Friday, January 19, 2018

BroadwayCon 2018 Preview

In 2016, BroadwayCon started. I so wanted to go but I was snowed in, in Maryland and forced to watch the fun online from my sofa. In 2017, I went. And it was truly more fabulous than I had imagined it would be. What I enjoyed most about the people and the events was the overwhelming sense of positivity, and acceptance that every attendee and guest radiated. Everyone was there to celebrate Broadway and theatre, and to have fun. It was a weekend that I gushed about a bit for BroadwayWorld, but I also haven't really processed yet. It's hard for me to put the magic into words. 

Maybe this year, I'll have a little easier time, because as you may have guessed from the title of this post, it's that time of year again, and I and my Broadway Buddies will be attending. I'm pretty sure I've been waiting for next weekend until the last day of 2017's con. With so many great shows closing in the last year, and so many opening in the next few months, I'm thinking the line up will be a bit different. But if anyone can pull off the right balance of fun and celebration, it's the organizers behind BroadwayCon. 

So what's new this year?  In other words what have I been antsy about seeing since the schedule was released?

~ The panel discussions specifically Come From Away.  These panels join together the lovely creatives, and actors from shows that are on Broadway now, and give them the chance to talk about what's fabulous in doing what they do. With Come From Away,  I love every single one of these cast members and as I've gushed about a bit, it is on my Top 5 of all Time list.  I can't wait to see what new and exciting things they'll share during their panel.

~ Lin Manuel Miranda! at the In the Heights Reunion.  Last year, this is how we at BroadwayCon got to see Lin:
It was a surprise appearance via Skype from England which was still pretty awesome! This year he'll actually be in the building.  I worry that seats for that panel are going to go fast, but I'm going to try my hardest to make sure we have them. Because, honestly - how can you not want to be in the room where it happens? (Sorry not sorry for the terrible Hamilton pun...)

~ The Preview Show on Sunday.  Last year we were treated to performances from Come From Away, Anastasia, Bandstand, and many more. I can't wait to see what this season will bring in regards to new shows and new talent.

~ Swag! - Last year I bought a Come From Away flower for my hair, and a minimalist hand-drawn print of the cast of Falsettos, and amongst many other things. Also, the Lights of Broadway showcards always have a BroadwayCon exclusive, so that's just a necessary expense.  This year, I'm hoping to not be as terrible with my wallet, but seriously - Buy all the things!

So that's what's on the agenda, but there's also something on our personal agenda, that we've never tried before. It's a bit different and I'm a little nervous and a lot excited about it. Two of us are cosplaying. I've always wanted to try it, but never had the nerve. After seeing the amazing costumes last year, I'm not sure mine will measure up, but I'm going for it anyway.  My one Broadway Buddy is wearing something that represents her favorite show.  While I'm choosing to dress as two different characters from two different shows - one on Saturday and one on Sunday.  Below are hints to the shows.  See if you can guess, who or what they are, and I'll follow up next week with pictures of our creative, but maybe not super true to life cosplays, as well as highlights from my very favorite weekend of the year!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A New Way to be Crafty

I'll admit when the concept of Paint Nights (groups of people get together to drink and paint the same picture) were first introduced, I was intrigued.  I went to one and had a blast and discovered I wasn't nearly as terrible at painting as I thought I'd be. However, after attending 2-3 more, I was sort of over it. How many not all that fabulous canvases can you hang in your home?  It turns out, none. I liked the paintings I had done, but I didn't like them enough to hang them in my house. So I've been fairly anti-Paint Night ever since.
But I did enjoy the concept of going out and trying some new form of craftiness. Scrapbooking is fun, but no one in my group of friends does it, so it's a fairly lonely activity. I enjoy it immensely, but I'm not engaging when I'm doing it. That brings me to the new and totally fabulous business that just opened in Anne Arundel County called Mix & Marble. The ladies behind Mix & Marble also enjoyed the Paint Night concept, but saw the same issues I had seen. They were also not a fan of having to possibly paint with many people they didn't know. They felt it was like a wedding scenario (small talk and chatter without much substance) instead of a fun night out with friends.  This led them to the art form known as silk dying.
At Mix & Marble, they have long troughs filled with some substance (it was clear - that's all I got). You're given the choice of a whole rainbow of colors to choose from - 3-6 colors are ideal.  Then you drop the colors in whatever pattern your heart desires into the trough. The dye mixes and swirls into all sorts of shapes and sizes which is way cool, if you're as easily amused as I am. You then can use a paintbrush or 2 types of rakes to swirl the colors even more. Once you're satisfied with the design, the lovely ladies help you to place the scarf into the trough, where it soaks up the gorgeous design you've just created. Like I said, I may be easily amused, but the process was fascinating!
Once it's dry - which takes about 24 hours but you can still take the scarf home with you that day - you have a one of a kind silk scarf to wear. And I don't know about you, but I have a slight obsession with scarves, so Mix & Marble is sort of the ultimate craft night for me. Added to the fun of the craft, they also have a nice bar where you can buy wine, beer or soft drinks. They don't have a permit to sell food - however, they encourage customers to bring snacks and hang out before and after crafting. (Pro tip - The Donut Shack which resides above Mix & Marble sells the best homemade donuts in the county!)
Overall, I just loved Mix & Marble.  The owners were lovely and super helpful and seemed to really enjoy this new business they've created.  The shop itself is cute which of course, made me like it even more.  And the crafting was first rate.  I may not need a bunch of new scarves, but they are expanding into new items to dye such as leggings.  And from the looks on the faces of the girls from the girl scout troop that were also there when we were, leggings are going to be a hot seller for Mix & Marble. With the rise of Lula Rowe, I can only imagine how many little girls, and moms alike are going to enjoy making their own designer leggings to compete with this trend. Also scarves make so much better gifts than canvases that may or may not be awful.  So there's always a reason to visit.  And based on my experience there, I can see that I will be doing that quite a bit!

Mix & Marble
497C Ritchie Highway
Severna Park, MD 21146

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Journey into Yoga-Land

As I said earlier in the week, one of my goals this year was to take a yoga class.  I am not what you might call a "fit" person.  Exercising, and gyms are not my favorite things.  I tried to run once and made it about 20 feet before I felt like I was going to die.  In the case of the zombie apocalypse I'll most definitely get bitten first. I also have a job where 80% of my day is spent sitting in front of a computer screen which is boring as heck, and not great for my health.

So I know the benefits of being fit and active, I just haven't figured out a sure fire way (aka a way that I enjoy) to do so.  That brought me to Yoga.  First off, it doesn't require running which is a huge positive in my book.  Also, it's not something that requires a great deal of equipment to do.  (though, if you need some Yoga "equipment" - such as cute pants and sweatshirts - Old Navy should be your first stop.  My theory is if I look cute, I'll enjoy it more...) Lastly, it's low impact and great for your muscles.  Because I sit all day, my back has not been behaving lately. So a practice that promotes stretching and alignment over hard core cardio sounds just my speed.

I lucked out by having a small Yoga studio within a few miles of my house that received great reviews on Facebook, and also offered a free intro class this week to get newcomers interested in the practice.  The studio wasn't exactly what I had pictured in my mind (which was pretty much what Yoga studios look like on television not any in real life) but it was cozy and quaint.  I had fears that I may be the only student there, seeing as it was cold, snowy and did I mention it was cold? (11 degrees at last check!)  But that fear was quickly laid to rest when about 10 others were there when I arrived.

So how did the actual class go?

I kinda loved it.  It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  Rather, it wasn't hard core by any means, but my muscles actually felt as if they were getting a work out.  The flow of the class was what I really liked.  The teacher who was fabulous, started with what can only be described as Quiet Time.  We sat cross legged on our mats, and breathed and stretched.  Then she moved from easier to more complicated poses throughout the class.  Then more quiet time to end the hour.  

The hour seemed to fly by, and I really enjoyed the work.  I enjoyed the quietness of it.  Yes, I was in a room with 10 other people (even 2 men, which is exactly 2 more than I thought would be there), but the only real talking being done was by the instructor.  It made it easier to concentrate, and focus on our breathing and stretching.  For an introvert like me, not needing to make small talk or chatter about form and feeling is pretty ideal.

I enjoyed it so much, that I am most definitely heading back to class on Thursday for the entire 10 week session.  My hope is that I become a little more flexible, and a little less run down all the time.  I know I'm not going to shed tons of pounds - this is not P90X or some such like - but it's better than nothing.  And if I do shed a pound or two, I will not be complaining.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

So I totally failed at blogging in 2017.  I have high hopes for 2018 though.  In that vain, I have a few resolutions to make me better in the new year.  One of those is of course, to start blogging regularly again.  It's a thing I say every year.  I have high hopes...If only to outdo myself for the last few years. One can hope...

~ Yoga is next up on my resolution list.  I pretty much hate exercising, however yoga seems like a way to exercise but not kill myself as I do it.  Also, my old lady back has been having issues, and the best I can hope for is that Yoga helps it.  I'm hoping to love it.  I mean, I just hit the Old Navy yoga pant sale, so I have to like it a little to justify my purchases.

~ Then there's dating.  I hate, hate, hate the idea of using to meet a significant other.  That's not the love story I want to tell my future children.  The issue with this is, all my friends are single as well, so they don't have anyone to set me up with - if they did, they would set them up with themselves (as I've been told.). So my 2018 goal is to go on lots of dates, yet I haven't quite figured out how to make this happen yet.  It's a resolution, that's still in the works so to speak.

~ Then there's finances.  I want to pay off bills.  If for no other reason, than having more money to travel fun places. I get more vacation hours after 5 years with the same company - it would be a shame not to use them! I've been really good for the last 2 months, so momentum is going strong. (At least that's what I tell myself anyway.)

As you can see, my resolutions are so very, very different from everyone else's.  No one else in the world wants to get in shape, meet a significant other, and pay off debt, right? : )  Lastly, on top of the resolutions, I like to participate in Ali Edwards' One Little Word.  I choose one little word to focus on throughout the year.  2017 was Explore and based on the number of steps I logged in New York and England, I'd say I did pretty well fulfilling that word.

2018's word dujour is ENGAGE.  My wish is to engage more with those around me, and those I love.  I spend a little too much time avoiding contact, and being the introvert that I've always been.  This year, I want to come out of my box a little.  I want to go out of my way to connect with new people and reconnect with those I've lost touch with.

I plan to engage with the world around me by traveling, and reading, and constantly learning.  I want to engage in meaningful conversation - not just the usual casual convos we all have on Facebook.  However, I'm going to attempt to disengage from those crazy political conversations that send me over the edge.  I want to get involved, but I also don't want to stress myself out while doing it. The power of positivity is going to be my friend this year.  It's a process, but I'm working on it.

Here's to 2018 being one of the best years yet - at least, let's hope it's just wee bit better than 2017 was!