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

Music Monday! Warped Tour + Vacation Vlog

Hey everyone!
Today’s Music Monday is a little different because it’s not JUST focused on music. This week’s MM will include some clips from my very first Warped Tour (!!!! Read below for a quick recap) but also has some footage from a mini vacation I took with my family! Again, this video features Danny from Savage Squad – if you like drinking & shenanigans, please go check out his channel – here.
It would mean a lot to me if y’all showed your support by SUBSCRIBING to my YouTube channel & this blog – thank you so much!

A few thoughts on Warped Tour…
For those that don’t know, Warped Tour is a huge multi artist concert for the pop/punk genre. It’s like Stagecoach, Coachella, etc. For the last 10 years I’ve wanted to go but never have. As a teen I never went even though some of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE bands were going to be performing because it was “expensive” & I was insecure about fitting in with the crowd. I’ve talked about this anxiety in previous Music Monday posts.
Now that I’m older I care way less what other people think so I decided this was the year I went! My decision was also motivated by the fact that one of my favorite bands, Yellowcard, would be performing & they recently announced the band is retiring. I, of course, am devastated, so I needed to make an effort to see them ASAP.
I went into this experience essentially blind. I knew there would be a ton of “kids”, the food/drinks would be expensive, there would be drugs, & it would be blazing hot. All of that turned out to be true, the biggest surprise for me was the set times. I didn’t realize each band only got 30 minutes. Upon further reflection, of course this makes sense because how else would they get all those bands to play in one day? While there were other bands I was excited about, Reel Big Fish, New Found Glory, Sum 41, etc, I was really there for Yellowcard. They were amazing, as they always are live, & I’m really glad I got the chance to experience their last show at Warped Tour.
Bottom line, would I ever go to another Warped Tour? Probably not unless it was a similiar situation & one of my all time favorite bands was playing. 30 minute set times isn’t really enough for me to want to deal with all those sweaty drugged out kids & get a sunburn. Haha, I guess I’m officially old.

I hope you liked this vlog! Please keep sharing my posts & vlogs with your friends! Until next time… 🙂

Vlog #6 – 5 Maui Must Do’s!

Aloha!!!
Today I’m going to be sharing with you a short, silly, vlog I filmed while in Maui a few months ago. I was going to make this a multi-part video covering every activity of the trip, but I just couldn’t bring myself to film every day. Wouldn’t you all get tired of just watching me lounge around? Haha!
I’ve been to Maui several times, it’s one of my favorite vacation spots! With that being said, there are a lot of activities I’ve done there but won’t get into because I didn’t partake in them on this most recent trip. If you’re at all interested in adventure, surfing, parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, & swimming with manta rays are all AMAZING. I also didn’t feel the need to get into great detail about every beach you should visit because that’s a pretty standard activity, 99% of the beaches are epic & there is a ton of info available online & on the island.
For this vlog, I narrowed my footage down to 5 Maui Must Do’s/Travel Tips. However, of course I encourage you to hike/kayak/helicopter tour – whatever will make your trip amazing! Maui is a magical spot & you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose to do.
Click on the video to watch the vlog & please look below for my 5 Must Do’s/Travel Tips!

Must Do #1: Costco
Costco is 100% the way to go! If you can go to Costco right away, do it! You will be hungry when you get off the plane & won’t want to waste time grocery shopping later. It is a tradition for all my family members that vacation in Maui to stop at Costco by the airport before heading to the hotel. As you saw in the vlog, stopping by Costco is also a great time waster before checking into your hotel. Of course it’s always a good idea to get big dinner items, like ribs/chicken/veggies to grill, especially if you’re with a group. However, don’t ignore snacks, especially portable ones. A big part of your time in Maui will (hopefully!) be spent outside of your room & having snacks in the car or on the beach are great. Also, spending a lot of time in the sun & water can tire you out & cause you to get hungrier, faster, so you won’t want to wait to eat back at the hotel. Even if you intend to chill by the hotel pool your entire trip, you will want to purchase your own food rather than constantly rely on room service or hotel restaurants because that can get expensive. Again, portable snacks are a great idea in this situation as well so you’re not constantly having to go back to your room when your tummy starts rumbling.

Must Do #2: Investigate the Hotel/Room – Ka’anapali Beach Club
Okay, yes, part of this is a shameless plug to showcase my family timeshare, the Ka’anapali Beach Club – if you ever want to stay there, let me know! Also, this Tip is practical for a couple reasons. After Costco, checking into/investigating your hotel situation is a great idea. It’s always wise to familiarize yourself with the area & the amenities your property offers you. Concierges will have all the inside scoop to add activities & memories to your trip! Some activities only take place during certain times or weather conditions, so it’s wise to try to book things in advance. It sounds like simple logic, but sometimes people get “vacation brain” & don’t think about things like this. Also, it’s key to check out your room ASAP  to make sure it’s safe & clean. Let’s say you head right to the beach then come back to your hotel expecting to find a comfortable place to shower/sleep, but the hotel isn’t what you expected. Now it’s dark, you’re driving around in an unfamiliar area, wet & sandy, trying to find suitable accommodations. If you discover a problem right away, it can be handled right away! Also, while I’ve never had a safety problem in Maui, it’s generally never a great idea to leave your luggage in the car for an extended time period. Drop it at the hotel THEN go enjoy your vacation! Another random fun thing to do in Maui is go check out the lobby/pool area of other hotels. Most hotels are fine with you wandering around as long as you’re not bothering anyone or using the pool. The Grand Wailea is a beautiful property & the lavender fields nearby are awesome too.

Must Do #3: Drink!
Only if you’re 21+ obviously, haha! Really this Must Do is just meant to be a Tip to remind you to RELAX – however it is you make that happen. If you want to get a massage by the beach, or you prefer sipping a pina colada (or 2 or 3, no judgement!) in a pool chair – Maui has several ways to help you relax. Not every day has to be filled with wild adventure – unless that’s what helps you relax. That’s one of my favorite things about Maui. There’s something for everyone. Whenever I vacation with my mom, one of my goals is usually to get her to drink because she very rarely does. As you can see in the video, I have way too much fun giving her a hard time about drinking. Something fun & new we did on our trip was visit a Vodka Distillery. We chose to visit the Haili’imaile Distilling Company which is home to Pau Maui Vodka, Sammy Hagar’s Beach Bar Rum, Paniolo Whiskey, & Maui Moon Vodka. There’s a law on Maui that the Distillery MUST educate you in some way before letting you sample Spirits so we took a tour of the facility & it was actually really interesting! They have several flavors of Spirits to choose from, you pick 3, no chasers/mixers! The Tour Guide/Bartender told us that to really taste the complexities in each Spirit we’d have to be really familiar with the Spirit in general beforehand – we clearly are not that familiar because we both agreed everything just tasted like drinking fire, haha! Overall, still a fun experience, always cool to try something new.

Must Do #4: Warren & Annabelle’s Magic Show
OH. MY. GOSH! If you like magic or theatre or good food or good drinks or a good time, you should definitely go see Warren & Annabelle’s Magic Show on Front Street!!!!! No joke, I have been waiting basically my whole life to see this show. You have to be 21 to attend & this was the first time I’d been to Maui over age 21, so this was the first time I was able to go. Warren is a Magician & Annabelle is a ghost that haunts the parlor room. You enter the parlor via secret passage that you find based on clues Annabelle gives you. You enjoy dinner while Annabelle plays music, then you enter a small theatre for Warren’s Magic Show. Warren Gibson is the namesake of the show, but he doesn’t always perform. I was lucky enough to see his performance & while a bit old fashioned, he’s truly amazing. You can tell he’s very passionate about his work. We ordered the Royal Flush Package which includes (per person) Admission to the show, 2 cocktails, a plate of appetizers, & a dessert. The food was delicious, the dessert (Creme Brulee) was delicious, the drinks (Lahaina Lollipop – Malibu, Midori, pineapple juice, orange juice & Caramel Apple Martini – Caramel Vodka, Sour Apple Pucker, Butterscotch Schnapps, Sweet & Sour Mix) were delicious!!! It was truly magical – highly recommended!

Must Do #5: Go to a Luau!
Of course if you’re going to Hawaii, you have to go to a Luau at least once! The Old Lahaina Luau is the best! I’ve been several times & never grown tired of it. The food, drinks, & service are always top notch. The Luau is extremely creative & tells the history of Maui in a really beautiful way. I’ve seen people of all ages enjoy themselves at this Luau. Really, how can you go wrong eating a delicious dinner while watching a time honored tradition against a glowing sunset on the beach!?

An additional activity I would recommend is going to Whaler’s Village. I didn’t make it there this trip so I couldn’t include it in the Vlog & I was super disappointed. It’s just a shopping center but hidden inside is a museum that teaches about the culture of a whaling town, which Lahaina was from 1825 to 1860. I love the atmosphere of the Village, it’s definitely worth a trip to look around!
This is another activity that didn’t make the Vlog because I’m going to do a separate Concert Review on the experience. I would recommend checking out what mainland musical acts/movie festivals etc might be visiting the island. I had never thought to do this before but I will definitely be investigating in the future. Just by luck we found out that Country Music artist Billy Currington was going to be performing at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, so we bought tickets & it was a great show at a great venue!  MACC has hosted other cool performances like “Straight No Chaser”, “Last Comic Standing”, Santana, & on April 6th 2016, Lee Brice!! I smell a return trip in the works 😉

Alright, so there you have it, a few Tips, Must Do’s, & Recommendations to have the best Maui vacation ever! What do you think? Do you love Maui as much as I do & have a few suggestions to add? Please let me know in the comments below! Are you planning a trip to Maui soon? If so, please take me with you, we’ll go get tattoos on Front Street at Skin Deep, eat lunch at Aloha Mixed Plate, then go catch some sun and surf – Alooooha! Mahalo for reading 😉

My Favorite Disney Treats!

 

Hi everyone!
As many of you know, I was a Cast Member at the Disneyland Resort for about 3 years. During that time I grew quite fond of certain foods served around the Resort. Now that I’m no longer a CM, I obviously don’t have access to those foods whenever I want – so when I’m able to make a trip to the park I make a big MUST EAT List! Read below to see what items are on my list & what new snacks I tried on my most recent Disneyland trip!

My Must Have Snacks
Disneyland
1. Clam Chowder Bread Bowl from Royal Veranda in New Orleans Square – Yes, the Bread Bowls from Boudin Bakery on the Pier in Disney California Adventure are fresher. However, I enjoy the atmosphere in NOS way more!
2. Jalapeño Pretzel with Spicy Banyan Sauce from Bengal BBQ in Adventureland – I used to work at this location & this was one of my favorite snacks to eat for lunch!
3. Caramel Apple from Main Street – Caramel Apples are available in many locations in many fancy flavors. I like the plan ol’ regular Caramel Apple & I usually get one on Main Street as I’m leaving the park for the day.
4. Funnel Cake from Stage Door Cafe in Frontierland – Another location I used to work & the only location you can get a Funnel Cake! They come in a few flavors, chocolate brownie, powdered sugar, strawberry, & this holiday season – peppermint. I prefer the Strawberry with whipped cream & I always eat it while watching Fantasmic. Sadly, this tradition has ended now that they’re closing Fantasmic due to the construction of the new Star Wars Land. If you plan on squeezing in a Disneyland trip before the construction begins make sure you get in line for your Funnel EARLY. Many Guests share this tradition with me & the line can be extremely long, sometimes resulting in a 15-20 minute wait for a Funnel Cake. Although waiting is the name of the game at Disneyland, if you’re not a fan of that, you can always go after Fantasmic. SDC is one of the few locations that stays open after Fantasmic, so you can still get your sugar fix without the long wait.

Disney California Adventure
1. Chili Cone Carne/Dipped Ice Cream Cone from the Cozy Cone area of Carsland – Not something I MUST eat, but if I’m going to eat in DCA, these are my preferred food choices.
2. 21+ Drinks at Mad T Party – The drinks at Mad T are a tad expensive for my taste at $11 & up, but I always have to make a visit to this area & what Party is complete without at least one drink!? My last visit I had “The Queen’s Red Rose” – Rum and Hawaiian Punch, & my mom had the Mudslide. It might have had a Disney name, but I can’t recall. Both were excellent but for $11+ next time I’d go with the Mudslide because $11 for some Rum & Punch is a little wild. This is my FAVORITE place to people watch & SnapChat, haha!

Downtown Disney
1. Beignets from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen – These are also served in New Orleans Square, but I think they’re fresher & tastier at Jazz Kitchen.

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Tigger Tail from Pooh’s Corner, Jalapeño Pretzel with Spicy Banyan Sauce from Bengal BBQ, Rose & Raspberry Macaroon from Jolly Holiday Cafe

New Treats
Disneyland
1. Tigger Tail from Pooh’s Corner in Critter Country – This is the only location in the park to get one of these sugary treats! A Tigger Tail is marshmallows covered in caramel & white chocolate with orange sugar & a chocolate drizzle. While this was tasty, I won’t be adding it to my list of favorites. It was just like eating a candy bar, not a huge thrill for me.
2. Raspberry & Rose Macaroon/Macaron (?) from Jolly Holiday Cafe on Main Street – I’m never sure the difference between a Macaroon & a Macaron, but whatever the case, this was delicious. The raspberries gave the Rose Macaroon an extra kick. I’ve also heard these are called Matterhorn Macaroons/Macarons, but the sign at the bakery just said Raspberry & Rose Maca…whatever, so I’m not sure about the Disney name. 

Disney California Adventure
1. Lobster Nachos & 21+ Drinks at Cove Bar on the Pier by Ariel’s Grotto – This is somewhat of a hidden gem right now as the Pier is undergoing some construction that’s blocking the entrance to Cove Bar. I’ve heard the Lobster Nachos get hyped up for a LONG time now, but honestly they were just okay. The drinks on the other hand!!!! YES PLEASE. We ordered off the “Secret Menu”, the “Neverland Tea”, “Zombie”, & “Earthquake”, all of which were Long Island Iced Tea type drinks, so LI/Tokyo Tea/AMF lovers – these are the drinks for you. They were priced around $11 which seems like a fair price to me for a Long Island based cocktail.

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Cove Bar in Disney California Adventure – Lobster Nachos, Neverland Tea, Zombie, & Earthquake

Of course there’s corn dogs & churros & Mickey Mouse ice cream – but what do you think of my list? Am I missing any of your favorite snacks? Please let me know in the comments below what treats I should try on my next Disneyland trip! Thanks for reading 🙂

Vlog #5 – Filoli Gardens

Hi everyone!
I know it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted something 😦
As I explained in my Short Hiatus post, I’m not currently able to post as much but I have an important announcement to make pretty soon that will explain everything. However, in the meantime, I am working on stuff when I can – so without further ado!

Please join me on my trip to FILOLI Gardens in Woodside, California!
This video is an extremely quick sneak peek of what I saw during my tour. Each docent has their own connection to the property and presents the tour with their own flair. My docent was really interesting & provided a lot of rich detail & fun stories! However, I felt that it was unfair to FILOLI & my readers/viewers to simply piggyback off my tour, so I turned off the audio. My goal is to pique your interest with some footage of the beautiful house & grounds, then hopefully you will be inspired to visit or do research yourself!
Bottom line:

  • If you’re at all interested in history, this is the spot for you! FILOLI Gardens is a registered California Historical Landmark & on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • If you’re familiar with the Winchester Mystery House, also located in Northern California, this MAY be the spot for you. The WMH is known to be haunted/spooky, with an aura of great mystery surrounding it. FILOLI Gardens is similar in the sense that you’re being allowed access to an estate built in another time, but there’s no spookiness or mystery to be solved. It’s basically one big history lesson about the families that lived in the house & the time period they lived in.
  • If you like nature &/or architecture, this is the spot for you! FILOLI Gardens features a country manor, lush landscapes, & beautiful gardens on over 650 acres worth of land.

    I hope you enjoyed my mini tour! What do you think? Will you be making a trip to FILOLI, or have you already visited? If you’re interested in visiting, please visit the FILOLI website – here for more information. Thanks for reading 🙂

    Thank you to Kevin MacLeod for providing music for this vlog!
    Please click the links below to support him!
    Breaktime – Silent Film Light by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
    Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100302
    Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Vlog #3 – Trip to Napa!

It’s finally here – another Vlog – almost 2 months late, whoops! Please watch the video below to get a little taste of Napa & see how I celebrated with my mom for her birthday!
Thanks for stopping by, please FOLLOW me here & on YouTube to stay up to date with all my Vlogs & Blog posts 🙂

New York, Broadway Review! Honeymoon in Vegas, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Kinky Boots, Matilda, & It’s Only a Play

Hello all!
I recently took a trip to New York – check my Instagram: @MissAl_Leigh for pics! We got caught up in the “blizzard”, plus, the main event I went for (a job fair) was canceled, but we did manage to see 5 Broadway shows that I will recap for you below! Keep reading to see what I thought of “Honeymoon in Vegas”, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, “Kinky Boots”, “Matilda”, & “It’s Only a Play”!

I have always had a passion for the performing arts. I have been a performer in one way or another since I was 2, starting with dance classes. I saw my first Broadway play, Beauty and the Beast, when I was 8. I fell even more in love with performing and for the next several years took part in local children’s theatre. While I enjoy all types of theatre, I prefer musicals. I have seen a fair number, my favorites being, “Wicked”, “Avenue Q”, “Hairspray”, “Beauty and the Beast” (of course), and “Phantom of the Opera”, to name a few. Obviously none of this information makes me a professional critic or performer, but based on my experiences, I feel like I know what I’m talking about to some extent.

“Honeymoon in Vegas”
Plot:
 This story was originally a non-musical film released in 1992 starring Nicholas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, and James Caan. I’m not sure how closely the musical follows the movie. Jack and Betsy have problems due to Jack’s commitment issues stemming from a “curse” his mother placed on him. They decide to get married in Vegas and wild adventures ensue.
Notable Cast: Tony Danza played Tommy Korman – James Caan’s role.
Thoughts: This show did not seem like Broadway caliber to me. For example, there were a few instances of microphone wires falling off the actors. It was very noticeable, and even more noticeable when other actors would try to remove the wires from their co-stars, or pick them up off the ground. Another issue was when Betsy had a quick costume change. The actress missed her cue to come back on stage and there was an awkward silence before someone tried to cover. She arrived a moment later with her dress almost completely unzipped in the back, being held up by just a belt, which later popped off. Another actress tried to zip up the dress as the scene continued, but was only halfway successful. There were several actors visibly laughing, which made the whole show seem very unprofessional. I was disappointed with Tony Danza’s performance. I’m almost certain he was sick. He was very quiet, had no energy, & looked ashen. I listened to his performance on Spotify & he sounded excellent, although I suppose that could’ve been AutoTuned. 
Best Songs: “Anywhere but Here”, “Honeymoon in Vegas – Finale” 

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”
Plot: “Gentleman’s Guide…” is the story of Monty Navarro, a poor young man who, after his mother’s death, finds out he is part of an illustrious local family – The D’Ysquith Family. This makes him 9th in line to be Lord D’Ysquith. Hoping to impress his spoiled love interest, Sibella, Monty informs her of this amazing news. He’s sure the family will welcome him in but of course, the wealthy family has no interest in acknowledging another heir. Upon hearing of his rejection, Sibella marries a more wealthy suitor. Determined to prove to Sibella and anyone else who might doubt him, Monty sets out on a nefarious mission to quickly shorten his line to the top. Does he get away with murder(s) & win Sibella back or does the law catch up with him?!
Notable Cast: I didn’t recognize any of the cast but I’d like to especially applaud Jefferson Mays. He played the entire D’Ysquith Family – men & women. It was a great casting choice.
Thoughts: While I thought the Cast was extremely talented and the plot was creative and well written – I didn’t connect with this show. It was hard to find the characters sympathetic or relatable because they were murderers, liars, cheaters, and the like. In a strange twist, I would highly recommend this show, but I wouldn’t want to see it again unless I was taking someone that had never seen it before.
Best Songs: None. I didn’t download any of the songs, like I said, I didn’t connect with this show.

“Kinky Boots”
Plot: Kinky Boots is another musical based on a film – based on the true story – of a young man named Charlie who takes over his father’s shoe making company and has to find a way to modernize the company or lose everything. With the help of a sassy drag queen named Lola, Charlie figures out his niche market and grows up along the way.
Thoughts: I really wanted to love “Kinky Boots” because I like the message of finding yourself amidst chaos and learning tolerance. Sadly, the level of professionalism just didn’t live up to Broadway caliber for me. Maybe my standards are too high, but I believe for as much as it costs to see a show on Broadway & as rigorous as the audition/rehearsal process is, the cast should blow me away. I was cringing at parts of this performance. The dancing was sloppy, the singing was pitchy, & I’ve seen more convincing drag queens on episodes of Law & Order. I realize they didn’t hire actual drag queens for the show, but think of all the time they spent rehearsing! They should’ve been able to do anything in those heels! Cyndi Lauper wrote the music/lyrics & you can definitely tell. If you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy the music at least. I can only pick out Notable Cast for bad reasons so I’m not going to name names because I don’t think that’s fair, they may have been having a bad day. Talent will win out, if they truly are not a great performer, they won’t be cast as often in the future.
Best Songs: “Take What You Got”, “The History of Wrong Guys”, “Step One”, “Raise You Up/Just Be”, “Land of Lola”

“Matilda”
Plot: “Matilda” is a musical based off a movie – based off a book by Roald Dahl. Matilda is a super smart girl born into a family of losers who just don’t understand her. As she grows up she learns just how very special she is & how she can take control of her destiny & help those she loves.
Notable Cast: The entire cast was truly amazing from the smallest child to the few adult actors. Think about the attention span you had at age 7, could you have been the lead in a Broadway musical?!
Thoughts: I’m sure I read the book but I don’t remember. “Matilda” was one of my favorite movies growing up so I had REALLY high expectations for this show…& they were beyond met! It was so epically amazing. They perfectly combined the magic of a well executed stage performance with Dahl’s story and classic scenes from the film. The dancing and singing was on point from every member of the cast. One issue I had was the pitch of the children’s voices. Sometimes their little voices were so high pitched you couldn’t really decipher what they were saying. In a hilarious twist of fate, one of the scenes in “It’s Only a Play”, pokes fun at that. I wasn’t completely in love with the music, but the script/lyrics were clever and the story was relatable to audiences of all ages. The staging/use of props was incredible. Some of the tricks they used to create the wild adventures Matilda goes through were so amazing. My words can’t even do it justice here. I laughed & cried. If you’ve ever been a weird misunderstood kid, or heck, adult – you have to see “Matilda”.
Best Songs: “Miracle”, “When I Grow Up”, “Naughty”

“It’s Only a Play”
Plot: “It’s Only a Play” is the story of a group of friends and random associates that work (or want to work) in various facets of the entertainment industry. They’re celebrating the opening night of a new play. Hilarity ensues as reviews come in, tensions rise, and egos explode.
Notable Cast: OH MY GOSH!!! I was literally 50 feet from Martin Short, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing (Rizzo from Grease), & F. Murray Abraham (Salieri from Amadeus)! The cast had some rotating parts, Martin Short had just taken over his role from Nathan Lane – but he’ll return (which they make fun of in the play) & I JUST missed seeing Rupert Grint (RON FROM HARRY POTTER!!!!).
Thoughts: While this play had a lot of big names I recognize and respect, I didn’t really care about seeing it because it’s only a play (pun intended) & as I mentioned earlier, I generally prefer musicals. However, I’m so happy I saw this! The script was originally written in the 1980’s but had been rewritten for today’s audience and it was truly hilarious. They referenced pop culture, everything from snarky remarks about other Broadway shows all the way to the Kardashians. It was awesome to see actors of this quality perform, play off each other, & interact with the audience. I highly recommend this show, especially if you’re at all familiar with the entertainment industry & pop culture.

Official Ranking – in order of what you SHOULD see to what you could check out if you have time…
1. Matilda
2. It’s Only a Play
– Based on talent and level of professionalism, I would move “Gentleman’s Guide” to spot 3 and “Honeymoon” & “Kinky Boots” would tie. However, I decided to base this ranking on fun, how much I enjoyed the music, and how much the show resonated with me, so the ratings stand as thus. While they had their good moments, I doubt I will see these last 3 shows again in the future. I only rated “Honeymoon…” & “KB” above “Gentleman’s Guide…” because I see a ton of room for improvement. I could possibly be persuaded to see them again with the hopes that they were better the next time. “Gentleman’s Guide…” however, was already a very talented performance, I just didn’t connect with it.
3. Honeymoon in Vegas
4. Kinky Boots
5. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Have you seen any of these performances? Will you now? What are your favorite musicals or plays? Let’s chat below in the comments! I’d love to hear any recommendations you might have for me. Please FOLLOW me here to get email notifications when I post. Thanks!

Event Recap: @Bloguettes Branding Workshop!

Bloguettes PHX Branding Workshop!

Bloguettes PHX Branding Workshop! I did not intentionally crop anyone out of this picture, that’s just how it was taken 😦 Sorry!

About a week ago I attended a Branding Workshop held by the Bloguettes. The Bloguettes are a savvy, talented, educated group of ladies that tour the country with 2 day educational workshops. These workshops are centered around helping bloggers, business owners, and creative minds of all avenues broaden their online presence by heightening their Photoshop, Social Media, and Branding skills, among other things.

This particular Workshop was held at their beautiful studio in Phoenix, Arizona. It was so clean, light, and airy, with a touch of fashionable whimsy. Check their Instagram: @bloguettes or mine: @missal_leigh for pictures of their studio, the event, and the lovely bag full of goodies from the many sponsors who supported the Workshop.

The Workshop comes with a take home guide book with quick tips in case you forget any of the highlights of the discussions or Photoshop tutorials. I took 14 pages of notes on a small notepad & I wish I had taken more! The take home book is very helpful & the Bloguettes have been great about answering any follow up questions I’ve emailed them with, but I wish I had taken notes on everything in my own words – but that’s just the kind of “learner” I am. I’m sure some people didn’t take any notes & are relying only on the take home book just as successfully – to each their own!
Each day is broken up into Photoshop tutorials and lectures on Branding, Blogging, Social Media, Business, & Photography. We would cover a portion of the lecture, then learn something in Photoshop, go back to lecture, etc, etc. Switching things up kept the Workshop moving smoothly and kept the atmosphere from becoming too school-like.
The Branding, Blogging, and Business lectures were a tiiiiny bit redundant for me because I have my B.A. in Communication Studies, I’ve ran my own blog for quite some time, and I’m already making money through Affiliates. However, my B.A didn’t teach me everything, I’m obviously not a hugely successful blogger, and I’m not making that much money – so I definitely picked up some helpful tips and tricks. The overall messages were things I was aware of, for example, “Keep everything Consistent” or the idea that you have to match your voice to the types of Affiliates you want to work with – you can’t be cussing and wearing a Dominatrix outfit in all your posts, then wonder why a brand like American Eagle Outfitters won’t work with you – but hearing it come from the Bloguettes gave me more confidence to really believe in the things I had been thinking all along. It was nice to have confirmation that my head is in the right place, now I need to match my actions to it!
The Social Media and Photography lectures were extremely helpful. I learned so many things about the different Social Medias – did you know there are best days & times to post on Pinterest/Instagram, etc?! I can’t give away all the secrets, but I found these lectures taught me the most. I really have no Photography or photo editing skills so the Photography lecture coupled with the Photoshop tutorials was incredible! Yes, I know you can look on YouTube for PS tutorials, but I still had no basic knowledge so it all seemed like gibberish. Also, I thought PS was just for making women look more conventionally beautiful in advertisements, I had no idea how many other really cool things you can create! I’ve been trying to figure out how to make some prints with my favorite quotes on them, but I didn’t know how I was going to go about it – hello Photoshop! I’ve been downloading different fonts like crazy!

One suggestion I would make to improve the Workshop would be to re-assign seating on Day 2. Day 1 we found our seats based on where our name tag was. The next day was free seating & we all sat with the same group – which was lovely! BUT, for Networking purposes it might have been wiser to force our hand a bit and make us sit with different people. The concept is a little juvenile, but sometimes people don’t think about things like that or just need to be forced out of their comfort zone.

The bottom line: At this point, I’m a little overwhelmed. I need to sort through all my notes and figure out the exact direction I want my blog to go. I don’t necessarily care about making a living through blogging, although that would obviously be a nice bonus. My main goal is to use this blog as a way to present my skills in a way that will be pleasing to a potential employer in Public Relations, Event Planning, Social Media Management, and related fields. My thoughts right now are to invest in a Sony QX 100 and purchase Photoshop to help my blog LOOK more professional. I will also be making a more conscious effort to brand my blog with specific fonts and color choices. In the past I have picked those things at random because I didn’t think people were paying attention, but through the Bloguettes I’ve learned that even those seemingly small choices create your brand and represent your voice. I also need to focus on creating a Media Kit to send to other bloggers or companies. I have a lot more confidence in my blog after working with the Bloguettes because now I know the steps to take that will create a more consistent, cohesive image, which will ultimately appeal to those I want to collaborate with.

Are you interested in being part of the Bloguettes next Branding Workshop? Check their Calendar to see if they’re coming to an area near you! I traveled to Phoenix from NorCal for the Event because I was in the area visiting friends & family. I would recommend going to a Branding Workshop in a location you feel comfortable traveling to often specifically because of the networking opportunities. I met a lot of great new friends…but we’re in different states so it’s going to be somewhat challenging for us to collaborate because of the distance, so that’s something to keep in mind. Also, please be aware, this is definitely something I consider an investment purchase – it’s pretty pricey. However, they offer a student discount, so be sure to inquire about that! Also, I’ve seen them offer a “Free Seat” Giveaway on their Instagram – so follow them and keep tabs of the giveaway in your area.

To get a better idea of the types of creative minds that bonded during the 2 Day Branding Workshop, here is info on some of the lovely ladies I had the pleasure of getting to know, please check out their stores/blogs/Social Media etc – show them some love!

Belle from “Dara & Belle” – Fashion/Lifestyle Blog
Instagram: @daraandbelle
Facebook

Frances Vintage – Modern Boutique with Vintage Charm, open 7 days a week in the heart of midtown Phoenix
Shop the Store!
Blog

Kylie Rowe – Assistant Director @OzmenCenter | External Vice President @NevadaGSA | Team Member @TEDxUofNevada | #BiggestLittleCity Real Estate Investor | MBA Student @BizUNR | Hat Expert
Looking to launch a lifestyle blog & start a hat company!
Twitter:  @KyRoBiz
Instagram:  @kylie_rowe

Sage Hardy from “Farm Fresh Fancy” – AZ lifestyle blogger sharing everyday moments, fresh ideas, and simple, pretty things from the little farm we call home
Facebook
Pinterest
Instagram: @sagehardy

Marisol Avila from “All The Prettys
Facebook
Instagram: @alltheprettys

Maggie McGrath – Founder of Pineapple Triangle – We create a local give-back market in which attendees get to shop an array of local artists while giving back to the community at the same time.  Our Markets are called “AZ Share That You Care”.
Facebook
Instagram: @pineappletriangle

Marina Cay from “PoshFoxx” – Online clothing store launching this Spring/Summer featuring a mix of Swimwear and Street Clothing with a distinct style.
Marina is a current business student at Arizona State University, graduating this May. She hopes to attend FIDM in Los Angeles this Fall to study Apparel Industry Management. She designs Fashion Illustrations, Graphic Designs, and loves all mediums of art.
Instagram: @marinaxfarro (Personal) @poshfoxx (Business)

Erica Kartak, Creator of Luv in the Bubble, a fashion and lifestyle blog. I believe in splurging on jewelry and handbags and hunting for a sale on everything else. Balancing a love of cheeseburgers with healthy eating and activity keeps me sane.
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter
Instagram: @ericakartak

So there you have it! My thoughts, plus some great new entrepreneurs to look into! Will you be signing up for the next Bloguettes Branding Workshop? Have you ever taken a Workshop like this before? Please let me know in the comments below! Make sure to follow me here & on my Social Media to stay up to date with everything I’ve got going on. Thanks for reading!

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