Friday, March 6, 2015

It Doesn't Get Any Bigger Than This!

Back in January, DPAC took me to NYC and gave me a preview of all the awesome Broadway shows that will be coming to Durham as part of the 2015/2016 SunTrust Broadway series.  They're going to be unveiling those shows tonight to their season ticket holders, and then to the WORLD tomorrow night on ABC11 as part of a special hosted by Angela Hampton.  I can't tell you what those shows are yet, but I can give you some hints.  Of course, I'm terrible at hints, so you'll either get them right away or not at all!

Below is a pic I took when we were doing interviews in Times Square.  We did them from the Minskoff Theatre, which is the home to the Lion King.  Check out ABC11's set up, and then my colleague Brian Freeman from WPTF's setup and mine--which are decidedly less technical:

Now, this pic probably makes you ask, "Since you were at the Lion King's theater, does that mean that The Lion King is part of the SunTrust Broadway 2015/2016 series this year at DPAC?  The answer is:

No. The Lion King is not part of the SunTrust Broadway Series at DPAC.  :)

To add insult to injury, here's a pic of me messing around behind costumes from The Lion King, which, again, is not part of the SunTrust Broadway series at DPAC in 2015/2016:

So, yeah, I can't tell you what's coming, but other hints I can drop are:

  • One musical on the docket has had Adele Dazeem involved in the New York production. She won't be with it when it hits Durham, though.
  • One musical, you'll know all the words to because a super famous husband-wife team (or two) wrote all the hits for it.
  • One musical has played at Studio 54 in NYC.  Sort of apropos for what it is.
  • One musical is a classic--and some of the songs were part of a show-stopping moment recently on a huge, world-wide television broadcast.  In fact, those songs were said to be the best part of the whole thing.  Oscar Hammerstein would be proud.
  • There are a bunch more musicals you will love, some you can take your kids to and some will make you crack up laughing
  • There are two musicals being announced that are not part of the SunTrust Broadway series, but instead the Encore Broadway series.  :)
I hope those hints helped! Watch the big announcement tomorrow night on ABC11--and on Monday, I'll break all the shows down for ya complete with interviews with super fun and successful people...all of whom make these shows great.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Green Chair Project

You've probably been past it a billion times on Capital Boulevard as you head into downtown Raleigh.  And, like me, you probably didn't know much about it.

This past week, I was looking for something to tell you all about on my show, and I saw information on The Green Chair's sale they have open to the public.  It just happened to be this past weekend, and, as we moved into a bigger house a few months back, we're looking for furniture and home accessories.  I thought I would check this place out, since I've always been curious.

I had zero idea about Green Chair, or the good works they do.  But what I learned, as I Googled on my way to the sale, was that they are local people who help those who have been homeless and are just getting into residences, or those who are recovering from disasters.  They help our neighbors select furniture and accessories for their homes with dignity and respect.  People who need the help and great goods.  And, whatever they have leftover, they sell in an open-to-the-public sale four times a year.

High-end furniture is represented at this sale, knick-knacks, glassware.  Sets of China, tables, lamps, sofas, chairs.  We got an awesome old rocking chair for our living room that was otherwise empty looking.  And, it was only $85!

You know when you find stuff like that on Craigslist people always jack up the price, or when you go to one of those "estate" places it's super expensive.  But not The Green Chair Project.  It was not only reasonable, it was really heavy, quality-built, and we had a field day in there.  I also grabbed this weird egg-crudite thing.  It's probably not that old, but as someone who loves vintage, I like to pretend it probably is:

It was just eight bucks!  We also scored some cool 60s vintage coasters and as we left, asked when the next sale was.  It's in June--and you should go.

But, what made me feel the best was that this is a charity I have driven by many, many times, and never given a second thought to.  When I learned about it, I loved that, as someone who loves and regularly buys locally sourced goods and services, The Green Chair Project was started by a local realtor and has continued to give back since 2010.  The stuff they sell to the public is in no way junk, and the stuff they don't sell to the public--the things the folks getting back on their feet get to choose from--is high quality, too.  They are always accepting donations, and instead of some other places or drop-off boxes for other charities, I will be giving to The Green Chair when it's time to give up pots and pans and good quality furniture.  Learn more here:  The Green Chair Project and make sure you hit up their next open-to-the-public sale.  You'll feel like you're getting a bargain and feel good about yourself, all rolled into one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cinderella is Magic!

It's magical.  And, that's not a word I throw around lightly.

It's no secret I love Broadway, and DPAC knows it, too.  They took a colleague and me o NYC last year for their 2014-2015 season preview and at the time, I couldn't tell you what I was seeing because it was a secret until the big unveiling.  Angela Hampton from ABC 11 was there taping her annual DPAC special, and she was going to announce everything on TV in March, so I had to keep my mouth shut.  That was especially hard after seeing this show.

I repeat: I am not someone who throws around the word "magical" to describe things.  So, I was skeptical going in, and had zero idea what to expect.  Here I am with DPAC's Jennie Lanning, Angela Hampton from ABC 11, and Brian Freeman, my colleague who works for one of our stations, WPTF:

Two days after that pic was taken, Carly Rae Jepsen was stepping into the role of Cinderella.  Before the show, we got to see her on stage rehearsing for the part.  

The show was awesome, the costumes amazing and I could NOT believe how they made Cinderella's dress go from rags to a ballgown in one spin.  Yes.  ONE spin.  William Ivey Long is the costume designer--he's won a zillion Tonys, and he just happens to be from North Carolina.  He actually lived at the Raleigh Little Theatre when he was about 3!  Angela interviewed him from backstage.  Look at this pic and try to remember the costumes you see on the rack.  You'll see some of them tonight at DPAC:

The show is well written, (duh, it's Rodgers and Hammerstein, how can it not be?)  it's fun, and it's great for kids of all ages, even those adult kids like me.  Bring your daughter or son and let them dress up as little princesses or princes, and maybe you'll get to glimpse the glass slippers beforehand. That's part of what makes Cinderella so magical: seeing so many little kids become so enthralled. 

I can't believe how excited I am for this show to open at DPAC tonight.  I hope you go and see it and have a magical time, too. 

Cinderella opens tonight at DPAC for 8 great shows. Seats start at $35. Click here for more info and to buy tickets:


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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Family Night at the Railhawks

It's shameful to admit, but I've never actually been to a Carolina Railhawks game before.

We're a family of soccer lovers.  My husband is European, his son plays soccer in Apex, every Saturday and many Sundays during the season, the TV is on NBC Sports to watch the Premiere League games.  The drone of sports fans chanting, singing, and yelling at their players has become commonplace in our home.  I have no idea why we've never gone to see the Railhawks play, but this past Saturday night, that changed.

It was my step son's 8th birthday gift:  we went to the game and he got to take a friend.  I was impressed with WakeMed Soccer Park: it's fun, every seat is awesome, and they offer pretty solid, local concessions. Local restaurants supply the food; you can choose a local beer from their selections.  You can buy local ice cream, even! The Railhawks really know how to do the local thing--which is also awesome.

It may have also been one of the greatest nights of this kid's life.  He spent the entire game standing up and cheering.

 I even learned that yeah, it's raining...but that's not going to stop a game.  Be prepared to get wet.
 There were kids everywhere and people were having a great time, even in the pouring rain. Because, apparently, soccer doesn't get rained out.  You push on.  No rain delays here!

We had so much fun, we may just adopt the Railhawks as our home team.  Sure, they lost to Tampa Bay, but that's ok. After all, the Premiere League is pretty far away.  We can't wait to go back.

Check out the Railhawks' schedule for yourself here and plan a fun family night.  It's cheap fun and you're supporting local businesses!


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Creative People in Raleigh Are Trying to Kill Us, But We're Cool With It.

There are so many creative people in the Triangle, it blows my mind.  Every time I think that every restaurant or bar idea's been done and done again, someone comes up with a new idea.

For example, there's BREW.  That's a coffee bar, of course.  BUT! They also sell beer.  Get it?  Brew.  Sorry, but that's genius.

Then, there's the people who came up with the idea of not just a food truck rodeo in downtown Durham, but a breakfast food truck rodeo, on a Friday morning.  Again, I know it's a simple, easy idea.  But it never would have crossed my mind.  It, too, is awesome.

That brings me to Bittersweet.

Since I read in Triangle Business Journal it was opening, I have wanted to go to Bittersweet, but I've been joking that all this creativity in the Triangle is killing me because I want to try it all--but no one needs that much dessert, beer, cake, craft beer, fancy food, etc.  It's on Martin Street in downtown Raleigh, right across from another of my favorite spots, The Mecca.  When you walk in, Bittersweet reminds you of a 30s or 40s diner:  dark wood, marble bar top, black and white tile.  Here's a shot down the bar:

I also really loved how they set up the taps:

My husband and I took a seat at the bar and ordered amazing desserts--the Key Lime Tequila parfait with Cointreau whipped cream and an awesome tasting peach cobbler thing--all I know was that it had cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, maple ice cream, warm peaches and candied bacon on it.  The desserts are awesome and different, and the drinks were pretty great, too.

A peek at the menu:

Our bartender was Louis, a young guy who knows a ton--he was clearly not just a bartender but a mixologist.  We struck up a conversation with him and learned that this Sunday night, Bittersweet is showing The Goonies on their big screen TV, and they're making themed drinks to go with it. And, here's where I'm going with the creativity thing--I would never think to do something like that, let alone make themed food and drink for it.  Louis was trying out the Chocolate Explosion.  Know that scene where Chunk eats all the Chocolate Explosion ice cream while locked in the freezer?  Well, Louis was trying to concoct a drink to go with that scene.  Other folks at Bittersweet were working on drinks, too, and (I think!) there will be themed food, too.  They'll be showing the movie behind Bruce Willis.  Yep, I know that sounds weird, but check this out--there's a big screen TV back there:

Bruce wants you to Pie Hard.

So, yeah.  Head to Bittersweet on Sunday night at 9.  Watch Goonies, eat dessert.  Mama Fratelli would be happy with that--we think.  And, even if you miss the movie, go after dinner one night.  It's yummy, and Louis is awesome--ask him about his Chocolate Explosion.


Friday, July 11, 2014

A Rooftop View

I got married last month.  But getting to that day, as many brides and grooms know, can be a huge pain.

For starters, you have to find a place to have your reception.  So, we went looking for and at every venue we could find or think of in Raleigh.  As a result, we got to check out a lot of places we most likely never would have gone before.  We were in restaurants, private clubs, parks, you name it.  And then, thanks to the magic of Google, we found an awesome spot.

We finally settled on the Grand Ballroom, which is the top floor of the Capital Club building. Don't confuse it with the Capital City Club, which is on top of the Wells Fargo Building downtown.  No, this is in the Capital Club building--where Capital Club 16 is--at Martin and Salisbury Streets.  It's a renovated ballroom from the 1930s with panoramic views!  Who even knew it was there?  I certainly didn't, and I make it a mission to visit all the local merchants I can downtown in Raleigh.

While you're not on top of a 30 story building, but instead a 13 story one, it's amazing to see the Oak City from up there.  Sunset came and was perfect on the day--and then night time, where the city was lit

The place is truly a little hidden gem that is used for events--something that I never would have known was in my city unless I was getting married.  How many other awesome places are there like this out there?  I bet there are many in the Triangle.  Do you have a favorite?  Comment and tell us!

Unfortunately, since professional photos take forever to come in, I can't show you the sunset or even the skyline from our day.  Hopefully you'll one day get to see those panoramic views for yourself--or you've got a hidden treasure place to explore yourself!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Eat Lunch and Help Your Neighbors: It's a Win-Win!

For years, I've heard of the Tammy Lynn Center. It was the charity that Band Together chose last year, I've heard of other local events to benefit them, too. But I've never taken the time to actually find out about them and find out what they do. Guess what? They are amazing. They are more than just "the charity that Band Together picked last year."

The Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities is amazing. They do so much good work- and they help children and adults all over Wake County.  I went and toured their facility a week or so ago- they do so many amazing things there. They help families with disabled kids-whether it's helping families caring for their loved ones at home by providing respite care, to giving up to 70 adults homes on their Raleigh campus, or taking kids at risk for developmental disabilities and getting them ready for main-stream kindergarten, or making sure families in Wake County who are caring for their disabled loved ones at home get what they call respite care-someone from the TLC comes in and helps out so that families can get on with the things they need to like errands.  They provide therapy for kids and adults in their care, too. They do so much to provide the people in their care a normal life. 

Won't you help the Tammy Lynn Center?

Luckily, you don't have to go out of your way. All you have to do is eat lunch! Visit any one of the 26 Raleigh area Jersey Mike's Subs between now and June 25th. Make a small donation to the Tammy Lynn Center, and get a coupon for a future visit.  It's that easy! Eat lunch, help your neighbors. Do good while eating good food. Who's in? 'Cuz I know I am.

Check out the video of my visit to the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilites here:

Do good at Jersey Mike's! Now 'til June 25.