A Night Out With Beauty and the Beast

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, and to celebrate, the kids and I took him to Starlight Theatre and out to eat. It may not have been his first choice to see the touring production of the fairy tale musical, Beauty and the Beast, but we all had a great time.

The stage was an elaborate set of vivid colors, and the dramatic introduction of mystery and intrigue behind a screen began the tale. Beautiful costumes and dancing added to the mesmerizing, dizzying eye candy that was this production.

The famous songs from the Disney movie were familiar, of course, but there were many more Broadway originals that moved the story along and tugged at our emotions. It’s a true love story and just like the animated version, you find yourself rooting for the “odd couple” to find their happiness, together.
The show is an absolute delight for the entire family, from the youngest to the young at heart.

Tickets for Disney’s Beauty and the Beastat Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $15 to $143. Tickets are available online atwww.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight ticket office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. A special matinee performance on Saturday, July 16, begins at 10 a.m. All other performances begin at 8 p.m.

I received two tickets in exchange for my honest review. All opinions, teary eyes, and bad singing along are my own.

Bullets Over Broadway at Starlight Theatre

It was an absolutely gorgeous night for the opening of Bullets Over Broadway at Starlight Theatre. GORGEOUS.

IMG_20160628_192417042_HDR

I took my mom to see the new touring Broadway production of Woody’s Allen’s show, and it did not disappoint. Neither of us had seen it, so we didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we were both entertained from start to finish.

IMG_20160628_195433823_HDR

Starlight always has the most talented actors and performers…I never feel like I’m watching a group of amateurs on stage. Last night during intermission, we talked about the dancing the most…

A mix of roaring 20’s music and dancing with mobster drama and a play within a play, it was full of incredible costumes, fun sets (hello, Belasco Theater in NYC!), absolutely hypnotic dance performances (by showgirls AND gangsters), lots of laughing out loud, and strong, impressive singing voices by the entire cast.

BOB scene 2

About the show: Bullets over Broadway tells the story of David Shayne, an aspiring young playwright newly arrived on Broadway in 1920s’ New York. Desperate to find financial backing for his next show, Shayne gets an offer he literally can’t refuse – from Nick Valenti, a mobster who forces him to cast his talentless showgirl girlfriend. Loaded with big laughs, colorful characters and songs that made the ‘20s roar,Bullets Over Broadway is bringing back musical comedy with a bang!

BOB scene

The show is running through Sunday, July 3, and if you’re looking for a FUN, mesmerizing, dynamic, entertaining way to spend a few hours on a summer night, definitely check it out.

Tickets for Bullets Over Broadway at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $11 to $135. Tickets are available online at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132.  All performances begin at 8 p.m.

Also check out more upcoming shows at Starlight Theatre.

Celebrating a Special Dad with #KCSteaks

Read on and you’ll find a coupon code AND giveaway…

So, my husband is hard to buy for (if you continue to read this, babe, just act surprised on the 19th). If he wants something, he buys it. If you ask him for ideas, he doesn’t have any,

I’m not alone in this struggle, right?

And Father’s Day is coming up. How do we show our love and appreciation to the guy that works extremely hard for our family but also wants nothing more than to get to spend time with us? It’s tough for him and it’s difficult to do something that shows how much we recognize and thank him for that.

It’s also tough to want to take the entire family out for dinner for a special day when there are six of us (half of whom have dietary restrictions), especially on a holiday when everybody is taking their favorite dads out so traffic is bad and waits are long.

We want him to relax on Father’s Day, and that doesn’t really involve driving for an hour with hungry kids and possibly a grumpy wife trying to herd them, right? I mean, really.

family

So with this busy and stressful year, we’re going the better (and more meaningful) route by staying in, showering him with homemade (secret) presents and steak. I’ll even cook it rare to really show my love (because, ew). It won’t be calm (hello, four kids), but it will be less crowded and more relaxing for everyone involved.

Doesn’t that sound, like, perfect?! In fact, with help from Kansas City Steak Company’s Big Daddy Combo, we could actually celebrate all weekend or for every meal on Father’s Day…maybe eggs and strip steaks for breakfast, T-Bones and baked potatoes for lunch, and Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon for dinner. That’s not overkill for our favorite guy, is it?

So now that I’ve shared my brilliant Father’s Day plans, you’re probably thinking your husband (or dad or grandpa) should be treated like a steak-eating king, too, right? So how about a coupon code, and a giveaway?!

To save 15% on and order from Kansas City Steak Company, including the Big Daddy Combo, use code LUVDAD (good through December 31, 2016 and on all purchases).

OR, to win your own delivery of  4, 6 oz. Super-Trimmed™ Filets*, add your comments below for up to three entries (giveaway ends Saturday, June 11 at 10pm Central):

One comment– tell me who you want to treat (on Father’s Day or any day) and why.

One comment– Tweet the following and comment that you did: I entered to win a gift set of four tender, delicious filet mignon steaks from @gfunkified. http://wp.me/p2nIwS-2ej #justadddad #kcsteaks

One comment– share this giveaway on Facebook and comment that you did.

Thank you so much to the Kansas City Steak Company for sending the Big Daddy Combo for the Big Daddy at our house. I wasn’t otherwise compensated for this post and that’s not even the point of steak on Father’s Day, is it? All opinions of delicious steak (rare or well done) are totally my own.

*Filet Mignon is the Kansas City Steak Company’s best-selling steak, pure and simple. This filet mignon is king — butter-tender, cut from the center of the finest aged tenderloin and hand selected from premium corn-fed Kansas beef.

Established on a standard of quality, Kansas City Steak Company has been providing gourmet steaks and other top-of-the-line beef cuts since 1932. Through its catalog, online, and QVC channels, the company offers high quality Filet Mignon, Rib eye, Top Sirloin, T-bone, Porterhouse, and signature Kansas City Strip Steaks — as well as other find foods. Known for their gift giving solutions, whether you’re celebrating a special day or reconnecting with the grill, Kansas City Steak delivers only the very best.

Giveaway is open to US residents only, and entries must be in by 10 pm central, June 11.

Uncommonly Fantastically Good

When Uncommon Goods approached me about sharing their company with you guys, I was immediately on board. Not because they have an amazing collection of unique gifts and products, or because they focus on environmentally sustainable and responsible practices (like limiting the number of catalogs they print and printing them on recycled paper), but because some of my blogging friends had worked with them in the past and had an undeniably positive experience.

So basically, the hardest part about this experience was deciding on what I would choose to review here on the blog. Everything else was easy peasy. But really, the choosing…I’m a Libra, not known for my decision making skills. But I knew Mother’s Day was coming up and that I could pick something out for myself. I focused on the jewelry. Oh my gosh, you guys. Just go take a look at it. I’ll wait…

There’s an enormous collection of gorgeous, unique, personalized, out of the ordinary pieces. I finally decided on this amazing necklace made of silver and gold and actual, real leaves. It’s dainty yet substantial, shiny yet understated, and makes the most soothing little jingling sound when the leaves bump against each other.

IMG_20160502_145813579IMG_20160502_203836949

I also figured that I could get something for the kids/our whole family, and as soon as Henry saw these cardboard animal heads on my screen, he INSISTED I get one. I chose the Large Elephant Head, and when it was delivered a few days later, I told him he was more than welcome to go ahead and put it together (it was a few days before show day, so if I was going to do it, it would be a while). So he did. He put the entire thing together himself, punching out the cardboard pieces, following the instructions and placing each of the 20-30 pieces in just the right place to build the large and very cool elephant head. I think it probably needs some friends for the wall, too, once we find the perfect spot for it.

IMG_20160425_192912269_HDRIMG_20160425_192930173_HDR

The last thing I ordered was this travel book to put all of my NYC memorabilia in that has been stored in a baggie for the last year. I’m pretty excited about putting that together, once life slows down a bit.

So, it’s too late for Mother’s Day, but if you need really cool, really unique gifts of any kind (for a new baby or a kid’s birthday, perhaps), definitely check out Uncommon Goods. Or, you know, if you just want something for yourself, there’s plenty for you, too.

I received items in exchange for this post but all opinions and gushing are 100% my own, as always.

My Story (Right Now)

The following is what I read in the Listen To Your Mother: KC show last weekend.

It’s become an out of body experience, like my brain and body are at odds with each other….my brain is telling me it’s no big deal, I can pick up the toy, while my body is throwing it across the room. I know it’s my broken brain that’s making the decisions for my body, but there’s a part of it that’s also saying “Greta. What. Are. You. Doing.”

My days usually start out well… I wake up and am able to get the kids ready for school, even keeping my cool while the minutes drag on and my daughter’s breakfast is still sitting on her plate. While they’re in school, I’m good. I can get stuff done, even if all I really want to do is take a nap.

But man. The evenings. The evenings are HARD. The evenings are when every little thing has built on the other, like a towering, pile of stuffed animals after the kids  have “cleaned” their rooms. One night not long ago, I was at the place in my head where that tiny little stuffed bunny was the LAST THING the tower could handle and everything was about to come crashing down. The dishes were piling up, one of the kids was staring into space instead of writing in her journal, the leftovers from supper were still on the counter and I lost it. I threw the dirty pan across the room,went to bed at 6:30 and didn’t talk to my family until the next morning.

And weekends! If it’s Saturday afternoon and I say “I’m going upstairs”, that’s code for “I need time away from you people. I need a couple of hours. If I don’t get them, I’m not certain all six of us will see Monday.”

My depression started after I had my second baby almost nine years ago, and has been on and off since then.

Things blew up around the holidays. I had stopped taking my antidepressants a few months earlier when they literally made my skin erupt into gigantic cystic acne. GAH. What 35 year old woman who’s been teetering on the edge of insecurity since she was a teen, has time for that nonsense? There are just some side effects that you can’t accept, you know? And my moods were pretty stable (of course, because I was on antidepressants). But the stress of the upcoming holiday season started to wear on me, and saying I started not being able to be the mom I wanted, NEEDED to be is a huge understatement. By the time December came around, I had zero patience for my kids or my husband, and was regularly blowing up in what can only be called adult temper tantrums. I could feel the anger (that was completely uncalled for most of the time, by the way) taking over my head space more days than not.

I knew something had to give. My life was not going to get any less stressful, my to-do list was most definitely not getting any shorter. Things were only going to get worse if I didn’t get the help I needed. I found a counselor and started regular therapy sessions, and that counselor persuaded me to talk to someone about getting back on antidepressants. A different one, of course, and that made me nervous. But several weeks later, I’m HANDLING THINGS. I’m functioning. I still have bad days when my patience well is nearing empty and my fuse is very short, but for the most part, I can take this mothering business in stride.

It’s not easy to talk about, but I know now that, as a mother and wife and caretaker of a family of six, I need help. I’ve always known that I needed support from my close friends and family, but I’ve come to realize that I also need the kind of help that comes in a bottle. And you know what? That’s okay. I’m not super mom, and I don’t know anybody who is, all things told. It’s hard for us moms to ask for help or even admit that we need it, but the best thing we can do for ourselves and our families is recognize that we can’t do it alone and we don’t have to.

DSC_0037 (2)

They Listened (and I’m So Proud) #ltym

It’s been two days since we had our Listen To Your Mother show, and I’m still processing (and needing a nap).

What I can say right now is this:

~~I’m so glad my husband and two oldest were there.

image

Photo courtesy of Lisa Allen

~~Our cast brought it. They were pros, truly, even though most of them had never done anything remotely like it before. Their stories were powerful and sincere and I know everyone in the audience could see that.

image

Liberty Hall

~~Kathy and I make a fabulous team. We didn’t know each other, really, when our girl Lisa suggested that I ask her to apply with me to bring the show back to the KC area. But I think the combination of our meshing personalities and the fact that we were getting to know each other through the whole scary process worked in our favor. Also, we’re both big fans of the heavy on the text style of communication.

~~The show went so smoothly that it feels a little like a dream. There were no big hiccups, certainly nothing that invoked any sense of panic in us as the production team.

~~I even felt pretty calm all day. I was scared of reading my essay, but I did it (and I’m mostly glad I did). I had the butterflies in the stomach feeling all weekend but I think I was not even as nervous as when I was just a reader in the 2013 show.

image

Photo courtesy of Lisa Allen

~~We had all of our cast backstage during the show, with Kathy on the side doing the intros and everyone else behind the curtains waiting their turns, and as I watched us all throughout the (too quick) show, I felt a sense of relief, and immense pride, and love for each of them. We did it.

image

Photo courtesy of our immensely talented photographer, Karen Ledford.

My Brain is a Scary, Crowded Place

In just under two weeks (12 days but who’s counting), our Kansas City area cast of Listen To Your Mother will be taking the stage at Liberty Hall.

To say that it’s a roller coaster of emotions for me is maybe a bit of an understatement.

It feels a little like having a baby….we’ve been working on it for many months….preparing for it, thinking about it, talking about it, thinking about it. There are so many things that go into the backstage stuff that you don’t think about unless you are in the position to get it all done. Like, nobody tells you that when you’re pregnant, your ankles will swell so much that you can’t put your shoes on. Or maybe they do, but you give them a empathetic look and go on about your business with your cute little size 7 sneakers on.

But anyway, our sweet little kicking all night and won’t let us sleep for all the things to think and worry about baby is about to be born. I wish I could convey just exactly how much of a HUGE DEAL it is for me. Not only because we’ve worked so hard to put it all together for the very first time and I wrote something that, to me, is really pretty scary to think about saying out loud, but also because we put this cast together out of some really, really, REALLY amazing contenders and I want people to hear their stories. A lot of people. Because they need to be heard. and I know there are people that need to hear them.

So anyway. I’m not the kind of person that will just come right out and tell people how I feel very often. It’s so much easier to write it out and then have a mini panic attack when I send it out into the world. BUT. If you are in the area and can make it to the show on May 1st, just know that it means so much more to me than I could ever express. Please come meet our baby in the hospital.

theater

Five. Already. For Real This Time.

The baby. My Boo. Today he turns five. FIVE!

12027676_10152974723431627_3749317608154482702_n

He’s been saying for the last year (or two) that he was five years old, but today, he really is.

199396_10150143316441627_7119925_n

He’s been at home with me for five solid years, and in a few short months, he’ll be off to kindergarten.

551046_10150628440346627_1128893090_n

He’s obsessed with Louise “Waweese” (she’s all he talked about in his special birthday preschool show and tell).

12400515_10153141780676627_5760820120456607269_n

He eats corn tortilla and Kraft American cheese quesadillas nearly every day.

He can argue. BOY can this kid argue. He doesn’t do it much, but when he gets it into his head that he wants something (yesterday it was chocolate chip muffins for breakfast and I had to firmly tell him for at least 30 minutes that I was NOT baking muffins) he won’t let it go.

He’s happy to play alone for long stretches of time, talking to (and for) his toys, but he also really, really loves playing with his siblings when they’re home. He loves (and knows about) everything his big brother loves, but also his own things, like Team Umizoomi.

11012700_10153088729686627_9085783507176163242_n

10489861_10153181361271627_1973715516970889443_n

He has a special relationship with grandpa, getting to spend the most time with him than any other grandkid.

12072811_10153287983731627_4275500476219566075_n

He was our little alien baby, but he grew into his face and cheeks and terribly handsome.

254008_10150198196706627_4954848_n

12038307_10152980442861627_3028234293667323521_n

His first are my lasts and it’s fun and bittersweet all wrapped up into one big ball of emotions.

1455019_10151773499911627_1967937198_n

Happy birthday, Love Bug.

You’re FIVE. And I’m verklempt.

558467_10150628438996627_445624654_n

We’re Doing Okay, Valentines Moms.

I haven’t had the time or energy to make anything crafty for the kids for Valentine’s Day (I didn’t even help with the first grader’s box, she and her big sister did the whole thing). They all asked for Louise valentines (I can’t make that up), so I spent five minutes editing pictures of her and then picked them up at the one hour photo, and everyone but Ervin filled out the backs themselves.

image

image

I didn’t make fancy treats for class, I bought treat bags yesterday at the store and filled them with an assortment of gluten free foods and candy for a “snack mix”, which seems to be my go-to these days.

It’s hard to not feel inadequate with all of the fancy, crafty things people make and share but I know I’m not the only one that didn’t do that stuff.

So I’m sharing because I’m not inadequate and you’re not inadequate, whether we made valentines or bought them from Target, decorated elaborate treats or are sending plain ol juice boxes to the party. We’re all doing the best we can, right? And our kids are all going to come home sugar-highed and happy.

One-Man Star Wars Trilogy at #StarlightIndoors

You know how much we love Starlight Theatre at our house, and the summer seasons that bring so much talent and entertainment to Kansas City (we’re really excited about the upcoming summer season!). But did you know that this year, for the first time, Starlight had a short and sweet indoor series??

Last week, a couple of friends and I went to see Potted Potter, a show that was basically an hour and a half of two British guys and a lot of wigs and silly props, acting out all seven Harry Potter books. It was HILARIOUS.

Last night, I took Henry to see the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy at the same intimate, warm and cozy indoor theater. This Canadian man, Charles Ross, has been doing the show for FIFTEEN YEARS. It was a little over an hour of highly entertaining, frenetic geekdom. He doesn’t use any props at all, only depending on his voice (for sound effects, music, and dialogue) and some changes in lighting to act out the entire original trilogy. At the end of the show, he talked a bit about how his show came to be (and his run-in with Lucas Film), and you can just tell that his nerdy self is humbled and excited (still!) by the way his life has turned out. He’s like a big kid (and if I’m going to be honest, which of course, I am, he reminded me a lot of my boys running around and making sound effects with their mouths to play pretend blasters and battles and all of the things boys love about Star Wars but much more practiced at it).

Anyone that enjoys the Star Wars franchise will have fun at this show, truly. As an added bonus, each show has themed food and drinks (the Butterbeers we had last weekend were DELICIOUS and for this show they had Yoda Soda and amazing little R2D2 cakes and lots of other choices that smelled incredible), there’s not a bad seat in the house, and the photo opportunities before and after the shows are really fun. Last night, a few of the characters from the movies were there to take pictures with (and their costumes were so realistic!).

star wars one man show

The One-Man Star Wars Trilogy is playing through Sunday, as well as Late Nite Catachism. Get away for a bit and enjoy some fun (and funny) theater in the middle of winter!

Tickets for One-Man Star Wars Trilogy at Starlight Indoors can be purchased at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. Ticket prices begin at $25; a limited number of VIP ticket packages, which include premium seats and valet parking, are also available.

I received two complimentary tickets to see the show, but all opinions are, of course, my own.