Arizona Adventures!

Hey everyone!
Today’s post is at least 3 months overdue – sorry! I’ve been having some technical issues with iMovie that’s causing delays on my Vlogs so stay posted as there’s a lot to come!

This vlog is a little disjointed as you’re seeing what was meant to be part of an ongoing series about shenanigans to get into in Arizona because I was living there & attempting to get into shenanigans – followed immediately by footage of me moving back home.
If you’re confused about when I lived in Arizona, don’t worry – you’re not alone! I was going to film a big announcement & create several videos discussing the move, however, circumstances changed quickly & creating an ongoing series seemed pointless.
Long story short, I moved to Arizona in December 2015 for a new job in an attempt to expand my Resume, broaden my horizons by living in a new state, & live closer to several friends/family members, including my godchildren. Unfortunately, my grandma was diagnosed with cancer very shortly after that & I moved back to NorCal in July 2016 to help my family & spend time with her.

Please enjoy this small snippet of my time in Arizona featuring Danny from Savage Squad, click here to see their channel! Please FOLLOW MissAl-Leigh.com to stay updated with future shenanigans, SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube channel for more vlogs, SHARE, LIKE, & COMMMENT! Thank you 🙂

Beauty Deals 2.0

Sunday Book Club – Postponed! 

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the late notice but this week’s SBC, “Turn Of Mind” by Alice LaPlante, will be postponed until next week! I’ve been on many adventures this weekend that you will see recapped soon & unfortunately don’t have time to put the post up. Many apologies! Lo siento! I’m sorry!

Mom, me, Danny, & Aunt Millie at the West Edge Opera in Oakland

 

You Should Be Here

If you’ve been keeping track of the Sunday Book Club schedule – wait, what, you’re not!?
It’s easy! Click the FOLLOW button & get emails when I add new posts. Specifically for Sunday Book Club, at the end of the post I will list what book will be reviewed next & when the post will be published.
If you Follow along, you’ll know today was supposed to be the review for “The Little Giant of Aberdeen County” by Tiffany Baker. However, April 3rd is a sad yet important day in my family, & I felt like a Book Review wouldn’t be appropriate, so I moved it to April 17th.
I generally try to keep this blog as professional as possible, but in the spirit of revamping the blog & writing about some new things, I’ve decided to do a little free write on this super personal topic. This isn’t meant to be particularly enlightened or touching, I’m just sharing my thoughts & below is a video with some fun pictures of my family.

April 3rd, 1998 is the day my dad passed away. April 5th is my Grandpa’s birthday, but he passed away April 13th, 2012. Before that, my Yaya (Greek for Grandma) passed away in 2010. I’m not telling you this to make you sad or pity me. These are just the cold hard facts. That’s one of the shitty thing about death. It’s cold & hard & the people it took away from me were anything but – well, in my mind at least.

I was 7 when my dad passed away from cancer. Most of what I know about him are hand me down stories from my family, which I’m blessed to have because there are some people that know nothing about their parents. I’ve been told I’m a LOT like him, which always amuses people & me, to a certain extent, because obviously we didn’t have a lot of time together. It’s not that I’m unhappy to be like my dad, I just wish I understood him a little better. It’s hard to hear stories about someone & never really hear their side of things. Have you heard about Fathers that participate in fake weddings for their young daughters because they know they’re dying & won’t be there for the real thing? Honestly, I find it to be a bit creepy, but I understand the intent. The family is prepping for a huge moment that Dad should be there for. I’ve heard other stories of people recording videos or writing letters to inspire those they leave behind – my dad didn’t do any of that for me. For several years after his passing I searched our house hoping that tucked away in a drawer or hidden in a book, there was something for me – something to explain life from his point of view or offer some kind of grown up advice, but I never found anything.

I eventually made my peace with not finding any sort of wisdom left behind from my dad because I still had my grandparents. Sure, my birthdays had an empty chair that my dad should be at, but after awhile it just became a fact of life that I learned to deal with. Of course there were awkward moments at dance recitals when other girls would ask where my dad was, but most of the time I would have the biggest group of supporters at any event because my whole family would show up. I’ve never considered until this moment if they all came to genuinely show support or if my grandparents coerced them into coming in some way to help ease the sting I may have felt from knowing my dad should be there. Yeah, my dad won’t be there to walk me down the aisle someday, but Grandpa will fulfill that duty, is how I rationalized things to myself. Then my grandparents passed away.

It didn’t happen like “The Notebook”, a couple passing away in each other’s arms at the same moment, but they passed close enough to each other that it made my head spin & my whole life was completely different in what felt like the blink of an eye. How did this happen!? I had planned my whole future around the fact that they were going to be there for all those important moments in my adult life. We would all share a cry that my dad couldn’t be there in person to see the person I’d grown up to be & then we’d hug & laugh because we’re crying at an important event, but that’s just what our family does. Now, there’s 3 empty chairs at my birthday parties, 3 empty chairs at my college graduation, & no one to walk me down the aisle at my future wedding, although I know my mom is vying for the job…but maybe I should find a boyfriend first, haha!

In the relatively short time it’s been since my grandparents have passed away, so much has changed. The more life changes, the more complicated things become, especially in regards to my move to Arizona, the more I find myself saying, “You should be here” about my three guardian angels. The song featured in the video below, “You Should Be Here” by Cole Swindell brings me to tears almost each & every time I hear it because it so perfectly hits the nail on the head of how I’ve been feeling lately. I know my family is watching over me & I’m so thankful to have known them & learned from them while I was able to. All I can do at this point is move forward with the lessons they taught me & try my best to do them proud! I hope you enjoy the video below, these are some of my favorite pictures of my dad & grandparents. I tried to get pictures of JUST us to follow the theme of the post but Mom snuck in there a few times, don’t worry, she’s doing just fine!

To sum them up…
– Dad is the epitome of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”. He taught me that it’s never to late to make a change & start living a life you’re proud of.
– Yaya taught me to do all things with love. She was an extremely passionate woman that lived every day to the fullest. She loved her friends, her family, & her life. As a grown up, I now see a little deeper under her surface, but if I could ever muster even one ounce of the vim & vigor she had for life & making the best of things, it would be a miracle, haha!
– Grandpa taught me to always eat the JELLO. When I was 5, Yaya was teaching me how to make JELLO. Unfortunately I didn’t realize you had to stir the bottom of the bowl to mix all the ingredients so the JELLO set with crusty pieces of mix stuck to the bottom. We all dug in eagerly & immediately dropped our spoons when it began to scratch our throats. I was disappointed in myself, but Grandpa kept eating away happily telling me he preferred JELLO with a texture like that. No joke, FOR YEARS!!!! I believed him. I would say it’s only been since he’s passed away & I’ve reminisced on that story as an adult that I realized, holy crap, he pretended to like it so I didn’t feel bad. So now I know, & honestly this is something I still struggle with, but I try to acknowledge the effort & intention that goes into something rather than the end result.

Nothing told here today is meant to discredit any of the other wonderful family & friends that helped raise me & have supported me throughout my life. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me thus far & look forward to seeing you at my future wedding/baby shower/Grad School Graduation – whatever comes my way! This post was just meant to address some thoughts I’ve currently been struggling with during my time in Arizona & the fact that today is the anniversary of my dad’s passing, with other anniversaries coming up quickly. Death is so different for everyone & there are a million other things I could say about it, but that’s all for now. If you have anything you’d like to add or you enjoyed this post in particular & would like to see more like this, please let me know in the comments below!

Remember, regularly scheduled Book Reviews will resume on Sunday, April 17th! I’m hoping to have another Try This! posted on Thursday – but you’ll have to stay tuned. Please click the FOLLOW button to become an email subscriber & be notified instantly when new Posts go up! Thanks for reading 🙂

Personal Announcement! Short Hiatus

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to write a quick note & let you all know – this blog is not going dark! However, I have a LOT going on right now & will be taking a short hiatus from writing weekly posts. I feel badly about this, but I have a ton of video content to edit & not a lot of time available to work on it. So the good news is that I have a lot of content to produce, but the bad news is, I don’t have the ability to complete it in the once a week timeline you’re accustomed to seeing here.

I will do my best to get back on track ASAP, but I wanted to let you all know to please hang in there & give me a chance to figure some stuff out. I have a big announcement for you all, hopefully within the next week, so please stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, if you really miss me you can take a look at my Social Media or shoot me an email – all the information is listed in my Contact Page! Thanks – talk to y’all soon!

Featured! Miss Al-Leigh on TAPS News

Hey everyone!
I received some exciting news today that I wanted to share with you!

TAPS reached out to me after reading my blog post & wanted to feature it on their News page!!!
This only further solidifies my warm feelings towards TAPS. I appreciate when a company is on top of their Social Media & uses it to create a community of like minded people. I’m extremely excited they took the time to read my Event Recap & even more excited that they liked it enough to feature it on their website – what an honor!

Click here > Event Recap! to read my recap of my experience volunteering with TAPS.
Click here > TAPS News to visit the site & read other great articles & blog posts featuring TAPS!

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Vlog #2 – Melrose Ave Adventures Part 2

Hello all! Please click play on the video below to watch the continued adventures of my friends Jeremiah, Jeri, and myself as we do some shopping and explore Los Angeles! I’m still learning how to film and move around, talk to the camera, how long to make eye contact with the camera haha, things like that – so please bare with me as I go through this learning process.

A little explanation of our first stop – Sevenly. Sevenly produces unique “cause art” with profits going towards designated charities depending on what the product is. I have previously talked about them in my Veteran’s Day post. Normally they sell shirts for a week, then retire the style or apply the profits to the next Charity, so you have to act somewhat quickly if you like something or the specific charity it’s supporting. They don’t have a “Sevenly store” but for one weekend they decided to have a sale on old shirts. As I’m financially strained at this point in my life, I haven’t been able to support Sevenly or many charities as much as I’d like to, so when I saw the words “SALE” – I knew I had to stop by & see what they were offering. I ended up falling in love with 6 shirts & the causes they supported, but tough decisions had to be made and I only walked away with 3, descriptions are below!

Something I didn’t mention in the video – the location we were at is the Sevenly headquarters, but there is an actual store attached called “Share and Do Good”. They sell charity items as well, some from the Sevenly website & some from other brands that support specific missions. So if you’re in the SoCal/Orange County area, please don’t hesitate to go check out “Share and Do Good”!

I purchased these 2 shirts…
1. Black Flowy Tank – “Be the Change You Hope to See in the World”, one of my favorite quotes! This top supported Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program, which gives a cuddly stuffed animal to a child undergoing chemotherapy. This print is still available on the Sevenly website but I don’t believe Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program is a designated charity anymore.
2. Black Oversized Batwing Top – “It’s Not Okay” This shirt supports a charity called The Sheepfold, which helps women & children take shelter from Domestic Violence.

The following 3 items are the shirts from the video I did NOT purchase.
3. Grey Flowy Tank – “Slavery Exists when People Stay Silent” I’m not sure exactly what charity this supported but it was geared towards helping woman escape from Sex Slavery in the United States. I don’t believe this is available anymore.
4. Black T-Shirt with Eagle – “Fallen but Not Forgotten” This design supports TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors – a Non Profit that supports the families of fallen Military members. This shirt was insanely difficult for me to leave behind. Currently this design is still available on the Sevenly website – at full price $28 – which unfortunately for me is just not something I can pay for a shirt, especially knowing I could have purchased it half price. However, I’ve signed up to Volunteer with TAPS at the Disney 1/2 Marathon the first weekend in September, so I’m really excited!
5. Purple T-Shirt – “Destinies are Made When People Get Involved” Again, unfortunately, I’m not sure exactly what charity, but it was made to support families dealing with the loss of a child. I can’t find this design on the Sevenly website, so I’m assuming it’s no longer in production.

If you liked any of the shirts in this video & can’t find them on the website, please don’t be afraid to contact Sevenly. Mention that you watched my video, tell them which shirt you liked, & perhaps they’ll be able to help you. I am in NO WAY making promises for them, but I have talked to their Customer Service before & they were extremely polite & helpful.

So there’s a little background & more information for you. Hope you enjoy our adventure, FOLLOW me to stay up to date on all my posts! If you’re reading this on a mobile device, click on an individual post title (rather than looking at the Home Page), scroll to the bottom & fill out the email form. If you’re looking at this post on your laptop/desktop, the form will be on the top right of the page. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns & I’ll help you as best as I can. Thanks for reading!

Announcement/Event Recap! – NBC Universal Audition

Today’s post is going to be part Announcement, part Event Recap, part Personal.

To start, I’d like to share with you all that I received my first Acting callback!!! I’ve been an Extra in a few movies and music videos, but this is the first time I’ve actually been called back for an audition. I can’t reveal too much because it’s in pre production & I haven’t actually been cast yet. Even if I don’t get cast, I’m extremely excited because I came to SoCal to pursue an Acting career…but never really made any moves because of where I was living/my living situation/my job etc. I’m honestly not that focused on my Acting career any more because I finished school & chose a career path I’m very excited to pursue – but obviously to make a career as an Actress would be a dream come true. I’ve recently begun applying for parts just to see what would happen, so it feels great to have made it through 3 rounds of an Audition.

The Audition was for a non-airing TV pilot, so even if I’m cast it’s very likely my screen time will never actually see a screen, haha! I sent in my picture to a Casting Agency, answered some questions, & after they were reviewed, I was invited to participate in a Skype Interview/Audition. I talked to a really nice Casting Assistant, answered more questions (!!!), & was eventually invited to attend an In Person Interview. I drove out to Los Angeles to NBCUniversal (!!!!!!!!!) for the filming. The whole process was really fun and I was able to network with the other people there to audition. On another note, I saw Comedian Gabriel Iglesias in the NBCUniversal lobby & I’m slightly ashamed to say that I snuck a really bad picture of him because I was so excited 😀 His picture is below along with some really silly Selfies I took that day – enjoy! Click on them to make them full size!

I don’t usually talk about stuff like this but…the personal part of this is a reflection of how I’ve been feeling lately – get ready for some preaching! I really want to express how much y’all should appreciate the people that love you. So cliche but it’s seriously true. This doesn’t have to mean your family – I realize not everyone gets along with their family – but whoever truly has your back, value them. As my life has changed, graduating, moving back to SoCal, my Internship, my job search, this Audition, my love life, my friends & their accomplishments (babies, marriages, & such), etc etc, I have been thinking about my grandparents and dad a LOT. I wish they were here to offer me advice & cheer me on. I know they’re watching down from Heaven, but it’s not the same. However, they must have known I’ve been occupied by these thoughts because I had an interesting encounter the other day. I was walking through a parking garage late at night & all of the sudden I smelled my Grandpa’s cologne. It hit me & I immediately recognized the scent, it was so strong I looked around to see if someone was walking near me that might have had the cologne on – but there was no one around. I’m not usually one to believe in supernatural stuff like this, but I feel like there’s no other way to explain what happened & honestly it’s comforting to know that the people we love have ways to reach out to us even if it’s not with words. So my bottom line is, love the people that love you! One day all you’ll have is memories & you’ll want to feel like you did your best to let them know you loved them.

Okay, I’m done! Have a great week – I have some more exciting posts coming up so click that FOLLOW button at the top right to stay connected with me! Thanks for reading 🙂