Category Archives: Latest News

8 Questions with Amanda Barker of Little Black Dress The Musical

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center, I received two complimentary tickets in exchange for this preview post and social media love to "Little Black Dress The Musical". This has not impacted my post. All opinions below are my own.
Amanda Barker – photo by Dahlia Katz

When Straz Center reached out to me with the opportunity to interview Amanda Barker, I jumped at the chance! Amanda is not only a cast member in the upcoming Little Black Dress The Musical, she also is co-writer of the show!

I asked some of my pals and gals on Facebook what they would ask her  if given the chance, and I picked the best 8. Check out Amanda’s awesome answers to my questions below!

8 Questions with Amanda Barker of Little Black Dress

1. When you’re on stage or even just preparing to go on stage – Do you do your work for the love of the audience or for the love of the craft? Which is more important to you?

Oh gosh – why choose?! It’s the love of the craft that brings you to the stage, but I think it’s the audience that keeps you there. I have been lucky enough to also do film and TV, but I am like so many actors in that I started on stage and I get back on it whenever my schedule allows.

Don’t get me wrong – being on set can be glorious as it is all about the craft and you learn to create a relationship with a camera and not to expect an audience’s instant gratification. That said, what’s wonderful about Little Black Dress is that we have written in the audience’s participation! Allowing a direct address to audience is my favourite kind of theatre, but it’s extraordinarily rare, especially in a musical. That’s why creating this show and performing in it has been so exciting.

2. We know you enjoy making people laugh, but what makes you laugh?

My husband Marco makes me laugh every single day. He can be mostly asleep and still hilarious. The other day in bed he was drifting off and he said, “I love you.” When I told him that I loved him too, he answered, “I was talking to myself.” That’s a funny guy. Or a mean one. It’ll be 8 years next month and I still haven’t decided.

3. Let’s say you’re having an off day – it happens! What do you do to get stage ready and in a humorous place mentally?

This is where the audience comes in. I peek and look at them and try to see what their vibe is; their energy. I put myself in their shoes. What was their day like? What do they need? Performing is a service, and you need to connect to those you are serving to see what they need in each moment – especially with a show like this. You learn as a performer to do your best to take yourself out of the equation. It’s not about you. It’s about them. That can be very freeing if you’ve had a rotten day.

4. Do you ever go off script based on the audience you’re performing for?

For this show? Every. Damn. Day. We wrote the show for those types of personalized/improvised bits to land. We want it tailored for the crowd it is in front of. This show is special. It combines the cast’s talents for both improv and scripted performance. I do love a scripted show, and in my career, I get to do that plenty.

The words are the envelope that you can play within but you must stick to what is inside that envelope. THIS show is special though, and that’s what makes it so unique and exciting for an audience.

5. What’s the perfect Little Black Dress accessory?

One word – BLING! Any color, any variety. I have never met an accessory I didn’t love and I love that an LBD means I can wear my turquoise polka dotted shoes or bright red necklace and it all pairs seamlessly.

6. What drink pairs best with a Little Black Dress?

Little Black Dress wine of course! (Yes, they are a sponsor 😉 ) What’s great about an LBD is that you can keep stains to a minimum so you can go with a bright fruity cocktail, dark beer or red wine and no matter how messy you get, you are likely safe. If I drink it, I WILL spill it, and I love how my Little Black Dress doesn’t get ruined.

7. Would men enjoy watching Little Black Dress with their girlfriends/spouses? Or is it better for a girl’s night out?

Absolutely! It can be a great date night or a girls’ night out. It’s a story about friendship and how to deal with life’s milestones – from an awkward first kiss to keeping your marriage spicy, or the harsh reality of birthing a baby – those things are definitely universal.

One of the most important things to us was that it relates to all – and having Christopher Bond (Evil Dead the Musical) on the creative team (in addition to myself, Danielle Trzcinski and Natalie Tennebaum) means that there are plenty of jokes for guys too.

Above all else, I’m very proud that it is female material that doesn’t handle anything with kid gloves – women can be messy, dirty, complicated and hilarious. That is what was important to me.

8. Finally, what are your plans post Little Black Dress? Any other parodies or musicals brewing behind the scenes?

I actually have co-authored another show about women and clothes called Clotheswap where the audience gets to bring their bags of old duds to the theatre and those pieces are used on stage in both narrative and improvisation (and they get to participate in the clothesswap after)! That script has received two awards and will be happening in Toronto later this year.

I am very interested in the stories of women and clothes, clearly! Beyond that, I am in the next season of The Handmaid’s Tale which comes out next month, and my online series A Gay Victorian Affair will be releasing its next three episodes in May. That one falls under parody as it is a dirty version of Downton Abbey.

I am also on-air most mornings with Sirius XM’s Canada Laughs channel (I am both Canadian and American) so that fun will continue and I have two projects for TV in pre-production. I love what I do and the only thing that limits me are the hours in a day!

Little Black Dress The Musical – What You Need to Know

Little Black Dress The Musical is playing at The Straz Center now through April 27 and April 28, 2018. To see all the shows playing at the Straz, click HERE! I’m going to the show on Saturday. Buy some tickets, and come join me. It’s going to be a great night out!!!

Here’s the trailer for the show:

 

 

Also… I’ve got some other deets you may want to know:

From the ladies behind Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody, this hilarious ladies-night-out musical follows BFFs Dee and Mandy as they don their LBDs to chronicle life’s major events – birth, death, dating, sex, love, friendship … and male strippers. With improv, audience participation, fun music and a triple warning – strong language, fog and haze, and one very sexy man – Little Black Dress is a perfect fit for any woman.

And finally, because I love fun photos, here’s the press pics that show you we HAVE to go see this musical ASAP! 

Little Black Dress The Musical Cast Ensemble Photo 1 – Photo by Dahlia Katz
Little Black Dress The Musical Cast Ensemble Photo 2 – Photo by Dahlia Katz
Little Black Dress The Musical Cast Ensemble Photo 3 – Photo by Dahlia Katz

 

 

Book Recommendation – The Suitcase Entrepreneur by Natalie Sisson

Need a FABULOUS book to read? I highly recommend The Suitcase Entrepreneur by Natalie Sisson. Y’all, I’m not just blowing smoke when I say this, but this book FUNDAMENTALLY changed the course of my career when I first picked up the 2014 edition of the book on March 12, 2014.

I knew I was happy working for myself, but this book made me commit full force to not working a 9 to 5 ever again. Sure, I had a stint where I had to take a full time gig temporarily, but this book showed me that I could have a business that I run anywhere with WiFi.

Anti 9 to 5 , all about the WiFi

Although anywhere with WiFi for me usually means I’m at home in yoga pants and a t-shirt, the point is that this book gave me a glimpse into what is possible. The year I bought this book I not only quit that 9 to 5 stint for good, but I went to Thailand & got more clients than I’d ever had before as a freelance writer.

Have there been ups and downs along the way? Yes, of course. However, I’d choose to be my version of a suitcase entrepreneur over a rat in a race any day! I love knowing that I have a business that I can run from nearly anywhere in the world. .

I’m not where I want to be in my career (YET!), but without the tools and information in this amazing book, it would have taken me sooooooooo much longer. I’m so incredibly grateful I stumbled upon this book 4 years ago. I can’t say enough about how good it is.

Thinking about a business? You NEED this book!

If you are thinking about starting a freedom based business, you simply HAVE to get a copy of it. Natalie has updated it, and there’s a bunch more fabulous information just waiting for you to unlock. Grab a copy HERE.

I am definitely a freedomist for life, and I have a feeling after you read this book – you will be too. Do you want to “create freedom in business and adventure in life?” Then, you MUST snap up a copy of this killer book today.


And, check out Natalie’s website. She has some of the best podcast episodes that will teach you even more. Never stop learning my friends!

Do you have a book you want me to read, a drink you want me to try or a product you want me to review? 

Contact me HERE! I’m PR friendly 😉

This post contains links to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Photo from The Bodyguard Musical Facebook Page

The Bodyguard Musical – A Review

 

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center I received two complimentary tickets for the purposes of review to The Bodyguard. This has not impacted my review and all opinions below are my own.
Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron and Company in The Bodyguard

Let me start by saying – I had no idea there even WAS a musical called The Bodyguard until it came here to Tampa Bay. I don’t have cable, and have intentionally not been watching the news, so I’ve been quite out of the loop in terms of many things related to entertainment. However, I had never seen the movie, but I LOVE musicals, so I jumped at the chance to see the production.

Funnily enough, my husband insisted I watch the movie before the play. So, I watched it last night. I’m actually kind of glad I did because it prepared me for some of the things that would have otherwise shocked me.

You see, after a family tragedy that happened December 2016, I’m hyper-sensitive these days to gun violence. Therefore, knowing what to expect going in, helped me to focus on the joyful elements of the show. My husband is a brilliant man, and knew this all to well about me, so I’m extra grateful he had me watch the movie first.

And, if I’m honest, I really loved the movie. It made me that much more excited to see the musical too. Might seem weird since it gave away much of the plot, but it’s true! (p.s. some of the plot IS different in the stage production vs. the movie)

The Bodyguard – What Straz Said About it (spoilers ahead)

Based on the smash hit film, the award-winning musical will star Grammy® Award nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox!

Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love.

A breathtakingly romantic thriller, THE BODYGUARD features a host of irresistible classics including “Queen of the Night,” “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – “I Will Always Love You.”

 

The Bodyguard – My Review

I have to say that out of all the musicals I’ve been to, this one was CRAZY good. In fact, dare I say it might have been one of the best ones I’ve EVER seen. Then again, it felt more like I was seeing a concert than attending a musical in the “traditional” sense- whatever that means.

Let’s put it this way – I’ve always wanted to attend a Whitney Houston concert, and after watching this production tonight – I now feel like I have. You know, only with added drama and story to it. Haha!

From the opening act to the closing number I was either on edge of my seat, tapping my toes, or I was up on my feet. I also totally sang along to my favorite songs – as did much of the audience .. which I loved by the way. Made for a fun and interactive experience.

Photo from The Bodyguard via Straz Center
Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron and Jasmin Richardson as Nicki Marron in The Bodyguard

And, I have to say this about Miss Deborah Cox  – she was absolutely spectacular in this role! The way that she could command the stage, and belt out those vocals was like nothing I’ve ever seen in a live act before. I actually closed my eyes for a moment,  and almost believed I was sitting in a Whitney Houston concert!

The notes that Whitney could hit are clearly not easy to hit, but Mrs. Cox did it with such grace and ease that you can tell she knows her craft, and she owns her craft. Watching her sing and perform took my breath away, and gave me all the goosebumps multiple times.

Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron and Judson Mills as Frank Farmer in The Bodyguard via Straz
Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron and Judson Mills as Frank Farmer in The Bodyguard

To put it mildly – I would absolutely recommend to anybody who is considering seeing this musical that they buy a ticket right now.

From the costumes to actors, the songs to the choreography, even the lines the actors were supposed to say – every single bit of this musical was top-notch. It was just ahhhhhhhmazing. If given the chance, I would see it again over and over and over again!

The Bodyguard is playing at The Straz Center now through March 25, 2018.  Regularly priced tickets are $40-$123. To see all the shows playing at the Straz, click HERE!

Heads up if you’re going: Deborah Cox is not scheduled to perform at the Sunday Evening performance. And, The Bodyguard contains some adult language, mature situations and brief simulated gun shots and violence.

For just a glimpse into WHY this show was so amazing, check out this interview Mrs. Cox did with Wendy Williams where she expresses just how much she wanted it to be done right:

Also… just in case you are as curious as I was…

Here’s the cast of The Bodyguard US Tour from the official website:

  • Deborah Cox – Rachel Marron
  • Judson Mills – Frank Farmer
  • Alex Corrado – Tony Scibelli
  • Charles Gray – Bill Devaney
  • Jonathan Hadley – Sy Spector
  • Kevelin B. Jones III – Fletcher
  • Sebastian Maynard-Palmer – Fletcher
  • Jorge Paniagua – The Stalker
  • Jasmin Richardson – Nicki Marron
  • Mark McCullough – Thomas Ray Court
  • Elyssa Jo Brown – Swing
  • Henry Byalikov – Ensemble
  • Willie Dee – Swing
  • Megan Elyse Fulmer – Ensemble
  • Devinn Harris – Ensemble
  • Alex Jackson – Swing
  • Megan Melville – Ensemble
  • DeQuina Moore – Ensemble
  • Kevin Mylrea – Ensemble
  • Stefan Raulston – Ensemble
  • Matthew Schmidt – Ensemble
  • Amber Snow – Ensemble
  • Lauren Tanner  – Swing
  • Naomi C. Walley  – Ensemble

More Than 25 Easter and Spring Posts!

I just love the feelings that come with Spring, don’t you? Even though in Florida we don’t really have a season change per se, everything feels renewed and fresh. It’s one of my favorite times of year.

And, it features a fun holiday – EASTER! I have such wonderful memories of Easter growing up. It was one of the times I remember everyone, even my dad, being in a good mood and the day being filled with excitement and good food. Perhaps that’s why I get so giddy when Spring arrives.

I also love, love, LOVE all the creative crafts, pastel colors, and like I said – good food. I thought I’d feature some of my favorite Easter and Spring posts written by my bloggy friends in this round-up. Of course, there are a few of my own sprinkled in as well. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Easter and Spring Post Roundup

1. Easter Bunny Mason Jars
2. Bird Nest Cupcakes Dessert
3. Easter Muddy Buddies
4. Last Minute Easter Entertaining & Tablescape Ideas

5. Easy DIY Marbled Easter Eggs with Nail Polish
6. DIY Fun and Festive Easter Favor Jars The Kids Will Love!
7. Easter table set with favorites of purple and yellow
8. Mason Jar Spring Vases
9. Easy DIY Easter Floral Arrangement
10. Chocolate Covered Strawberry “Carrots”

11. Easy Easter Dessert: Chocolate Covered Easter Pretzels
12. Glow In The Dark Easter Eggs
13. Grape Soda Cupcakes
14. Nature Inspired Napkin Rings For A Spring Table
15. Things Pinterest Taught Me: Things to Do With Peeps
16. Rice Krispies Bird’s Nest Treats
17. Strawberry Spring Salad With Goat Cheese
18. Curtis Stone’s Glazed Ham with Mustard Barbecue Sauce Recipe

19. Things Pinterest Taught Me: Things to Do With Cadbury Eggs
20. Easy Easter Entertaining: Crostini Brunch + Coconut Flour Donuts
21. Leftover Easter Candy? Make Martha Stewart’s Shortbread Candy Bars
22. Bunny Cinnamon Rolls
23. The Gilded Egg Project
24. Slow Cooker Ham With Root Beer Demi Glace


25. Easy Spring Jelly Bean + Birds Nest Centerpiece
26. A Spring Inspired Tablescape
27. Tablesetting Must Haves For Your Spring Gathering
28. Easter and Spring Books for Kids 2018

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival Concert Lineup 2018

Have you heard? Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival is coming back to Tampa Bay Saturdays and Sundays, March 3 through April 29 and is included with any Annual Pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park.

And, if the free with admission news isn’t enough to get you excited about attending,  each evening of the festival features a concert from some of the hottest names in the music industry.

Busch Gardens 2018 Food & Wine Festival Concert Lineup

Concert Headliners Include The Fray, Flo Rida, Cole Swindell, Boyz II Men, Olga Tañón, TLC, Hank Williams Jr., Kaleo and More!

More info about the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival:

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay‘s most delicious event returns this March with tastes for every palate at the fourth annual Food & Wine Festival.

Guests can sample delectable cuisines paired with a selection of 65+ wines, 50+ craft brews and specialty cocktails, while enjoying some of the biggest names in entertainment.

The Food & Wine Festival runs Saturdays and Sundays, March 3 through April 29 and is included with any Annual Pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park.

The Festival features all-new twists on cuisine at 13 culinary cabins, along with favorites like mango shrimp ceviche and beef brisket on a spiced corn waffle.

Experience bold new eats at the Savory Tavern with fried frog legs with bacon corn fritters, or indulge in flavorful treats at Artisan Eats with beloved dish duck fat truffle fries and then spice it up with tostones rellenos de pollo at Comfort Kitchen.

Opt for lobster tart with leeks and Swiss cheese or mushroom vol-au-vent at the Light Fare Canteen, or relish in the robust flavors at Chef’s Plantation with salmon cake with lemon aioli, Korean-style ribs and all-new short rib and brie grilled cheese.

Guests can elevate the Food and Wine Festival experience even more by sipping a carefully curated selection of fine bourbons and new tequila tastings.

Concert headliners include:

Saturday, March 3: Edwin McCain & Sister Hazel
Sunday, March 4: Grupo Niche
Saturday, March 10: The Fray
Sunday, March 11: Southern Uprising Tour: A Southern Rock Revival with Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws
Saturday, March 17: Olga Tañón
Sunday, March 18: Goo Goo Dolls
Saturday, March 24: Better Than Ezra & Tonic
Sunday, March 25: Michael Bolton
Saturday, March 31: Boyz II Men
Sunday, April 1: Natalie Grant
Saturday, April 7: Hank Williams, Jr.
Sunday, April 8: TLC
Saturday, April 14: Bret Michaels
Sunday, April 15: Coming Soon!
Saturday, April 21: The All-American Rejects
Sunday, April 22: Cole Swindell
Saturday, April 28: Flo Rida
Sunday, April 29: Kaleo & Bleachers

Guests can choose from two exclusive VIP concert upgrades at the Festival which include priority seating and a 5-item sampler lanyard for even more access to great times and great tastes.

Additionally, guests can purchase of 5, 10 and 12-item sampler lanyards to tailor the experience to any taste bud. Food and beverage is not included with park admission and is available for an additional fee. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consumer alcoholic beverages.

BEST VALUES FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS:

  • For a limited time, buy a Busch Gardens Fun Card and get an Adventure Island Fun Card FREE! Experience both parks through 2018 for the price of one.

 

  • For those wishing for more VIP offerings, the Annual Pass includes unlimited admission for 12 months, free parking, no blockout dates, in-park discounts and other benefits, valued at more than $350. With EZpay, Annual Passes start at just $14 per month for one park, and $16 per month for both Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island.

Be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by joining the conversation using #corksandcoasters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Sister Hazel, Edwin McCain and Grupo Niche to Kickoff the Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens

This weekend the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival begins and I just learned some more exciting news about their kickoff weekend! Check out the notice they just sent me below the image!

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2018) – Chart-topping artists Sister Hazel and Edwin McCain, and Latin sensation Grupo Niche will take the stage this weekend at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay’s fourth annual Food & Wine Festival.

The festival takes place on Saturdays and Sundays March 3 through April 29. Concerts are included with any Pass, Fun Card or daily admission.

Sister Hazel – Saturday, March 3 at 5:30 p.m., Gwazi Park

Originally from the sunshine state, Sister Hazel has been considered “one of the Top 100 Most Influential Independent Performers of the last 15 years.” The five gifted and seasonal musicians exude natural talent and charisma with their chart-topping hits “All for You” and “Lighter in the Dark” earning them multiple spots on Billboard charts. Along with being outstanding musicians, the band hosts annual philanthropic events like “Hazelnut Hang” and gives back with Lyrics for Life benefiting cancer research and patient-care. Don’t miss out on celebrating with Sister Hazel here at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Edwin McCain– Saturday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m., Gwazi Park

Proclaimed the “great American romantic” by the New York Times, Edwin McCain has swept the nation with over 20 years of pop music and endless touring. His love ballads and genuine personality makes concerts feel more like nonstop parties. With classic hits like “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask for More”, McCain has proved time and time again that he is truly a one-of-a-kind performer.

Grupo Niche – Sunday, March 4 at 6:00 p.m., Gwazi Park

Join us as we welcome the salsa sensation, Group Niche, to this year’s Food and Wine Festival! Residing in eccentric country of Colombia, this group has taken Latin America by storm with its Latin flares and outstanding performances.

SPECIAL PACKAGES:

  • Food, Wine & Brew Sampler – Guests with exclusive interests in culinary offerings can purchase a Food & Wine sampler that includes any samples of choice throughout the Festival. Samplers are available in quantities of five, eight or twelve and start at $29.99. New this year, a Pass Member exclusive 15-item Sampler is available for the same price as a 12-item Sampler.https://buschgardens.com/tampa/events/food-and-wine-festival/upgrades/sampler-lanyard/

  • Wine, Bourbon and Tequila by the Bottle – Guests can take home a part of the Food & Wine Festival with wine, bourbon and tequila available for purchase by the bottle at the Xcursions gift shop.

BEST VALUES FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS:

  •  For a limited time, buy a Busch Gardens Fun Card and get an Adventure Island Fun Card FREE! Experience both parks through 2018 for the price of one.

  • For those wishing for more VIP offerings, the Annual Pass includes unlimited admission for 12 months, free parking, no blockout dates, in-park discounts and other benefits, valued at more than $350. With EZpay, Annual Passes start at just $14 per month for one park, and $16 per month for both Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island

The Festival features all-new twists on cuisine at 13 culinary cabins, along with favorites like mango shrimp ceviche and beef brisket on a spiced corn waffle. Experience bold new eats at the Savory Tavern with fried frog legs with bacon corn fritters, or indulge in flavorful treats at Artisan Eats with beloved dish duck fat truffle fries and then spice it up with tostones rellenos de pollo at Comfort Kitchen.  Opt for lobster tart with leeks and Swiss cheese or mushroom vol-au-vent at the Light Fare Canteen, or relish in the robust flavors at Chef’s Plantation with salmon cake with lemon aioli, Korean-style ribs and all-new short rib and brie grilled cheese.  Guests can elevate the Food and Wine Festival experience even more by sipping a carefully curated selection of fine bourbons and new tequila tastings.

The Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from March 3 through April 29 and is included with any Pass, Fun Card or daily admission. Food and beverage is not included with park admission and is available for an extra fee. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages.

Be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by following the park’s blog at BuschGardens.com/tampa/blog, or “Like” the Busch Gardens Facebook page, and follow @buschgardens on TwitterInstagram and Snapchat.

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About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. Visit AdventureIsland.com or Busch Gardens.com.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company. Visit www.seaworldentertainment.com for more.

How Not to End a Musical – A Love Never Dies Review

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center I received two complimentary tickets for the purposes of review to Love Never Dies. This has not impacted my review and all opinions below are my own.
“Only For You” – Mary Michael Patterson (“Meg Giry”) and the Ensemble of Love Never Dies. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Okay so look. I LOVE musicals. Like, wish I was the one singing and dancing on stage kind of love for musicals. M’kay? So, please go into this post knowing that first and foremost so you don’t just think I’m hatin’.

I want to start by saying that the cast, the sets, the singing, the overall production of Love Never Dies – they were all absolutely stunning. I loved the set so much, it was just gorgeous! And, the singing gave me goosebumps in the best way. Just awesome. Everything was going great. At intermission I was on cloud nine. I even tweeted this:

Gardar Thor Cortes (“The Phantom”) and Meghan Picerno (“Christine Daaé”) star in Love Never Dies. Photo by Joan Marcus.

And then…the last frikkin number came, and what happened after ruined EVERYTHING!!! I won’t spoil it in case you’re going to go see it. BUT!!! Love Never Dies ended in the worst way of EVER!!! I hated it. I was fuming. I was crying like a blubbering frikkin’ mess, and then I was pissed off the entire way home. I thought musicals were supposed to have a happy ending dammit! This one did not, and it made me mad. Like so mad I couldn’t even tweet about how I was feeling about it for more than an hour.

Meghan Picerno (“Christine Daaé”) stars in Love Never Dies. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Here’s the thing – if you want to believe the end is happy, leave after you see the peacock. Let Christine sing for you, and as soon as the song ends and the peacock goes away – LEAVE. THE. THEATER!!! Then, pretend the ending was a lovely, sweet one, and you’ll walk away feeling like it was one of the greatest musicals perhaps of all time. BUT, if you want to get mad, sad, heartbroken or any other array of negative emotions…stick around for the horrible conclusion that left me wanting to punch someone.

This is one time I wish somebody had warned me about the ending. It’s the one time I wish someone had said, Ashley LEAVE after the song in front of the peacock. If I had known and walked away, I would have ended the evening feeling that it was a fabulous night out, and simply an amazing production.

I want to reiterate at this point that I LOVED all of the rest of the show. It kept me on my toes, and falling hard for some of the characters. Maybe that’s why the ending made me so upset. Or maybe it’s my own life experiences that made the last moments of the production ruin the entire show for me. I’m not 100% sure. What I do know is this though – that to me was how NOT to end a musical.

Love Never Dies is playing at the Straz Center in Tampa through December 17, 2017. To see all of the shows playing at the Center, click here.

Photo by Rob-Harris

 

 

Brik Buster OR 119 piece Starter Set Giveaway – Winner’s Choice Thru 11/6/17

Strictly Briks Winner's Choice Giveaway!! (ends 11/6)

Hey bloggy friends! I’ve partnered with Africa’s Blog to bring you another awesome giveaway! Below you can enter to win a Brik Buster OR 119 piece Starter Set now through November 6, 2017 from Strictly Briks. The best part is the winner chooses their prize!

Brik Buster OR 119 piece Starter Set Giveaway – Winner’s Choice!

About Strictly Briks:

Our mission is to innovate creative play.  We offer numerous colors, shapes, and sizes of stackable base plates and towers to new types of play like our patented silicone straps and The Cube.  We provide an affordable platform and structure for kids to build from and encourage combining with toys you already have, like action figures, mini figures, cars, stuffed animals, etc., to play in a new way and let your kids’ creativity shine.

Strictly Briks is recreating the way your children play and Africa’s Blog has shared her family’s chance to test both the starter pack of 119 Big Briks and the new Brik Buster over on her blog here.

Follow Strictly Briks via their social media outlets; FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.

The Giveaway!

Winner’s Choice – Brik Buster OR 119 piece Starter Set

Strictly Briks® items are compatible with all major brands, including LEGO®, DUPLO®, Mega Bloks®, & K’NEX® brand sets. Strictly Briks® is not affiliated with or endorsed by these brands. LEGO® and DUPLO® are trademarks of the LEGO Group of Companies, which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse Strictly Briks® toys.

Giveaway ends 11/6/17 at 11:59pm est
Giveaway open to US, 18+ entrants only

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Best Veggie Recipes Roundup – Part 3

Hi bloggy friends! I’m here with part 3 of 3 of my veggie recipes roundup sponsored by Veggie Wash! Did you miss part one? Check it out here. What about part 2? Did you miss that one too? For shame! But, fret not – You can check out part 2 here!! Part 3 of this roundup is also sponsored by Veggie Wash. Enjoy!

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup Featuring Veggie Wash – Part Three

Cabbage Carrot Slaw

Eggplant Spaghetti Sandwiches

Zucchini Squash Bake

Spinach Crepes with Pan-Roasted Vegetables

Broccoli Cheese Bake

 

Easy Grilled Veggie Sandwich Recipe

Healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Brussels Bacon and Cauliflower Side Dish

Easy Sesame Greens Side Dish

Hot Pepper Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

Baked Mushrooms- a Light and Easy Side Dish

Zesty Parmesan Ranch Baked Potato Wedges

Caramelized Butternut Squash

Zucchini Ribbon Lasagna

Whole 30 Butternut Squash Carbonara with Apple and Bacon

Garlic and Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Aloo Mattar – Potato and pea curry

Crispy Oven-Baked Green Bean Fries

One Pan Ratatouille Recipe

Brown Rice Veggie Bowl

Spanish Style Omelette with Potato and Red Pepper

Carrot and Coriander Soup with a Spicy Kick

Cheesy Asparagus and Potato Casserole

Chickpea Pumpkin Biryani (Vegan + GF)

Slow Cooker Mexican Corn Dip Recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Simply Sautéed Italian Green Beans Recipe

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

How to cook a fresh pumpkin

Squash and Fresh Pumpkin Cooking Tip

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup Featuring Veggie Wash – Part TWO

I’ve gathered some of the best vegetable recipes by my bloggy friends, and I wanted to share them with my readers. This is part 2 of 3 of them. Though this post is sponsored by Veggie Wash, all opinions are my own. Enjoy!

Did you miss part 1? Check those out here!

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup Featuring Veggie Wash – Part Two

The Ultimate Vegan BLT

Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf

Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Black Sesame Yogurt Sauce

Dutch Green Beans Recipe

Matbucha Recipe

Zucchini Appetizer Squares

Perfect Potato Latkes Recipe

Like Veggie Recipes? Don’t forget to wash your produce with Veggie Wash!

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Rainbow Vegetables Recipe – Easy Healthy Oven Roasted Veggies!

Spicy Garlic Oven Roasted Eggplant Slices Recipe

Simple broccoli cheddar risotto

Garlic and basil sweet potato fries

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Zesty Lemon Squash

Summery Lemon Garlic Potatoes

Veggie Noodles 3 Ways

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

Cream Cheese Cauliflower Mashers with Asiago

Roasted Root Vegetables

Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts Gratin Recipe

Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

Spinach And Feta Stuffed Tomato Tarts

Over Roasted Vegetables

Creamed Peas and Pearl Onions

Crispy Parmesan Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Easy Southern Style Green Beans

Pan Fried Potatoes and Green Beans

Parmesan Crumb Asparagus

Gluten Free Low Carb Zucchini Fries Recipe

Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Cranberries

The Greatest Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan Ever

Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry

Stay tuned for part three of this Veggie Recipes Round-up!