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. 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Bruce Springsteen Review

What is there to say about Bruce Springsteen that hasn't already been said?

I mean, it's like the guy isn't real.  When I'm 64 (and losing my hair, many years from now, dah-dah-dah-dah-dah), will I be:

*Crowd surfing??
*Engaging Tom Morello (who was filling in for Little Steven, who is in Norway filming his Netflix TV show) in a scorching guitar duel on "The Ghost of Tom Joad"?
*Leaning back in the crowd and letting them catch you for selfies?
*Sweating so hard your shirt is soaked just 40 minutes into the show?
*Playing a 2 hour and 45 minute show with no intermission?

No.  Of course I won't.  Because there is only one Bruce Springsteen - who continues to set the bar so high, it is awe-inspiring to watch.  The set list was terrific at PNC Arena last night, peppered with hits, sign requests, and an onstage appearance during "Dancing In The Dark" by Bruce's daughter Jessica, who attends Duke and was in the front row.  How cool must it be to watch your mom (Patti Scialfa) AND dad jammin their guitars in front of you, in front of 15,000 people?  That makes your accountant dad look even uncooler.

2 hours and 45 minutes is actually short for a Bruuuuuce show (he played 3 hours and 20 minutes in Charlotte two shows ago and 4+ hours (!) earlier this year in Australia and New Zealand) but it's far more impressive than just about anyone pulls off these days.

He's still the boss, applesauce.

Radio 96.1

Friday, April 11, 2014

Win a Home Makeover--Be Amazed

Yes, that's a real pic of my real bedroom and those are my real slippers next to the bed.  We moved into our house two years ago and have done NOTHING with our bedroom.  It takes us forever to decide to buy something.  In fact, this furniture took us a year to find, agree on, and buy.  We aren't risk takers really.

But then I met Certa Pro painters, and they introduced me to Roger Hazard, formerly of Sell This House on A&E.  Roger is an interior designer who knows his stuff and he offered to come to Raleigh,  make our bedroom over, and film it for his new show, Roger That!

How could I say no?  I've spent a lifetime watching Trading Spaces and Sell this House and every other home transformation show there is.  Roger and Chris, his partner, are going to be at the Southern Ideal Home Show at the State Fairgrounds this weekend, so while they were in town, they came to do my bedroom.

This past Wednesday, a production truck showed up. There were like 5 people inside, including one guy named Dave who never seemingly got to leave the truck.

I would put these photos side by side but I am not that fancy.  Sorry.

My cat, Tim, who hates everyone for the most part, loved the crew and hung out all day both days. My other cat, Charlie, who loves everyone, HATED the crew and hid for two days.  I don't understand cats.

A blurry pic of the crew petting Tim, who lapped it up.

We were kicked out of the house a lot so that we didn't see some of the DIY projects that Roger and Chris were doing.  When I came home on Wednesday, Certa Pro was there, so I knew painting was afoot! While the painting went on upstairs, Chris chatted with me about my room before hand.  He asked why I chose what I did, why I kept the bedding I did, etc.  I was NOT allowed upstairs, and neither was my fiance, which worked out because he was away on business.

 Then, I made both Roger and Chris pose with me outside my house for posterity.  But that was the extent of my time inside my house on Wednesday.

We stayed in a hotel on Wednesday night, and were basically kicked out on Thursday, too, so everything could be finished.   We were finally allowed back in on Thurday night around 6pm.  For the first time in my life, I am SPEECHLESS at how awesome it looked.  

Amazing, right?!?!?!  See the full gallery of before and after pics here--I've included pictures of my living room and my fiance's office because they pulled our white chair from our living room and the Union Jack pillow is from my fiance's office, which is the green room in the before pictures.

The bed is from Roger and Chris's own furniture company, which, BTW--is made in the USA in North Carolina. The lamps were ours, but they put new shades on them and used fabric to make them custom.  They also brought in one of my favorite vintage radios I've had in the living room and a print my sister in law did.  (She's an artist, it's the one above the white chair.)  

This was an amazing experience.  I am so excited about it and I want you to have it, too.  Click THIS LINK and register to win your own home makeover from Roger and Chris--you have to enter by 8pm on Saturday 4/12, and you've gotta be within 15 miles of the Southern Ideal Home Show at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.  

Roger and Chris are at the Southern Ideal Home Show all weekend.  Go by and see one of their Q & As, or just say hello.  They're GREAT guys, and the production team will be there too.  I wonder if they'll let Dave out of the truck?  

I'll stop by there Sunday 11am-1pm if ya wanna come say hey.

Follow Roger on Twitter, like him on Facebook and follow on Pinterest.
Follow Chris on Twitter and on Facebook  
Visit Roger + Chris online  at RogerandChris.com 
And, do yourself a favor and watch this commercial Chris made for their furniture company when they lived in Austin, TX.  It's a few years old, but it's just freaking hysterical: