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

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Concert Review! Britney Spears “Piece of Me” Tour at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

Hey everyone!
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m somewhat changing what will be showcased here & how/when. I’m working towards having content posted every day & with that being said…
Welcome to “Music Monday” – each Monday I will (try to) have some sort of music related post, wether it’s a Concert or Album Review, talking about music I like, or “performing” – if I can work up the nerve!

Anyway, this post has been a long time coming, sorry for the wait!
This is a recap of my experience at the Britney Spears “Piece of Me” Tour at AXIS in Planet Hollywood Las Vegas! Due to copyright issues I’m not sure how long this video will remain up on YouTube – so watch now before it potentially gets taken down!
A few months ago I was talking to my best friend about what to do for Halloween & the idea of going to Vegas came up. She said, “I’ll go – but only if we see Britney!”
At the time, I was not that enthusiastic because I had heard nothing but horrible things about Ms. Spears’ Vegas Tour. It was over priced, she can barely keep up with her back up dancers, & she doesn’t sing live. Being poor/just recently employed I was not looking forward to spending money on something like that. However, with my friend’s excitement coupled with the fact that it was Halloween – I was all set to at least get glammed up & see what Vegas had to offer. In a turn of events I didn’t anticipate – I was pleasantly surprised by my “Piece of Me” Tour experience! Click on the video below to watch some clips from the show & keep reading below to see my thoughts on the experience!

Be warned – this video will not load in certain countries or on mobile devices due to copyright issues!!

The Venue – AXIS is amazing! It’s a smaller venue, I’ve definitely walked by it several times during past Vegas visits & never even noticed it. Our seats were great & somewhat reasonable for how close we were. I would be willing to return to this venue & pay more to sit up closer, even just a few rows, because it’s definitely worth it. Before heading to the seating area, there was a museum like display of Britney’s famous costumes that you could take pictures with & learn little fun facts about. Of course, they were also selling a copious amount of merchandise & alcohol – these items are pricey! You don’t necessarily have to spend your money though…depending on how much pride you have. We stayed a bit after the concert ended to take pictures & noticed that several people had (drunkenly) left their souvenir cups behind. An Usher encouraged us to take them home & wash them, obviously, because they were just going to get thrown away. Woo hoo, free stuff!
One negative thing I will say is that we kept seeing ads for a “Britney Spears After Party” at Drai’s, but we couldn’t find any other information. Did it cost money? Did you have to be on a Guest List? What time did it start/end? etc, none of that was answered & we didn’t feel like going on an adventure that might not be successful, so we didn’t even attempt it.

The People – The other concert goers were SUPER friendly, like, invade your space/come up & talk to you loudly type of friendly. This is probably due to the fact that they were some combination of drunk/high/excited. 99.9% of people were in Britney related costumes & I’m not sure if that’s because, they were paying homage to Britney, it was Halloween, we were in Vegas, or again, a combination of all three. We were approached by several people & pulled into group pictures with strangers, but it was all good fun! The crowd was a melting pot of age/race/gender/sexual preference/couples/friends/Bachelorette Party/Girl’s Night Out/Mother-Daughters etc. Everyone we encountered was polite, but if you can’t handle lots of loud, rowdy people, this wouldn’t be a good fit for you – but if that’s the case, most likely any concert wouldn’t be a good fit for you.

The Performance – WOW! I was blown away. The props, setting, costumes, back up dancers, everything, was over the top & awesome. It was exactly what you would expect from Britney Spears & Las Vegas. To address my earlier concerns, does she sing live?…I really don’t think so. Did she have a hard time keeping up with her back up dancers?…Sometimes, occasionally she stopped dancing altogether & just did sexy poses & threw her hair around while they did the bulk of the work. Bottom line – I’ve seen her do better performances in her “youth”, but I’ve also seen her look like way more of a trainwreck. I was surprised by how inspired I was by watching this show. I went into this experience thinking about how I’d be watching this empty headed, sexed up, washed up Pop star attempt to relive her glory days, but it wasn’t like that. It was a well done tribute to a woman that has worked her ass off to make a name for herself in the Entertainment industry. Yes, she’s definitely had some bumps along the way, but that’s life, especially when you live in the public eye. Just thinking about the physical aspects of the show, that’s all her! She may seem like a robot in interviews, but those abs…that’s on her! That’s hard work! Somewhere in there, she still wants to work hard to be the Pop star she used to be – or is working towards becoming someone new. To me, that’s really inspiring, after everything she’s been through, she’s still getting up & working towards new goals.
I will warn you though, this is not really a concert – it’s a Vegas show. Some of her songs are mashed up/remixed/cut short – so don’t expect to hear the classics exactly as they were originally recorded.

The Final Verdict – Like I said, I’m not even a huge Britney fan, so I was pleasantly surprised by my experience & would gladly see another Britney Spears concert/show – if the venue/price were right! If you can, I would definitely recommend seeing her show in Vegas. I was under the impression “Piece of Me” ended in January to make way for Jennifer Lopez’s tour. However, if you go on Ticketmaster you can still buy “Piece of Me” tickets until February. So maybe there’s still a chance? If you’re at all a fan of Britney, dance music/big party scene, or 90’s pop culture icons, this is a show you won’t want to miss!

Let me know in the comments, have you ever seen Britney in concert? What other concerts would you recommend I go see? Do you have any thoughts about the video posted above? Thanks for reading 🙂

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!

Contouring