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Category Archives: Travel

Make Time to Escape

My contribution to August’s issue of ViBrant Magazine


Life can get busy, and time escapes us. Sometimes the days can fly by and before you know it, your first days of summer have slipped into crisp autumn evenings.

I don’t know about you, but I appreciate a break from the busy. A timeout from work, yes, but also a mini escape from those regular days that manage to be full of errands. I’m talking about going on adventures close to home that you normally don’t get around to doing – staycations, if you will.

Recently, my partner and I went out with some friends to an area along Irvine Creek, near Elora Gorge. We were able to traverse the stone-laden terrain down to the water and, equipped with sandals and water shoes, wade through the refreshing creek. We trekked along the ravine, finding a few shallow caves carved from the rocky walls for us to explore.

irvine-creekMy favourite part was sitting upon a log that had fallen in the stream, my feet in the water, watching as the minnows swam against the current. In that moment, I was carefree and captivated by the natural beauty around me. Try and picture it: tiny fish darting around by the feet, the sound of trickling water flowing by, green trees along either side of the creek, the warmth of the sun on the skin, and the towering walls of rock encompassing it all.

It could have easily been one of those wilderness scenes from a fantasy novel, except I didn’t need to go to New Zealand to find it. Picturesque retreats are within reach and Ontario is full of them! You just have to look a little.

Whether you have one day or one week, you can get away from it all by planning an inexpensive adventure somewhere in the province. A forested park full of trails is always a great way to escape the city and get lost among the trees. Or perhaps a boat cruise is needed, say, near Tobermory, Gravenhurst, or Bobcaygeon – a few of my favourite places to enjoy gliding along the water. Other, more recurring trips, could involve themes like waterfall hunting in the Hamilton region, picnics in national parks, or even something like the Butter Tart Tour in the Peterborough region. A great place to start looking for ideas is www.ontariotravel.net. Keep in mind, many of those packaged “deals” are really just advertising hotel costs in between day trips.

Whatever it is that you think might be interesting, I encourage you to try something out and enjoy the beauty of nature. Everyone needs to escape; make time for it. Break the routine, have fun exploring, and for the love of god, put that phone away – unless you’re taking some pictures!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2016 in Life, Travel, ViBrant Magazine, Writing

 

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Broadway in 2010

I’ve been able to experience New York City on two separate occasions – both of which were in 2010. My boyfriend at the time was attending a musical theatre school, and so when I went down, I was able to revel in the magic of Broadway!
Luckily, I saw a total of 9 shows! Okay, maybe I saw 8 different shows, but seeing Rock of Ages twice counts, right?!

Me with the tickets!

Anyway, I’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane, Broadway style! These are honestly some of the most spectacular, theatrical shows I’ve ever seen and highly recommend seeing some yourself!

On March 17th, 2010, I witnessed my very first Broadway show, starring two exceptional women in The Miracle Worker – Abigail Breslin and Alison Pill. Before the show started, they had a lotto where you enter your name and if you win, you get to purchase two tickets for the price of $26 each! Given that most Broadway shows are over $100 each, this was a steal. Obviously, we won. Not only that, our seats were FRONT ROW. I literally was able to put my foot on the stage. So I did! 😛
One of Abigail’s first movies was Signs with Mel Gibson, but her career really launched when she was nominated for an Oscar in Little Miss Sunshine – one of my favourite movies! As a NYC native, this was her first Broadway show and I think she did an exceptional job playing as Helen Keller.
Alison Pill was born in Toronto, Ontario, and she’s well-known for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and as the only female in Milk. Her role for this play was the miracle worker: Annie Sullivan.
You’ll notice on the poster Jennifer Morrison was also in the play; she played Mrs. Keller. Jennifer is popularly known in Once Upon A Time and House.
The show took place in the theatre called Circle in the Square (the only one where the stage is in the middle and seating all around it), and unfortunately only ran from March 3, 2010 to April 4, 2010. Thank god I was there to see it in that one and only month!
As with any Broadway show, photography is absolutely prohibited, so I can only share with you this link I found with some official shots:
The Miracle Worker Production Photos

It was such a thrill, the whole experience – it makes me excited thinking about it! During the play, since we were front row, it happened a couple times where Alison Pill or Abigail Breslin had to look aimlessly at the audience, and of course Alison and I locked eyes once. 😉
After the show, Abigail was set up in the front lobby ready for pictures and signatures with her fans. I was star-struck. I have no clue what I muttered to her, but I got her signature on my Playbill and this photo: (be warned, I’m a deer in headlights! Oh, and I hunched ’cause she was small. Be nice – I’m a rookie.)

She was such a sweetie!

 

The very next day, March 18th, 2010, I was able to see Rock of Ages for the first time. Again, we entered the lotto an hour before the show started and my name was drawn, winning us two tickets priced at $26.50 each! This time our seats were in the front row of the mezzanine, which were still great spots for the price!
This show was super musical, comical, and overall just plain fun. Afterwards, we would wait patiently by the stage door for signatures and pictures (with those that didn’t mind). You’ll notice I’m not as awkward in these photos haha!
Lauren MolinaThis is Lauren Molina; she played as two hilarious characters: Regina (the main protester against the demolition of the Sunset Strip) and Candi (a stripper). Definitely one of my favourite actors of the show. Very energetic and vibrant personality!
Emily PadgettThis is Emily Padgett, who played the lead role of Sherrie! She’s also been in Legally Blonde, Grease, and most recently, Side Show playing as half of a Siamese Twin.
Constantine MaroulisGuess who this is? He was on American Idol… Still clueless? It’s Constantine Maroulis! He plays the lead, Drew, in Rock of Ages.

March 19th we took a break from Broadway and went to a house party somewhere around 175th St – the northern part of the island. It’s not often you get invited to a happening party in NYC!
To make up for the lack of Broadway, on the 20th we added an extra dose of gay by going to see Naked Boys Singing! Yes, they were fully naked for nearly the whole show, and yes they were singing. Because they didn’t have anywhere to put the microphone packs, the theatre was smaller and they really had to belt out their notes! Yes, there were free willies and flopping bits… And no, I don’t have pictures 😉

Mary Poppins!For Sunday, March 21st, we went to see a matinee of Mary Poppins. This was one of the best plays in set design; it was Disney after all! It was also a giant theatre with multiple levels of seating. Since we only bought the $30 tickets, we got the highest balcony level, which made me nervous and almost gave me vertigo when I had to stand. Regardless of our height, I was able to see and hear the show perfectly, albeit, the actors were rather small on stage. But the sets! Absolutely stunning! They had a cutout of an entire house roll on stage so we could see them interacting within, including the living room, kitchen, bathroom, a stairwell to the upstairs, and even a removable roof portion for when they dance on the roof! And when the house wasn’t needed, it easily rolled away to leave room for more extravagant sets!
Here’s some production photos, but unfortunately none of the sets are here, just the huge cast: Mary Poppins

At the end of the show, and because of the position of the theatre, we had to walk a block to get around to the backside of the building for the stage door. It’s good thing we did so I could meet the magical Mary Poppins herself!
Laura Michelle KellyThis is Laura Michelle Kelly, and boy, can she sing! Nonstop dancing, singing, magic tricks, the whole lot! She’s from England and also starred in Broadway shows Fiddler on the Roof and Finding Neverland.

The next day, March 22nd, tickets were won via the lottery again, for $25 a ticket! This time the show was Next to Normal, a musical, but also a drama of sorts. It was a moving play that played on your emotions. 😛
The seats were up near the front, orchestra level. It was almost too close, but far enough away that we could see the spittle when the actors were emotionally yelling, yet not have the spittle land on us! An absolutely talented cast! So talented, in fact, Alice Ripley, who plays the mother Diana, won a Tony Award for this role!

I gots the winning ticks!

I gots the winning ticks!

Louis HobsonI thought Louis Hobson was an absolute hottie!!! 😉 This was his Broadway debut as Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine – two doctors in one! Can we play ‘Doctor,’ doctor?
Alice RipleyHere’s the Tony Award winner! We waited some time by the stage door for her to come out. Many of the fans who met the other actors had already left, leaving us and a couple stragglers waiting for Alice Ripley. She was nice enough to chat and take photos! 🙂

BehandingMarch 23rd, 2010, our next Broadway show is… an odd one, to say the least. Not a musical, definitely a drama. Star-studded (with only four actors), quaint and rather bizarre plot line. It’s none other than A Behanding in Spokane.
Just as the title suggests, someone lost a hand. :O
Christopher Walken plays an odd duck looking for his lost hand.
At the end of the show, they had the sidewalk blocked off so he could easily get from the stage door to his limo on the road. Luckily we were up front against the railings, and as fans tried to ask him questions, he quickly walked by, scribbled on our playbills, grunted in response to some questions and got in the limo.
Sam Rockwell (Charlie’s Angels, Matchstick Men) disappeared quickly, but Alec Baldwin was spotted also arriving/fleeing the scene!
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Captain America) was nice enough to come by and sign my playbill, no photos though!
And Zoe Kazan (It’s Complicated, The F Word) posed for a picture even though she just quickly washed her hair, and signed my playbill 🙂
Zoe KazanTo end my first trip to NYC, it ended with a bang on March 24th by watching The Addams Family on Broadway!
Alongside Mary Poppins, The Addams Family had an exceptional set, costumes and production. The cast was phenomenal, with headliners Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia, the monsters and creatures on stage were operated by marionette puppeteers, and the musical numbers were entertainingly witty. The plot revolved around Wednesday meeting a “normal” boy and having his family meet the Addams family… and we all know how “normal” folk fare with the likes of Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandma, Pugsley, Thing, and Cousin Itt.
Here’s some production photos of The Addams Family.
Krysta RodriguezThis is Wednesday, played by Krysta Rodriguez. Given her sweet appearance, she played Wednesday’s menacing side rather well!

Zachary JamesNext up, we have the giant Lurch, played by the attractive Zachary James!

Jackie HoffmanAnd here’s Jackie Hoffman, who plays Grandma – easily one of my favourite actors in this show! The poor camera skills belongs to the stranger we stood beside against the railings. 😛
This photo was actually taken while Jackie had someone filming a mini-documentary of her life behind the scenes of The Addams Family. In fact, we are caught “taking pictures” on this video clip, posted on Broadway.com’s official website: (fast forward to 3:20 and watch!)

I think it’s pretty cool, even though I’m totally lame!

I think seeing 7 Broadway shows in 8 days is a masterful feat! The remaining two shows I got to see weren’t until May, 2010. Actually, it happened to be May 4th when I saw Rock of Ages for a second time, this time with my family! Again, we took a risk and we all entered our names in the lottery an hour or so before the show started. We needed five tickets in total, so we had to get three of our names pulled from the hat (because for each name, you buy two tickets at $26.50 each). The force was strong with us that day, because we were successful in winning! Imagine that, five tickets for the price of one?!
The fam loved the show and the music was definitely from my dad’s era, so he had a blast!
My ninth and final Broadway show of 2010 was American Idiot on May 6th! We got a student rate of $27 and had excellent seats in the middle of the orchestra! With no intermission, this musical was fully charged and loaded with Green Day songs, interpreted to try and make a storyline of sorts. All in all, it was a fun, punky mash-up!
Some production pictures showing the exact cast I got to see: American Idiot

Well, folks, that’s the end of my trip down memory lane, Broadway-style!
If you have some amazing Broadway tales to share, please do!!! It’s such a thrill running around the streets with so many theatres being a stone’s throw away from each other! Magical!
Lots of love! Xoxo

Playbills

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Entertainment, Life, Travel

 

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