Beautiful

The day after the Tony Awards this year, I called my mom and requested that we see the musical Beautiful for my birthday in August. Since Jessie Mueller, the lead in Beautiful, won the Tony for best actress, my mom moved quickly and got two tickets right on my birthday.

Playbills

Last week was my birthday, so here’s the scoop! I enjoyed it! It’s basically a juke box musical about Carole King’s early life/career. I am a big Carole King fan, so I can listen to her music all day long. I will say, however, that the show was a little long, and dragged during the first act. They performed every song in it’s entirety and sometimes twice. I think that was a little much. They could have cut down the length of the songs, or done a couple of medleys to save some time and the audience’s attention span. They did some huge hits, but they also picked some B records. I think the lesser songs were meant to help with the plot, but I had less patience sitting through those performances.

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This show is a similar concept to Jersey Boys since it’s about the life of singer/songwriter, and the songs are worked into the show relatively organically as actual performances. Jersey Boys, however, had a much more compelling plot to fall back on, where as Beautiful was basically about Carole King marrying her writing partner, having about ten difficult years of marriage, then getting divorced and moving to California. I think the large number of songs in the show took time away from developing the plot further.

All that being said, there are four main characters in the show who are all fantastic. They play Carole, Gerry Goffin (her writing partner/first husband), Cynthia Weil, and Barry Mann (another set of writing partners who are friends and competitors with Goffin and King). There were a lot of funny jokes between the four of them.

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I thought Jessie Mueller was great, but I also thought Jarrod Spector, the Barry Mann role, was especially funny and has a really good voice. And guess what. I looked up his bio, and he set the record for doing the most performances as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway. I am nothing if not consistent!

I think it’s definitely worth the trip if you’re a Carole King or 1960’s music enthusiast. If you’re not a Carole King or 1960’s music enthusiast, you might want to re-evaluate your life choices up to this point.

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Last Five

Songs I downloaded on iTunes. It’s straight Top 40 girl power this time.

1. Bang Bang by Jessie J., Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj. Ariana Grande seems to be on a roll right now. The radio was definitely overdue for a girl power collaboration. It’s very reminiscent of the 2009 version of Lady Marmalade. It’s a perfect song for the gym.

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2. I Will Never Let You Down by Rita Ora. After seeing Rita Ora on a million red carpets, and not knowing what she does, I finally put 2 and 2 together with this song. The sound of this doesn’t really line up with her fashion forward persona, but I like it.

rita ora

3. Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. This song seems to be a bit polarizing. I’ve seen several negative articles about the song and video, but I like it. I also don’t like using a singer’s personal reputation to form opinions about their music. It’s light, catchy, and a good workout song. I’m sold. You also need to see the video.

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4. Black Widow by Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora. I love it. The video is actually not my favorite. It’s kind of an awesome idea to liken yourself to a black widow spider in a relationship. Pretty bad ass.

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5. Hideaway by Kiesza. I have no idea who this girl is, but the song reminds me a little bit of something Tiffany would do back in the day. The music video is worth a watch as well. It is definitely going on my workout mix.

Kiesza-Hideaway

 

PS- I’m contemplating “Don’t Tell ‘Em” by Jeremih. I haven’t decided if I want to make the commitment yet, but I’m kind of obsessed.

A Little Obsessed…

So a *few* years ago I saw the musical Jersey Boys on Broadway as kind of a 21st birthday party. I know, I’m wild. I actually did the traditional night out for my 21st, then went to see the show during a break from school a few months later.

I digress.

Jersey-Boys Bway

I loved Jersey Boys on Broadway! I made my friends and family listen to Frankie Valli songs for months after I saw it. I think there were mixed feelings about this development, because if you’re not in the mood for Frankie, you might not be a happy camper. He has a very specific sound…

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This summer I was so excited to hear it was coming to the big screen. I realize this is belated because it came out last month, but I love it! I am obsessed all over again! It has all of my favorite things: New Jersey, a boy band, 1950’s/1960’s era, music, and everybody has a phenomenal Jersey accent. I will take a NJ/NY accent over an exotic foreign accent any day of the week.

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I was so excited to see that they cast three out of the four Four Seasons with actors from the various casts of the stage production. And Frankie is the Frankie that I saw in the original cast on Broadway. John Lloyd Young is the best! Clint Eastwood directed it, and kept it very similar to the stage production. And unlike many “juke box” musicals that incorporate a band’s songs into a  random storyline (i.e. “Mamma Mia” or “Movin’ Out”), this is just the story of the band and they preform the songs when they perform in the story. So it’s a musical, but the singing is not in spontaneous outbursts. It all makes sense.

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I went to see the movie with a good friend from Jersey, and by the end we were both picking out our favorite band member (mine is Frankie/John Lloyd Young). It was just like we were 13 picking our favorite member of ‘NSYNC or BSB. Boy band fangirl rituals are completely transcendent, no matter what the era!

Go see it! If you need someone to go with, take me! I would see it a million times!

Last Five

Songs I’ve downloaded on iTunes.

1. Stutter by Marianas Trench. Listen to this now! I caught wind of this band on Pandora, and I love them! They’re a Canadian band that is pop rock, kind of a more lighthearted version of Fall Out Boy/ Maroon 5/ Good Charlotte. You need this song, and you might also need “Haven’t Had Enough” and “Truth or Dare.” You’re welcome.

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2. Does He Know by One Direction. It’s 1D. Case closed. We all know, I’m boy bands for life.

3. Acapella by Karmin. I love Karmin and this music video is definitely worth a watch. It’s just a fun, colorful video with some funny dance moves.

4. Break Free by Ariana Grande feat. Zedd. I saw this song on the “Top Songs” section of iTunes, I listened to the sample and clicked “purchase” before the sample was over. It has a lot of energy and it’s a great workout song.

5. Dancing on My Own by Robyn. One of my spin instructors always plays mash-up songs, and this song was in one of the mash-ups. I recognized it, and realized I needed to add it to my library. Robyn songs are often a little sad, but they make for great workout songs, and Robyn’s dance moves are pretty fantastic!

 

What are you listening to lately?

Summer Crochet Projects

It’s no fun to crochet scarves and blankets during the summer, so I broke out my smallest hook and switched to thread crochet for the summer.

Behold my first doily of the year:

done

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On to the next one!

A Hoot and a Half

I need to preface this post by saying I’m a bad Chi Omega sister, I already know.

I made somewhat of a dramatic confession to a few of my best friends/ sorority sisters a couple months ago.

Brace yourself.

I’m not a fan of owls.

Owls are a big symbol for Chi Omega, and with their recent popularity in fashion/design, anything with an owl on it is a go-to gift for Chi Omega sisters. After I broke this news to Karla and Carrie, it has become somewhat of a contentious issue. I think they’re moving through all the stages of grief.

My feelings aside, Carrie is a good Chi Omega, and when I visited her last week, I collected some evidence. Please note, this is just the tip of the iceberg in her house.

Candle candy dish salt and pepper candle cover teapot bottle opener mugs mugs 2 candlestick nightlight welcome mat

Almond Granola Bars

I spend a lot of idle time scrolling through Pinterest or Food Gawker admiring all manner of food, but we all know it’s the desserts that really catch my eye. These days, though, I’m always curious to see the newest iteration of granola bars (or oatmeal cookies, or energy balls, what have you).

Even though there are a lot of common themes and flavor profiles, there always seems to be a new twist or formation that makes the next recipe healthier or tastier. When I visit my parents’ house, I often try a new variation that I’ve found for my family to snack on all weekend.

I try to find recipes that have some purposeful ingredients or “super foods” but are still tasty. I came across a recipe for these Almond Energy Bars on one of my favorite blogs: Carrots ‘N Cake, so I wanted to give it a try.

snack time

She was posting on behalf of an almond company so she used almond flour, but I used AP flour instead. I didn’t want to buy an ingredient that I wouldn’t use regularly. Plus she used brown rice cereal to make it gluten free, but I went traditional with normal rice cereal, because the flour choice already killed my gluten free dreams.

These bars are a little on the crumbly side (even though I did my best to pack down the batter before baking), and not too sweet. But I like the idea that I’m not snacking on too much sugar, but I’m still getting some nutrients from almonds, cranberries, chia seeds, etc.

The next time you need something to munch on between meals, give these a try!

Almond Granola Bars

Yields about 9-16 small squares, Adapted from Carrots ‘N Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds (I added a little more)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

batter up

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line an 8×8 baking pan (or a pan with an equivalent area) with parchment paper (it’s just easier that way).
  2. Combine everything in a mixing bowl, and make sure everything is incorporated evenly.
  3. Pack the batter into the parchment lines baking pan. Press down to ensure bars hold together.
  4. Bake 25 minutes until top is lightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely before you slice.

yum