Last night I had my face rocked off at the opening performance of Rock of Ages. Not literally, of course, though at times it came pretty close. Returning to Minneapolis on another national tour, this was not my first experience with the show; however, I found myself surprised by how thoroughly entertained I was as if I was seeing it for the first time once again.
You know the music of course – power ballads and rock anthems of the 80s fill the soundtrack, drawing in the least likely suspects to be attending a musical theater performance. Journey, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon – there’s something for everyone to enjoy. I’m sure you’re thinking back right now to previews of the movie starring Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough and Alec Baldwin. Don’t. I haven’t personally seen it, but have heard it’s terrible and not at all representative of how great the musical is.
A classic LA story of a girl who wants to become an actress and a guy who wants to be a rockstar, the storyline is a bit loose but the entertainment is totally solid. I listen to the soundtrack fairly often but had truly forgotten how much fun it is to see the performance live – the energy from the crowd is electric, and it’s clear to see that the entertainers really love what they’re doing and are having just as good of a time as the audience. The show is filled with humor, with the cast demonstrating strong comedic skills in addition to their vocal chops. Trust me when I tell you that it’s absolutely necessary for you to see this show if you’ve ever considered watching the movie adaptation – you’ll be glad you did.
Sadly, Rock of Ages is only in town through tomorrow with the last performance at 6:30 on Sunday, May 19th. The good new is you’ve still got 3 chances to catch a performance before they head off to Ohio for their next tour stop. Click here to buy your tickets, head to the Orpheum Theatre, and get ready to to be rocked.
Yesterday I finally gave in and bought a little something I’ve been eyeing for the better part of a year: a glass shadow box from West Elm. As an avid jewelry collector, a few years ago I asked for and received a beautiful, large standing jewelry armoire for Christmas. It’s great for storing all of my items, but more often than not I find myself wearing a few main pieces a majority of the time – which end up in a pile on the dresser because I’m too lazy to put them away knowing I’ll be wearing the pieces again soon.
That’s why this shadow box is the perfect combination of practical and luxurious. Keeping my most-worn items organized is a perk, but what really I love is how they feel extra special displayed as if on a showroom floor.
It’s a bit ridiculous how happy this $24 box makes me, but sometimes it’s the littlest things that can make the biggest impact.
Well, I guess we’ll just add another one to the hopper. Earlier this week while doing my daily browse through Rue La La, I came across the Stuart Weitzman sale and just could.not.walk.away from these Minx wedges.
Listed at half of the current online selling price, there was no way I could say no. In a perfect neutral go-with-anything color with cork heel and braided detail, I just know I’m going to wear these so often they’ll be completely worth it.
Now the only thing standing between me and having these beauties on my feet is the 6 or so inches of fresh snow we just got…
Despite the fact that Minnesota has been hit with multiple inches of snow in the last week, I’m busy updating my closet for spring and slowly incorporating bright colors, light dresses (with leggings), and wistfully waiting for the day when the snow is gone and my feet get to see the light of day again. So far I’ve collected 4 new pairs of sandals that remain sadly in boxes in my closet, and I’m afraid the longer I have to wait before wearing them the more I’ll end up accumulating. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s waiting for me once the weather warms up:
Now all that’s left to do is pick out some new nail color for a fun pedicure, and hope for warmer days.
A while ago my sister Carolyn got me a 6-month Birchbox subscription as a gift. I admit that I was skeptical at first, but having received my first 2 months of samples I’ve realized there are a few products I’m seriously considering purchasing once my trial sizes are gone.
Seasonal transitions are always a good time to try out new beauty looks and regimens, and this year is no exception for me. In addition to the Birchbox goodies I’ve branched out a bit from my existing makeup bag and have found some new mainstays. To me, springtime beauty means sun-kissed skin, dewey cheeks, and bright lips to go with my sundress, cardi and sandals. Below are a few of my newest loves.
- A Birchbox success, Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator has superfine microdermabrasion crystals that gently but effectively scrubs away dead skin, resulting in a rosy, fresh-looking complexion.
- Benefit’s Hula bronzer provides a believable, easily buildable tan in a matte formula.
- Another Birchbox find, Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-In-One from theBalm is a gorgeous peachy-pink with gold shimmer that’s flattering on all skin tones.
- Beauty Protector’s Protect & Detangle is one of those wonderful do-it-all products: it’s a leave-in conditioner that detangles and also protects from heat, and the best part is it smells amazing.
- Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub is a line of delicious smelling (and tasting) sugar scrubs which leaves lips exfoliated and super soft. The Blood Orange scrub I have and love is a 2012 Fall/Winter limited edition but you may still be able to find it in stores that carry the line (I got mine at Primp). The permanent lineup of flavors include Peppermint, Vanilla Bean, Brown Sugar and Coffee Creme Brûlée. Sara Happ also makes The Lip Slip, the silkiest lip balm I’ve ever tried.
- Clinique suckered me into trying the Chubby Stick in Heftiest Hibiscus with their irresistible-looking ads juxtaposing the Chubby Sticks with like-colored gelatin squares. I know, I should know better – I work in advertising! I’m glad I bought into it though, as it delivers on providing moisturizing yet vibrant color. Heftiest Hibiscus is the perfect bright coral-pink that leaves you no choice but to feel as peppy as you look.
If you’re looking for some new products to freshen up your spring beauty routine, get out there and take a chance on something new. You never know when you might find your new favorite can’t-live-without-it product.
Fashion Is Cyclical, Believe In Yourself, And If You Don’t Want To Wear Pants Just Put On Leg Warmers (Or Lessons We Learned From “Flashdance The Musical”)
Last night we had the honor of attending opening night of Flashdance The Musical at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. If you’re asking yourself whether this is the same Flashdance that was an 80s sensation, maybe this will answer your question.
(That means yes, this is the musical adaptation of the 1983 blockbuster hit starring Jennifer Beals).
The story follows Alex Owens, a welder by day and club dancer by night. A hardworking, headstrong and talented woman, she fantasizes about becoming a professional dancer but doesn’t believe she can truly realize this dream. Throw in a developing love interest who also happens to be her boss and you’ve got yourself a classic chick flick-turned-musical.
The plot is what it is, and the music doesn’t blow you away the same way the choreography does. Spanning from ballet to hip-hop to strip club, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the tremendous amount of talent on a single stage (and also a bit jealous of all the toned butts and thighs in skimpy outfits).
Probably our favorite part of the show was the featured breakdancer in the cast:
The costumes were a treat and truly transports you back to the 80s with its jean jackets, neons, and patterned tights. The funny thing is how many elements from the costumes have reappeared as current trends. It’s definitely true what they say about fashion being circular – if it’s been “in” before, it’s almost certain it will be again – good news for the hoarders of the world.
Even so, we couldn’t get on board with the girl farthest to the right in this picture with her double pony and scrunchies. Scrunchies should never come back. Ever. They are the sweatpants of hair accessories, acceptable only in a certain time/space (read: on your couch).
In the end, Flashdance is a feel-good show that reminds us that dreams are always worth chasing, and they may not be as out of reach as we think. As Alex sings, “It’s better to leap and fall than never leap at all.”
You’ll have to act fast if you want to catch Flashdance while it’s in Minneapolis as the final performance is this Sunday, April 7 at 6:30p. For additional information and to buy tickets, visit:
Hands-down the most highly anticipated Broadway show this year, Book of Mormon has at last made its Twin Cities premiere with its official opening performance at the Orpheum Theatre Wednesday evening. A 9-time Tony Award winner including Best Musical, Book of Mormon tells the story of Elders Price and Cunningham as they embark on their 2-year mission to convert Ugandans to Mormonism.
Written by the creators of South Park Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show is every bit as offensive and hilarious as expected – in fact, I’d even say it over-delivers on cringe-worthy comedy. If you’ve ever thought South Park toed the line of decency, just remember that it still has to meet FCC standards for TV while in the world of musical theater, Parker and Stone had complete creative freedom. To say the content is intended for mature audiences is putting it lightly; in my opinion that isn’t a bad thing, but sticklers of political correctness may see it differently.
But the thing is, Book of Mormon isn’t a flat, over-done comedic production relying solely on shock value to entertain. At its core, it’s a well-told story centered around themes that we can all identify with: faith, friendship, and trust. Surrounding that is truly toe-tappingly good music and wonderfully choreographed dance numbers. The costume design doesn’t give you much to look at, but that’s to be expected given the context (my friend Megan told me she was recently riding the bus with a few Mormons who were dressed exactly like the cast).
The Book of Mormon First National Tour Company / Photo credit: Joan Marcus, 2013
I’m clearly a big musical theater geek, but I promise you even those who are non-theater goers will thoroughly enjoy the show. I know this because I strong-armed my husband into attending with me despite his complete lack of interest in musicals, and from the corner of my eye I could see him smiling and laughing in spite of himself.
Sadly, Book of Mormon is only in Minneapolis through Sunday, February 16th before heading to St. Louis to look for new converts. Due to extremely high demand, all performances are nearly sold out. If you want to try your luck at getting tickets, a pre-show lottery will be held at the Orpheum Theatre prior to every performance for $25 per ticket. Check out the full lottery details here. It’s absolutely worth grabbing a buddy, throwing your names in and crossing your fingers. If you’re one of the lucky chosen ones you’ll get to see the hottest show to hit Minneapolis this year for a song and laugh non-stop for 2.5 hours; if sadly you don’t get chosen you can enjoy a lovely evening downtown enjoying drinks or a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants nearby – then you can try again for the next performance. I’d call it a win-win.
A few weeks ago we came down with a bit of cabin fever and got it in our heads that a weekend getaway was the only cure. Chicago became our destination for the weekend of the 19th and we’ve finally recovered enough to tell you all about our 48 hours of fun.
Room 1618 of Hotel Palomar - we can’t say enough great things about this hotel and Kimpton hotels in general.
Our view Friday night as we got in and got ready to go out.
Animal-printed robes kept us cozy while getting ready.
Then we were off to Pops for Champagne where we enjoyed the most effervescent drinks we’ve ever tasted.
Saturday morning we started out early with a hearty breakfast at Pierrot Gourmet, a darling European style cafe/wine bar in The Peninsula hotel.
From there we headed to the Museum of Science & Industry where our favorite exhibits included baby chicks and a German U-Boat.
Then it was time to shop. We (of course) made a stop into Zara on Michigan Ave and checked out a few other stores before hopping into a cab and heading to the Armitage & Halstead area. There our favorite stores were Langford Market which reminded us of Francesca’s, Lori’s Shoes where Ashley found her favorite boots for nearly half off, and Second Time Around, a consignment shop featuring higher-end brands and designer and luxury clothing and accessories.
After a few minutes of browsing, Maureen pulled this off a rack:
The heavenly glow is fitting, isn’t it?
A few minutes of hemming and hawing and a 30% discount later, Maureen walked out happy as a clam with a new vintage coat (based on some quick searching online we place this from around the early 1990s).
Soon we were headed back to the Palomar to get ready for dinner and enjoy our complimentary bottle of wine (it pays to follow Kimpton hotels on social media; pay attention to their secret passwords each month – for January it was “snowflake”).
After an extremely delicious meal at avec, we were full and happy.
But there’s always room for dessert.
And there’s definitely always rooms for cocktails, so we bounced over to Aviary to meet our friend Anne and catch up over their craft cocktails. We each settled on trying a 3-drink flight with Ashley and Anne ordering the same thing and Maureen letting our server select her orders. Then the fun started.
Sunday morning we enjoyed brunch at Hub 51 before catching a performance of the funniest and most offensive musical either of us has ever seen (review of opening night of the Minneapolis tour coming soon).
Then, sadly, it was time to head to the airport and get ready to return to real life where we are already thinking about our next trip (Cape Cod, anyone?).