Support Small Businesses and Shop These Great Finds!

Looking for a birthday, baby or graduation gift?  I have found some perfect places for you to shop and they’re all on line! During these tough times it’s important that we support small businesses who may be struggling.  A lot of us are relying on popular e-commerce sites to do our shopping but because these sites are much more popular we have found that the ship dates are much longer than we are used to.  The list below are small businesses that offer unique gifts, are well stocked and ready to ship to you right away!

The Short Years – Baby Book and App that is a gift new moms will cherish for a lifetime! The app easily allows busy moms to create (and actually finish) a beautiful baby book in just five minutes per week.

Hudson Candles – luxury candles that are made with all-natural coconut blend, essential oils sourced from France, and metal-free wicks. The letterpress labeling and packaging give it a sleek, elegant, and clean look.

ACouplePuns – delivers sweet messages accompanied by disarmingly darling drawings on superb card stock that is scored, folded and packaged by hand.

DefineMe – vegan, cruelty-free and eco-friendly line of fragrances looking to empower. They launched its scented, moisturizing hand sanitizer spray DefineMe HANDS a few short weeks ago.

ella+mila – highly sought after brand of cruelty-free, vegan nail polish line that offers over 140 color shades to date! In addition to being chip-resistant, quick-dry and high-shine, ella+mila nail colors are classified as a seven chemical-free product.

Eat Like a Woman –  line of shakes, bars, and cookies that are organic, plant-based, and gluten-free. Clean nutrition specifically for women.  Did you know that women have different digestive needs than men and develop heart disease differently than men?  This is very timely information to have with the pounds some of us have put on during the Pandemic or need to know so that we can learn to eat and live more healthy as women.  I’ve tried the bars and they are really delicious!  I will be ordering more!

Eila Chérie – quality and luxury shouldn’t be compromised due to the price tag. This price inclusive line of handbags, sunglasses, and watches are designed with modern looks and are thoughtfully crafted, using only premium materials.  The companies catch phrase is “Live the champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget”.  Love this because their products are really expensive looking but don’t have an expensive price tag.  The Olivia watch is comfortable to wear, has a sharp and clean design with a very cool marble watch face.  The small gold heart shaped earrings with etched logo comes in a black velvet box and really cute packaging.  This makes it a perfect graduation or birthday gift for that special lady in your life!

Sonoma Wool Company – on a mission to help you rediscover the wonders of wool. Collection of home goods, from luxurious bedding to long-lasting Dish Drying Mat.    Did you know that untreated wool is naturally water resistant?  The design of the Dish Drying Mat is attractive and allows you to store easily store it.  Your friend or mom will love this very unique and useful gift!

Takobia – with over 300 designs of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, the wholesale brand adds simple elegance with a touch of modern flair to your attire.

 

So as you’re trying to find that perfect gift to order online (because that’s how we’re shopping these days) check out these small  businesses first!  Happy shopping and stay safe!

 

It’s the Perfect Time for HelloFresh Meal Kit Delivery Service

Are you tired yet of cooking the same old things? During this unusual time of being quarantined, it’s hard enough to get groceries in general much less the special and fresh ingredients that you would need to try something new. We just signed up for a convenient meal delivery service and cooking just became a lot more fun, stress free, delicious, and healthy!
HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that brings everything you need to make a home cooked meal to your door. Not only does HelloFresh provide delicious and nutritious recipes but they also deliver the exact fresh ingredients for the meal straight to your home each week. Whatever your dining habits, HelloFresh has the best meal plan for you. Whether you are a family of one, two or four people it’s the perfect fit for families of any size.
We signed up for the service last week and not only has it been perfect timing for the world we’re all living in right now but it has also given us the opportunity to cook together as a family. Both my college age sons are home doing online classes right now and we are taking this time of “shelter in place” to teach the boys some cooking skills in the kitchen. Making HelloFresh recipes together has been not only fun but delicious too!
If you are interested in the service, now is the perfect time to try it out. To hear more about the program and specials that they are running contact my fabulous HelloFresh Representative, Makenzey Leavins at: makenzey.leavins@hellofresh.com!  Website: http://www.hellofresh.com/

Come From Away is a Timely Production

As I was writing this review late last week I received word that the Dallas production of Come From Away has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the concern of spreading it in large gatherings.  Although I believe that is absolutely the right thing to do I still feel the need to write about this amazing and timely musical.

 

If you don’t know, Come From Away is about a time in our lives that was both shocking, uncertain, and incredibly sad for our nation.  The terrorist attacks of 911 shook us to our core and the outbreak of a pandemic in this country attacking us right now couldn’t be more ironic.  The virus is causing fear, it’s disrupting our comfortable life as we know it, and the uncertainty of our own health is very disturbing and frightening.

Here’s the plot of Come From Away:  COME FROM AWAY is the remarkable true but little known story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town called Gander in Newfoundland that welcomed them. On a trip to Gander, Irene Sankoff and David Hein realized the story of what happened in the area on 9/12 needed to be told through the authentic music of the region. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships. On September 11, 2001 the world stopped. On September 12, their stories moved us all.  Come From Away landed on 2015 “Year’s Best” lists in LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union Tribune and Seattle Times, before continuing to top the 2016 “Best of” Lists in the Washington Post and the Toronto Star and the 2017 “Best of” Lists in TIME Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Chicago Tribune, NY1, Huffington Post, The Stage, The Advocate, Newsday and Thrillist.

 

The musical recreates the event of the stranded passengers with a relatively small cast playing both the passengers and the townspeople and a very simple set.  The result is engaging and entertaining.  The cast is very talented and manages to switch from the diversity of the passengers that they are playing (yes there is a Texan, a Brit, and a Muslim to name a few) to the entertainingly and humorous Canadian accents of the townspeople.  The musical numbers had me at one minute holding back tears from the painful memories of that time to laughing at the absurdity of the situation the passengers and town found themselves in Gander at times.  In my opinion there are many better musicals out there but I give it A+ for its’ effort, the  creativity of the writers, and the emotions that it elicits in every adult that was alive on 911.  Even those living through the difficult times of today will walk away affected by its’ message.

A subplot of the musical is the celebration of one of the lead characters who was an actual American Airlines Lady Pilot, Beverley Bass.  She is a trailblazing pilot who became the first female pilot promoted to captain by AA in 1986 and led the first all female crewed flight shortly thereafter.  Her groundbreaking career became even more visible when she along with several other pilots were forced to land in the remote town of Gander on September 11th.  Her character has a real show stopping number to celebrate her achievement of breaking the glass ceiling in aviation as a lady pilot.  This is another irony in timing since we celebrated International Woman’s Day last week!

 

Trivia:  Did anyone else wonder where the musical’s title Come From Away came from?  It’s not exactly easy to say or remember for that matter.  I did a goggle search and found this:  Come From Away is a term used in Canada’s Atlantic provinces for someone who has moved to the area from somewhere else.  What an appropriate name!

For me, watching the play took me back to that time of despair, grief,  uncertainty, and pain that the events of 911 caused.  But it also took me back to a time of incredible outpouring of love, kindness for each other and extreme patriotism.  Despite our many differences, America came together as a family and rallied to fight our enemy together and to help our neighbors in any way we could.  Come From Away reflects that time in a heartwarming and incredibly sweet way.  The story of a small town in Canada opening their hearts and homes to total strangers (a lot of them too) is a look back at how we as humans rise to the occasion when we are tested and despite our diversity we are all humans.  I took my 22 year old son, Jared with me to see the musical and despite him not remembering 911, he got the message loud and clear and said to me that his take away was  “Humanity needs something to fight against in order to unit”.  Right now, after the scary announcements of government shut downs, quarantining, and social distancing due to the COVID 19 I feel like there are no truer words.

Tony Award Winning “The Band’s Visit” in Dallas –  February

Playing in Dallas from February 5 – 16 at the Winspear Opera House and February 18-23 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center

THE BAND’S VISIT is a beautiful, nontraditional musical that is subtle and somewhat slow in its delivery but powerful in its message.  This is not your usual musical with lots of big numbers and foot stomping music and if that’s what you expect when you go you’ll be disappointed.  But if you go with an open mind and heart you will find yourself moved in ways that you didn’t expect.  It is definitely worth the trip to see it.

Here’s the Plot:

THE BAND’S VISIT tells the story of an Egyptian police band that goes to Israel to perform a concert. Because of a funny mix up of the town’s name at the bus station, they wind up in the wrong town. With no bus till morning, they are taken into their homes by the locals for one night and the rest of the story is funny, heartwarming, and at times heartbreaking.

The ensuing interactions between the band and the locals examines how even though they may come from completely different cultures, human connection is very powerful.  The beautiful music that the Egyptian band brings with them to the small “nowhere” Israeli town meshes these two cultures together for one (very long) night.  Despite their many differences, the possibility of conflict never materializes and in fact, it becomes something much more powerful.  This is a story about acceptance and the revelation that we are all simply human trying to make it through life with the same desires, dreams, disappointments, and yes, even heartbreaks.

THE BAND’S VISIT is the winner of 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history.  Starring in the Dallas Production is a cast of world-class performers  led by award-winning Israeli actor Sasson Gabay, star of the original film and Broadway production. THE BAND’S VISIT is actually based on the 2007 film of the same title written by Eran Kolirin.  The show also features a band of very talented actors/musicians that perform the score which is a combination of jazz and traditional Middle Easter music.  The final number is a satisfying ending to this poignant story about how a small insignificant band brought light and hope to a group of lonely people in another country.

Leave the kids home for this one.  It’s not that the musical is inappropriate but it’s not your typical crowd pleasing musical with nonstop music and dancing.  It’s a musical for adults who enjoy theater and the many surprises that you may find there.  My husband and I are still talking about it.

ABOUT THE SHOW:

 

 

 

The Blue Man Group Speechless Tour is in Town!

The Blue Men have returned to Dallas with a brand new show! BLUE MAN GROUP SPEECHLESS TOUR, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, is at the Winspear Opera House January 15-19 and features new and original compositions, acts, and instruments alongside iconic Blue Man Group moments!

My husband and I went last night and were pleasantly surprised how much we enjoyed the new show! We had seen Blue Man Group before in Vegas but this is an all new and really entertaining show.  If you’ve never seen it before you should go and if you’ve seen it before you should go again!  This is a fun interactive show that plays with your senses through art, non-verbal communication, and music.  It’s like a rock concert and comedy show rolled into one fun happening.  The quirky blue men are so interesting to watch and the creativity of their performances continue to delight audiences everywhere!  This show appeals to all age groups so take your kids or your parents – they will enjoy it, I promise!

 

TIP:  Try to sit on the bottom floor to get the most out of the visual and interactive part of the show and DON’T sit on the front row if you don’t want to get wet and DON’T sit on the end of the row if you don’t want to get pulled up on stage!  Like I said, it’s an interactive show!

 

Don’t miss the opportunity to see The Blue Man Group.  They’ll be at Winspear Opera House  (2403 Flora St.) in Dallas from January 15-19.

  • Single tickets for the BLUE MAN GROUP SPEECHLESS TOUR start at $20 (pricing subject to change) and are available at DallasSummerMusicals.org or by phone at 800-982-2787.
  • Purchase in person at the Music Hall at Fair Park Box Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Orders for groups of ten (10) or more may be placed by calling (214) 426-4768 or emailing Groups@DallasSummerMusicals.org @dsmusicals #DSMBway