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"Broadway Rocks" the Nashville Symphony

Until last night, I’d never been to the symphony. But thanks to Rush tickets, Tanner and I scored front row seats to the “Broadway Rocks” show for $15. What a steal. (Time to mark #64 off my 101 List - go to the symphony.)

If you’ve never heard of Rush tickets, apparently they sell the open seats for certain shows at the box office an hour before doors open that evening. (Note: call the box office two hours before to see if they’re being offered). It sounds like it’s mainly a weekday thing and not so much for weekend shows, but still, a great deal nonetheless.

And perfect timing too, since my birthday is coming up next Tuesday. I thought this would make for a perfect outing to celebrate with the boyfriend.

Though I don’t have anything to compare it to, I thought it was amazing! The orchestra played while four Broadway singers performed each musical number. They sang songs from Hairspray, Jersey Boys, Mama Mia, Wicked and my personal favorite, Phantom of the Opera. And I won’t ruin the surprise for you, but there’s an amazing (and hilarious) encore treat at the end that you won’t want to miss.

So if you’re free this weekend, check out the Nashville Symphony's “Broadway Rocks” show. You won't want to miss this one!

Special thanks to the Symphony for helping me celebrate my birthday. I’ll definitely be coming back.

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Soda tasting party

My boyfriend and I recently stumbled upon the most amazing soda shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, called Rocket Fizz. Here they sell every soda flavor imaginable, all in glass bottles and most made from real sugar. Most of their stores are located in California, but lucky for us, there happened to randomly be one in my boyfriend’s hometown.

So we loaded up the car with cartons full of pop with the intentions of inviting our friends to help us taste all the flavors. This weekend we finally got around to tasting them at my Soda Tasting Birthday Party. (Let’s mark another thing off that 101 List of mine - #12 host a themed party.)

We thought it would be fun to make it into a guessing game, so we numbered each of our mystery flavors from 1-15, labeled 180 dixie cups with coordinating numbers (can someone say “hand cramp”) and poured samples of each flavor for everyone to guess.

Some were amazing: vanilla and blueberry were my personal favorites. And some were down right disgusting: chai (ewww), mint & lime, banana, celery (who drinks this stuff?). All in all, it made for a fun time with friends, and I’m pretty sure they all enjoyed it - despite the stomach aches that followed.

So if you’re ever near a Rocket Fizz (California, Las Vegas, Phoeniz and good ole’ Lincoln), be sure to check it out. That is, if you think your taste buds can handle it.

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Kid photography props

Last weekend I took a kid and baby photography workshop at Watkins College in Nashville, which I absolutely loved. In addition to giving us technical tips, the instructor shared ideas on how to work with the children and parents during the shoot. She also brought a lot of her equipment, showed us how to use it and advised us on what to start investing in. All in all, it was extremely helpful.

As soon as I left class, I was so excited to go out and find some babies to practice on. After mentioning it on facebook and twitter, volunteers started rolling in.

I now have several shoots lined up with my friends’ children, and I can’t wait. In preparation, I’ve been searching for baby props to use. Boy are there tons to choose from.

My first buy was this adorable owl hat on Etsy. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but my wallet just couldn’t tell my heart “no.”

I also found a shop on Etsy that sold the cutest baby ties. It was hard to decide, but I went with these two…

And what would be cuter with baby ties than little baby suspenders? Amazon has several cool colors for only $5. I ordered some in blue and black.

Lastly, I found a kid fedora hat on Amazon for $3, although now they’re out of stock. Glad I got it when I did.

After all this shopping, I realized I didn’t have anything for girls yet, so I found an online tutorial on how to make tutus. Last night, I tried my hand at it and made this.

While the tutorial says to use elastic, I ended up using ribbon so I can adjust the size for each little girl. I was so happy with how it turned out. I’ll definitely be making more.

As for my 101 List, I can now mark two more things off: #6 - take an art class and #19 - buy something on Etsy.

Get ready to see lots of baby pictures in the very near future!

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Blue swirl cake pops

This weekend I did a little experimenting with cake pops and came up with my own design - a blue pop with white swirls. While I had hoped to create an “easy” cake pop, it actually ended up being quite challenging. Piping candy melt on a tiny ball of cake was horribly hard. But in the end, they turned out cute. Not my best, but cute enough.

It also got me one dessert closer to marking another thing off my 101 List (#76 - make 5 new desserts). This makes #4!

If you’d like to try them for yourself, here’s what you need:

  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can pre-made icing
  • 4 bags blue candy coating
  • 1 bag white candy coating
  • 48 cake pop sticks
  • Decorating bag
  • #2 tip
  • 9x13 pan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 2 microwavable bowls
  • Styrofoam block
  • Spoon
  • 2-3 cookie sheets
  • Wax paper

Directions:

  • Bake a 9x13 cake following directions on box. Let cool completely.
  • Once cake is cool, crumble into large mixing bowl leaving no large pieces.

  • Add 3/4 can of pre-made icing and mix into cake with small metal spoon.
  • Roll cake mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Place in freezer for 15 minutes.
  • While cake balls are in freezer, melt blue candy coating in microwave following package instructions.
  • Remove cake balls from freezer 5 at a time. One-by-one, dip the end of a cake pop stick in coating and insert no more than half way into cake ball.
  • Holding stick, dip cake ball into coating, completely covering cake. Lift with stick and gently shake and turn cake ball to allow excess coating to fall back into bowl.

  • Place cake pop in styrofoam block to dry. Repeat steps with remaining cake balls.

TIP: To avoid buying Styrofoam blocks over and over, you can make one out of wood. My dad made this one for me for Christmas, and I painted it white. Isn’t it awesome?

  • Once blue coating has dried, melt white coating in microwavable bowl following package instructions.
  • Quickly fill decorating bag with white melted coating and attach #2 tip.
  • One by one, pipe swirls on each cake pop and let dry. Be sure to work quickly, as coating will begin to harden inside tip. You may need to remove and clean tip if opening becomes blocked.

More cake pop ideas coming next week! For past cake pop tutorials, check here:

Have a great weekend!

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As I was planning my trip to NYC, I found out my favorite artist Ingrid Michaelson was holding her annual Holiday Hop while I was in town. Of course I had to go, especially since it’s on my 101 List (#23 - See Ingrid Michaelson in concert again).

As usual, her concert was amazing. She always manages to make it really entertaining - like in this video. Here she’s pretending to be her Aunt Ethel joined by her fellow nursing home friends who performed an array of hilarious Christmas spoofs as the opening act that evening. Above is their rendition of “Carol of the Bells.”

Hope you enjoy the video. Perhaps it will get you in the holiday spirit this Monday morning.

-Lu

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A night with Letterman

Tonight when you’re watching Letterman, keep a close eye on the audience, and you just might see me! That’s right. On Monday when we were in New York, my friend and I won lottery tickets to a taping of the show. And here’s one clue as to who tonight’s guests are…

Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman from “Little Fockers.”

The funny thing is we weren’t even planning on going to the show. I had researched getting tickets, but you had to answer a trivia question on the spot if you got picked to attend, and I was sure I wouldn’t know the answer.

I ended up putting our names in for Jay Leno instead. Later though, I realized he didn’t tape in New York but rather in California. Go me. And to make matters worse, we actually won 3 tickets a piece to see Leno. Too bad we were on the wrong coast.

On the morning of the taping, we were actually just walking by the Letterman studio to see Rupert at the Hello Deli. My dad is quite a fan, so I went to get another picture with him.

As we passed by Letterman on our way back, they were announcing free tickets for this week’s shows. We figured what the heck, we might as well put our names in just in case.

An hour later I got a call saying we won tickets for that afternoon’s taping. Lucky for us, it was a taping for Friday’s show with the best guests of the week! 

I don’t have any pictures from the actual show - they warned us cameras were prohibited, and we didn’t want to chance getting thrown out - but it was absolutely amazing! De Niro was so shy and awkward it was hilarious, and Hoffman kept answering on his behalf. Together they were quite the entertaining pair. And it was so neat to be just a few feet away from them and to see how the show operates.

Looks like I can mark another thing off my 101 List (#5 - Be in the audience of a tv show).

If you’re ever in NYC, I’d definitely recommend going. They do the lottery weekday mornings from 9:30 - 11:00 I believe, so check it out! You won’t be sorry.

Hope you can catch the show tonight.

-Lu

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Skating in Central Park

For the last few winters, I’ve been dying to go ice skating outdoors. There’s just something more exciting and magical about skating in a park over skating inside a cold metal building. Unfortunately I live in Nashville where outdoor rinks simply don’t exist.

So once I decided to take a trip to New York City this December (#18 on my 101 List), ice skating was on the top of my to-do list. And what better place to skate than Wollman Rink in Central Park (the rink used in Serendipity).

Lucky for us, we went first thing on a Friday morning and beat the crowd. For the first hour and a half, we pretty much had the rink to ourselves.

I hadn’t skated since I was about 12, so I came prepared to fall. I stayed glued to the wall for the first couple laps just in case, but after that I was surprised how good I was. And I didn’t slip once!

We started losing steam at 11:30, which was perfect timing as a huge group of students showed up and took over the rink around then. Before leaving, we had a quick snack inside where Marie got this hilarious water bottle - in case you forgot whose rink it is.

All in all, it was a perfect morning - another thing I can check off my 101 List (#22 ). If you get a chance to visit New York in the winter, you should definitely go ice skating.

More about New York City coming tomorrow.

-Lu

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Little Einsteins fondant cake

During Thanksgiving break, we decided to celebrate my niece’s 2nd birthday while the family was together. And of course, we needed a cake. So my sister asked me to bring all my cake supplies to Florida and teach her how to make a fondant cake for the big party.

Now normally I pretty much wing my cake designs. I randomly choose a color, use whatever shapes I have in cookie cutters, which aren’t many, and create my design around any tears I have in the fondant.

My sister, however, had much bigger plans - a little Einsteins cake with clouds, grass and flowers, the four main characters circling the cake, and cupcakes surrounding it topped with fondant-shaped rockets. Quite adventurous for her first cake!

So while other families were watching football and taking naps on Thanksgiving, we were elbow-deep in icing and fondant, which to me was more fun than anything else we could have done on the holidays. It was also nice to decorate a cake with someone else, especially my sister. I wish she lived closer so we could do this more often.

In the end, it was the hit of the party. The birthday girl and all her little friends loved it, which made it worth all the hard work.

As for my 101 List (#10 - Decorate 20 fondant cakes), only 16 more to go.

-Lu

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