A Night Out with Amelie on Broadway

AmelieBway1164r.jpg (Photo credit: JOAN MARCUS). When I was a little girl, I dreamt of performing on Broadway. In fact, I’d spend most of my time singing in front of my mirror daydreaming about where my life would lead and all the exciting things I was going to do on the road to stardom.
Fast forward to today and I’m now a wife, mother and business owner and while I never did make my Broadway debut, I recently got to daydream again when I slipped away to a show that brought me right back to where it all began for me. And that’s where Amelie on Broadway comes in…
While I watched the story unfold in this new musical, I found myself thinking about my eight year old self again who dreamed that anything was possible. And that’s what little Amelie does when we meet her. While her parents are ridiculously over protective – forcing her to be home schooled because they’re afraid something bad will happen to her, we realize instantly the dangerous effect that helicopter parenting can have on a child. While her mom passes away when she’s still a young girl, Amelie thrives in her dream world but seems fearful of ever taking a chance and daring to live her life fully.
We then see Amelie as a young adult who works in a cafe and returns home where she continues to daydream until a tragedy convinces her to finally act on her dreams, go out into the city and make the world a better place one good deed at a time. Of course, this journey leads her to finally discover love but the only thing that holds her back is her fear of taking chances.
Amelie is played by the incredibly talented Phillipa Soo who most recently appeared in “Hamilton.” Soo is perfect for the role of the flighty young woman who is hoping her good deeds will make the world a better place. Listening to her sing is like watching a champion figure skater – you know she’s going to nail every note and her performances are simply flawless. I also really loved Savvy Crawford who portrays Amelie as a young girl. While this was her first role on Broadway, I’m sure we’ll be seeing Savvy for many years to come!
I think this charming musical is perfect for mothers and daughters or a girls night out like I did with one of my closest friends. If you’re like me and still find yourself daydreaming about what you’d love to do with your life, then Amelie is a perfect way to spend an evening or a matinee.
To find out more about Amelie on Broadway or to purchase tickets, visit their website.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to see Amelie on Broadway. However all opinions are 100% my own.

When it’s Time to Admit You’re Doing Too Much

gourmesso.jpgLately, I’ve been finding myself working nearly all hours of the day and night. I sleep with my phone next to my bed, so the minute I wake up in the morning, I check my text messages and emails to make sure I haven’t missed any work while I was asleep. You see, we recently took on a new client that’s in a time zone that’s nine hours ahead of us – which means they’re working while we’re sleeping which means my perception of a nine to five work schedule has officially gone out the window.
While I typically start my day with a few strong cups of coffee, these days, I’ve become quite the home barista since I now own a Nespresso coffee machine and can drop in a Gourmesso pod and whip up a piping hot cup of espresso in less than one minute.
Before I even start my commute to New York City, I typically drink one cup of coffee and a shot of espresso, then I respond to emails, check my Facebook, my CNN app, my Twitter feed and Instagram. Once I make it to the train platform, I stop into Dunkin Donuts for one more cup of hazelnut and then meet my friend for our morning journey into Manhattan. For the next 33 minutes, we catch up on each other’s lives with our conversation focusing on both of our children who are currently in the final stages of deciding where they want to go to college.
Which brings me to the reason why I’ve been working so much. If you are a parent of a teenager who is bound for college or if you are still paying off student loans, my husband and I are determined to send both our children to college debt free. Which means we both have to make more money now so we can ensure we have enough to cover all their expenses. So far, we have put aside some funds for both of them but no matter how much we think we have, we’re going to have to keep adding to our bottom line so we can stay ahead of those tuition bills.
While it’s super exciting to be the parent of a teenager who is about to leave home for the next stage of her life, it’s also incredibly stressful. And that’s why I’m working so hard. Sure I love what I do, but I am looking forward to the day when I can sip my espresso while relaxing in my sunroom instead of savoring it on the run. For now, I’ll be sleeping a little less, caffeinating a little more and working hard to pay the bills. It might be stressful for now, but I know it’ll eventually get easier. Just give me seven more years!

Tissue Alert: “Gifted” will make you laugh, cry and want to hug your cat

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet the cast of “Gifted,” which stars Chris Evans, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer and McKenna Grace. After attending a private screening of “Gifted,” I really enjoyed the film’s powerful message conveyed about letting a brilliant young girl enjoy her childhood. While I’m already a huge fan of Octavia Spencer and enjoyed Chris Evans and Jenny Slate’s performances in the film, I was absolutely blown away by the film’s youngest star, McKenna Grace.
“Gifted” is a story about Frank Adler (Chris Evans), a single man raising a child prodigy – his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) – in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary’s landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well.
Take a look…

“Gifted” has every element of a film that you will love. It’s funny. It’s smart. It’s heartbreaking. And best of all, it stars a young actress named McKenna Grace who is one of the most talented actors I have seen in a film in long time. Trust me, at the end of this film, McKenna Grace will leave you in a puddle of tears with her powerful performance as Mary – a child prodigy who just wants to be a regular kid. In fact, during the screening I attended, I could hear people sobbing in the theater.
Now here’s the best part about McKenna. After attending a junket in Los Angeles, I found out she is so genuine, so sweet and so funny. When asked how she tackled the emotional scenes in the film, McKenna shared how she sat in a quiet place and thought of really sad things that have happened to her. The fact that her tears are so real and so powerful convinced me that this little girl is an old soul who has a future ahead of her that is so incredibly bright. Take a look…

“Gifted” opens in select theaters on April 7 and will premiere nationwide on April 12. To find out more about the film, visit their website, Gifted Movie. You can follow the film on Twitter at @GiftedtheMovie and Instagram at @GiftedMovie.

You Can’t Put a Price On a Good Time #GoingInStyle

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Warner Bros. #sponsor
GIS-FilmPoster.jpgMy 82 year old father in law has always lived by a mantra that I recite every time I choose to indulge in an experience that might be a bit out of my price range: “You can’t put a price on a good time!” After attending the premiere of the new film “Going in Style,” it makes me even more convinced that my father in law is totally on to something – life is too short to not be spending time and money on the people you love most.
In director Zach Braff’s comedy, “Going In Style,” Oscar winners Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”), Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules,” “Hannah and Her Sisters”) and Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) team up as lifelong buddies Willie, Joe and Al, who decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty.
The film starts out with a bang when Joe (Michael Caine) discovers he no longer has the funds to pay his mortgage and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery. When thieves get away with the crime, Joe, an avid Law & Order watcher, contemplates robbing the bank too so that he can get his money back and continue to care for his family without having any worries. While his friend Willie is convinced a heist by seniors could work, their more cynical friend Al is a bit skeptical at first until Joe is able to convince him to bite the bullet and join them on a quest to rob the same bank that now has all their money.
While I don’t think I’d resort to a bank robbery to protect my financial future, what I do know is that when I eventually become a senior citizen, I definitely want to be in a place where I don’t have to worry about providing for myself or my family. It’s pretty daunting to think that after working so hard, for so long, a company can just take away someone’s life savings. While I no longer work for a corporation and have been on my own for more than a decade, I do have retirement funds set aside for the day I’m eventually lucky enough to stop working. For now, I think a lot about how much it’s going to cost to keep a roof over our head, pay for college for two kids and still manage to retire at an age where my husband and still have our health and all our marbles and can explore the world without a care in the world.
More often than not, our nation’s elderly find themselves living in poverty even after they’ve put in decades of their lives in the workforce where they saved for retirement. Some may have fallen victim to a Ponzee scheme – like my parents’ next door neighbors who lost their life savings thanks to Bernie Madoff. Or others, like Joe, Willie and Al could be the victims of corporate greed when their own company robs them of their pension fund. My own parents worked for the Board of Education and were lucky enough to have enough retirement savings that has enabled both of them to retire at 55 and own homes in Florida and Southampton. And while they may seem set for life, my parents have still faced financial difficulties as retirees.
Will the same hold true for me and my husband? I honestly don’t know – especially since so much money is going to be leaving our bank account over the next eight years as we send our daughter and our son to college. I can totally relate to Michael Caine’s character Joe who wants to provide for his daughter and granddaughter as they struggle to make ends meet.
Willie’s (Morgan Freeman) situation is also a common one too – he’s in desperate need of a kidney transplant but has terrible insurance and wouldn’t qualify for one anyway because he’s too old. He hasn’t seen his family in a long time because he can’t afford the airfare and he’s afraid to break the news to his daughter, granddaughter and best friends.
Al (Alan Arkin) is the cynic of the group who no longer looks forward to anything and criticizes everything. That is until Annie, played by Ann-Margret, finds a way into his heart and finally gets him to start changing his negative outlook on life so he can finally see things in a positive light. He also becomes re-energized because he and Annie are having sex like rabbits. I know…TMI!
As I watch my own parents reach the same age as the characters in the film, I think about what their outlook in life is and how they’ve been instrumental in framing my own vision of the future. My parents have always believed in traveling and have taken me along on vacations in Europe, South America and the Mediterranean. This summer, I’ll be embarking on a special trip with my daughter, mom and mother in law when we head to Paris to celebrate my daughter’s graduation and her 18th birthday. Despite the fact that I have tons of bills looming in my future, I’m going with my father in law’s motto for now — “You can’t put a price on a good time.” Especially when that means I’m going to be making memories to last a lifetime with my family. That’s the message behind “Going in Style” – what’s the point of living your last days if you’re not enjoying them to the fullest? It’s a message we should all take to heart and never take for granted. I know I did and am happy I’ve been #GoingInStyle for years now!
Going in Style opens this weekend in theaters nationwide. Check out the preview below:

To find out more about Going in Style, visit the film’s website, their Facebook page or follow along on Twitter @GoingInStyle.