Music Monday! Harry Potter in Concert – Hollywood Bowl

Hello all!
Today’s Music Monday is going to be a quick recap of Harry Potter in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
HB occasionally puts on these Special Concerts where they show a movie & have a orchestra play the score live. Previously, they showed “The Little Mermaid” & I’m sad to have missed that because they had celebrities come out & sing the songs. The score for Harry Potter is all instrumental, so I knew that wasn’t going to happen, but I was still excited for another amazing Harry Potter themed adventure! Click the video below for a super quick vlog of the Event & keep reading for my thoughts overall…

The Venue –
I’d only been to the Hollywood Bowl once before for a “Behind the Scenes Tour” when I did the Disney College Program. I remembered there was a LOT of walking & I’d heard Event parking is a complete train wreck. They “stack” the cars so you end up boxed in on all sides, which is insanely inconvenient if you’re ready to leave but no one around you has left yet. On the advice of a friend we purchased off site parking, but couldn’t find the lot. We ended up just driving to the Event & paying again for on site parking. While I was deeply unhappy from a financial standpoint, because we had arrived late the only parking was right in front, not boxed in, & the chances of people arriving later than us seemed pretty slim – woo hoo! We strolled right into the venue but finding our seats was another story…we should have called ahead to find out the options for those with disabilities. We had nosebleed seats & even with the escalators, it was quite a struggle. The venue is extremely dark, which obviously makes sense because they want people to see the movie, but made walking/climbing stairs with no railings quite precarious. When we finally found our seats, we discovered we were in the middle of the narrow row & no one would get up to let us by! While this was rude, the bigger issue was that there was no space for us anyway! We let an attendant know, they conferred with their supervisor, & next thing you know we’re sitting in box seats way down in front! Amazing! Big thanks to the staff that made that happen, it definitely made our experience better! Next time, we will be purchasing more expensive but closer seats – it’s way worth it! Also, arriving late for parking worked in our favor as no one arrived after us, so we weren’t boxed in.  We were on the freeway in about 15 minutes!

The People –
I was disappointed by the negative response from the people in the row we were supposed to sit in. However, I guess I should be thanking them because they helped us get better seats! As I mentioned, super happy with the staff of HB! I wish we had thought to get the names of the staff that helped us because I would have written a “thank you letter” to compliment them personally. Beyond that initial negative experience, the crowd was…unified. That’s the only way I can explain it. Whenever something special happens for Harry Potter, there’s always this feeling of, dare I say, magic in the air. I think that’s because a majority of the crowd are real true fans. They’re willing to wait for hours to buy a new book, see a movie, spend the day in a theme park, etc, these types of Events aren’t for casual fans. They bring out the die hards, people in cosplay or themed outfits (I was wearing a Hufflepuff shirt!), people that know all the words to the movies & cheer when Harry catches his first Snitch or boo when Wormtail appears because they know what role he’ll play later. It’s truly, again, magical, to sit in a crowd of people & know that you’re all part of something. In a world that sometimes feels like it’s falling apart, it’s nice to know you can turn to your fandom.

The Performance –
I had no idea what to expect from a Harry Potter Concert! I had read a few articles leading up to the Event & mostly they talked about how difficult the performance was going to be in regards to pulling the soundtrack from the film but keeping all the audio. I did find the music overwhelmed the audio at certain times, but I realized I had to restructure the way I was thinking about the Event. Somehow, I wanted the music to just quietly frame the movie, but be really awesome & powerful! There’s no way to accomplish that. The point of this Event was to focus on the beauty of the music & how it added to the film. Once I kind of let the film take a back seat & focused on the music, it WAS really awesome & powerful. I noticed certain nuances I’d never noticed before when I’d watched the film & focused only on the dialogue. This is definitely an Event for music lovers. You must love the sound, the feeling, the epic-ness! of live orchestral music. Obviously these musicians are extremely talented & I was thrilled to see the Conductor wearing a Hufflepuff tie & pin!

The Final Verdict –
People always say to arrive early for parking, but we found that arriving later worked WAY better & will most likely do so again. As I said, there may be other options that we were unaware of, but based on what I saw, this Venue is not very “disabled friendly”. I will need to investigate other options for the future & definitely feel it’s worth it to pay for more expensive seats closer to the front. Overall, an extremely enjoyable & unique experience that brought together a lot of people & helped strengthen their love of Harry Potter. What could be better?! I hope Hollywood Bowl continues to put on these Special Events, especially if they continue with the rest of the Harry Potter series & Disney films.

Have you ever been to this Venue or seen a Movie/Concert like this? Please let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Event Recap! The Steve Jobs Movie

Hello all!

I’m excited to finally announce…I was an Extra in “Steve Jobs” – the newest Steve Jobs biopic being released THIS WEEKEND!!! The film was directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) & written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Moneyball – which I was also an Extra in). The film stars Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, & Jeff Daniels. I saw the director & all the stars except Seth Rogen, which I was kind of upset about, but it was from far away anyway so it’s okay. The film takes place backstage during 3 key Apple product launches leading up to the 1998 launch of the iMac. Obviously it will delve into what was going on with the company and Jobs during these times.

Filming took place in San Francisco at the Davies Symphony Hall and the surrounding streets. During the scenes at the Symphony Hall we were portraying guests at the unveiling of the “brand new” iMac so we did a lot of sitting, waiting, and cheering when Fassbender came on stage as Jobs. During the outdoor scenes we were portraying guests arriving for the unveiling. As these were large crowd scenes, I do not expect to have any screen time AT ALL, but hey, ya never know! It was a long day. There were some slight scheduling issues & we didn’t get a food break until we were done filming around 7pm! People were VERY upset because we had been waiting quite awhile & it had started to get cold. I had a great time, my mom was an extra with me & we quickly made friends with other extras & of course had each other for entertainment. However, to a certain extent, I understand why others were getting a bit peeved, especially because we weren’t getting paid to be on set.

All in all it was an awesome experience! A major highlight of the experience was overhearing this conversation…
Woman 1: “Is Steve Jobs actually going to show up?”
Woman 2: “GIRL, he’s been dead for years! If he shows up we’re all in trouble!!!”
With conversations like that, it’s no wonder I love to be on set! Take a look at the pictures I included below, they’re just picturse of my “’90’s costume”, but I’m curious to see what y’all think. We were told to dress like it was 1998, but when I was 7 & 8 years old I was definitely NOT wearing anything that I wanted to wear to a movie set in 2015, haha! I wanted to dress my current age within the staged time period, not wear clothes I actually wore during that time period. I did a lot of research on Google & Pinterest, but even that proved to be somewhat difficult as certain ’90’s trends are making a comeback. There were a lot of modernized looks, but of course, that wasn’t what I was aiming for. Anyway! Please let me know what you think of my look! Also, please see the movie & let me know if you spot me! 😛 Thanks for reading!

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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Event Recap – Charity! TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors at the Disney 1/2 Marathon

Hi everyone!
Some of you may recall I mentioned TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors in Vlog #2 when Jeremiah & I went to Sevenly. For the sake of space/time, please watch Vlog #2 or go to the TAPS website, I linked both above, to read more about their mission. Long story short, they are a military charity that provides support to those left behind after a member of the military passes away. I was really interested in getting to know their program better, so I drove down to the Disneyland Resort to help out at their booth at the Disney Half Marathon. Below are a few pictures I took at the event!

Overall I had a wonderful experience volunteering with TAPS. I handed out race packets to the runners on Team TAPS, answered general questions, & helped out where I could. I learned a lot about the people behind TAPS, the survivors the program benefits, & the program itself. I appreciate that TAPS provides support no matter how the military member passed away, it doesn’t have to be battle related. It can be anything from car accidents to long term illness, etc. I also appreciate that TAPS reaches out to more than just immediate family. They support ANYONE who is suffering after experiencing a military loss, from unmarried partners to best friends to civilian coworkers to church friends, etc. That’s really important because for the most part, support goes toward immediate family, which obviously is not a bad thing, but there are more people to think about. I’m not talking about monetary support, I’m talking about emotional support. Death affects everyone differently & you never know who is able to handle these types of situations on their own or who might need more help. The person that sat next to a military member every Monday & Wednesday night for English 101 might be feeling their loss almost as intensely as the immediate family – & certainly not for the same reasons, but does that make their feelings less meaningful or make them any less deserving of help? I don’t think it does.

I truly feel inspired after this experience. I have previously volunteered with the Wounded Warrior Project & have met special people through those amazing events, but there’s a bit of disconnect because I’m not a veteran or really associated with the military other than through my volunteer work. With TAPS however, I got to meet survivors, a position I can identify with more easily. While not military related I’ve experienced the loss of members of my immediate family & for a brief time, I was part of a military family & lived with someone that was working through PTSD. I watched him struggle & I know how helpless you feel as a bystander. It’s hard to watch someone you love be plagued by demons brought on by something that’s a huge part of their identity, they can’t just shake it off, it’s part of who they are no matter how much pain it brings them. One of the families I spoke with this weekend lost their military member to suicide & it just broke my heart. A majority of the military members being remembered this weekend looked like they were around my age. It’s one thing to hear the statistics, but to be face to face with survivors that have lost someone I could’ve dated, been friends with, gone to college with, worked with etc…makes me cringe to think how much we all take for granted. These military members will never see a beautiful Southern California day, never volunteer for a cause they’re passionate about, never run, never see their families, never go to Disneyland, never go on vacation, & their survivors will never experience these things without a tinge of sadness for the person they’re missing. Yet all of those activities occurred this weekend for other people & they probably didn’t give them a second thought. It’s crazy to think that I could have met any of these people under completely different circumstances, yet we were brought together because of the tragedies in our lives which have shaped our lives & led us to this place. To me, that’s the mission of TAPS. Yes, bad things happen & we all experience loss, but we’re never truly alone, we just have to find people on a similar path.

With all of that being said, I am HIGHLY motivated to continue volunteering at future TAPS Events & even to join Team TAPS…as a runner! I know! Me, running!? If you know me at all, you’ll understand this event must have really been special if it’s motivating me to start running, haha! As soon as I get medically cleared to start working out again, I’m going to start the “Couch to 5K” Training Program & get my butt out there! Click here to Join Team TAPS if you’re looking for a team to join for an upcoming Race Event – maybe I’ll see you at a race! Thanks for reading 🙂

Concert Review! Luke Bryan “Kick the Dust Up Tour” at Levi’s Stadium

Hey y’all! On Saturday, August 29th my Gemini spirit sister Katie & I went to see Luke Bryan’s “Kick the Dust Up” Tour at Levi’s Stadium. We had an amaziiiiinnnggg time – so much fun! Watch the video below for some clips of the concert & some commentary from me. We weren’t down in the pit so the video clips aren’t amazing, forgive the quality and distance, but it’ll give you some idea of what the stage looked like & all that jazz. Most of the clips aren’t long because they’re from my SnapChat (@missal_leigh). Sometimes it’s hard to run my social media, take pics/video for the blog, & also actually be in the moment, but those are the struggles of a blogger I guess. Also, please excuse my awful singing! I tried to cut out video where you can hear me but sometimes my voice got in there sooooo enjoy!!

I didn’t mention this in the video but if you’re going to an event at Levi’s Stadium – be warned! Parking is a complete and utter NIGHTMARE!!!!! We got dropped off thinking that would be the easiest way to move through all the traffic, getting in wasn’t too bad, but leaving – we had to walk a mile, which would’ve been fine except with my hip, I was suffering. The struggle was real.

Let me know in the comments below if you were also at this show and what you thought. I’m going to a Country Music Festival in Vegas that I’m SUPER excited about, what concert are you headed to next? Maybe I’ll see you there 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Charity & Event Recap! #YellowForSeth @bethematch & @lushcosmetics #freshlypicked Scavenger Hunt! 

Hey all!
I have a couple things to talk about today. Today I went out to San Francisco to participate in the Lush Cosmetics “Freshly Picked” Scavenger Hunt. More on that below…

My mom & I with the Lush Cosmetics Bunny  wearing Yellow For Seth during the LUSH Freshly Picked Scavenger Hunt!

My mom & I with the Lush Cosmetics Bunny wearing Yellow For Seth during the LUSH Freshly Picked Scavenger Hunt!

I also participated in another activity that hopefully some of you participated in as well. Today was “Wear Yellow For Seth”, a day of support for a 5 year old boy named Seth. He was born with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder (SCID), which basically means he has no immune system – no way to fight off infections. His only chance of survival is a successful bone marrow transplant. He had his first transplant at 7 months old, but his body rejected it. He’s now preparing for Round 2.  I’ve heard different stories but I was under the impression that Seth and his parents made a video asking his friends and family to wear yellow (his favorite color) today and send him the pictures so he can see how many people support him as he prepares for this next set of procedures. The video became viral and the hashtags WearYellowForSeth & YellowForSeth started popping up everywhere! I’ve also heard that the family made the video with the intention for it to go viral and spread awareness of SCID and the need for bone marrow donors. Either way, I think it’s a really sweet gesture we can all take the time to make for a sick little boy. They aren’t asking for any money or donations of any kind. They just want to see how far their message will spread and show Seth some support!

I’ve always been a big supporter of spreading awareness for the need for more bone marrow donors. I’m a registered bone marrow donor – although unfortunately I’ve never been called upon to donate. As soon as I turned 18, I signed up with Delete Blood Cancer DKMS & they added me to the Be the Match national bone marrow donor registry  – click here to read Be the Match’s FAQ & see if donating bone marrow is something you’d be interested in!

So today, in honor of Seth, because he is so brave in the face of so much adversity, my mom & I traipsed around San Francisco to participate in the Lush Cosmetic’s Freshly Picked Scavenger Hunt while wearing bright yellow shirts! The Lush Scavenger Hunt was really cute – I only wish it had been more of an adventure! They posted a pic on their Instagram: @lushcosmetics of their employees in an unnamed location somewhere in San Francisco & a secret code. If you figured out the location, you met up with the employees, told them the code, and they gave you the next clue which eventually led to a Lush goodie bag! I’ve been a fan of Lush Cosmetics for easily, about 10 years. I don’t shop there as much as I should or want to, but I have a feeling that’s about to change! For those that don’t know, Lush Cosmetics makes fresh, organic, hand made, 100% vegetarian, bath, body, and makeup products. Some of the products are completely vegan. They believe in packaging that can be recycled, no animal testing, and ethical buying of ingredients. The packaging and products are extremely creative and unique. I really feel like they sell something for everyone. Anyway, my mom & I figured out pretty quickly that the location was Union Square, so we headed out there to grab the next clue. In a kind of disappointing turn, the next clue wasn’t really a clue so much as a thank you note for participating. I was looking forward to figuring out clues and hunting around the city a bit, but it simply directed us to the nearest Lush store to pick up our goodie bag. This is where my disappointment turned around…

Peace Massage Bar, Miranda soap, Karma Komba Shampoo Bar + tin, American Cream conditioner

Peace Massage Bar, Miranda soap, Karma Komba Shampoo Bar + tin, American Cream conditioner

After a quick chat with a really sweet employee about the Lush products we already owned and what kind of scents we liked, we were given our goodie bags. These goodie bags were SUPER GENEROUS! I received a 3.3 oz bottle of American Cream hair conditioner and a Karma Komba shampoo bar PLUS a tin to keep the bar in. The Shampoo Bar & tin cost $12 & $4, respectively, I was extremely grateful to receive these amazing products basically for free! My mom received a healthy chunk of Miranda soap and a FULL SIZED Peace Massage bar – which retails for $14!! All in all, while I was slightly disappointed about the lack of adventure, Lush more than made up for it with their wonderful goodie bags. Thank you Lush Cosmetics!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Friday! If you didn’t wear yellow, there’s still time! Before you head out tonight, add something yellow to your outfit – it doesn’t have to be big! Snap a pic, tag me or mention me, @missal_leigh (on Twitter, Snapchat, & Instagram), and don’t forget to hashtag #WearYellowForSeth and/or #YellowForSeth. Also, let me know in the comments below what some of your favorite Lush products are – I need to start a shopping list! 😉 Thanks for reading, until next time!

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!

Contouring