Friday, October 02, 2015

A World Where There Are Octobers

I took today off of work, giving myself a three day weekend, this first full weekend of October. As I sit writing this, the windows are open allowing a chilly fall breeze to billow the curtain, causing more steam to rise from my pumpkin coffee. I'm a big fan of fall. While the other seasons have their own beauty, I'm more inclined to love a season where I can wear sweaters, scarves and boots. I love that the air is crisp and often times the scent of wood smoke wafting form a chimney somewhere close. 

I enjoy seeing all the fall harvest decorations and pumpkins. Reds, golds, and oranges are beautiful colors any time but in October they just seem more homey and calming. I'm excited for this month because it means in about 5 weeks I'll be reunited, in person, with a few of my dear far away friends I haven't seen in two years. Its the first season this year my mom is free from cancer treatments and the month she'll take a much needed and well deserved trip to the beach. Its also my dog's birthday and while it makes me sad, she's getting gray, she proves a great reminder to enjoy the little things in life like naps and extra cuddles. At the end of the month, I'm seeing play that I already know I'm going to love because the soundtrack has been on repeat in my car for the past few weeks. 

October means my love of baking gets stronger, I want to make pumpkin everything -- no bakes, cake, muffins. I want it all and if the recipe calls for pumpkin spice, the better. The chillier weather also ushers in fall foods like heartier soups and roasts. October also means the fire pit gets pulled out while family and friends gather around in jeans and sweatshirts, drinking pumpkin ale, spiced wine and roasting s'mores. 

So, much like one of my beloved book characters, I too, am glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Jersey Boys: The Show

On Thursday evening, I  spent the evening in Pittsburgh, attending the Broadway Across America production of Jersey Boys: The Musical.  I asked my younger cousin, Kaitlyn to attend the show with me, she'd seen it before in New York and we were long over due for a good cousin hang out.

We actually made the trip into Pittsburgh fairly quickly and were able to grab dinner before the show at the Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room, which was absolutely the right choice.  After dinner we walked up the street to the Benedum, picked up our tickets and settled in for a wonderful show.

Both Kaitlyn and I had seen the show before, but the music makes this play. The story line follows four blue collar kids from New Jersey, who all have various run-ins with the law, as they grow up and eventually become The Four Seasons. As the play progresses, the audience learns about the group, the members, their rise to stardom and the eventual breakup of the original group. The show covers several years but the music beautifully moves the story seamlessly along, concluding with a little bit about the four original members after their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In the interview, I had the opportunity to do with the four actors who played the Jersey Boys, one of them mentioned that being in the show was like putting on a concert every night. I was able to see that more clearly this time around and when looking around at the audience, it was almost like being at an actual concert-- people were singing along, dancing in their seats and generally, just having a really fun time interacting with the actors. The minimal set design allows both the story and music to take front and center stage.

Overall Kaitlyn and I both loved the show and the iconic music was an incredibly delightful way to spend an evening.

Jersey Boys is playing at the Benedum Center through October 4th. If you love the music from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, definitely check out this show!

Disclosure: I was provided two tickets by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. The thoughts and opinions in this show are my own. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jersey Boys: An Interview

The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical, Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, has returned to Pittsburgh for its third run. The musical makes its much anticipated return to the Benedum Center though October 4th. The musical is about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the true story of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide - all before they were thirty.

As on January 2015, Jersey Boys has been seen by over 22 million people. The always amazing folks at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust gave me the opportunity to speak with Matthew Dailey (Tommy Devito), Aaron De Jesus (Frankie Valli), Keith Hines (Nick Massi) and Drew Seely (Bob Gaudio) to get some further insight into the production and a bit more about their own personal experiences in theater. Dailey, Hines, and Seely have been with the touring production for about a year, with De Jesus joining more recently in the past few weeks.

The actual show took about five weeks to learn and not surprisingly, each of the men had a very particular skill set to master – whether it be the incredibly high notes or guitar playing. When rehearsing the show they first started with music, then choreography before moving on to the more technical elements. While touring from city to city can be rigorous, the men highlighted the importance of exercise and eating properly as being vital to maintain the demanding schedule. The shows plays for at least a week, sometimes two, before moving on to the next city so the actors feel like they really get to experience a city. So far, for Pittsburgh, the actors each enjoyed various parts of the city from Mt. Washington, to the South Side to the Strip District and not to worry, hitting Primanti’s is definitely on their list of things to do.

All four men discussed the importance and responsibility of brining such iconic music like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What a Night,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” to both old and new generations alike. They feel that they are definitely bridging a gap and filling a need by lending their talent to the show by helping to get people excited about attending a live theater performance, one also likened the show to a “live rock concert.” They described feeling that the audience is as much a character in the show as they are. And while energy levels vary from city to city and show to show, the actors both feed off that energy and share that its very exhilarating.

Talking with these actors made me even more excited to see the show tonight. If you are in the greater Pittsburgh area, definitely think about getting tickets to see the show!

Directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, Jersey Boys is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. The show is a season special part of the 2015-16 PNC Broadway In Pittsburgh series, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Broadway Across America.

For more information about the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, please call 412-456-6666 or visit

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own, the interview was arranged by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, who are also providing me with two tickets to the show. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A New Season

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”~Lauren DeStefano, Wither

I’ve always been a big fan of the fall season. I love that the weather cools to wear long sleeves and sweaters, life sort of slows down, the air gets a crispness to it, tinged with the first scents of bonfires. Last week, on the way home from a work trip, I noticed that the leaves in the higher elevations are starting to change, turning bright orange and that vibrant shade of red. And it made me happy.

As the seasons are shifting, I can feel myself shifting too. This year has been one of growth, pain and beauty all wrapped up into life. Its been hard, scary and sometimes down right tiring. I’m ready to let that go and move into the new season with a new perspective and mindset.

I’m ready for cooler days and pumpkin everything. For bonfires and s’mores. I’m looking forward to wearing boots and scarves. To reconnecting with myself and friends. What are you looking forward to this new season?

Friday, September 04, 2015

Sometimes I...

Sometimes I am so glad it’s a three day weekend, because I can’t wait to sleep in, read and spend some extra time with my mom and dog.

Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball and could see into the future. Not knowing is hard. Waiting is harder.

Sometimes I realize how lucky I am in the friend department. The friends I’ve known since I was a child. The friends I’ve met through my blog. The friends I’ve made along the way through various adventures. These people, I don’t know what I would do without them and wish I could teleport that far away friends closer for coffee dates, movie nights, and face to face girl talk.

Sometimes I read my about me section on this blog and groan, taking some time to do some proper updating is definitely in order. Very soon.

Sometimes I can’t wait for Fridays because it means an evening spent with my nearest and dearest, on my deck with appetizers or dinner and drinks, sharing. It’s such a wonderful way to end the week.

Sometimes I check Facebook way too often. I need to work on being present in other events, reading, or something more productive besides checking in to see what others are doing. Sometimes it’s a struggle though.

Sometimes when I’m home sick, I watch The Gilmore Girls. It never fails to make me happy.

Happy three day weekend to my American friends!

Now it’s your turn, fill in the blank…Sometimes I ___________________________________ .

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Beautiful Capstone on One Hell of A Process

Late last year, life handed my mom a cancer diagnosis and I basically disappeared from all things blogging. I should have been writing, but the story wasn’t mine to tell. My story was so intertwined with my mom’s that separating the two would have been impossible. As it always does, life moved on but cancer became the constant underlying theme of our days.

Cancer is initially paralyzing, but the further into the journey you get, the less scary it becomes (although the many unknowns are always present). There is an incredibly fine line between knowledge and ignorance. I had to learn to be content with not knowing, a lot. I’m a curious person by nature but I had to stop Googling all things medical because I learned that knowing too much sent me over the edge into a place from which I couldn't always quickly return.  Cancer, like other big life events, shows you who your people are, that tribe you can always count on or call upon regardless of time, space or distance. Finding those people and holding on tightly helped sustain me throughout these past several months. 

My mom handled her diagnosis and treatment with incredible grace and beauty, never complaining. She was extremely patient when things went wrong and determined to continue on when given the option to stop. 

Thankfully, earlier this week, my mom finished her treatments. Monday evening a local park held an event where people could send wish lanterns into the sky, a lovely way to celebrate the end of a long chapter. We wrote private wishes on our respective lanterns and sent them upward, both silently wishing and hoping they come true.

One of my friends perfectly described the evening as “a beautiful capstone on one hell of a process.” Indeed it was. 

Friday, October 10, 2014


Summer has faded into the much cooler, rainier days of autumn and while usually I’m sad to see summer go, this season I’m looking forward to fall. Often seen as a time for renewal, for fresh starts, and for tucking yourself into the house just a little bit earlier now that the suns setting earlier the fall season brings many things: seasonal baked goods, quiet evenings with close friends, hot tea and blankets.

For me the fall season is also bringing earlier mornings and longer evenings. After two years and some odd months, I had the ability to shift my hours. While this means my alarm going off at an ungodly hour, it also means quieter mornings in the office before most people trickle in at 9 or 10. After a week of new hours, I will never be pegged a “morning person” but, I don’t mind the early mornings as much as I thought I would. The longer evenings are certainly a welcomed change. I’m hoping this brings more time for writing and reading and all the other things I love but haven’t really been making time for, though, if I am being completely honest, its currently allowing me more time for binge watching all the episodes of Criminal Minds on Netflix., which also leads to me double locking all the doors on the house and the windows, but that’s another post.

I’ve been away from writing, truly writing and not just putting up a review or fluff piece, for a while now and I miss it. Blogging has changed a lot from when I first joined this ever growing community and I know it will never be the same. I’ve stopped journaling too and there is really is no explanation. One day I just stopped and I haven’t started again. In some ways it’s been freeing, living life without the need to document or feeling the need to make a record of events but its also been something I’ve missed. Not writing my thoughts and feelings sometimes makes me feel disconnected from others and more importantly, myself. It’s also shifted my focus away from social media to a degree. I used to love scrolling through Twitter, obsessively sometimes any free change I had, but these days, most days, I only open up the app once or twice. Maybe that will change again, but if it doesn’t I’m ok with that.

This fall, I’m looking forward to making more time for writing. And looking forward to adapting summer rituals into fall rituals when they can be. I’m excited for fall evenings with a hot beverage warming my hands while catching up with friends, whether they are the next town over or far away. I’m looking forward to pumpkin flavored everything and pulling out my KitchenAid more often and trying some new soup recipes. I’m excited for hooded sweatshirts and crisp air. I’m looking forward to seeing the leaves change and drinking some of my favorite wines that go better with this season than the previous one.

What are you looking forward to this season, friends?