we heard the most entertaining and interesting stories about the history of this brewery. The guy giving the tour had a knack for storytelling. The room was silent as he skillfully described the history with impeccable comedic timing.

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Now I’ll do my best to give you the cliff notes.

Two guys (Steve and Tom) started Brooklyn Brewery. Steve live in the Middle East for six years where he learned to make beer in his bathroom, and Tom (a business man) had lots of money and wanted to use it to start a new hip business. They founded the Brewery in 1988, and moved to the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn in 1996. It was the perfect place for their business, but it wasn’t easy to get their brewery where it is today. Williamsburg was a sketchy neighborhood during that time. They were held up at gunpoint by one of their regular customers, had a forklift stolen, and even a run-in with the mafia. Yes, the mafia!

Anyone who opens a business in Williamsburg apparently has to pay the mafia off. The Brooklyn Brewery boys somehow missed this little detail, and the mafia basically said, “Pay us, or pay the price.” After refusing to pay, getting a badass lawyer, and standing up to the mafia, Tom had a scary face-to-face with a mafia boss. They took Tom across the street, emptied a warehouse, locked the doors, and said “We’re going to have to hurt you.”

Tom obviously flipped out and begged to be spared. After a few minutes of freaking out, Mr. Mafia man said, “Just kidding. We actually like you’re brewery and think it’s going to be great for Williamsburg. We are going to let you slide.” Now, the mafia works security for the brewery at night!

I loved the stories, the atmosphere, and the beer!

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Cheers!